November 7, 2017

How to Make Your Own Lard

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

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!

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 very slowly over a very low heat.  The heat will render the lard out of the fat and slowly fill up the pot.  The melting fat will slowly shrink in size,  rising up from the bottom of the pot to float on the surface of the lard.

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,

Keep an eye on your pot.  Once the melting fat has risen to the surface the lard is done and the fat bits should be removed at once.  

Remember that the key to making nice white neutral tasting lard is to take your time and cook over low heat, and to not burn the fat bits, 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

And what to do with the fat bits that you removed from the lard?  You can make delicious crunchy pork cracklings!  Just toss them back into the pot and fry them until golden and crispy.

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,

The rendered lard should be poured into a sterilized non reactive storage container like glass or clay pot and left to cool.  I prefer a glazed clay pot cuz it keeps the light out which helps the lard stay fresh longer.  Store lard in a dark cupboard or in the fridge 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.  

Also 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 is 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 Your Own Lard Recipe

(makes approx 1 1/2 -2 cups lard)  Prep: 4 mins Cook time: 30 mins


  • 10 oz pork fat, 300g


Cut fat into 2" by 1" pieces.  Using a thick bottom pan add in the fat pieces over a very low heat and cook slowly until the liquid lard completely renders out.  When the fat bits floats up to the surface the lard is ready.  Scoop the fat bits out.  

Let the lard cool for a bit.  Have a sterilized dry jar ready with strainer over the mouth of jar.  Pour lard through the strainer into the jar.  The lard will be a pale yellow color that will cool to a creamy white color.

Toss the fat bits back into the wok and fry until crisp and golden.  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!



  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