What can I use instead of vegetable shortenings?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question, “What can I use instead of vegetable shortenings?”, and discuss what vegetable shortenings are, along with a brief description of the substitutes that can be used instead of vegetable shortenings.

What can I use instead of vegetable shortenings?

Apple sauce, mashed bananas, vegan butter, margarine, coconut oil, vegetable oil, lard, butter, along with fats of meat and poultry can be used instead of vegetable shortening.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature . A 1:1 ratio can be used if the coconut oil is to be replaced with vegetable shortenings. Coconut oils have a natural strong and sweet aroma. If this aroma is not desired, one can opt for refined coconut oils. 

Margarine and Butter

Both margarine and butter can be used as alternatives to vegetable shortenings. Both contain small amounts of water adding to moisture as compared to vegetable shortenings, which is 100% fats. Fat is responsible for richness and tenderness. 

They have different melting points and can be substituted in the same ratios. 100% butter can be used instead of shortenings in baking cookies, but the amount of liquid needs to be lowered for reasons already mentioned before. Butter and coconut oil can be mixed and used as another alternative too.

Butter oil

Butter, oil, leaf lards and bacon fats can be used as replacement to shortenings in the formation of bread doughs. Bread doughs are usually enriched with fat which has a role in providing the tenderness and flavour. Similarly, margarine, coconut oil and butters are also an ideal way to make frostings. 

Butter on the other hand is not a suitable substitute for frying because it burns easily as it has a low smoking point. It is usually and mostly added in baking to provide flavour. 

Fats of chicken, mutton, pork and beef can also be substituted for vegetable shortenings.


Lard is best used for recipes such as biscuits, cornbread, savoury scones or pot pies. Lard is used to fry foods such as chicken, corn chips and french fries. 

Vegetable oils

Vegetable shortenings are basically made from vegetable oils, which makes it a good alternative to be used. Vegetable oils can be used to make biscuits and pie doughs, but they won’t puff up properly as they contain less amounts of fat. 

Vegan Butter 

1-2 tablespoons of vegan butters can be used as a replacement for a cup of vegetable shortenings to obtain the correct fat to water ratios.

Mashed bananas

Ripe mashed bananas can also be used as a replacement for shortening. The texture of the food or the bakery item will be very different for obvious reasons keeping in mind that bananas do not contain fat. A ratio of 1:1 is used to replace shortenings with bananas.


Applesauce can only be used in bakery items that are naturally sweet with a texture like cakes. ½ a cup of applesauce can be substituted for a cup of vegetable shortening.


Ghee is also known as butter which is clarified. The milk solids are removed, and the water is evaporated in the process, thus ghee contains more fat and less water than butter, making it a suitable alternative to be used instead of shortenings. 

Vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut and avocado oils are good alternatives to vegetable shortenings for frying purposes because of their high smoking points. 

What are vegetable shortenings?

Vegetable shortenings are solid fats which are produced from vegetable oils, for example, soybean and cottonseed oils. 

These oils have undergone chemical transformation, turning into a solid state by the process of hydrogenation. Vegetable shortening is used in all types of recipes such as flour tortillas made at homes and white cakes. 

Vegetable shortenings are used for coating the flowers of pie doughs, for the prevention of the production of gluten, providing the flaky and a tenderised dough which contains small pockets of air that can increase in size when baked. The shortenings do not have flavours so it doesn’t interfere with the flavours of the dish. 

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In this brief article, we answered the question, “What can I use instead of vegetable shortenings?”, and discussed what vegetable shortenings are, along with a brief description of the substitutes that can be used instead of vegetable shortenings.