Lard vs. Dripping: Understanding the Differences

Key Difference – Lard vs Dripping

Lard and dripping are both fats derived from animal products, commonly used as cooking fat, shortening, or spread. The main distinction between lard and dripping is their source; lard is primarily made from pig fat, while dripping is produced from beef fat. Although widely used in the past, these fats are not as popular in modern cuisine due to their high content of saturated fat and cholesterol.

What is Lard?

Lard is a semi-solid fat obtained from pig fat, often used in food preparation as a shortening, cooking fat, or spread. Lard can be sourced from any part of the pig with a high concentration of fatty tissues. There are two methods of rendering lard: the wet method and the dry method. Dry rendering is similar to frying bacon, exposing the pig fat to high heat without water. Wet rendering involves steaming or boiling the fat in water at a high temperature. Lard can be skimmed off the surface of the mixture, as it is insoluble in water. The taste, flavor, and other qualities of lard can depend on the rendering process and the part of the pig from which the fat was taken.

What is Dripping?

Dripping is an animal fat produced from the fatty or unusable parts of cow or pig carcasses. Although dripping can be made from beef and pork, it is mostly associated with beef. The process of making dripping involves turning waste material into a useful and edible product. Rendering separates fat from connective tissue and meat, processing it into a clear liquid free of proteins and impurities. In solid form, it is smooth and creamy, and when molten, it is golden in color. Dripping can also be made at home by collecting the hot fat left in the roasting pan into a heatproof vessel, covering it, and allowing it to cool. Nowadays, dripping is primarily used as a cooking fat for shallow frying meat or keeping a joint moist during cooking. In the past, it was also used as a spread on bread, similar to butter.

What is the difference between Lard and Dripping?

  • Meat: Lard is mainly made from pork, while dripping is primarily made from beef.
  • Rendering: Lard can be produced through dry or wet rendering methods, whereas dripping is usually produced through a dry rendering method.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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