How Long Does Lard Last?

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Lard is a great ingredient to have in our pantry. Lard has a variety of uses, including baking and frying. But since lard is an animal-derived fat, it has a limited shelf life! Thus, if you’re wondering, “How long does lard last?” I have the answer.


When kept outside, lard will last up to 6 months. When refrigerated, lard can last up to one year without spoiling. However, if the lard is opened and kept outside, use it within a month for the best taste. 

Pig fat alone makes up lard. The pig’s area used to make the lard will determine its quality! The area between the pig’s kidney and inner loin yields the leaf lard of the highest quality. It has several health advantages and tastes less like a pig.

Lard is used in cooking much the same way as butter and ghee and has a comparable texture. It has long been a mainstay of French, European, and Asian cuisines.

The culinary applications of fat are simply too varied to list, ranging from baking fluffy cookies to frying some chicken.

With so many uses, it is hard for us to just throw away leftover lard. So we often end up saving it for some other purpose.

Many times we forget we have lard until we need it! So if you are in such a situation and are wondering whether to use the lard, read this article before using it!

How Long Does Lard Last?

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Lard has a long shelf life. The unopened lard has an expiry date of more than 6 months. When kept in the fridge, its shelf life is even longer, and it stays fresh for up to 1 year. Lard doesn’t go bad very easily as it is mostly made of saturated and unsaturated fat.

If you have an opened pack of lard, make sure to pack it in an airtight container and place it where it is less exposed to air and direct sunlight. Direct exposure to sunlight and air will affect the shelf life of lard.

 Also, keeping the lard in the refrigerator will help to extend the shelf life. However, if your store-bought lard comes with an expiry date, you can use it up to that time. 

This applies only to pure lard. Our market is now flooded with different kinds of lards. Some lard variants have pieces of bacon in them. Such lard has a different shelf life than regular lard and tends to spoil very easily. 

How To Tell If Lard Has Gone Bad?

If you are someone who is not accustomed to using lard in your everyday life, understanding whether the lard has gone bad or not could be a little difficult for you. In that case, look for these signs in your lard packet.

  • Rancid Smell – Normal lard will have a slight smell of pork fat. If you bought leaf lard, it would have a much more neutral flavor. However, if your lard is bad, it will have a very soapy kind of smell to it. So before using your lard, make sure to smell it! If you feel something is wrong with it, throw it out.
  • Presence of small molds – Lard, when gone bad, will have the company of molds. So if you find any color change, it is probably because of the presence of mold in the food.  
  • Taste Bad – Lard, in the end, is meant to be a culinary ingredient that adds the overall flavor of the food. However, if you have doubts about whether your lard has gone bad, do a quick taste test! If it tastes sour or soapy, it is not fit for cooking.

How To Store Lard To Extend Its Shelf Life?


The shelf life of lard will greatly depend upon the way you use it. If used properly, lard can stay up to a year or more. So if you also need to keep your lard a little longer than usual, here are some steps you can take.


The best way to keep your lard fresh for a long time is to refrigerate it. Unlike some food that must be refrigerated, lard doesn’t need to be refrigerated to keep it fresh.

You can do that if you think you can keep it without it. But the easiest way to keep it fresh is to put it in the refrigerator.

Use Clean Utensils To Scoop It Out 

While scooping out the lard, make sure that the spoon you are using is not wet. Also, avoid double dipping. 

Keep It In A Airtight Container 

When kept outside, make sure that the container is sealed properly. Lard, when exposed to air, tends to spoil easily. The best way to keep opened lard is to place it in the freezer bag.

Avoid Mixing Used And Unused Lard 

If you have some used and unused lard with you, make sure to store them separately. Do not mix the used lard with fresh lard. Used lard is more prone to go bad than fresh ones. 

Can We Reuse Lard?

Yes! Lard can be reused if you can filter it properly after its usage. There is no limit to how many times you can reuse lard. However, we don’t recommend you reuse lard more than once.

Many factors determine whether we can use lard more than once. First of all, is the temperature and cooking time. If the lard is cooked at a high temperature for a very long time, the leftover fat is not fit for use. 

But if we just use the oil to saute some vegetables, you can drain the leftover lard for future use. However, it is always advised to use the used lard within a day or two. If the used lard is being used after a long time, there is a chance of spoilage. 

So if you have a lot of lard left in your saucepan and want to retain some of it, here are some steps you can take!

  • Wait until the lard cools down. When the lard becomes a little warm, grab a clean container and strain them through cheese clothes. 
  • Ensure that the strained-out lard doesn’t contain any food leftovers. 
  • Let it cool down. Close the lid of the container tightly and store it either in the pantry or the refrigerator.
  • For the best taste, use it within a day or two.

Can You Freeze Lard?

Lard has an expiration date of 1 year. However, if you want to keep it longer than that, you can freeze it. The best way to freeze the lard is to place it in a vacuum-sealed bag and place it in the freezer.

While freezing lard, make sure to freeze them in a small amount. This will help you take out small portions each time you cook rather than defrosting the whole lard just for a small amount.

There is no issue in freezing and defrosting lard. However, continuous frosting and defrosting will affect the taste and quality of the lard. 

How Long Is Lard Good After The Expiration Date?


Pure lard, when kept properly, can be used even after three to four weeks from the expiry date. However, lard-based products have much fewer expiry dates than the original lard and aren’t safe for consumption after their expiry date.

However, you have to see it for yourself to determine whether your lard has gone bad. If your lard has developed any signs of spoil we discussed earlier, it’s not recommended to use it for cooking any kind of food. 

But if your lard is in good condition and is just a week or two past the expiration date, don’t hesitate to add it to your food. 


Lard is something we all use. If you are not careful around lard, there is a possibility that it might get spoiled very quickly. However, if you take some steps, you can use lard up to its expiry date or even more! 

I hope you had a fulfilling read. The best and simplest way to keep your lard longer is to refrigerate it. So if you are a new cook and cannot manage to keep it in airtight containers all the time, make some ice cubes out of it and use it whenever needed!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How do you know if lard has gone bad?

When gone bad, lard will develop a rancid taste and unpleasant smell.

How long is lard good for once opened?

When kept outside, lard will last up to 6 months. When refrigerated, lard can last up to one year without spoiling. However, if the lard is opened and kept outside, use it within a month for the best taste.

What is the best way to preserve lard?

The best way to preserve lard is to freeze it.

Can I reuse lard for frying?

Yes. Lard like oil can be reused for cooking.

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