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Making Candles with Lard & Beeswax {Using Animal Fats for your Home}

Homemade Lard and Beeswax Candles

What is lard?

Lard is the pure fat from pigs.  The fat is set aside during butchering, then it is "rendered" down to the pure form of fat.

What is rendering?

Rendering is the process of heating the pork fat over low heat to melt the pork fat to a liquid.  You can melt the fat in a slow cooker on low, in a roaster in the oven at 220F, or in a large saucepan on the stove over low-medium heat (aim for keeping the pork fat at 220F). 

The pork fat is kept on the heat for a few hours so any water can evaporate.  The melted fat is strained through a cheesecloth or tea towel-lined mesh strainer to remove any pieces of meat or unmelted fat.

Pour the melted fat into containers for storage.  Wide mouth mason jars or plastic pails (think yogurt or honey containers) are a good choice.

The fat will harden into solid white lard.

Lard can be stored in a cool place (think cold room) for up to 6 months.  You can also tuck the lard into the freezer where it will store for even longer (up to 12 months).

Small containers of lard can be stored in your kitchen in an easily accessible place to be used for frying and cooking.

Why use lard for candles?

Lard candles are a great option as they are inexpensive and burn cleanly.

You can render a fair amount of lard from a single pig.  Imagine how many candles you could make from one pig!  It's a super easy way to make sure that the pork fat is not discarded.

Lard is solid, but soft, at room temperature.  Combining the lard with a little bit of beeswax makes for a candle with a good consistency.  The lard melts easily from the sides of the jar which means the candles doesn't leave a whole bunch of was on the sides of the jar.

Candles made with soy or paraffin wax will release chemicals like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, toluene, benzene, and acetone.  Beeswax and lard are much safer options.

Do lard candles smell like pork?


There are two types of pork fat based on where the fat is found on the pig - leaf and back fat.

Leaf fat comes from the interior of the pig and is found around the kidneys and loin.  The fat is softer in consistency and is nearly odourless when rendered down to lard.

Back fat is just what is sounds like.  Pigs have a thick layer of fat on the outside of their body.  This helps them to regulate their body heat.  When rendered to lard, it is a bit harder than leaf lard, and it has a bit more of a porky smell.

So if you want to make candles that are completely odourless, go with leaf lard.

When working with back fat, you can use essential oils to lightly scent the candles and this will counteract any porky smell that might be there.

What else is lard good for?

Lard is amazing for frying, cooking, and baking.  If you are frying eggs, making stirfry, sauteing vegetables for soup, or making english muffins, toss a tablespoon or two into the frypan.

Use lard in place of butter or oil when roasting potatoes, veggies, or a sheet pan meal in the oven.  Lard helps give crispness to the roasted veggies.

Lard is perfect for deep frying.  It provides great flavour and gives just the perfect crispness to your donuts, french fries, or battered veggies.

Lard can be used in baking as well.  You'll love using lard in your pastries - seriously the flakiest crusts come from using lard!  Find the pie pastry recipe made with lard & butter here.

How much essential oils should I add for fragrance?

 Aiming for 1 to 2% essential oils is perfect for scenting your candles.

With approx. 20 drops of essential oils in one mL, you will want to add 30 to 60 drops of essential oils to each cup of lard/beeswax.

What are good essential oils to use for candles?

You can use any essential oils you love in your candles!  A few of our favorites are lavender, lemongrass, bergamot, peppermint, citrus scents, spice scents like cinnamon, ginger, and clove, and earthy scents like cedarwood and sandalwood.

Where to source pork fat?

If you are in the Camrose or Edmonton area, you can pop out to the farm store at Lazuli Farms to find pork fat ready for you to render.

If you are outside of our area, contact your local farmer to source quality pork fat from pigs raised outdoors.  Pigs are amazing at turning sunshine into Vitamin D stores in their fat.  Lard is a great source of Vitamin D in the wintertime when the amount of time you spend outdoors is minimal.

How to Make Lard & Beeswax Candles


  • 4 cups rendered lard
  • 1 cup beeswax pellets
  • 150 to 300 drops of essential oils (30 to 60 drops per cup of wax)
  • 5 x 250 mL (1 pint) jars
  • 5 x wicks


Prepare your jars:  attach the wick to the bottom of the jar with a two-sided sticky dot.  Use a wick holder to centre the wick in the middle of the jar.  You can make a "makeshift" wick holder by placing two pencils on top of the jar on either side of the wick and taping the pencils together to hold the wick tight between the pencils.

Melt the lard and beeswax in a saucepan until just melted.  Mix well.  Transfer to a candle making pot with a narrow spout for pouring the wax easily into the jars.

Add essential oils to the lard & beeswax mixture and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the jars, filling the jars to the desired height.

Set the candles aside to harden for at least 24 hours.  Trim the wick to the desired length.

Note:  Lard candles can be softer than a wax candle so be cautious about transporting and storing the candle on it's side, especially if in a warm location.

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