14 Outstanding Substitutes For Shortening That You Would Easily Find In Your Kitchen

Shortening is something that is commonly used in cooking, but even more commonly for baking purposes. For those that don’t already know, it is an edible fat that is a solid when it is at room temperature.

One of the best things about shortening is that it is only made up of fat, which means that it does not have any flavor and it does not need to be stored in the fridge.

Shortening is something that has been used for many years, but what do you do if you run out of it?

Alternatively, you might not be able to find any when you are out grocery shopping, leaving you minus one important ingredient. Thankfully, there are some other great alternatives to shortening that you can use instead.

So, if you do run out of shortening, or you can’t seem to find any in stores, then it doesn’t mean that you can’t complete your recipe. It just means that you will need to look for the best shortening substitute for your specific recipe.

Just keep reading to find out more about the best substitutes for shortening in this article.

What Are The Best Substitutes For Shortening
Souce: flickr

Can I Use A Substitute For Shortening?

Yes, thankfully it isn’t the end of the world if you can’t seem to find any shortening.

There are lots of other commonly found ingredients that you can use instead, like butter, coconut oil, vegetable oil, vegan butter, margarine, lard, and more.

We are going to share a list of the best shortening substitutes with you below, so you can find the best alternative for your recipe.

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100 gm)
Unsalted Butter716
Coconut Oil862
Vegan Butter714
Vegetable Oil884
Animal Fats897
Cooking Spray792
Safflower Oil884
Prune Puree257
Mashed Bananas89
Bacon Grease884

1. Unsalted Butter

The first shortening substitute that you should be aware of is butter. This is pretty much a like for like swap, and the best thing about this alternative is that most people will already have it in their kitchen.

Butter is something that typically makes any of your cooking even tastier, and it will still be able to create very similar results to shortening.  For every cup of shortening that the recipe calls for, you should use 1 cup of butter.

However, you should consider the fact that butter does have a lower melting point than shortening, which can slightly affect the overall texture of the dish that you are trying to create.

Although, you will be able to use this substitute for the majority of recipes that ask for shortening.

How To Substitute

Unsalted butter is one of the many options you’ll find for shortening. It adds flavor and texture to your recipe, making it the perfect option. Since it is easily available and found in almost everyone’s kitchen, it has become a popular choice substituting shortening.

2. Coconut Oil

Another great option to choose is coconut oil, which can easily be found in the majority of grocery stores.

It is a great replacement in recipes that require the use of shortening, as it has a very similar texture. It is also an alternative that is suitable for vegans. 

You should use the same amount as the recipe would ask you to use for shortening, and you can melt the coconut oil and use it the same way you often would butter.

Although, you should keep in mind that coconut oil is typically more expensive.

However, it is a great healthy alternative to use, and you will even be able to reduce the amount of fat within your recipe.

How To Substitute

With a similar texture, coconut is considered an easy choice to replace it. However, it is easily available in many grocery stores and is costly compared to butter. Apart from that, you may use it the same way you use butter.

3. Margarine

If you don’t want to use butter, you can also use margarine as a substitute for shortening. It is usually something that a lot of people will already have in their refrigerators, and it can be used for many different purposes in cooking.

You can use the same amount of margarine as you would shortening. Something else to take into consideration is the fact that margarine contains water and a lower amount of fat.

It can even help to make your dish even more delicious with its creamier flavor.

How To Substitute

Margarine is an excellent substitute for shortening and has a better spread than butter. Margarine is a perfect choice for cookies, pies, and other baked goods, and you can use it to make a quick and easy buttercream frosting.

4. Lard

One of the most commonly used substitutes for shortening is lard, and it is the first thing that most people tend to think of.

It can be used to substitute shortening in the majority of recipes, although it is best used in savory dishes, like pie.

However, you should keep in mind that lard is an animal product, which means that it is not suitable for everyone.

Lard also has a high smoking point, which is higher than both shortening and butter, which means that it is great for frying as it has a low amount of water.

How To Substitute

Lard is a shortening made from pork fat that gives your baked goods a less greasy taste than shortening. Lard is also less likely to dry out your baked goods than shortening and can be used to fry or scramble eggs or as a gravy thickener.

