14 Best Substitutes for Shortening That Will Revolutionize Your Baking Game

Best Substitutes for Shortening That Will Revolutionize Your Baking Game
18 min reading time

Are you looking for a baking ingredient to substitute for shortening? Or perhaps you’re searching for a healthier alternative to using this product in your meals. Either way, you’ve come to the right place!

In this blog post, we’ll discuss different healthy substitutes for shortening so that you can make better and more mindful dietary choices while still enjoying all of your favorite recipes. So let’s get started by diving deep into the world of baking ingredients!

What is Shortening?


Shortening is a type of fat that’s commonly used in baking to create a tender and flaky texture in baked goods. It is typically made from vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated, which means that the oil has been treated with hydrogen gas to transform it into a semi-solid or solid form. This process gives shortening a higher melting point than butter or margarine, making it ideal for use in recipes that require a solid fat to be melted and then re-solidified.

What are the Different Uses of Shortening in Recipes?

Shortening is a versatile ingredient that is used in a variety of recipes to create a tender and flaky texture. Some common uses of shortening in recipes include:

  • Baked goods – Shortening is commonly used in baked goods such as pies, pastries, cakes, and cookies to create a flaky texture. It can be used in place of butter or margarine or in combination with them, depending on the desired texture and flavor.
  • Frying – Shortening has a high smoke point, which makes it ideal for frying foods such as fried chicken or doughnuts.
  • Sauces and gravies – Shortening can be used as a thickening agent in sauces and gravies, providing a smoother and creamier consistency.
  • Vegan and dairy-free cooking – Shortening is often used as a substitute for butter or margarine in vegan and dairy-free recipes.
  • Southern cooking – Shortening is a staple in Southern cuisine and is often used in recipes for biscuits, cornbread, and other traditional dishes.

Overall, shortening is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of recipes to achieve a certain texture and flavor profile.

Why Look for Substitutes for Shortening in Recipes?

There are several reasons why people may look for substitutes for shortening their cooking and baking. One of the primary reasons is health concerns. Shortening is high in trans fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. As a result, people with health concerns such as high cholesterol or heart disease may want to avoid or limit their intake of shortening.

Another reason why people may look for substitutes for shortening is processing. Shortening is highly processed, and some people prefer to use less-processed ingredients in their cooking and baking. They may choose to use ingredients such as butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil instead, which are less processed and can provide similar cooking properties.

Dietary restrictions are another reason why people may look for substitutes for shortening. For example, vegans or those following a dairy-free diet may need to find substitutes for animal-based shortenings. Plant-based oils like coconut or vegetable oil can be a suitable replacement for shortening in these situations.

Flavor preferences can also play a role in choosing substitutes for shortening. While shortening does not have any flavor of its own, some people prefer the taste of other ingredients such as butter or coconut oil in their baked goods.

Finally, availability and cost can also influence the choice of substitutes for shortening. In some regions or countries, shortening may be difficult to find or more expensive than other types of fats, making it less practical for everyday use.

List of Substitutes for Shortening That You Can Use in Recipes

When it comes to baking, shortening plays a crucial role in many recipes. However, some people may prefer to avoid it or simply run out of it in the midst of baking. Fear not, as there are several fantastic substitutes for shortening out there. Experiment with these substitutes and see for yourself how delicious your baked goods can still turn out!

Vegetable Oils as Alternatives to Shortening

Not only are vegetable oils readily available in most grocery stores, but they also contain unsaturated fats which are actually healthier than the saturated fats found in shortening. Vegetable oils can be used in the same amounts as shortening in recipes, and can even add a subtle nutty or fruity flavor to your baked goods. Let’s have a look at these alternatives.

1. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil: one of the Substitutes for Shortening

Avocado oil is fast becoming a popular replacement for other vegetable oils, particularly those high in saturated fat content such as shortening. Avocado oil has many nutritional and health benefits due to its high nutrient content including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lycopene, Vitamin K1, and phytosterols. Avocado oil is more stable than other vegetable oils as it has a smoke point of 500°F which makes it ideal for sautéing or baking. It also adds a subtle flavor that can enhance the taste of your food.

One of the most important components found in avocado oil is omega-3 fatty acids known to reduce inflammation throughout the body helping protect against diseases. It is also rich in antioxidants that scavenge damaging particles from our bodies that form when we use oxygen. Several studies have even linked consuming avocado oil to dietary changes that have shown lower LDL cholesterol levels while increasing beneficial HDL levels.

