Out of Crisco or trying to avoid using it in cooking? Here's a guide to all the best substitutes for Crisco, from butter and oil to applesauce, cream cheese, or even tofu!
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Maybe you ran out of Crisco part of the way into a recipe. Maybe you're simply looking for healthier alternatives.
Well, my guess is you probably have something in your kitchen already that you can use as in place of shortening. This guide breaks down all of the best Crisco substitutes that still result in a great end product.
Whether you're putting together your favorite pie dough for a flaky pie crust, a batch of cookies, or a delicious strawberry shortcake, you've got options. And fortunately, most of the most common substitutions use a one-to-one ratio. The less math that has to happen, the better!
What is Crisco?
Crisco, short for crystallized cottonseed oil, is a popular brand-name cooking and baking ingredient known for its ability to create a light and fluffy texture in pastries and other baked goods. Crisco is a type of shortening and any other brand of solid vegetable shortening can be used in place of Crisco.
While it may be a pantry staple for some, it is not for others. Fortunately, there are several substitutes that can be used in its place.
Best Crisco Substitutes
- Any other brand of solid vegetable-based shortening or palm shortening
- Dairy Free Butter
- Margarine (regular or dairy-free)
- Vegetable Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Bacon Fat
Can I substitute butter for Crisco?
Yes! In most cases, butter, made up of milk solids, makes an excellent substitute for Crisco using a 1:1 ratio. Its rich, buttery flavor makes it perfect for baked goods such as any cookie recipe, pie crusts, or cakes. It's also typically an easy substitute since most of us have butter on hand already!
The key to success when using butter as a shortening substitute is to use unsalted butter. If all you have is salted butter, then reduce the amount of salt called for in the recipe to balance the flavors out.
If you are trying to keep your recipe dairy-free, you can also use vegan butter or margarine in place of your Crisco shortening!
How much butter is equal to 1 cup of shortening?
When substituting butter for shortening, you can use a 1:1 ratio. So, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of Crisco, then you will also need 1 cup of butter!
Can I use oil instead of Crisco?
Definitely! Now, when it comes to oil, you have a few different options. Here's a breakdown of the different oil options.
Vegetable Oil - 1:1 Ratio
Vegetable oil is made from a variety of plant-based sources including corn, soybeans, and sunflowers. It has a neutral flavor which makes it versatile enough to be used in a wide variety of recipes—cooking or baking. It is also the best option for deep frying!
One thing to keep in mind when using vegetable oil is that it is liquid at room temperature. This means that it may not provide the same texture and structure as Crisco does in some recipes. However, it is still a great option in many recipes, especially for those that prefer to avoid using animal fat products.
Note there are specific types
Coconut Oil - 1:1 Ratio
Coconut oil is an excellent healthy substitute for Crisco. It's made from the meat of coconuts and has a distinctive flavor and aroma that can enhance the taste of some baked goods. What sets coconut oil apart from other oils is that it is a saturated fat, which means it's solid at room temperature. That can provide a similar texture and structure to Crisco in some recipes. It's also a great healthy alternative!
If you are using coconut oil as a substitute, make sure you're using refined coconut oil rather than virgin coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil has a stronger coconut flavor, which doesn't work for certain recipes that require a less distinctive flavor.
Can I substitute lard for Crisco?
Yes! In many cases, lard, which is made of rendered and clarified pork fat, is an excellent choice as a Crisco substitute.
Since lard is a solid fat, it works in a similar fashion to Crisco, creating flaky pastries and a lighter texture.
The one thing to keep in mind when using lard in place of shortening is the ratio. It is not a 1:1 ratio. Instead, plan to use ⅞ cups of lard for every 1 cup of shortening called for. It has a higher fat content, meaning you don't need quite as much.
Bacon fat or bacon grease is not ideal for baking applications but can also be used in small amounts for frying or making things like popcorn.
What is the best substitute for shortening?
Your best option really depends on your needs. Each substitute has its own unique characteristics which can all have an effect on the finished product, so there can't really be one best choice.
A great way to find the best results is to experiment with different ingredients and find the right substitute for your specific needs and preferences.
Now, we've covered a few of the basic substitutes. Here are just a few less common substitutions:
Ghee is a clarified butter, meaning it has the milk solids and water removed. The result is a butter with a higher melting point with a super rich, buttery flavor.
In many recipes, ghee makes an excellent shortening substitute using a 1:1 ratio. Be aware that, due to the nature of ghee, your final product will have a slightly different flavor and could be a little bit greasier.
In some cases, applesauce can be used in place of vegetable shortening using a 2:1 ratio. Meaning, for every 1 cup of shortening called for, you'll only need ½ cup of applesauce.
While the benefit of applesauce is its sweet flavor and high moisture content, the downside is that it has a much lower fat content than many shortening substitutes. The lower fat content can affect the texture.
In some baked goods recipes, mashed bananas can be used in place of Crisco. The perk to using mashed banana is a lighter, fluffier texture. The downside is that, since the banana has a pretty distinct flavor, it will come through in most recipes.
If you do decide to use bananas, be sure to use a 2:1 ratio. So, for every 1 cup of Crisco called for, use ½ cup of mashed banana.
Keep in mind that there will also be a pretty strong banana flavor.
In many recipes, you can swap some mashed avocado in for Crisco using a 1:1 ratio. However, if you're using avocado in baked goods, you will need to reduce the oven temperature by about 25ºF to prevent them from browning too quickly.
Avocado also doesn't melt in the same way that other substitutes do, so you may need to add extra moisture to whatever you're cooking up.
Tofu can be pureed and used as a Cirsc o substitute. However, you will need to combine it with some type of oil. I recommend this with caution and you should note that it will take trial and error to find the right combination.
Is Crisco Vegan?
Yes! Crisco is made up of soybean oil and palm oil, both of which are plant-based ingredients.
Is Crisco Gluten-Free?
Yes. Crisco's all-vegetable shortening is made up of only gluten-free ingredients and the packaging is labeled as gluten-free. It is not, however, labeled as certified gluten-free.
That is because they are not a dedicated gluten-free facility. But they do dedicate certain lines to their gluten-free products to avoid cross-contamination.
For more information, check out my post: Is Crisco Shortening Gluten-Free?
My Favorite Recipes Using Crisco
- Substitute one item from the list for Crisco based on your recipe application.½ cup Butter, ½ cup Non Dairy Butter, ½ cup Vegetable Oil, ½ cup Margarine, ⅓-½ cup Lard, ½ cup Ghee, 1 cup Applesauce, 1 cup Bananas, ½ cup Avocado
- You can also use off brand shortening in place of Crisco.