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fat = solid fat    

Equivalents:  1 lb. = 2 cups   


For frying or sauteing

For baking

General notes:  Reducing fat will give baked goods a denser texture; to correct for this, try increasing the sugar in the recipe and/or beating the egg whites and folding them into the batter. Also try using a softer flour, like pastry or cake flour.

For spreading on bread and muffins

As a flavoring



anhydrous milkfat 

annatto lard  To make your own: Briefly heat equal parts annatto seeds and lard until the seeds give the fat a reddish-orange color (remove from heat just as the color begins to fade), then strain out seeds.

barding strips  See lard leaves


butter   Notes:   This is a delicious solid fat churned from milk.  It's used in baking, frying, and as a spread on toast and muffins.  Recipes that call for butter in most better cookbooks are referring to unsalted butter = sweet cream butter = sweet butterSalted butter doesn't spoil as readily (the salt serves as a preservative).  See also the entries for whipped butter and European-style butter.   Equivalents:  1 pound = 2 cups =  4 sticks.  1 stick  =  8 tablespoons. 1 stick salted butter = 1 stick unsalted butter + 3/8 teaspoon salt. (The salt content of salted butter can vary between brands.)    
To make your own:  In a blender or food processor, mix one cup chilled whipping cream for a few minutes until butter forms.  Pour off excess liquid (buttermilk) and wash butter repeatedly with cold water until rinse water is clear. Substitutions:   margarine   (This has an inferior flavor, makes bread crusts tougher and   cookies softer, and may make cookies more difficult to shape.  Avoid using it in flaky pastries.) OR shortening   (This has an inferior flavor, and compared to butter it makes cookies crunchier and breads crusts softer. OR lard   (This has an inferior flavor, but it makes flakier pastries than butter. Some cooks mix lard with butter to strike a balance between flavor and flakiness.  Substitute four parts lard for every five parts butter called for in recipe.)  See also: fat  (for low-fat or no-fat substitutions)

butter oil 

butter powder

caul fat   Pronunciation:  KAHL  Notes:    Look for this in the meat sections of Asian, French, and Italian markets.  Caul fat from pork is considered superior to caul fat from lamb. Substitutes: thin strips of bacon (for wrapping meats before roasting)


clarified butter = drawn butter = AMF = anhydrous milkfat = butter oil = ghee  Notes:  This is butter without the milk solids, so it doesn't go rancid or smoke when heated to a high temperature.  Look for jars of it in Indian markets.   To make your own:  Melt butter using very low heat until a white deposit forms on the bottom of the pan, then strain and discard milky residue.  It's best to refrigerate this in case some of the milk solids remain.   Substitutes:  canola oil (more healthful) OR other vegetable oil (Not as flavorful, but the fat is unsaturated.) OR butter (downside: foods fried in unclarified butter are more likely to overbrown) OR cooking spray (for greasing pans) 

 copha  Shopping hints:  This is a shortening based on coconut oil that's commonly used in Australia. It's very hard to find in the U.S.  Substitutes:  vegetable shortening See also:   fat (for low-fat or no-fat substitutions)

Crisco   See shortening.

diet margarine  See margarine

drawn butter

duck fat  Substitutes: goose fat OR lard


European-style butter  Notes:  Plugra  is a domestic brand.  Since European-style butter has a lower moisture content, using it results in better pastries, icings, and sauces.   Substitutes:  butter


goat's butter = staka   Substitutes: butter

goose fat   Substitutes: duck fat OR lard


lard = pork lard    Notes:  Lard is rendered pork fat. It's high in saturated fat, and quite bad for you.  Still, it's the fat of choice for making flaky pie crusts, though it's not as flavorful as butter.  Some pastry chefs combine butter with lard to achieve a balance of flavor and flakiness. Lard is also used for frying since it can reach high temperatures without smoking.  See also the entries for lard leaves and lardo.   To make your own:    Bring 1 pound cut-up pork fat plus 3/4 cup water to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain.  Substitutes:   butter (In baked goods, 5 tablespoons butter = 4 tablespoons lard. Pastry made with butter instead of lard may be less tender and flaky.) OR margarine (In baked goods, 5 tablespoons margarine = 4 tablespoons lard. Pastry made with margarine instead of lard may be less tender and flaky.) OR bacon fat (For frying.) OR shortening OR  vegetable oil (Vegetable oil is good for frying, and more healthful than lard.)   See also: fat (for low-fat or no-fat substitutions)


lard leaves = barding strips = lardons = leaf lard   Substitutes: sliced fatback

lardo  Notes:   This is unrendered pork fat that fearless Italians slice and serve on bread.

lardons  See lard leaves

leaf lard  See lard leaves.

lite margarine  See margarine. 

margarine = oleomargarine  Varieties:   In addition to regular margarine, supermarkets usually carry diet margarine = lite margarine (with about half the fat and more water and air), soft margarine, whipped margarine (containing up to 50% air).   These diet margarines make wonderful spreads, but they shouldn't be substituted for regular margarine in baked goods.  For more information, visit the Illinois Cooperative Extension Service's Lite Margarine--Substitution for Baking page.  Substitutes:  butter (butter has a better flavor but has cholesterol, makes crisper cookies, crisper bread crusts) OR shortening + pinch of salt (makes crunchier cookies, softer bread crusts, has inferior taste) OR lard (especially for making pastry or for frying)  See also:  fat (for low-fat or no-fat substitutions)

oleomargarine   See margarine. 

Plugra  See European-style butter

pork lard  See lard.

salted butter  See butter.

shortening = vegetable shortening   Notes:  Crisco is a popular brand.  Substitutes:  butter (1 cup shortening = 1 cup + 2 tablespoons butter; butter is better tasting than shortening but more expensive and has cholesterol and a higher level of saturated fat; makes cookies less crunchy, bread crusts more crispy) OR margarine (1 cup shortening = 1 cup + 2 tablespoons margarine; margarine is better tasting than shortening, but more expensive; makes cookies less crunchy, bread crusts tougher) OR lard (1 C shortening = 1 C - 2 tablespoons lard; lard has cholesterol and a higher level of saturated fat)  See also:  fat (for low-fat or no-fat substitutions)

soft margarine  See margarine. 

solid fat  See fat.

staka  See goat's butter.


suet = beef suet   Pronunciation:   SOO-it   Shopping hints:   Your butcher will probably give some of this to you for free.   Substitutes: vegetarian suet OR shortening OR beef drippings OR chicken fat OR pork fat OR butter

sweet butter  See butter.  

sweet cream butter  See butter

unsalted butter  See butter

vegetable shortening  See shortening.

whipped butter  To make your own:  Beat softened stick of butter in a food processor for several minutes until fluffy OR (low fat version) Beat softened stick of butter in a food processor, while slowly adding 1/3 cup of milk. Substitutes:  butter (less spreadable)

whipped margarine  See margarine.

Equivalents and Health notes

1 pound solid fat = 2 C

Nutritionists recommend that we cut down on saturated fats and cholesterol. Fats ranked in order of saturated fat content: coconut oil, butter, palm oil, animal fat, cottonseed oil, vegetable shortening, margarine, soybean oil, olive oil, peanut oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil. Fats with cholesterol: butter, animal fat.


For tips on how to reduce fat in recipes, visit Preparing Healthy Food: How to Modify a Recipe.

Copyright © 1996-2005   Lori Alden