Pennsylvania Dutch Lard Biscuits

Pennsylvania Dutch Lard Biscuits

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 17 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 12 biscuits
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
226 Calories
7g Fat
34g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 226
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 10%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 516mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 223mg 17%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 88mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The rich culinary heritage of the Pennsylvania Dutch means their classic cooking methods and ingredients are still used on a daily basis. In their parts of the eastern United States, traditions seem to remain unaltered despite the rapid changes in the world around them. Baking is an essential part of this culture and many recipes honor the German heritage of the first immigrants to the area. Despite common belief, the current occupants of the area are descendants of Germans, and not Dutch people, but they're referred to as Dutch from the term deutsch, which means German in that language.

Delicious pretzels, sweet rolls, soups, stews, savory pies, scrapple, and canned and pickled products reflect farmers' need for hearty and caloric foods. Some still use wood ovens to cook, and old-fashioned animal fats like lard to enrich their dough. Our savory biscuit recipe using lard is a testament to the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.

When it comes to biscuits, lard gives them the perfect texture. Easy to make, these savory biscuits can be on your table in less than 20 minutes. Ideal to accompany soups and stews, the biscuits are also great with eggs and sausage, and any leftover biscuits can be reheated on a skillet. Serve them with bread and butter for a quick and satisfying snack.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons lard

  • 3/4 cup milk, cold or room temperature

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pennsylvania Dutch Lard Biscuits ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Grease one baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

    parchment paper lined baking sheet

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

    flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Cut the lard into the dry ingredients with a fork until the mixture is crumbly.

    add lard to the dry ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Add the milk all at once and mix it until the flour is completely wet.

    add milk to the mixture in the bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Quickly knead the dough in the bowl to incorporate. It doesn't have to be completely smooth.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it to 1/2-inch thickness.

    roll out dough on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Cut the biscuits with a 2 to 2 1/2 inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet.

    biscuits cut out of dough with a biscuit cutter

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  9. Bake the biscuits for 12 minutes or until they are of a light golden brown color.

    Pennsylvania Dutch Lard Biscuits on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

What Is Lard?

This soft fat comes from all the fatty parts of a pig and is obtained via a process called rendering in which the solid fatty parts are cooked, and the liquid fat is retrieved. The obtained fat is of darker off-white color when solid, but becomes clear when melted. Because lard doesn't contain hydrogenated fats, it's coming back into use by many cooks. They also like it due to other qualities, such as its neutral flavor. Because lard has a high smoking point of 370 F, it's a great fat for frying.

Leaf lard is a type of lard that is found around the pig's kidneys; this type is creamier than other lard and is most commonly used in baking. Lard-containing pastries and pie shells are lighter and fluffier.

How to Substitute for Lard

If finding lard its difficult, you can still make these tasty biscuits using other types of fat:

  • The classic substitute for lard is vegetable shortening. They are both 100 percent fat, odorless and have almost no identifiable flavor. These biscuits when made with shortening still have a great texture.
  • If you'd rather use butter, use 3 1/2 tablespoons. Keep an eye on the oven because butter has water (it's only 80 percent fat) and liquid activates gluten, creating a denser dough, but also a dough that steams and browns a little faster than when made with lard.