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Homemade lard is a traditional way of taking fat and turning it into a very diverse and useful ingredient. Use of traditional lard is shown to improve heart health and reduce depression. This method will work with fat from any animal.

For different ways to use lard, try Homemade Soap for a tradition use for lard. Also check out my favorite Curry Carrots recipe which uses lard to fry carrots and is so delicious.

Check out my 10-part series on taking a full pig to a half pig! More videos about butchering to come. Click Here!

Ingredients for homemade lard.


You are going to need to melt the fat very slowly and at a low heat. So, a crock pot or turkey cooker works well for this application. Although, you can also do it in a standard pot but it is best to mix it with water to keep the temperature down.

  • Crock pot, slow cooker, turkey cooker -OR- standard deep pot, canning pot works well
  • Slotted spoon
  • Coffee filters, old clean shirt, or cheesecloth
  • Meat grinder (optional but makes things much easier overall)
  • Mason jars or some other kind of container, including used yogurt or margarine containers
  • Rubber bands (optional)


Given that there are 2 ways of making lard, the ingredients will vary. But neither is uncommon difficult to obtain.

For the good old way of making lard you will only need:

  • Pork fat

Thats it! Just pork fat to make lard. The reason for this is because all you are doing is melting fat.

Ground lard ready to be rendered.

For the other method making lard, you will only need 3 ingredients

  • Pork fat
  • Salt
  • Water

These recipes vary slightly for a few simple reasons which I will get to later on.


The steps and concepts of lard making are easy to grasp. Though people make it sound more difficult than it really is.

The few steps that we need to focus on are the following.

  • Grind fat or cube fat into 1/2 inch chunks
  • Melt the fat at a very low heat being careful not to burn it as this will give an off or porky taste to lard
  • Ladle it into containers for storage, let it cool, and then use it for various different things

Now the way that you heat it up is going to be up to you. So, whatever you can melt lard in is good enough and you do not need anything fancy.

  1. Grind or cube fat
Grinder ready to grind pork fat.

Here is how my setup looks.

Basically, I like to grind my fat because it breaks down the fat to a very small size. This will make sure that it melts quickly, evenly, and thoroughly.

Slicing pork fat to fit into my grinder.

I cut my fat into strips that will fit in my meat grinder. For my grind, I do once through the grinder on the finest grind that I can.

If you don’t have a meat grinder, this is where you can slice your fat into about 1/4-1/2 inch cubes.

Grinding pork fat.
Grinding pork fat.

At this point, you should be grinding up all of the fat that you are going to render.

Ground pork fat.

2. After all of the fat is ground down, next is time to begin melting it

This will be a rather slow process. But I will be showing multiple ways of doing it so that you can do it one way or the other depending on how long you have.


So the traditional way of rendering lard is simple. Place the fat into a pan and cook it down, and scooping out the clean lard as it melts.

Ground pork fat in the turkey cooker, ready to render.

For the traditional example, I am using leaf lard which is the cleanest and finest quality lard on an animal.

Put the ground lard inside of the turkey cooker and turn it on the lowest temperature setting. Then you will see the clean liquid lard start to separate from the pieces of membrane which contained the fat.

Pork lard beginning to render down.

Of leaf lard, most of the original fat will melt into lard because leaf lard is such pure fat. Stir as needed to smoosh the clumps of lard. Smooshing the clumps will make the entire mixture melt faster and will improve the overall quality.

Fine strainer to get particles out of rendered lard.

Once you have melted the entire batch of lard, strain the last bit into a bowl with a strainer in it. You will want to line this strainer with some kind of finer cloth to strain out fine particles.

You could use the following for the application:

  • Paper towels
  • Cheesecloth
  • Old shirt
  • Large coffee filter
  • China hat with liner

After all of the fat drips into the bowl, try to get as much out of it as you can. Even though a T-shirt is not the best thing to use, it does make this step very easy. With it you can squeeze all of the fat out easily.

Save what is left in the filter to fry in a pan to make sure you get out every last bit of lard in it.

Getting every last bit of lard out of the gristle.
Dish of rendered pork lard.

Behold your easily made pork lard. Ladle this liquid into jars or container that you can store the lard in. It should be covered when stored.

Rendered leaf lard
Rendered leaf lard.


One we can speak of is just as simple and easy, but also faster and better in ways. We didn’t have to clean or purify the leaf lard because of its very good quality. But it does help to purify fat from elsewhere in the pig.

The flavor of other fat on an animal is not always as clean tasting as the leaf lard tastes. But it is still very good and clean of you do it right.

Ground pork fat.
Ground pork fat ready to render.

You can do it all at once or you can do it in batches. Make sure you get a good sized pot so you can do the most you can at once. Given that sometimes rendering lard takes a while, it is better to do it in as few batches as possible.

Fill your put until just under the rivets for the handles. You don’t want it to leak out of the rivet holes in your pot.

Adding water to purify the lard.

Add water to the lard. It should be about 1 quart for every 10 or 15 pounds of fat. Water quantity does not have to be specific because the water is going to separate from the lard later on.

