November 7, 2017

Make Your Own Lard

how to make, homemade, lard, make, pork fat, recipe, 自己, 製作, 豬油,
By Published: 2017-11-07
I know, I know.  Make your own lard?  Well, why not, lard is a super duper tasty fat and making it fresh at home only makes it that much more fabulous.  Lard makes things taste seriously yummilicious!  It's the secret to the sauce!  And making your own lard is not only easy but the lard is super fresh and way tastier than the processed stuff that you find in the grocery store.

Wait a minute, isn't this stuff suppose to be bad for you?  Well, if you follow health news at all you will have seen in the news a lot lately that lard is not bad for you after all...surprise, surprise!   Actually lard was never bad for you, if used in moderation.  What happened is that in the early 20th century a concentrated effort to vilify lard began, mostly in order to help companies sell their new products of margarine and vegetable shortening (transfat!) which as we all now know are very bad for your health.  Check out our post on Choosing Healthy Oils to see more about what we think are 'healthy cooking fats or oils'.

So the happy ending is that lovely creamy lard is not bad for you at all when used in moderation (hey, our ancestors used it for many millennium after all).  And it really is a very, very tasty fat! 

So if you're ready to plunge ahead and make your own lovely tasty jar of cooking lard,  you will need to visit your local butcher for a bit of fat.  In Hong Kong we go to our wet market butcher for fat and in the States my mom goes to the larger Asian grocery shops and asks the butchers there for fat.  Sometimes you can get it for free, most of the time it's really cheap cuz no one wants it these days.  Ask the butcher for 'back fat' if he has it or 'leaf lard' (the fat around the pig's kidneys) if you want the best grade most neutral flavored fat.

how to make, homemade, lard, make, pork fat, recipe, 自己, 製作, 豬油,

The making is dead simple, really.  Making lard is just cooking the fat slowly over a very low heat.  As the lard renders out of the fat you will be left with the residual connective tissues and skin which will slowly crisp up to become pork cracklings... yummy! 

how to make, homemade, lard, make, pork fat, recipe, 自己, 製作, 豬油,
how to make, homemade, lard, make, pork fat, recipe, 自己, 製作, 豬油,

Be careful of burning the pork cracklings!  Keep an eye on your wok at the last stages and take out the cracklings once they are golden brown.  If they are not crisp enough yet you can toss them back in for a crisp up once the rendered lard is scooped out.  The key to making nice white neutral tasting lard is to take your time and cook over low heat, and to not burn the cracklings, not even a little bit.  If, however, burning occurs don't worry the lard is still totally usable but when cooled will have a slight porky flavor and retain a slight yellow color instead of a beautiful white. 

how to make, homemade, lard, make, pork fat, recipe, 自己, 製作, 豬油, crackling

I did not know this before the first time we made lard at home, but fresh made pork cracklings are the most yummilicious things in the whole wide world ever and forever and ever!  Embarrassingly I did not even realize that we were going to end up with pork cracklings as a side benefit to making lard but thank goodness for serendipitous porky side benefits!  OMG pork cracklings are sooooo GOOD!!!  (I know, I'm losing it a bit, my bad, but can't help it, it's porky fever!)

how to make, homemade, lard, make, pork fat, recipe, 自己, 製作, 豬油, crackling

As it renders scoop out your beautiful rendered lard into a sterilized jar or clay pot.  I prefer a glazed clay pot cuz it keeps the light out which helps the lard stay fresh longer.  Store in a dark cupboard and only use sterilized utensils to scoop out what you need.  

And how to use this lovely oil?  We like to add a spoonful to finish off a stir fry and give it that taste boost and gloss that only lard can give.  It's also great for making certain baked goods like Macau Almond Cookies 澳門杏仁餅 and Chinese Almond Cookies 澳門杏仁餅 to achieve a chewy crispiness that only lard provides.  And traditionally it is used in Chinese festival treats like Snow Skin Mooncake 冰皮月餅, Jau Gok Peanut Puff Dumplings 炸油角, Red Bean Paste 紅豆沙, and, of course, the wonderful traditional Mooncakes 月餅.  Remember, lard's the ancient Chinese secret, the secret to the sauce!

Check out more on our thoughts about choosing a healthy oil/fat for your family cooking needs.

how to make, homemade, lard, make, pork fat, recipe, 自己, 製作, 豬油,

Make Your Own Lard Recipe 自己製作豬油
(makes approx 1 1/2 -2 cups lard)  Prep time:    Cook time:


10 oz pork fat, 300g

Cut fat into 2" by 1" pieces.  In your wok or in a thick bottom pan add in the fat pieces over a very low heat and cook slowly until the liquid lard completely renders out, leaving behind the residual connective tissues and skin (cracklings) which should start to crisp up.  Have a sterilized dry jar ready with strainer over the mouth of jar.  Scoop out the lard and strain into jar as it renders, it should be a pale yellow color that will cool to a creamy white color.

As the cracklings turn golden brown, remove and reserve on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the extra oil.  The key for beautiful white lard is to not burn the cracklings so don't wait for the crackling to brown too much, it might affect the taste of the lard.  You can always toss the cracklings back into the wok and fry until crisp later after you have scooped out all the lard.  Once crisped to your liking salt the cracklings, let cool and store in an airtight jar, if they last that long.  

Allow the rendered lard to cool completely.  Cover and store in dark cupboard for up to 3 months or longer.  Just give it a sniff before using to check for any rancid odor.  Use a clean spoon to scoop out lard as needed.  Enjoy!

Tip:  Another super duper easy way to make lard is to strain and save the bacon fat rendered when you crisp up bacon.  It will have a smoky, bacony flavor but that is a very good thing no?  We strain it into a lidded ceramic jar and keep it near the stove to dip into whenever we need a lick of bacon flavored lard to boost up the yummilicious factor!

More Lardilicious Treats at The Hong Kong Cookery:

chinese new year, dumpling, food, Gok Jai, how to wrap, Jau Gok, Peanut Puff, recipe, snack, Tim Gok, yau gok, Yau Kwok, 油角, 炸油角, 炸角仔, 角仔Jau Gok Peanut Puff Dumpling 炸油角 / 炸角仔


  1. How do you say and type leaf lard or back fat in Cantonese? Thank you 😊

  2. Hi, in Chinese leaf lard is 板油. ~ellen