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Lard Substitute in Tamales

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Lard is a fantastic cooking fat that is both flexible and useful. It may be used to bake both sweet and savory meals like tamales; it has a high smoke point and can be fried or spread over toast.

Tamales Nutrition Facts

Lard Substitute in Tamales

The downsides are that it might be costly and difficult to find. However, if you’re going to the work of making handmade tamales, I believe you should use the finest lard substitutes in tamales you can find.

Continue reading to learn more about fat, tamales, and how they function together. Furthermore, I’ve highlighted several excellent lard replacements in tamales for you.

What is Lard in Tamales

Lard is a semi-solid white fat product derived from pig fatty tissue after it has been rendered. It should not be confused with tallow, a similar material derived from cow or sheep fat.

Notably, lard may be produced via steaming, boiling, or dry heat.

Furthermore, the fats found in lard are monounsaturated fats, which have been demonstrated to decrease dangerous cholesterol levels.

When it comes to tamales, lard is a must-have component.

Tamales are a traditional Mexican treat made of maize bread and filled with meats, beans, and cheese. Tamales are wrapped in maize husks or banana leaves and cooked; before eating, the husks are removed.

Along with fat, they include elaborate slow-cooked fragrant meat fillings (usually chicken or pig), vegetables (potatoes, corn, peppers, or carrots), cheeses, dried fruits, and olives.

Lard in Tamales Uses in Recipes

Tamales are traditionally a spicy, salty food, although sweet tamales may be found and make an excellent dessert. Sweet tamales come with fillings as well.

Here are some delicious meals to pair with lard and tamales:

  • Sweet Potato Tamales.
  • Fish Tamales.
  • Arroz Con Leche.
  • Homemade Chili with Tamales.
  • Sour Cream.
  • Cheese.
  • Black Beans
  • Spicy Mango Habanero Pepper Sauce.
  • Mexican Tamales.
  • Pork Tamales.
  • Beef Tamales.
  • Instant Pot Chicken Tamales.
  • Shrimp and Corn Tamales.
  • Red Chili Pork Tamales.
  • Tamales Dough.

Lard Substitutes in Tamales

Lard is made from rendered hog fat. It is often mentioned as an ingredient in many tamale recipes.

Because lard is more difficult to get than other fats, understanding that you can readily substitute it in your recipes is essential. You probably have a simple lard substitute in your home.

See some great lard replacements in tamales.


Butter is the best lard substitute available. Unless the recipe indicates otherwise, use unsalted butter as a replacement for lard in most recipes that call for it.

While butter is the most reliable choice, the difference might have an effect on your food depending on what you’re making. For example, since fat produces flaky pie crusts, lard is often utilized in these recipes.

1 cup of lard should be substituted with 1 cup of butter as a general rule. With this little modification, your recipe should be as close to the original as feasible.

Of course, not every recipe will need a whole cup of fat. As a result, make the necessary adjustments.

Vegetable Shortening

If you’re looking for a lard substitute in tamales, try vegetable shortening.

Vegetable shortening was created to take the role of lard as a common culinary component.

Lard and vegetable shortening have roughly the same fat content. You may usually replace 1 cup of lard with 1 cup of shortening, but you may need to add two more tablespoons to the recipe tamales.

Notably, if your recipe asks for cooking with lard, vegetable shortening is preferable than butter. Shortening and lard have higher smoke points than butter. Because they contain less water, you won’t have to worry about splattering as much.

Vegetable shortening is widely available in kitchen cabinets throughout the United States. Many people, though, are perplexed by its components. It is fantastic for creating the light, flaky texture desired in dishes, including tamales!


Oils may also be used as a lard alternative in tamales, albeit the fat content of each oil will have a distinct influence on your recipe.

Using oils, for example, can encourage your tamales to spread more. To prevent this, chill the dough before baking.

8 cup vegetable oil may be used for 1 cup lard; 1 cup olive oil can be substituted for 1 cup lard; and 1 cup coconut oil can be substituted for 1 cup lard. This option will add a hint of coconut taste to your food, which may or may not be a good thing in certain situations (it’s up to you to decide).7 in general

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it possible to bake tamales rather than steam them?

The classic way to make tamales is to mix your favorite ingredients and steam them in a corn husk. However, you may bake them, and the corn husk casing ensures uniform cooking and prevents dryness whether you bake, microwave, or steam your tamales.

Why are my tamales falling apart?

This most likely signifies that your packaging has come undone. Before wrapping the tamale in the corn husk, make sure the contents and sauce are completely covered with masa dough. If the filling is not contained, the tamale may leak, resulting in a dry and crumbly tamale. Furthermore, overfilling the tamale is the leading source of leaks, therefore prevent it.

What kind of tamale fat do you use?

Lard is the most often utilized fat. Alternatives, such as maize, canola, vegetable oil, coconut oil, or butter, may be utilized. Knead the dough until it is light and fluffy.


If you want to try making tamales using lard but aren’t sure where to search, check the refrigerated section of your grocery store. It is typically packaged in the same manner as butter sticks and offered on refrigerated aisles with butter and other dairy products.

Assume you’re out of luck and can’t manage to get your hands on any lard for your tamales recipe. Don’t worry; you can save your recipe using any of these choices.


What can I use in place of lard for tamales?

Butter is the most basic lard alternative. With a few modest changes to your recipe, butter may help preserve the flavor and texture of your finished product. This makes butter an excellent choice for pie crusts, tortillas, tamale dough, and other baked goods.

Is lard necessary for tamales?


The secret to juicy, tasty tamales is to not be afraid to use fat. Lard is a traditional ingredient in Mexico. For a vegetarian recipe, use shortening or softened butter for the lard.

Can tamales be made with oil instead of lard?

To make the light, delicate, and savory tamale dough, combine masa harina, broth, corn oil instead of lard or shortening, baking powder, cumin, and salt until a soft dough forms.

Can I use butter instead of lard in masa?

We utilized both butter and lard in the masa before steaming the tamales, as well as different ratios of salt, baking powder, and liquid, but the main difference between the batches was whipping the lard or butter before mixing it into the masa harina with your hands.

What is the closest thing to lard?

Butter is the finest lard alternative. Unless otherwise specified, use unsalted butter as a replacement for lard in most recipes that call for it. There are other options as well. You may use shortening or oils like coconut, vegetable, or olive if you like.

Is lard or crisco better for tamales?

Lard: When deep-frying meals, preparing flaky pie crusts, or making masa dough for tamales, lard works best. The best lard for baking is leaf lard, which is formed from the fat around hog kidneys. Shortening: Unsurprisingly, vegetable shortening is a superior alternative for vegetarian and vegan bakers.

Does Crisco work for tamales?

Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening is on PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) list of baking ingredients, yet it works just as well for frying as lard.

What does lard do in tamales?

Masa, fat, and meat are the main components. The masa and lard will be combined to form the tamale dough, 5 pounds masa to 1 pound lard. The beef will be used to create the filling and should weigh 5 pounds before cooking to every 5 pounds masa.

What kind of fat do you use for tamales?

Simply purchase a package of lard (or, if you’re a purist like me, render your own from some fatback). The excess may be used to make a delicious pie crust. You may use bacon fat, but the tamales will have a highly smokey taste that you may or may not enjoy.

Is Crisco considered lard?

No, lard and shortening are not the same culinary ingredients. They are simple vegetable shortenings, according to the contents and components of Crisco. Lard, on the other hand, is produced entirely of animal fats, which creates health problems.

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