Adding salt to purify the lard.

Next add salt. Again, this does not have to be a specific amount either. Just make sure you don’t add more than about 1/4-1/2 of a cup per 10 pounds of lard.

Rendering lard, water and salt.

Stir as needed to break up clumps of fat in the lard mixture. This will ensure that the fat is getting melted evenly, and consistently.

After a while all of your fat will be melted and you will have stirred your water and salt together the entire time.

The impurities in the fat will adhere to the water and salt and will separate from the fat.

Scooping gristle out of rendered lard.

With a slotted spoon, remove as much of the gristle as you can from the lard. This will make it easier to do a final strain.

Scooping gristle out of rendered lard.

Let the fat drip out of the gristle and move it to a bowl. Save this gristle so that you can render it down in a pan to get every last bit out.

Rendered lard ready to be strained.

At last, it is time to strain this liquid lard and place it into a bowl.

Straining rendered pork fat.

Pour it through a strainer that is lined with finer material to catch all of the small particles. Let it drip out and then squeeze as much of the lard out as you can.

Getting every last bit of lard out of the gristle.

Strain it all out and save the gristle left behind in the sieve.

Next place it in the refrigerator or leave it out on the counter to solidify.

The fat will float to the top and the water will settle at the bottom. The water captures the impurities.

Extremely clean, purified pork lard.

Scoop the solid lard off of the top of the water and place it in a separate, clean container.

Removing purified pork lard from salt water.

The layer of water at the bottom will range from gelatinous, to clear and clean as fresh water.

You can repeat the process of purifying the lard until the water comes out clean.

This water can be used in soups and stews. Or any other application that you want to add some extra flavor to.

Clean and purified lard
Purified lard being packaged for the freezer.

If the lard is purified to your liking, it is time to go into airtight containers.

What you are going to use soon can be placed in the fridge, or left out at room temperature.

What won’t be used quickly can be placed in the freezer.

Packaged purified lard


Lard can be store in airtight containers such as:

  • Mason jars
  • Freezer bags
  • Tupper ware containers
  • Used containers from store bought goods.

Lard will stay good for the followings lengths of time depending on conditions:

  • Room temperature- 4-6 months.
  • Refrigerator- 1 year.
  • Freezer- 2 years if wrapped properly with no air.


You can use lard for a huge variety of things.

Due to its clean flavor leaf lard is generally used for:

  • Pie crust
  • Cooking fat
  • Biscuits
  • Pastries

Lard from the rest of the pig has been used for:

  • Heart healthy cooking oil
  • Pastries
  • Butter replacement
  • Frying foods
  • Soap making



Homemade pork lard is a traditional way of taking pork fat and turning it into a very diverse and useful ingredient. Use of traditional lard is shown to improve heart health and reduce depression. How cool is that?


  • Pork fat- Ground or cut into 1/4-inch cubes.
  • 1 quart of water to ever 10 pounds of fat (Optional).
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of salt per 10 pounds of pork fat (Optional).


  1. Starting from whole chunks of pork fat, either grind them or cube them into as close to 1/4-inch cubes as you can. Grinding will allow it to render faster.
  2. Melt the fat around 225°F-250°F. Either on a stovetop, crock pot, or turkey cooker, set to low. Stirring occasionally.
  3. When all of the fat has melted out of the gristle, ladle the liquid lard into a fine strainer. Pour into jars or other storage containers.
  4. If you want to use the purification method, simply mix ground or cubed lard with water and salt and boil it together until the fat is rendered into liquid.
  5. Pour this mixture into a container to let it separate and cool. After it has cooled, separate the lard (on top) from the water and salt (at the bottom). Discard the water or use it for soup. Repeat this process until the water is clean and clear.
  6. Then pack the lard into containers for storage and use.


Leaf lard usually does not need to be purified, but you can purify it if you want to. Fat from the rest of the pig is usually the fat that I refine with the water and salt method.

Lard will last 2 years in the freezer, 1 year in the refrigerator, and 4-6 months at room temperature.

Ground fat is best for rendering but cubed will work if you don't have a grinder. Cubed fat is the method that most Americans used in the past.

I like to pack lard in glass jars if it is going in the refrigerator or if it is room temperature. I like to pack them in gallon freezer bags if they are going into the freezer. It is more malleable in freezer bags which is better for those with limited freezer space as it can be easily shaped to fit.

Eligh Miller-Polivka
Latest posts by Eligh Miller-Polivka (see all)

Magnus Wootton

Friday 29th of September 2023

How hard is lard is you bake it in a mould at some lowish temperature for some period of time like 1-2 days? Ive done it vegetable oil and I've got a feeling lard might be harder because its an animal product.

I need to get some to find out.

You can sorta use it like plastacine or putty, it could be interesting if your not so an expert in more professional plastics and need something cheap.

Homemade Cottage Cheese | The Good Old Way

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

[…] passions. If you are here you may be interested as well! Try these other homesteader recipes like Homemade Lard. For a challenging yet rewarding experience try Homemade Soap which is not as complicated as you […]

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