How to make lard

Lard – sounds like a daunting task, doesn’t it? Well, don’t let it fool you. It’s much easier than it sounds! Are you ready? Let’s go!

You will need:

  • Polyface Pork fat (these come in 5 lb bags)
  • A Crock pot (a 4-qt holds 5 lbs of fat – very convenient huh?)
  • Strainer or cheese cloth or slotted spoon
  • Clean container to store your lard in (I use wide-mouth quart jars)
  1. Thaw the lard. I usually set mine in the sink overnight. Put it into your crockpot. Turn your crockpot to LOW and let it sit all day until all of the fat is melted and appears clear.
  2. Pour it through your strainer or cheese cloth, or pull out the chunks of fat that are left. If you want to, you can fry these for cracklin’s. I disposed of mine.
  3. Pour the lard into your containers, let them cool just a bit, then refrigerate it. It will keep almost indefinitely in the fridge.

Viola! You have made lard! It will harden in the fridge turning a beautful white.

I have also run the crockpot over night and then strained it in the morning. Worked perfectly. 10 pounds of fat makes about 3 quarts of lard.

For those of you who don’t have a crock pot – don’t despair! You can still make it. Just put the fat into a nice large pot and turn your burner onto low – as low as it will go. You will want to watch it a little more carefully and stir it on occasion to make sure that it doesn’t burn. Follow steps 2 & 3 like normal.

Uses for lard:
Use it for frying or sauteing anything – anytime you need an oil, just use the lard – try my fried chicken recipe. It will “wow” your family and guests.
Use it in place of shortening in recipes. It’s much healthier for you. Pie crusts are excellent made with lard.

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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.
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18 Responses to How to make lard

  1. Kim says:

    For those unfamiliar with lard, here's an article I just read in Slate about lard making a comeback:

    And speaking of Slate articles, this looks like a pretty good series they're brewing up that celebrates food:

  2. KathyinMD says:

    Wow, the crock pot would be so much easier than tending the cast iron pot all day. Great idea, thank you!

  3. I’m using this recipe today with fat purchased from a local farm friend – it’s going to make some of our Thanksgiving meals amazing!

    • Sheri Salatin says:

      Thanks, Jeremy!! I hope it turns out great for you. πŸ™‚ I’m a big fan of lard for all sorts of cooking!! πŸ™‚

  4. Sheri,

    It came out perfect! I’ve got beautiful white lard in my fridge, waiting to coat my turkey. And speaking of our pastured Tom, we processed him today (our first one ever) with a little guidance from some YouTube videos of your husband and father-in-law. It was pretty awesome, and humbling at the same time.

    Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and your incredible family!


  5. Daryl Conner says:

    Thank you, thank you! I have 9 quarts of lard put up and it was EASY!
    I am very grateful for you sharing this information.

  6. Kristy Powers says:

    I made this today, following your recipe, in my crockpot with my 5lb bag of Polyface Pork Fat. My house never smelled so good!!! It worked perfectly! When we got home today from a fun day out an about, my hubby says “Oooh, it smells like my Grandma’s house used to smell. Will you make a pot of beans?” So, the beans are on and some of the fat will be used!

    This was my first time rendering fat to make lard. It may sound silly, but I feel accomplished. Better to use lard than man made fat for sure!

    Thanks Sheri! I’ll be ordering more fat soon so I have enough to invite some friends over and fry up some chicken.

    • Sheri Salatin says:

      Great job, Kristy! πŸ™‚ I’m so glad that you were able to make this and found it easy.

      You should feel accomplished. You just made an ingredient that is normally bought. Congrats!!

  7. Laura McDaniel says:

    I rendered lard from some pork fat I bought from Polyface in November, and it turned out beautifully! I don’t have a crock pot so I just did it on the stove, but it was super-easy. I stored it in my freezer and used it through the winter, and absolutely everything I’ve made with it has been fabulous: pie crusts, fried chicken, sauteed vegetables, beans, tamales, you name it! I think the biggest challenge is just finding recipes that use lard; we’ve been so brainwashed to avoid lard altogether for the last 25 years or so that it takes a bit of courage to experiment with using it as a replacement for oil or butter, but I can honestly say that every dish in which I’ve tried using my home-rendered lard has been a huge success!

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  9. Jen F says:

    I can’t for the life of me find any pork fat out here in California. I just keep getting told that the pigs are too lean or that the processing plants won’t save the fat. Frustrating!

  10. Jacquie says:

    Done! So excited. Thanks for your post. I have a small restaurant in Northern Virginia and this is a revelation for my cooking. I have the hardest time finding (and affording) foods that are real, and whole, and sold in bulk. Cooking oil is a super pesky one. THANKS! πŸ™‚

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  12. Martha says:

    Your recipe worked beautifully! 8 hours in the crock pot and I now have 3 quart jars of beautifully clean lard! Thank you

  13. Lisa says:

    Hi! I was reading “Folks This Ain’t Normal” and Joel mentioned you guys have a crockpot lard recipe. First thing this morning I looked it up and am so so excited to try it out. Just a quick question, the farm I buy from has a few pork fat options, ground back fat and ground leaf fat. Is one better than the other for lard making?

  14. Chuck Benhoff says:

    Lisa, Leaf fat makes the best lard. Leaf fat is abdominal fat located around the kidneys. We just rendered lard last night. Put the leaf fat, either gound or cut up into a heavy pot, cast iron is one of the best. Heat on the lowest heat you stove will do and skim the rendered clear liquid fatas it separates. Keep your heat just high enough to melt the fat. If it gets too hot, anywhere near boiling, turn the heat off and let it cool. Pour through a cheese cloth laid into a collender, then put the resulting lard into jars or container of your choice. Refrigerate overnight. The remaining solids make great snacks for your chickens.
    Leaf fat makes nice white, mild flavored lard. Backfat has a much stronger piggy taste. You will be able to taste pig flavor in your biscuits if you use backfat lard. Backfat can be cured and smoked and used for flavoring of beans, etc. or used in some sausages.
    Be sure to only render clean, very fresh leaf fat. Cut away any meat, bloody fat or any discolored areas before you render.
    Rendering lard is a very simple process. Lard can be stored at room temperature for days or weeks in the refrigerator to more than a year if frozen. Good Luck! Chuck Benhoff

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