2. Sesame Oil

Bottle of sesame oil and sesame seeds

Sesame oil is an increasingly popular alternative to shortening, due to its numerous health benefits. Shortening is a type of fat that’s commonly used for baking and cooking, while sesame oil has a similar texture and flavor but offers many more nutritional advantages. The high content of oleic acid in sesame oil makes it an excellent source of vitamin E and other beneficial antioxidants — studies have shown that sesame oil can protect against oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body.

As far as taste goes, sesame oil also tends to be slightly sweeter than shortening — making it perfect for baked goods like cakes or muffins. Because some recipes might require multiple types of fats (like butter or olive oils) for best results when baking, using a mix that includes some percentage of sesame oil will make items rich in flavor without being overly greasy or heavy feeling afterward.

3. Olive Oil

Olive oil and olive twig

Olive oil is an increasingly popular substitution for shortening in many recipes due to its versatility, nutrition content, and health benefits. Shortenings are usually made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, high in saturated fat. This kind of fat has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease due to its ability to raise cholesterol levels. Olive oil is much healthier than shortening as it contains monounsaturated fats that help lower bad cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Additionally, olive oil contains antioxidants such as polyphenols and vitamins A, D, and K which provide additional health benefits such as aiding digestion and keeping skin healthy.

In terms of taste, olive oil adds a distinct flavor profile while remaining relatively neutral, unlike certain shortenings that can impart a greasy or artificial taste to baked goods depending on the other ingredients used in the recipe. Also because olive oil does not require refrigeration like some shortenings do it’s easy to store making it very convenient for baking needs both at home or commercially.

4. Palm Oil

Oil palm fruits with biofuel in beaker in laboratory with green backgound

Palm oil is a popular choice for shortening because of its ability to hold its shape and texture when cooked. It also has a higher smoke point than other vegetable oils, allowing it to be used in deep frying without breaking down or smoking. Additionally, palm oil has fewer calories and saturated fats compared to butter and lard, making it an attractive choice for those looking for healthier cooking options.

Palm oil’s neutral taste is also a plus, as it won’t overpower the flavor of whatever you’re cooking as some other plant-based oils might. Its creamy texture can improve the mouthfeel of food products like cookies, cakes, and muffins that call for shortening. Plus, using palm oil instead of shortening can provide additional nutritional value such as vitamin E antioxidants (tocopherols). Finally, with sustainability becoming more important in today’s food industry climate, manufacturers are increasingly turning to renewable sources like palm oil rather than ones that are non-renewable like trans fat–heavy shortenings made from hydrogenated vegetable oils.

5. Safflower Oil

Safflower oil: one of the Substitutes for Shortening
Source- Sudhanya.com

Safflower oil is a versatile and healthy substitute for shortening, which can be damaging to your health. Shortening often contains unhealthy trans fats that can increase bad cholesterol, decrease good cholesterol, and contribute to other diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. Safflower oil is a healthier alternative because it has much higher levels of polyunsaturated fats compared to other vegetable oils or shortening. These polyunsaturated fats are less likely to clog arteries than the saturated fats found in places like butter or lard.

In addition, safflower oil has been linked with potential health benefits including reducing inflammation, helping with weight loss due to its low-calorie content, improving skin and hair health due to its essential fatty acids (linoleic acid being the most prominent), plus controlling blood sugar levels for those with diabetes due to its antioxidant properties. It’s also widely used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy thanks to its light texture and mild aroma.

6. Coconut Oil

coconut oil: one of the Substitutes for Shortening

Coconut oil is an incredibly versatile and healthy cooking ingredient that has been used as a shortening substitute for generations. It provides a wide variety of health benefits, while also being more flavorful and providing superior texture when compared to shortening.

The primary benefits of using coconut oil in place of shortening are related to its nutritional value. Unlike refined vegetable oils commonly found in hydrogenated shortenings, unrefined virgin coconut oil is full of beneficial saturated fatty acids like lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid — essential components that help support your body’s metabolism and immune system. In addition to its helpful nutritional content, replacing traditional shortenings with coconut oil also adds incredible flavor and texture benefits to recipes without altering their original taste or consistency too drastically.

Animal-Based Alternatives to Shortening

With a little experimentation and a willingness to try something new, you may just find your new favorite ingredient in the kitchen. So next time you’re cooking up a storm, consider switching out that traditional shortening for one of these animal substitutes – your taste buds (and your body) will thank you.

