How To Substitute Shortening For Butter

Let’s face it. I 100% would rather feed my family butter or even things like beef tallow over using refined seed and vegetable oils to feed my family but with the rising cost of butter, I have been increasingly substituting shortening for butter rather than butter for shortening like I used to. Surprisingly I don’t mind the results I am getting at all.

Shortening is much cheaper than butter, particularly when you buy in bulk. It is cheaper even to use shortening than to make your own butter unless you find a great clearance deal on heavy whipping cream.

Where should you use shortening in place of butter

The good news is that you can convert butter to shortening in a lot of recipes to save money and leave that butter for the flavor to help save some money.

Baking: Shortening is often less expensive than butter, so if the flavor and richness of butter are not critical to the recipe, you can use shortening as a more economical alternative. However, keep in mind that shortening lacks the flavor that butter contributes. I find that shortening makes amazing fluffy biscuits and cakes.

Pie crusts: Shortening is a common ingredient in pie crusts and can produce a flaky texture. If you’re making a large quantity of pie crusts, using shortening can be more cost-effective compared to using butter. Making homemade pie crust is easy.

Frostings and icings: In some frosting recipes, shortening can be used instead of butter to achieve a smooth and stable consistency. This is especially true for decorations and designs that require the frosting to hold its shape. When making buttercream in the summer this is a great option for a more stable frosting in the summer heat.

Certain cookies: Some cookie recipes work well with shortening, especially if you’re going for a specific texture. Shortening can contribute to a softer, more tender cookie compared to butter. This can be a good option if the flavor of the fat isn’t the primary focus of the cookie. This would work well for classic chocolate chip cookies but not these butter rum chocolate chip cookies.

High-temperature cooking: Shortening has a higher smoke point compared to butter, which makes it a suitable choice for frying and other high-temperature cooking methods. If the buttery flavor is not crucial to the dish, shortening might be a more economical option.

How to substitute shortening for butter in recipes.

When substituting shortening for butter in recipes, it’s important to consider the differences in texture, flavor, and melting points between the two fats. Here are some general guidelines for making the substitution:

Measure accurately

Shortening is denser than butter, so when substituting, it’s important to use the correct measurement. Typically, you can use a 1:1 ratio when substituting shortening for butter. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, you can use 1 cup of shortening.

Consider the texture

Shortening tends to produce a crisper and flakier texture than butter. This can be beneficial in certain baked goods like pie crusts and cookies. If the texture is crucial to the success of the recipe, shortening may be a suitable substitute.

Flavor adjustments

Shortening has a neutral flavor compared to the rich, buttery taste of butter. If the recipe relies on the distinct flavor of butter, consider adding a bit of butter extract or other flavorings to mimic the taste. Keep in mind that the flavor won’t be identical, so it’s best used in recipes where the buttery taste is not a central element.

Consider the melting point

Shortening has a higher melting point than butter, which can affect the texture of certain baked goods. In recipes where the solid fat is important for structure (such as in pie crusts), shortening can be a good substitute. However, if the recipe relies on the butter melting to contribute moisture and flavor, the substitution may impact the final result.

Check for trans fats

Some traditional shortenings contain partially hydrogenated oils, which can contribute to trans fats. If you’re concerned about trans fats for health reasons, consider using trans fat-free shortenings or other alternatives like vegetable oil.

Experiment and adjust

As with any substitution, it’s a good idea to experiment and adjust based on your preferences and the specific requirements of the recipe. You may find that a combination of shortening and other fats works best for certain applications.

Keep in mind that the substitution of shortening for butter is not always a straightforward swap, and the choice may depend on the specific characteristics you want in the final product. It’s a good idea to test the substitution in small batches before making it in a larger quantity, especially for recipes where the texture and flavor are critical.

Simple At Home - Making Life Simple Again

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.