Make Ahead

Leaf Lard Biscuits

December 11, 2014
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 10 to 12 three-inch biscuits
Author Notes

Using a mixture of rendered leaf lard and butter gives these biscuits an incredible flavor and a beautiful tender and flaky texture. —Cara Nicoletti

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 pound, 4 ounces) rendered leaf lard
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pastry flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut the butter and leaf lard into cubes (roughly 1 inch) and toss them in the flour mixture. Put the bowl in the freezer until the butter and leaf lard are completely frozen, about an hour.
  2. Once the fats are frozen and the dry ingredients are icy cold, transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until pea-sized chunks of fat are distributed throughout the flour.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the all-purpose flour. Toss until the butter and lard are spread evenly throughout.
  4. Add 1 1/4 cups of the buttermilk and mix gently. Test to see if the dough holds together when you squeeze it. If it doesn’t, add the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk, tablespoon by tablespoon, until it does.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bring the dough together on a lightly floured surface and roll to 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut the dough into 3-inch rounds with a circle cutter and place the biscuits on the lined baking sheet. You can re-roll once with the leftover scraps of dough, but that batch won’t be quite as flaky.
  6. Place the biscuits in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 400° F. Beat the egg and cream together and brush the tops of the cold biscuits with the egg wash.
  7. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. Note: These biscuits freeze really well, just egg wash them right before baking. They can go into the oven still completely frozen, just increase the baking time by about 10 to 12 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cara Nicoletti
    Cara Nicoletti
  • pvanhagenlcsw
  • Ricardo Vasconcellos
    Ricardo Vasconcellos
  • marlene muzii
    marlene muzii
Cara Nicoletti is a butcher and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Cara started working in restaurants when she moved to New York in 2004, and was a baker and pastry chef for several years before following in her grandfather and great-grandfathers' footsteps and becoming a butcher. She is the writer behind the literary recipe blog,, and author of Voracious, which will be published by Little, Brown in 2015. She is currently a whole-animal butcher and sausage-making teacher at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg.

11 Reviews

pvanhagenlcsw December 10, 2017
I am now a biscuit convert after baking this recipe. I have only recently discovered leaf lard in my 7th decade of life and wonder why it took so long. These are outstanding and when baking sourdough is not an option, leaf lard biscuits it will be.
Ricardo V. July 15, 2016
Penny, that's what I found in Google: "lard prepared from the leaf fat of a hog, found inside the loin and around the kidneys; it produces the finest lard, sometimes called leaf lard"
marlene M. July 15, 2016
You can order the leaf lard, which is better than what is in the stores and you can make it. If you aren't making biscuit all the time I would forget it. Research on line.
Penny H. July 15, 2016
I live in the south, am 76 years old, and have never heard of leaf lard. What is it and is there a recipe for it? I'd lay odds that I will never find it in any local store, no matter how esoteric.
Karin B. September 1, 2016
Penny, you can get unrendered leaf lard from farmers that butcher pigs for their own use or from butchers that process their own meat. I buy it on line. You cut this fat as it came out of the pig in chunks, put a half cup of water in a heavy pot add the lard, turn on the heat and wait. It may take 2-3 hours to render 10 pounds of leaf lard over medium heat. Strain the liquid part in to containers, this the white rendered lard you use for pie crust and biscuits. Return the remaining lumps to the pot turn up the heat and when they are golden brown you will have cracklings for cornbread. The lard the cracklings left behind will taste a little piggy and is great for refried beans or fried potatoes.
Buck W. December 28, 2015
Absolutely perfect recipe! Wow!
marlene M. February 25, 2015
Does anyone know where you can order rendered leaf lard>
Karin B. September 1, 2016 59 Dollars for 4 pounds including shipping
cecil C. January 10, 2015
where can i buy leaf lard in manhattan?
Caitlin January 5, 2015
Why wouldn't you simply use 100% lard as apposed to adding in the butter?
Cara N. January 5, 2015
Hi Caitlin! You absolutely can, but I like the mixture because lard is great for the texture but nothing can beat the flavor of butter.