7. Animal Fats

Animal fat has been used as a substitute for shortening for a variety of reasons. Shortening, primarily composed of hydrogenated vegetable oils. Unfortunately, recent studies have linked the consumption of hydrogenated fats with an increased risk of certain health problems such as heart disease and certain types of cancer – issues associated due to its higher trans-fat content.

In response to these findings, more bakers are turning towards animal fat as a healthier alternative. Animal fats contain fewer trans fats than their vegetable oil counterparts; in addition, they are able to provide flavor similar (or possibly superior) to those produced by modern shortenings without compromising on taste or texture when compared side by side in baked products that require shortening-like effects such as cakes and cookies. In fact, animal fat can be used at even lower concentrations due to its greater ability at binding together flour particles within batter substituted for traditional cake recipes utilizing shortening alone – resulting in great tasting cakes with maximum moistness which further enhances crumb formation when compared alongside often dryer sweet treats created using solely shortenings instead!

8. Lard

Lard : one of the best Substitutes for Shortening

Lard has a high saturated fat content, which gives baked goods a creamy texture and helps them rise nicely. Additionally, lard can be melted and blended into doughs or batters easily, which is ideal when making pies, biscuits, cakes, muffins, and other pastries. Moreover, lard doesn’t contain trans fats like many shortenings do. Trans fats are considered unhealthy due to their potential to increase the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease or stroke. Because of this health risk associated with trans fats in shortenings, they have been replaced by lard in much of the baking industry as a healthier alternative.

Lard also imparts flavor when used in baking providing a slightly richer taste than shortening alone would offer. This makes it an excellent choice for recipes such as pie crusts where the buttery flavor is desired without using too much butter or margarine (which contains water). Furthermore, since lard has a higher melting point than shortening does (it melts at around 97°F compared to 86-95°F ), it works better in warm climates where oil-based products might become too runny.

10. Bacon Grease

Bacon grease: one of the Substitutes for Shortening
Source- thekitchencommunity.org

Bacon grease is full of flavor but also contains fat-soluble vitamins. It’s generally considered healthier than shortening due to its higher levels of saturated fat, which helps keep it from melting when heated. In addition, bacon fat usually contains more cholesterol than vegetable oils, so it’s not recommended if you’re looking for a healthy alternative to shortenings.

The main reason people use bacon grease as one of the substitutes for shortening is because of its flavor and texture. Bacon grease adds a rich smoky flavor to baked goods like biscuits, muffins, cakes, or pancakes that can’t be replicated with other fats or oils. It also has superior emulsifying properties: when mixed with liquid ingredients like eggs and milk in recipes such as quiches or custards, the bacon fat helps incorporate air bubbles into the mixture that give it volume and make it fluffier than using plain water or butter alone would do. This makes baked goods light and fluffy while adding delicious smokey flavor!

Vegan Alternatives to Shortening

As more people are turning to veganism for health, animal welfare, and environmental reasons, the demand for vegan-friendly products is on the rise. One kitchen staple that’s commonly used in baking is shortening, but many vegans find themselves wondering what they can use as a substitute. Fortunately, there are a variety of options available.

11. Applesauce

Natural Organic Applesauce

Apple sauce is often used as a substitute for shortening in baking because of the multiple health benefits it can offer. First, apples are packed with nutrients like vitamins C and A, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, all of which add nutritional value to baked goods. While shortening has little or no nutritional benefit at all. Secondly, when replacing shortening with apple sauce the resulting product will usually be lower in fat content since applesauce contains 0g of fat per serving while most shortenings contain around 4-6g per tablespoon.

Furthermore, substituting shortening with unsweetened applesauce can give baked goods a subtle sweetness without having to resort to adding refined sugars. Apples also provide additional moisture so it’s not necessary to alter any other ingredients for this substitution such as adding additional liquid or another type of fatty product.

12. Vegan Margarine

Vegan margarine: One of the Substitutes for Shortening
Source- cdn.shopify.com

Vegan margarine is a popular alternative to shortening because it provides many of the same benefits without using animal products. Shortening is usually made from beef or pork lard, which are byproducts of the meat industry, while vegan margarine does not contain any animal-based ingredients. This makes vegan margarine a more ethical food choice for those who want to avoid consuming animal products and follows diets like vegetarianism or veganism.

