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Volume II
August 31, 2006

No More Shortening?


Hello Dan...

I want to learn how to make biscuits
using canola oil or olive oil instead of shortening for a number of reasons. The
most obvious one being that sometimes
when preparing to cook or bake I discover
I'm out of shortening. Can you help?



Hi Lora,

It's always best to use a shortening if your baking recipe calls for it. Shortening makes baked goods fluffier and flakier, while oils provide a denser and heavier texture. We don't recommend using oil to grease baking pans. Instead, try Crisco Spray and follow with a light dusting of flour.

In general, reducing fat will give baked goods a denser texture; to correct for this, try increasing the sugar in the recipe and/or beating the egg whites and folding them into the batter. Also try using a softer flour, like pastry or cake flour.

Here are some other suggested substitutions for replacing shortening in your recipes (we'll address the biscuits specifically at the end of this article):

  • Applesauce - Applesauce can replace up to of the shortening in many recipes. Add with the liquid ingredients and reduce sugar in recipe if the applesauce is sweetened.

  • Pureed prunes - Pureed prunes can replace up to of the shortening in many recipes; it works especially well with chocolate. Add with the liquid ingredients.

  • Apple butter - Apple butter can replace up to of the shortening in many recipes, also reduce sugar in recipe if the apple butter is sweetened. Add with the liquid ingredients.

  • Fruit-based fat substitutes - Especially good when baking with chocolate; add with the liquid ingredients. For best results, substitute only 3/4 of the fat with this.

  • Ricotta cheese - This works well in many yeast breads that call for solid fat. Substitute measure for measure. For best results, substitute no more than 3/4 of the fat with this.

  • Bananas (mashed) - Substitute measure for measure.

  • Omit or reduce - In many recipes for quick breads, muffins, and cookies, you can reduce the amount of fat in the recipe by about a third without seriously compromising the quality.

  • Oil - Avoid substituting oils for solid fats when baking cookies, cakes, and pastries; it will make the dish greasy and dense. If you must do so, substitute 3 parts oil for every 4 parts solid fat and consider increasing the amount of sugar and eggs in the recipe. Pie crusts made with oil aren't as flaky as those made with solid fat.)

Below you'll find the URL addresses to information on substituting oil for shortening in your biscuit recipe. Then, you can decide if you want to give it a try or not.

Hope this helps,


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