Shortening vs. Lard

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Difference between Shortening and Lard

Shortening and lard are both fats that are often used in cooking. Lard can be thought of as a type of shortening, although other types of fat can also be considered to be shortening. Lard is a more specific type of fat. Like the other forms of shortening, lard is a semi-solid fat that can be used in baking as well as for other purposes.



Lard is a term that is used to refer to pig fat in both its rendered and unrendered forms. It has a high saturated fat content, which has led to concerns about whether it should form part of a healthy diet. The part of the pig from which the lard has been sourced and the way in which it has been processed can affect the quality of the lard. Although it is derived from pig fat, lard has little of the flavor of pork, so it is suitable for use in a range of different baked goods and other recipes.

Shortening can be produced from a number of different animal and vegetable sources. All forms of shortening are semisolid fats, but as well as lard they can include suet, butter and margarine. Shortening from different sources have different qualities. Vegetable fats tend to be lower in saturated fats, so they can be healthier and they are also suitable for vegetarians.


Shortening is typically used in the production of baked goods. These semisolid fats are ideal for baking because they can help create a crumbly texture that is ideal for products such as shortbread. This texture is also known as "short". Shortening works by preventing the formation of long strands of protein in the dough, which can help ensure that the correct texture is produced.

Lard may be used as shortening, but it can also be used in other ways. It can be used as a spread like butter or margarine, and it can also be used in other forms of cooking, such as frying. Lard has even been used in the manufacture of soap. Other types of shortening are also multi-purpose, but they are usually only called shortening when they are being used in baking. Shortening is a term that refers to fats that are being used in a particular way, rather than to identify a particular group or type of fat.

Defining Shortening

The term shortening is often applied to any fat or lard that is used to make baked goods, as long as it has a solid state at room temperature. However, the term shortening can also be restricted to those forms of fats that have a high smoke point and which have a fat content of 100 percent, so butter and margarine may not be considered as true shortening. A high fat content can help to ensure that the right flaky texture is created.

Similarities and Differences

Shortening is a general term that is used to refer to fats that can be used to make baked goods, including lard. Lard is a more specialized term that refers to a particular type of fat, from a particular source.

  • Shortening is a term used to refer to semisolid fats that are used in baking.
  • Shortening creates the right "short" texture in baked goods.
  • Lard is a semisolid fat that is derived from pig fat.
  • Lard can be used as shortening, but it also has other uses.


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