In addition to its ethical advantages, vegan margarine also comes with health benefits. It contains no cholesterol and has fewer saturated fats than regular butter or shortening, making it a healthier option compared to traditional processed pastries such as pies or cakes and baking products that call for shortened doughs. Vegan margarin also contains plant sterols which have been linked with reducing blood cholesterol levels in people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease according to some studies conducted on the matter.

13. Vegan Butter

butter: One of the Substitutes for Shortening

Vegan butter is becoming increasingly popular as a substitute for traditional shortening because it’s much healthier and far more sustainable. Shortening, which is typically made from hydrogenated vegetable oils, contains trans fats that can have a negative impact on your health when consumed regularly. By contrast, vegan butter—which may come in the form of coconut oil or margarine made with vegetable oils—is free of trans fats and has numerous health benefits.

Vegan butter also helps to reduce your carbon footprint since it eliminates the use of animal products such as lard and suet that are traditionally used in shortening production. Beyond its environmental advantages, vegan butter can be just as flavorful as regular butter or shortening due to its richness in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid (found in olive oil) which lend a creamy texture with an unmistakable taste unique to plant-based ingredients.

14. Ghee

Ghee butter in glass jar, top view

Vegan ghee is increasingly being used as a substitute for shortening because of its many health benefits. Vegan ghee has been found to contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the body and may help lower cholesterol levels. In addition, vegan ghee contains natural antioxidants that can protect against harmful toxins and other contaminants in food that could lead to serious health problems.

Aside from its nutritional benefits, vegan ghee also has other advantages over shortening as well. It melts quickly in contact with heat so it can be spread easily on foods like breads and pastries without having to use a lot of oil or grease. It also doesn’t form parchment paper when it cools such as the way some shortenings do, which makes cleaning up easier after baking sessions. Finally, vegan ghee has less strong flavors than other products like vegetable oils so it won’t overpower recipes when used sparingly or lightly flavored ingredients are added instead of relying on stronger flavors from fats alone.

How to Choose the Best Substitute For Shortening According to the Recipes?

Choosing the best substitute for shortening will depend on various factors, including the recipe’s intended use and desired outcome. Here are some tips to help you choose the best substitute for shortening according to recipes:

  • Consider the recipe: The first step in choosing a substitute for shortening is to consider the recipe you are making. For example, if you are making pie crust, you will want a substitute that provides flakiness. On the other hand, if you are making cookies, you may want a substitute that provides tenderness.
  • Know your options: There are many substitutes for shortening, including butter, margarine, coconut oil, vegetable oil, and applesauce, among others. Know the properties of each option and how they interact with different recipes.
  • Experiment: It may take some experimentation to find the best substitute for shortening in a particular recipe. Start by trying out different substitutes in small batches and observe the results to determine which one works best for your desired outcome.
  • Consider nutrition: Consider the nutritional value of each substitute when choosing the best one for your recipe. For example, if you are looking for a lower-fat option, you may want to choose applesauce or yogurt instead of butter.
  • Be mindful of flavor: The flavor of the substitute can also affect the overall taste of the recipe. Consider how the flavor of the substitute will complement or contrast with the other ingredients in the recipe.

Overall, choosing the best substitute for shortening according to recipes requires careful consideration of the recipe’s intended use, desired outcome, nutritional value, and flavor profile. With some experimentation and knowledge of your options, you can find a suitable substitute that works well in your recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use substitute oil instead of shortening in cookies?

Yes, you can generally substitute oil for shortening in cookies. However, it’s essential to consider the properties of the oil and how they will affect the texture and flavor of the cookies.

How to make shortening?

Shortening can be made at home by mixing together a solid fat, such as vegetable shortening or lard, with a liquid oil, such as corn oil or vegetable oil. The ratio of solid fat to liquid oil will depend on the desired consistency and use of the shortening.

Will using alternatives to shortening alter the taste & texture?

Yes, using alternatives to shortening may alter the taste and texture of baked goods. However, there are many alternatives to shortening that can be used successfully in baking.

Bottom Line

Who knew that so many ingredients could make a good substitute for shortening? The next time you’re working in the kitchen and find yourself out of this old-fashioned baking staple, try one of these options – they can truly add something special to your culinary creations. While each substitute may require some experimentation on the part of the user, the rewards are more than worth it!

From vegan-friendly coconut oil to olive oil’s unmistakable flavor, there’s something here for every cook looking to bring unique life into their dishes. These substitutes provide an interesting alteration to any recipe while maintaining its quality and taste sensations, so don’t forget to give them a go!

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