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Volume II
December 21, 2007

Butter vs. Margarine

Hi Dan and family. I love watching your videos. Recipe says use shortening. Is that margarine, or what do you recommend?

Kind Regards,


Hi Maz,

No, shortening and margarine on not the same. Shortening is a hydrogenated oil (a vegetable oil that is solid at room temperature). Margarine is partially hydrogenated, making it somewhat solid but also easy to spread. It also has a buttery flavor.

To learn more about this topic and how/when to use shortening or margarine just read this excerpt below, from Baking 911.

Hope this helps,

Desi @ DVO

Shortening vs. Butter vs. Margarine vs. Oil:

Each type of fat used in cookie recipes separately affects the cookie's texture and taste. Generally, the use of butter means a flatter, crispier cookies because it allows the dough to spread as it cooks on the hot cookie sheet. Cookies made with shortening will not spread, however all shortening will give you a cookie without a lot of taste. This approach gives you the best of both worlds: shortening is not as sensitive to shifts in temperature and the butter gives a lot of flavor.

Shortening: Least spread / Least flavor, however can use butter flavored. Because of its higher melting point (98 to 100 degrees F) than butter, cookies keep their shape as it bakes, yielding a puffier more cake-like treat.

Stick Butter: Medium spread / Best flavor. Because of the lower the melting point of butter (92 to 98 degrees F) than shortening, cookies spread and become flatter and crispier as the result. To help reduce cookie spread when using butter, freeze the formed dough on the cookie sheets. When you place the frozen cookie dough immediately in the oven, the fat will stay colder longer and when baked, the cookie will retain its shape better. For flavor, there is no substitute for butter. Cookies made with butter have outstanding taste and a finely grained, often crisp texture. Butter also helps cookies to keep well and maintain their flavor. I recommend using unsalted butter in baking.

Stick Margarine: Most spread / Some flavor

Vegetable oils: cookies are softer than those made with butter or margarine.

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