RELATED: 10 Best Vegetable Shortening Substitutes

5. Vegan Butter

If you are following a vegan diet, you can also use vegan butter as a substitute for shortening in any recipe that you are following.

One of the best things about this is that there are lots of different types of vegan butter to choose from, depending on what you are making. 

You can simply choose the one that would make the best addition to what you are making.

You should use an extra 1 or 2 tablespoons of vegan butter for every cup of shortening that you would use, as this will provide you with the right texture. 

How To Substitute

Vegan butter is the best choice for people with a vegan diet. Although there are several options that you will get in the market, it’s up to you and your recipe what exactly you are expecting from it. Also, vegan butter requires a little higher amount to give your dish the desired texture.

6. Vegetable Oil

If none of the above options have appealed to you, then why not use vegetable oil as an alternative to shortening?

You will be able to use vegetable oil in most recipes, although it is not typically recommended for use when you are baking sweet dishes like cookies.

This is because vegetable oil will not provide the same puffiness that you will need for the recipe to work well. 

Vegetable oil is not as fat as shortening, although it is a healthier alternative that can also work well for deep frying. You will be able to use the same amount of vegetable oil as you would shortening.

However, if you are planning on using this oil for sweet pastry dishes, then you should use 3 parts of oil for every 4 parts of shortening. You should also use more eggs and sugar than is required by the recipe.

How To Substitute

If you are not baking sweet dishes such as pies, or cookies, vegetable oil is a great choice to try in your next cooking. It works exceptionally for deep frying and is considered a healthier alternative to shortening.

7. Applesauce

Something else that is usually a pretty good substitute for shortening is applesauce. Although this might not be the first thing that you think of, applesauce is a great choice for baking sweet goods.

You should use half a cup of applesauce when you are replacing shortening, and you will be able to create some delicious end results.

Although, if you do decide to use sweet applesauce, you should make sure to use less sugar than your recipe is asking for to ensure that your dish does not become too sweet.

It can be worth tasting your dish to find out the right balance of sweetness.

How To Substitute

When baking, many recipes require shortening. You can substitute shortening with applesauce to avoid processed food. With the use of applesauce in your recipe, the sugar content lessens, giving your recipe a naturally sweet taste.

8. Animal Fats

Animal fats can also make a great shortening substitute, although they won’t be suitable for everyone. They will be able to replace shortening in the majority of recipes.

We have already mentioned the use of lard as a shortening substitute, but there are other fats that you can choose from, like suet. 

As you may already know, animal fats are known for containing a lot of fat, and they also have high levels of saturated fat, which isn’t the best if you are looking for healthier alternatives.

This is why animal fats are not as commonly recommended as some of the other options on this list.

However, they are ideal to use in the majority of recipes and they will be able to create very similar results to shortening. 

How To Substitute

Animal fats will only be a good choice for some people who follow a vegan diet or pure vegetarian routine. However, it still makes a great option to try. Unfortunately, it contains higher fat nutrients that don’t make it a healthier alternative.

9. Ghee

The final option that we are going to mention on this list of the best shortening substitutes is ghee. This is an option that doesn’t contain any water, and it is able to produce a nice buttery flavor when it is used for cooking purposes.

It can add subtle buttery notes to your final dish, which can often be desirable. 

The results that it can create are quite similar to that of butter, and it can be used in most recipes that call for shortening. It can be used in equal amounts, depending on the texture that you want to create.

How To Substitute

Ghee is the best substitute if you run short of shortenings with the buttery flavor for cooking. It gives you the exact texture of butter. It is best to substitute them in a ratio of 1:1.

10. Cooking Spray

Shortening is a type of fat that is used in a variety of food products. However, shortening is only sometimes available. When shortening is not available, you may substitute it with cooking spray.

To prevent foods from sticking, you may use cooking spray to coat cooking surfaces, such as baking pans and cookie sheets. It can also grease surfaces and cook meat, poultry, and vegetables.

It is a perfect substitute for people trying to lose weight since it has fewer calories and a lighter texture.

