7 Best Shortening Substitutes

About the author: This article is written by Sara from SaraLoveCooking.com – a well-known food blogger with years of experience. Make sure to check out her blog for cooking tips, more food substitutes, and other helpful information.

There are many different types of shortenings on the market today, but they all serve one purpose – to provide moisture and tenderness to baked goods without adding too much fat or calories.

Shortenings also help prevent food from becoming stale by keeping them fresh longer. It is a common ingredient in baking and cooking, but not everyone has it on hand.

Have you ever tried to make a recipe and realized that it calls for shortening, but you don’t have any at home?

Luckily for you, there are plenty of other shortening substitutes that work just as well and will get the job done!

Here’s a list of the seven best substitutes for shortening you can use in your recipes to replace traditional shortening.

What is Shortening?

First, it’s important to understand what shortening really is and why we use it. Shortening can be made from both animal and plant sources such as soybean, cottonseed, and palm oil. 

The most common type of shortenings is made from hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils that have been blended with other ingredients for functional properties.

Shortening in recipes contributes to moisture and tenderness, aids in preventing food from becoming stale, and is used when creaming sugar with butter. If shortening does not have the correct functional properties it can significantly alter a recipe.

7 Best Shortening Substitutes

1. Butter

Butter is a great substitute for shortening in recipes that require a rich, buttery taste.

It is a common ingredient in baking and cooking. It can improve the taste of baked goods and give them a nice texture, but the texture will be slightly denser than if shortening were used.

However, butter has more water content than shortening does, so it will contribute to some sogginess. Butter can be used directly as a replacement for shortening at a 1:1 ratio because it has an equal amount of fat to shortening.

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another common ingredient found in many recipes, so it’s likely that you already have it in your pantry. It contains triglycerides that give shortening its smooth yet firm texture.

It can be used as a substitute for shortening and works best with recipes that contain chocolate or whose batter has been refrigerated before baking. But it does provide coconut flavor that can be overwhelming in certain baked goods.

This type of fat is solid at room temperature, which means you can use it to replace shortening. It also makes recipe items more shelf-stable because it is naturally very stable at high temperatures.

3. Lard

Lard is a simple ingredient made of fat, water, and protein. It can be used as a substitute for shortening, but it needs to be at room temperature.

It has a silky, moist texture similar to shortening, so it can be used as a replacement in some recipes. However, lard is almost completely fat so it will result in very rich baked goods with an intense greasy taste.

Avoid using lard if you want to make pie crusts, as they can become tough and chewy when refrigerated.

4. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a liquid fat that can be used in place of shortening—but it will make the end product slightly more moist and dense than if you were to use shortening instead. It’s also important to know that this type of fat is made from several different oils that have been blended together.

Since some oils have a stronger flavor than others, vegetable oil can add a subtle taste difference to the final product. In general, this type of fat is relatively inexpensive and readily available in most grocery stores.

5. Margarine

Margarine was originally designed to mimic butter and contains different types of oils that are solid at room temperature. Like shortening, margarine has thickeners and emulsifiers added to it. This means that margarine is a solid-to-solid fat-like shortening, and can be substituted for it in most recipes.

Margarine is made from a blend of different oils and usually contains whey, milk solids, salt, flavors, and emulsifiers.

However, this type of oil also contains water and milk solids that can affect the taste and texture of your recipe.

6. Vegan Butter

Vegan butter is a perfect substitute for traditional shortening because it’s made from plant-based fats such as palm fruit oil and coconut oil. It also has a smooth, creamy texture similar to shortening and works best when creaming sugar and melting.

A vegan butter substitute works well in recipes where you want to maintain a light, airy texture because it does not contain any dairy.

As long as the recipe calls for vegetable oil or shortening, this type of product can be used instead. Plus, each brand of vegan butter will have its own unique taste that you can adjust to your liking.

7. Applesauce

Applesauce is a low-fat, pureed fruit that can be used in place of shortening. You’ll need to use half a cup of applesauce for every cup of shortening; this will depend on the recipe’s measurements and whether or not it’s been refrigerated.

This type of substitute works well with recipes that produce moist, dense baked products like brownies and banana bread. However, it does not work very well with recipes that call for delicate flaky textures because applesauce is high in water content.

Keep in mind that you may need to adjust baking times if you decide to use applesauce in your recipes.

What does Shortening Taste Like?

Shortening has a very mild and neutral taste, so it’s well-suited to sweet baked goods like cookies and cakes.

It has a fatty flavor that can vary from brand to brand. Some brands might have a very strong taste while others are lighter in flavor, so it’s best to sample your shortening before adding it to your recipe.

Shortening Substitute for Cookies

If you don’t have shortening, but you want to make cookies, there are several substitutes that work well. You can use butter or margarine in place of shortening for a rich taste.

You can also use vegetable oil because it has a very neutral flavor and creates moist, thick cookies with an even texture.

Shortening Substitute for Cake

If you’re making a cake and need a shortening substitute, try using some of these options:

Butter or margarine in place of shortening for rich flavor. Vegetable oil for neutral taste and moist texture. Vegan butter or vegan margarine for vegan recipes that call for shortening.

Shortening Substitute in Baking

When you’re baking and need a shortening substitute, there are some great options to try.

Butter or margarine will create a rich flavor. Coconut oil will add a strong tropical taste. Vegan butter or vegan margarine works well for vegan recipes.

Vegetable oil is neutral but can create unpredictable results if you’re baking at high temperatures or for a long amount of time.

Applesauce works best in moist, dense baked goods like brownies and banana bread.

Can I Use Oil Instead of Shortening?

In many instances, you can use oil instead of shortening. Vegetable oil and coconut oil will add a rich taste to your baked goods without impacting the flavor of your dish.

However, it’s important to note that each type of oil has different smoking points, so they may affect the outcome of your dish in a different way.

If the recipe requires you to cook your dish at high temperatures or for prolonged periods of time, it’s best to use oil sparingly. This is because each type of oil has a different smoking point, which means they will burn more easily if heated for too long.

Final Words

So there you have it, a list of seven substitutes for shortening that will get the job done. Whether you’re vegan or allergic to dairy, don’t worry!

You can still enjoy all your favorite recipes without using traditional shortening in them with one of these substitutions.

Let us know which shortening substitutes work best for your baked goods! Happy baking and cooking!

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