The Best Vegan Lard Substitutes for Frying and Baking

Lard isn’t commonly seen in the modern kitchen, especially as plant-based diets are on the rise. Lard is 100% animal fat, typically pork, and definitely not vegetarian or vegan-friendly. Lard like all fat does, however, have its place in the kitchen; you can use it for baking, frying, and sauteeing.

If you’re looking for a vegan lard substitute that will still have the same effect as animal fat, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, mashed bananas, and vegetable shortening can all be used as a replacement in most recipes. Which ingredient you use will be determined by the cooking process you are using in your recipe.

Vegan Lard Substitute for Deep Frying or Sauteeing

Deep frying is the process of cooking food by covering it entirely in hot fat or oil, such as when french fries are lowered into a deep fryer. The fat often used in deep frying is pork lard, but coconut oil and olive oil are excellent vegan lard substitutes for deep frying. 

Deep Frying With Coconut Oil

While the term “healthy” is not often associated with deep-fried foods, coconut oil could be considered a healthy fat alternative to lard for deep frying. This is because coconut oil has a high saturated fat content, allowing it to withstand temperatures of 350F before reaching its smoke point. 

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How to Deep Fry With Coconut Oil 

To deep fry with coconut oil as a vegan lard substitute, you will need a skillet or deep fryer and a food-grade thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil and prevent it from smoking. 

  1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet or deep fryer to 325F-350F, making sure the oil is deep enough to cover your food entirely. 
  2. Fry chosen foods until golden brown, being careful not to let oil overheat or it will start to produce smoke. 
  3. After removing food from the hot oil, it can be passed through a strainer and stored for later use. Do not pour leftover coconut oil down the drain, as it can solidify and cause plumbing blockages. 

Deep Frying With Olive Oil

The notion of deep-frying with olive oil leaves some home chefs feeling slightly uneasy, as it was previously believed that olive oil’s smoke point was too low to allow for deep frying. However, this myth has been dispelled by the USDA, and in fact they now  recomend that olive oil be used for deep frying. This makes olive oil a fantastic vegan lard substitute for deep frying. 

How to Deep Fry With Olive OIl:

  1. Heat Olive oil in a skillet or deep fryer to 350F. While olive oil has a smoke point of 410F, this is the recommended temperature for deep frying. 
  2. Place foods you wish to be fried in your skillet or deep fryer, ensuring they are completely submerged in olive oil. 
  3. Fry foods until golden brown, carefully removing them from the hot oil once they have reached your preferred doneness. 
  4. Olive oil, unlike coconut oil, does not solidify once cooled, so there is no risk of clogging should you pour the used oil dwon the drain after it has cooled. 
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While fried food should be added to your diet in moderation, studies have showsn that the health benefits of olive oil such as its high levels of antioxidants are still present when heated to deep frying temperature. 

Sauteeing With Olive Oil Or Coconut Oil 

Sauteeing is useful when cooking fresh vegetables or making a mirepoix for a vegetable stock. It uses a hot pan and a small amount of oil to cook foods through without frying them crisp. 

To sautee with olive oil or coconut oil:

  1. Place pan or skillet on stove set to medium-high, allow it to heat up before adding oil. 
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of your preferred oil to a pan or skillet.
  3. Add ingredients you wish to sauetee, stirring them often for even cooking. 

The instructions for sauteeing are the same regardless of what oil is chosen, so feel free to experiment with other vegan lard substitues using these same steps!

Vegan Lard Substitutes For Baking 

Lard is used in baking to promote flakiness, to speed up browning, to use as a leavining agent and help incorporate air into the dough. This makes lard an invaluable ingredient, but luckily for those who follow plant-based diets there are vegan substitutes for lard that you can use when baking. 

Avocado as a Vegan Lard Substitute

Avocado is not only a cruelty-free alternative to using animal fats in your baking, it’s a much healthier alternative. Avocados are a rich source of several vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Riboflavin
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Vitamins C, K, E, 
  • Omega 3 fatty acids 

Using avocado in your baking is a great way to improve moisture. To do so, simply swap one cup of lard with one cup of pureed avocado in any recipe that you would like to make vegan

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Banana as a Vegan Lard Substitute 

Bananas can be used as a vegan lard substitute in baking, however you will sacrifice a degree of that smooth texture you get from something that contains fat. Recipes where you swap lard for bananas will also require shortened baking times, so this substitute comes with a bit of learning curve and may take some trial and error. Regardless, swap one cup of lard or fat for ¾ cup of mashed bananas to use them as a vegan lard substitute in your next recipe!


Lard has it’s place in the kitchen, but not if you’re following a plant-based diet. To stay true to your convictions and cut out animal products, lard can be replaced with coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, and banana. It all depends on the cooking method and may require a bit of trial and error!