Healthy Vegetable Shortening Substitutes

There are various vegetable shortening replacements that will make baked products healthier and more flavorful. Nevertheless, keep in mind that these substitutions may change the texture of the dish.

Vegetable shortening dates back to the early 1900s, when producers developed it as a vegetarian-friendly and more cost-effective alternative to lard.

Because of its semisolid structure, shortening inhibits gluten from firming up the dough, resulting in lighter-textured baked items.

We looked at a variety of vegetable shortening replacements, from vegan-friendly to those that best imitate shortening. We’ll report our results here.

Without further ado, here are some tried and true vegetable shortening alternatives:

1. Vegetable Oil

When dealing with recipes that need melted shortening, we suggest using vegetable oil as a go-to option for vegetable shortening.

Since vegetable shortening includes hydrogenated and partly hydrogenated vegetable oil, many baked items will have a similar consistency when they come out of the oven.

Nevertheless, there are a few major cases where you should avoid using vegetable oil as a vegetable shortening substitute:

  • Biscuits
  • Pies
  • Scones

The reason for this is that melted vegetable oil does not form the fat pockets that vegetable shortening does. As a result, if you use vegetable oil in these recipes, your dough will not puff up as much as you are used to.

In general, vegetable oil is a better replacement for savory foods. But, regardless of the recipe, you may use vegetable shortening for the same quantity of vegetable oil.

If you don’t have vegetable oil, olive oil or any cooking oil will suffice. Nonetheless, we urge you to be cautious about the taste of the oil you use.

Extra virgin olive oil, for example, may affect the taste of your dish. If you don’t have a certain kind of oil or are worried about the taste profile, you might try using two types of oil in the same recipe (half of one type of oil and half of another).

2. Butter

Butter is an excellent replacement for vegetable shortening, particularly when making anything sweet. By incorporating butter, you should anticipate your dish to be heavier and have less flakiness than typical.

Using butter, on the other hand, will give your baked items a deeper taste.

In fact, among the vegetable shortening options we’ve discussed here, some bakers choose to use butter instead of shortening. They’ll do it even if shortening is available because they like the buttery taste it imparts to their baked products.

While making cookies, butter is a wonderful replacement for shortening. If you substitute the same quantity of butter with vegetable shortening, your recipe will come out well. In this situation, your cookies will be flatter and crisper in texture than the original recipe.

If you don’t want your baked items to have a buttery flavor or texture, use half butter and half oil.

As a last word of warning, butter contains more water than vegetable shortening. Since butter prepared in the United States must have at least 80% butterfat in addition to milk solids, butter will have an 18% water content.

If you want your baked products to be more like vegetable shortening, use an additional tablespoon or two of butter or less of another liquid in the recipe.

Can’t locate any butter? Ghee might be a suitable replacement.

3. Lard

As we indicated in the beginning, the discovery of vegetable shortening was motivated in part by the need to appeal to vegetarians.

Although there is a plant-based substitute, folks who do not mind eating animals may still enjoy what vegetable shortening replaced: lard.

If the prospect of eating lard makes you think of an early death, you’ll be relieved to hear that pure lard contains no trans fat. In fact, it has 15% more monounsaturated fat than butter, a healthy lipid that experts think might reduce the risk of heart disease.

Yet, researchers discovered that rats consuming lard acquired more weight, with an average increase of 32% body fat, in a study that evaluated the impact of lard and hydrogenated vegetable shortening on obesity in rats.

Needless to say, you should use lard as a vegetable shortening alternative sparingly. You may use it as a 1:1 substitute when doing so.

Lard is frequently used in savory meals. Lard may be used in the following recipes:

  • Biscuits
  • Cornbread
  • Pies in the oven

If you don’t have lard, you may use bacon or chicken fat. Use your best judgment, but you probably won’t want to use these fats to produce desserts.

4. Coconut Oil

Vegetarians and vegans may exhale a sigh of relief, since coconut oil is a fantastic shortening substitute.

According to Harvard, coconut oil contains 100% fat, up to 90% of which is saturated. As a consequence, while cold, coconut oil becomes solid and melts into a liquid when heated. Coconut oil, unlike lard, does not contain cholesterol, making it a wonderful, healthier option.

Coconut oil is best used as a vegetable shortening alternative for sweet foods, particularly those with coconut flavoring, since coconut oil may give your recipe a coconut taste.

But, there is a way to utilize coconut oil without giving your baked products a pronounced coconut flavor: use refined oil. Their smoke points vary, with refined oil having a greater smoke point, indicating that it has undergone more processing and has a softer taste.

