9 Best Shortening Substitutes

Vegetable shortening

Shortening is an edible fat that is commonly used in cooking, especially in baking. It’s a fat that is solid at room temperature. When it comes to analyzing shortening, it is very similar to lard with hydrogenated solidified oils.

It has a high smoking point and low water content. The best part? Shortening is all fat and does not have any flavor. Thus, it is not required for you to store it in the fridge.

Actually, shortening dates from the 1900s and was used as a soap product before it was introduced in cooking. Following, the name shortening comes because it “shortens” through the dough.

Well in order to create this effect when baking and making pastry, a solid fat is placed into the flour. Use a pastry cutter or knives This way you’ll cut the fat into smaller pieces and have the proper texture at the end.

If you use shortening for frying, make sure that it melts first. But if you have no shortening or you want to replace it, is there something you can do?

Can I substitute shortening? Sure, You can use common ingredients like butter, coconut oil, lard, vegan butter, vegetable oil, applesauce, margarine, other animal fats, and ghee instead of shortening.

Also, here you’ll find what are the best options to use instead of lard if you are baking, making cookies, or cake. Scroll down to find out more. 

Shortening Substitute

1. Butter

Unsalted Butter

The first thing that comes to mind when you want to swap shortening in your cooking, is butter. This is something that you usually have in your kitchen and it’s very useful.

Butter makes foods tasty. If you use it in baking you may not have the same crust as if you have used shortening, but still you’ll get nice results.

For every cup of shortening use 1 cup of butter. Keep in mind that butter has a lower melting point when compared to shortening. Thus, it may affect the texture of your food. Make the swap in most recipes that call for shortening. 

2. Coconut oil

Coconut Oil

Another option which we would recommend is coconut oil. Also, very commonly found in many stores and a good way to replace most of the recipes that require shortening.

They have a similar texture and it’s good for vegans. You can use equal amounts as the recipe requires. You can melt coconut oil and use it the same way as if you have used butter.

Even though coconut oil may be a bit more expensive, it’s a nice and healthy alternative. This way you’ll reduce the fat in your recipe and have a healthier meal.

3. Margarine


Besides butter, margarine is another way to replace shortening in your recipe. It is a staple ingredient in your fridge and kitchen and can be used in many ways for cooking.

You can substitute a ratio of 1:1, meaning a cup of shortening adds an extra tablespoon of margarine. Also, margarine contains water and has low fat. Thus, if you use more it wouldn’t be any problem, but instead, you’ll make your meal even more delicious.

4. Lard


Even though it may be one of your first choices, lard is actually a good way to substitute shortening in most recipes. The best way to use it in savory dishes, cornbread, pies, and other baking goods.

Also, keep in mind that lard is an animal product so it may not be suitable for everyone. It has a high smoking point, even higher than shortening and butter. It is good for deep frying due to its low water content.

5. Vegan butter

Another option is vegan butter, a product that can replace shortening in any recipe. There are many varieties of vegan butter.

Meaning, you can pick which one you’ll add to your cooking. You can use 1-2 extra tablespoons for a cup of shortening so you can get the proper texture and fat.

6. Vegetable oil

Another swap for shortening in your cooking is vegetable oil. You can use it in most recipes but it’s not really recommendable to use it for sweet recipes like pies or biscuits.  This is because you won’t get the puffiness that you need since this oil is not as fat as shortening.

Vegetable oil is very healthy and it can serve as a replacement in deep frying as well. Use a cup of oil for a cup of shortening. If you decide to use this oil in your sweet pastry, use three parts oil for every four parts of shortening. Also, increase the number of eggs and sugar that is required. 

7. Applesauce


Something that is considered to be a more suitable option for sweet baking goods to replace shortening is applesauce. Use a half-cup of applesauce when replacing and you’ll get great results.

Also, if you are using sweet applesauce make sure that you use less sugar than your recipe calls for. If you decide to use applesauce, make sure to make the right swap and create a lovely delicious meal.

8. Animal fats

This may not be suitable for everyone, but animal fats are a great way to replace shortening in most recipes. Except for lard, there are other fats like suet you can use to replace shortening in cooking.

As we all know they contain a lot of fats and high levels of saturated fat which is not good for your health. This means that the animal’s fats are less recommendable.

However, they are ideal for most recipes. Also, fresh cream is considered here and uses the same amounts as is required in the recipe for shortening. 

9. Ghee

Another flavourful substitute for shortening is ghee. It is waterless and has a nice tender, buttery flavor. When added to your cooking, it can also provide buttery notes.

It’s similar to butter. You can use it in most recipes that require shortening and substitute equal amounts or update based on the texture. 

Shortening Substitute in Baking


Shortening is amazing for baking. This is because it gives a nice crust to the baking goods and gives a nice texture. However, there are a few options which we could recommend instead of using shortening. 

One of the most common alternatives and suitable for baking are butter and margarine. They are similar, so the moisture also makes them suitable for most recipes. Coconut oil is also common since it has a thicker texture than the other oils.

Usually, you can use a ratio of 1:1 when baking, but also make sure to adapt based on the other ingredients and get the proper texture that is required. 

Shortening Substitute for Cookies

If you are baking cookies, shortening is one of the common ingredients used. They are usually short in texture and have a mild texture. However, if you decide not to use it, we have a few other options which are considered to be good for cookies. 

The most recommended replacement is considered to be butter for making cookies. This way you’ll make them crispier, and flatter than they’d be.

Adapt based on the recipe when making the swap. Also, you can use a mixture of butter and coconut oil for even better results, or use separately. For every cup of shortening, you can add a cup of butter or even margarine to get even better results. 

Shortening Substitute for Bread

As we already know, shortening is good for baking and also good for making bread as well. The crust of the bread is very delicious and people tend to use it very often.

Other types of fat are considered as an option. Therefore, you can always use butter and margarine. This way you’ll add enough to make the proper texture and create delicious, freshly baked bread. Again, use equal amounts of adjusting based on the texture. 

Shortening substitute for Cake


Since shortening is also used for sweet baking goods like cake, you also wonder what can be suitable. As we mentioned, oils except coconut oil are not good for sweet baking goods.

You can always add butter or margarine and you can conclude that these two options are the best way to replace shortening in most recipes. 

Related Questions

What is a substitute for 1/2 cup of shortening?

Use a cup of margarine or butter, meaning add an extra tablespoon for every cup of shortening that the recipe requires.

What can I use as a substitute for Crisco shortening?

You can use vegetable oil. Also, there are a few other options like coconut oil, lard, or something similar to provide a similar texture as if you’d have used shortening.

Can I use oil instead of shortening?

Sure you can. You can use a cup of oil for a cup of shortening in your cooking. Use coconut oil for baking and other recipes and vegetable oil especially for some savory dishes.

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