Lard vs. Butter: Which Makes the Crispiest Pie Crust?

Lard Pie Crust

Lard vs. Butter: Which Makes the Crispiest Pie Crust?

Do you ever wonder what makes the perfect pie crust? Is it the secret family recipe passed down through generations or the carefully selected ingredients? As baking enthusiasts, we are always on the quest for baking secrets that will elevate our creations to new heights.

Imagine this: it’s a crisp autumn evening, and the comforting aroma of freshly baked pie fills the air. The anticipation builds as you carefully cut into the flaky crust, revealing a tantalizing filling. But wait, what’s the secret behind that crispy, golden perfection?

In our pursuit of the ultimate pie crust, we delved into the age-old debate of lard vs. butter. To settle the matter once and for all, we conducted a blind taste test, pitting these two fats against each other in the battle for pie crust supremacy. The results were astonishing, and we couldn’t wait to share them with you.

Join us as we explore the pros and cons of each fat, uncovering the baking secrets that contribute to a crispy and delicious pie crust. In the end, you’ll have the knowledge to choose wisely and create pie crusts that will impress your family and friends.

The Pros and Cons of Shortening Pie Crust

In our quest to find the perfect pie crust, we explored the use of shortening as a fat in the dough. However, our findings revealed several drawbacks when it comes to using shortening for pie crusts.

The Lack of Flaky Layers

One of the key characteristics that contributes to a delicious pie crust is the presence of flaky layers. Unfortunately, shortening pie crust did not deliver in this aspect. The texture of the crust was dense and lacked the light, airy layers that are desired in a baked pastry. This resulted in a less satisfying eating experience.

Crumbly and Unsuitable for Hearty Fillings

Another downfall of shortening pie crust is its crumbly nature. The crust tended to break apart easily, making it challenging to work with and prone to crumbling when sliced. This made it unsuitable for pies with heartier fillings such as meat or fruit compote, as it lacked the structural integrity to hold up well.

Bland and Greasy Texture

When it comes to flavor, the shortening pie crust fell short. It lacked the rich, buttery taste that is often associated with a well-made pie crust. Instead, it had a relatively bland flavor profile that didn’t add much to the overall enjoyment of the pie. Additionally, the shortening crust tended to be greasy, leaving a slightly unpleasant mouthfeel.

Overall, shortening is not recommended for achieving a pie crust with the desired flaky layers, sturdiness, and delicious flavor. It may be worth exploring other options that can provide a more satisfying baking experience.

Shortening Pie Crust Butter Pie Crust Lard Pie Crust
Flaky Layers No Yes No
Structural Integrity Crumbly Sturdy Crumbly
Flavor Bland Buttery Slightly More Flavorful
Texture Greasy Flaky and Tender Greasy and Crumbly

As seen in the comparison table above, shortening pie crust falls short in terms of flaky layers, structural integrity, flavor, and texture when compared to butter and lard pie crusts.

Is Lard a Viable Option for Pie Crust?

Lard pie crust, while flavorful, has its own set of characteristics that may not necessarily result in the desired crispy texture. In the blind taste test, lard performed similarly to shortening, proving to be greasy and crumbly. However, it did offer slightly more flavor compared to shortening.

One challenge with using lard for pie crust is finding high-quality rendered leaf lard. Commercially available lard often has a strong piggy flavor, which may not be appealing to everyone. This can impact the overall taste of the pie crust.

While lard can certainly be used as a fat for pie crust, it’s important to consider the trade-offs. The greasiness and crumbliness of lard crusts may not provide the crispy texture that many pie enthusiasts desire.

Now let’s take a look at a table comparing the characteristics of different pie crust fats:

Pie Crust Fat Texture Flavor Stability
Butter Flaky Rich Sturdy
Shortening Crumbly Bland Less stable
Lard Greasy Flavorful Crumbly

This table clearly highlights the differences between butter, shortening, and lard as pie crust fats. While each has its own unique characteristics, butter emerges as the top choice for achieving a crispy, flavorful, and stable pie crust.

Having examined the qualities of lard as a pie crust fat, it becomes evident that while it may offer flavor, it falls short in terms of texture and stability. Next, we will draw our conclusions based on the overall comparison of different pie crust fats.


After conducting a thorough pie crust comparison, it is clear that butter reigns supreme as the best fat for achieving a crispy and delicious pie crust. With its exceptional flavor, texture, and stability, butter produces a crust that is flaky, golden brown, and capable of supporting a variety of flavorful fillings.

While shortening and lard have their uses in baking, they are not the ideal choices when it comes to pie crust. Shortening pie crust lacks the desired flaky layers and often has a greasy texture, while lard pie crust can be both greasy and crumbly, albeit with slightly more flavor.

For those seeking the crispiest and most delectable pie crust possible, we recommend using butter. Its subtle richness and perfect balance of fat and moisture result in a crust that not only holds up well but also adds a delightful buttery taste to your favorite pie recipes. So, next time you embark on a baking adventure, opt for butter to create a pie crust that will truly impress.

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