When baking using coconut oil, use the same quantity as you would when using vegetable shortening. If you wish to blend the taste and texture qualities of these two components, you may combine butter and oil to produce a vegetable shortening alternative, as previously suggested.

5. Applesauce

If the shortage of vegetable shortening in your kitchen gets you thinking about how beneficial it is for you and the health effect of many of its replacements, now is a great time to try using applesauce.

Since applesauce is sweet, it is a superior alternative for shortening in baking sweets than savory dishes.

The only vegetable shortening alternative on this list that needs a different ratio is applesauce.

We suggest using half the quantity of applesauce as shortening called for in your recipe.

The reason for this is because applesauce has a higher density than shortening. Using it in the same amount as shortening can change the texture of your dish.

The quantity of sugar in applesauce is another issue to consider when using it in a recipe. Not only should you check to see whether your applesauce contains sugar, but various apples have varied sugar amounts.

Granny Smith apples, for example, have one of the lowest sugar levels.

As a result, determining the ideal sugar-to-applesauce ratio in your recipe may need some trial and error.

Can’t seem to locate applesauce? Replace butter with applesauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answers to any remaining queries regarding utilizing a shortening alternative.

What’s a healthy alternative to vegetable shortening?

Applesauce is a healthy alternative to vegetable shortening. Depending on the taste you desire in your dish, you may also add different pureed fruits like banana or prune.

What can I substitute for a ½ cup of shortening?

There are a number of shortening replacements that may be used in a 1:1 ratio. Here are several examples: 1. Veggie oil 2. margarine 3. Lard and coconut oil You may also combine shortening replacements to make the total cup quantity. This is particularly useful when using butter, which has a greater water content.

Is shortening healthier than butter?

The Food and Drug Administration will no longer allow artificial trans fat in foods, which shortening formerly included, beginning in 2020. As a consequence, shortening is probably healthier than butter since it contains less saturated fat.

Is butter or shortening better for making frosting?

If you want a rich, creamy taste in your frosting, use butter. If you know your frosting will be sitting out of the fridge for extended periods of time and at higher temps, add shortening.

Is pie crust better with butter or shortening?

Butter improves the taste of your pie crust and adds the flaky layers that many people want in their pie crust. Shortening has a higher melting point than butter.

As a result, if you don’t get the dough temperature just right, it’ll be more difficult to work with than if you created your pie crust using shortening.


What is a healthier substitute for vegetable shortening?

Coconut oil is an excellent plant-based alternative to shortening. It’s solid at room temperature and may be melted or beaten much like butter or shortening. Remember that coconut oil might provide a faint coconut taste to the finished dish.

What is the healthiest shortening to use?

Cook using healthier shortening replacements like grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil instead.

What can I use in baking instead of vegetable shortening?

Margarine and butter may also be used in place of shortening, but their moisture levels should be considered before making the switch. Although shortening is entirely fat, margarine and butter include a little of water (so, shortening adds more fat, thus more richness and tenderness).

What is a healthy substitute for Crisco in baking?

Cocoa Butter

Coconut oil, like shortening, is a hydrogenated fat that hardens at room temperature; moreover, coconut oil is vegan. While coconut oil is a perfect one-to-one substitute for shortening, bear in mind that it may lend a little coconut taste to your baked products.

What is a heart healthy substitute for shortening?

Vegetable shortening may be replaced with banana, applesauce, or prune purees. While the tastes are somewhat different, you will become used to them.

Which is healthier lard or Crisco shortening?

Lard has less trans fats than shortening and fewer saturated fats than butter. Although it will never be considered a health dish, it definitely does not live up to its negative image.

Which is healthier vegetable shortening or butter?

Nutrition. Some argue that butter is not the healthiest cooking fat, however when compared to shortening, it has much more nutritional content. What exactly is this? According to Harvard Public Health, fats are essential to human health, and butter is a more natural and heart-healthy element in general.

Which is healthier coconut oil or vegetable shortening?

Coconut oil, as opposed to other shortenings, is a healthier option. It is natural and organic, which means it is devoid of chemicals!

What can you use in place of Crisco for pie crust?

Instead of shortening, use butter or margarine, adding a couple of tablespoons every cup called for in a recipe. Use 1 cup butter or margarine plus 2 tablespoons for every 1 cup of shortening called for in a recipe.

What can I substitute for 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening?

For preparing biscuits, lard, margarine, butter, and even coconut oil may all be replaced in a 1:1 ratio. Each one will have a slightly different taste and texture. If you want a clean buttery flavor, use 100% butter instead of shortening.

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