How To Substitute

You may use cooking spray equal to shortening. But you can decrease or increase the quantity per your recipe’s need.

11. Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is a more affordable and healthier alternative to shortening in baked goods. Safflower oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, considered the “good” fats.

The oil also has a high smoke point and can withstand high temperatures without burning. Therefore, you can use it for sautéing and frying without adding extra fat.

How To Substitute

To get the best results, substitute one tablespoon of shortening with one tablespoon of safflower oil.

12. Prune Puree

Dried prunes contain a higher amount of soluble fiber than shortening. Therefore, the total amount of fiber decreases when shortening is substituted for prune puree in recipes.

It is a good idea to substitute prune puree for shortening in baking recipes because it has a mild, fruity flavor that compliments the other ingredients in the recipe.

If you use prune puree as a substitute for shortening, you might get a darker final product; apart from that, there will be a slight change in taste.

How To Substitute

You can use an equal amount of prune puree as shortening in your recipe, but if you do not want your final product to change its color, you can lower its quantity.

13. Mashed Bananas

Mashed Bananas

One of the fruity substitutes for shortening is mashed bananas. It is perfect to use in cookies and cakes. In addition, mashed bananas are an easy and quick way to replace shortening in a recipe.

Bananas contain naturally occurring sugars, which have the same effect as shortening in baked goods.

To substitute mashed bananas for shortening, follow the recipe and replace the amount of shortening with mashed bananas.

Although, the thing which you have to deal with it is taste. However, it will be fun to experiment with the taste of your recipe.

How To Substitute

Use mashed bananas for shortening in a 1:1 ratio.

14. Bacon Grease

The bacon grease might feel awkward, but it is one of the best substitutes that you can use for shortening. So, when you get bacon grease, save it for your following recipe.

The bacon grease has a similar texture to the lard you buy for your recipe. However, one thing you have to take care of is flavor. Yes, it has a smoky taste, so it would be best to try savory recipes.

How To Substitute

You may replace shortening with bacon grease in a 1:1 substitution ratio.

What Should I Substitute Shortening With For Baking Purposes?

Shortening is usually a great ingredient to use for baking as it can provide the perfect crust for baked goods.

It is also able to provide a desirable texture in baking, but there are not as many substitutes for shortening when it comes to baking sweet treats. 

With that being said, one of the most commonly used shortening substitutes that is used for baking purposes is butter. Margarine can also be used to create the same results.

All of these ingredients are very similar, and their moisture content makes them suitable for most baking recipes. 

Another substitute that you can use for baking is coconut oil, and this is because it has a thicker texture than most other types of oil.

You can typically use a 1:1 ration of these substitutes, but you may find that you need to change the amount that you use, depending on the other ingredients that are being used in the recipe.

What Can I Use Instead Of Shortening For Baking Cookies?

Shortening is something that is very commonly used for baking cookies, and it will usually create results that have a mild and short texture. However, if you do not want to use shortening, or you can’t find any, then there are some other options for you to choose from instead.

One of the best shortening substitutes for baking cookies is butter. However, this will usually result in crispier and flatter cookies, which may not be desirable for some people, so this is something for you to keep in mind.

You will need to adapt the ingredients based on what the recipe requires when you are swapping out shortening for other ingredients. 

You could also choose to use a mixture of both butter and coconut oil if you want to create the most similar results.

For every cup of shortening that the recipe asks for, you can use a cup of butter, margarine, or coconut oil in its place. It may take some trial and error for you to create the results that you were hoping for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we have told you everything you need to know about the best substitutes for shortening, we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this. 

What Is The Best Shortening Substitute For Making Cake?

One of the best shortening substitutes to use for making a cake is coconut oil. Although, you should keep in mind that most other oils will not be suitable for baking purposes.

You can also opt for using either butter or margarine as great alternatives. 

What Can I Substitute For Crisco Shortening?

A great substitute for crisco shortening is vegetable oil, but you can also use coconut oil or lard.

Can I Use Oil As A Substitute For Shortening?

Yes, you can use oil as a substitute for shortening, and you can use a cup of oil for every cup of shortening that is required. Coconut oil is typically the best substitute.


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