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Tallow vs Lard as a Cooking Oil

I’ve got a new cast iron pan and I need to season it.

I have decided on using either tallow or lard due to its higher smoking point and more favourable omega fat profile.

Has anyone got any experience with using either tallow or lard for seasoning a pan? Which would be better? Which would be more taste neutral? I will be using this pan mainly for eggs, but will occasionally use it for fish and chicken.


Is there a reason these are the only two contenders? 6 layers of flaxseed oil has done wonders in my experience but it takes forever.

What’s the nutrional value of flaxseed? High in omega 6?

How did you season your pan?


I don’t think nutritional profile of the oil should be a consideration. It’s not likely to make any sort of meaningful difference.

Instead focus on coat and whether it imparts flavor on your cooking

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If by lard, you mean pork lard, unless you have a special supply, store bought pork lard is usually hydrogenated. The reason is because pork fat is a lot higher in omega-6 than beef tallow, and hydrogenation turns that omega-6 into trans-saturated fats (that are more solid and don’t smoke).

Beef Tallow is usually about 70% saturated, 25% monounsaturated, and <5% poly-unsaturated with 1-3% omega-6 and 1-3% omega 3 (grass fed is often 3% omega 3 and 1% omega 6 while grain fed is the opposite.)

Pork, especially what is available in America can be 20%-30% omega 6 with 2-3% omega 3, so it’s a lot higher in omega-6. Store bought lard gets hydrogenated, and most of the omega-6 becomes normal saturated fat, but a significant amount becomes trans saturated fats.

I also don’t think that seasoning a pan has much effect on nutrition. If you are going to use pork fat for flavor, don’t buy lard in a pack, but you can use some smoked pork fat. Still keep in mind that American pork is high enough in omega-6 that it should be limited as a fat source. (Chicken and duck fat have similar profiles BTW).

Thanks for the replies.

So if nutrition isn’t a factor in choosing my oil for seasoning my pan, which oil should use?

Remembering I will be using this pan mainly for cooking eggs, and occasionally cooking fish and chicken.


II know this will cause outrage but… I like lard. Use a generous amount. Heat it until almost smoking, let it cool. Then repeat a couple times a day for a few days. Let the lard sit in the pan. After a about three days discard the lard. Gently wash the pan. Hand dry.
By heating and cooling you are opening and closing the pores of the metal and letting the grease “soak” in.

After you get it seasoned do not soak it, let water sit in it, wash it in the dishwasher, do not scrub it with a scouring pad etc… always hand dry or dry in the oven

I cook eggs, pancakes, crepes, steak etc on any of mine. Only non stick pans I own.

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