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Healthy Substitutes for Shortening

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Shortening is a phrase that refers to any fat that is solid at room temperature, such as butter, margarine, and lard, for baking rookies (and anybody else who is generally ignorant). Shortening is often used in baking because it imparts a desirable crumbly, soft, and flaky texture to baked products.

Shortening, on the other hand, has fallen out of favor in recent decades owing to its high trans fat content. Even though shortenings have been adjusted to eliminate hazardous fats, some people are still cautious about using them in baked products. As a result, it is essential to investigate healthier alternatives that mimic its roles in baking methods.

This post has offered these possibilities for you, presenting the healthiest alternatives that will not have such a huge impact on your outcomes. Discover what makes an effective shortening alternative, as well as how to select the best option for the best outcomes in your recipes.

ShorteningNutrition Facts

Healthy Substitutes for Shortening

What is Shortening?

Healthy Substitutes for Shortening

Shortening is any fat that is solid at room temperature and is used to produce crumbly pastry and other culinary goods. Shortening may be made from either animal fat or vegetable oil. However, most commercial shortening is now manufactured from vegetable oils such soybean, cottonseed, or palm oil. Although butter is solid at room temperature and is often used in baking, shortening is seldom referred to be butter.

Shortening takes its name from the fact that it makes food crumbly or acts as though it had short fibers. Solid fat prevents cross-linking between gluten molecules, which would offer flexibility to the dough by stretching it into longer pieces.

Shortening is used to provide the proper texture in pastries that should not be elastic, such as cake. In baked goods, the result is a crumbly, soft, and flaky texture.

Uses of Shortening in Recipes

Shortening gets its name from the fact that it causes the gluten strands in dough to shorten. Shortening shortens the dough by breaking up the gluten strands.

Shortening makes baked goods crumbly, flaky, and soft. Shortening provides exquisite cakes, biscuits, and pie crusts because it contains 100 percent fat rather than 80 percent fat butter and lard.

The following are some popular recipes that include shortening:

  • Buttercream
  • Cinnamon muffins
  • Peanut butter blossoms
  • Zucchini bread
  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Buttery, flaky pie crust
  • Thin crust pizza
  • Chocolate chip muffins
  • Buttermilk biscuits
  • Peanut butter balls
  • Pineapple upside-down cake
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Easy fudge brownies
  • Crisco brown sugar cookies

Healthy Substitutes for Shortening

Something about crumbly and soft pastries makes you want to eat more and more. The required soft and crumbly texture is achieved by the use of shortening, which many people choose to include in their recipes.

However, because of the high trans fat level, regular shortening use and ingestion may not be the greatest choice if you are typically health-conscious. As a result, it is preferable to explore adopting healthier alternatives for shortening.

Some of these alternatives are listed below:

Fruit Purees

Shortening may be substituted in recipes with banana puree, applesauce, or prune purees. Even if the tastes change significantly, they are delectable new possibilities to which you may develop accustomed.

Unsweetened applesauce may be used to moisten blueberry muffins, while prune puree can give brownies a chewy texture without compromising the chocolate taste. Banana puree may be used in lieu of shortening in banana muffins or bread.

Experiment with your recipes to determine whether you can directly replace 1 cup of shortening with 1 cup of fruit puree or if you need to add modest amounts of healthier margarine to get the same results.

Olive or canola oil

Use olive or canola oil to sear meats or stir-fry vegetables instead of hot shortening to fry fish, poultry, or batter-dipped cheese sticks. When compared to most commercially available shortening, this is a far healthier alternative.

Even while olive and canola oils include more beneficial fats, they still have around 240 calories per 2 tablespoons and 1,900 calories per cup. When sautéing vegetables for pasta or rice meals, use as little oil as possible and avoid completely submerging vegetables or meats in oil.


When making a pie crust, biscuits, or muffins, use plant-sterol enriched margarine instead of shortening. Plant sterols, according to scientific evidence, may greatly benefit in cholesterol lowering. A tablespoon of plant-sterol margarine spread, for example, has 50 calories and 5.4 grams of fat, the majority of which is polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat with less than 1 gram of saturated fat. As a result, this is a better alternative than shortening.

The greater water content of margarine, on the other hand, may affect the texture of your baked goods. As a result, it is recommended that you experiment with half plant-sterol margarine and half conventional baking margarine in lieu of the shortening until you find the right proportion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is healthier, butter or shortening?

Shortening has a lesser nutritional value than butter, however the kind of fat you use influences the nutritional value of the final product. While the nutritional profiles of butter and shortening are comparable, butter includes more vitamins and is devoid of trans fats.

Can I use vegetable oil instead of shortening?

In recipes that call for melted shortening, vegetable oil may be substituted. When you substitute vegetable oil for shortening in recipes such as pie crust, biscuits, or scones, the dough will not puff up correctly because pockets of fat will not develop.

Are cookies better with shortening or butter?

If you bake cookies with butter for an extended period of time, they will spread out and become flatter and crispier. Shortening-free cookies, on the other hand, have a more powerful taste, while shortening makes cookies taller and softer, but they lack flavor.


Shortening is a common household item that is popular among bakers because to its particular impact on baked foods. Shortening may be used in many recipes, particularly baked goods, however it includes chemicals that should be avoided while following a heart-healthy diet.

It is feasible to eliminate part of the fat and calories related with the use of shortening. For the greatest results, just learn to integrate the healthy options we’ve advised into your meals.


What is a healthy substitute for shortening in a cake?

Cocoa Butter

Coconut oil, like shortening, is a hydrogenated fat that hardens at room temperature; moreover, coconut oil is vegan. Although 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.

Is there a healthy substitute for Crisco?

Using a 1:1 ratio of coconut oil

Coconut oil is a great healthy alternative to Crisco. It’s manufactured from coconut flesh and has a particular flavor and scent that may improve the flavor of various baked items.

Is there a healthier shortening?

Shortening replacements created from single components, such as olive oil, and containing the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that cut disease risk are healthier than shortening.

What can I substitute 1 cup of shortening with?

If you don’t have any shortening on hand, use butter instead—the quantity is the same! Your baked items may not be as flaky, but they will have a deep, buttery taste.

What is a cake made without fats or shortening?

Unshortened (foam) cakes have no or very little fat or shortening. Depending on the quantities of the components, the texture may vary from thick and spongy to light and airy, or from crispy and dry to melt-in-your-mouth soft.

What is a healthy substitute for vegetable shortening in cookies?

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

Is it healthier to bake with Crisco 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.

What is healthier lard or Crisco?

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

Can I use applesauce instead of shortening?


Because of these two factors, applesauce is only ideal for baked items that are inherently sweet and have a cake-like texture, such as fast bread (such as banana bread) and cookies. Because applesauce is denser than shortening, you will only need 12 cup for 1 cup of shortening.

Is there a natural shortening?

Spectrum® Organic Shortening is the healthier alternative to standard shortening! Spectrum® Organic Shortening has no hydrogenated fats and has 0g trans fats per serving. You may now enjoy crispy fries, fluffy pie crusts, and rich, creamy frostings guilt-free!

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