Substitute Shortening with Alternatives That Are Already in Your Kitchen

No shortening? No problem! You have a broad range of options to choose from that is already in your kitchen. You can substitute shortening with coconut oil and butter.

substitute shortening, butter, coconut oil, baking, baking tips


If you are a baker, then you are most certainly familiar with shortening, which is a common ingredient in the world of baking. A shortening is any type of solid fat that shortens and softens protein molecules in baked goods in order to prevent gluten matrixes from forming.

Basically, when a shortening is added into the recipe, it coats every single ingredient and prevents it from cross-linking with one another. In effect, the shortening breaks them into shorter units. For this reason, it is called a shortening.

Substitute for Shortening

Basically, any type of solid fat can substitute shortening. However, there are certain types which are more effective in doing the shortening effect. These are saturated fats. Saturated fats are equipped with a powerful shortening ability compared to other types of fat. That fact makes them the better option.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an edible oil extract from the meat of a coconut. It constitutes up to 87 grams of saturated fats in every 100 grams, which make it an excellent substitute for shortening. On the other hand, shortening is 100 percent saturated fat. Undoubtedly, using coconut oil as substitute for shortening creates variations in the finished product.

No need to worry though since the variations are only subtle. A baked good will only have a more golden color and firmer texture. You can substitute shortening with coconut oil one for one. In other words, for every 1 cup of shortening required in the recipe, use 1 cup of coconut oil in its place.


Butter commonly comes from the milk of cows; however, it can also come from the milk of other mammals such as a goat, sheep, or buffalo. Every 100 grams of butter contains about 51 grams of saturated fats. With such difference, great variation is inevitable.

While the difference in the baked good is subtle when using coconut oil instead of shortening, more evident changes are to be expected with using butter. A baked good will tend to spread out more because of the additional moisture in the recipe. Because of this, it is best to use a 1: 1 1/2 replacement ratio. For every one cup of shortening, use one and a half cup of butter. However, if you are baking bread and cakes, the difference is unnoticeable so you can use 1:1 replacement ratio.

Which Substitute is Better

Without a doubt, using coconut oil as a substitute for shortening is better. The close resemblance of its composition with shortening makes it an effective substitute. Plus, the variations in terms of color and texture are extremely subtle so you do not have to worry about a baked good turning out to be different from what you expect. And you do not have to worry about getting a headache from converting measurements as well with its 1:1 ratio of substitution.

Using coconut oil is definitely easier and better. But, if you are not keen on tasting the coconut flavor, you may use the refined type instead. On the other hand, you may substitute shortening with butter if you insist on having its great flavor.

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