By Nana from Rio Rancho, NM
I just made a banana cake and substituted 1/2 cup vegetable oil for 1/2 cup shortening. Plus I added 3 eggs instead of 2 to help keep the cake solid and it baked perfectly and is super moist. I think "Knitter" is experienced and on the mark when she says she's substituted oil for shortening in her cooking career.
I have been cooking using the Flat Belly diet by the Prevention Mag. for about a year now. One of the recipes for pie crust uses canola oil instead of shortening. Only difference I find is you need to mix it by hand not food processor (which i never did anyway) and it should come out fine. Not as tender and flaky but it is better for you.
I guess you'll never know if you can use oil in place of butter etc. (I always stick to what the recipe reads.) However if you want to take a chance by all means do so. Some will work out nicely, some will be so so, and others will be a waste of time and money.
My Aunt used to make the best mincemeat cookies I have ever eaten. Mine were never as good until my sister told me she used oil instead of the shortening called for in the recipe. The appearance was the same, but the taste o' so good! Now I use oil when making mincemeat cookies. Bet oatmeal cookies would be better too.
I am 68 with 5 children, plus grandkids, etc. I did my share of cooking and baking. I have heard you cannot substitute these items. But sorry, if a recipe said butter, lard/shortening, oil, I used oil for them all and don't recall any problems in how things turned out.
Cookie dough made with cooking oil will usually be softer and spread out more in the oven than when made with shortening. You can replace the shortening with butter.
No! No! No! No! No! When a recipe calls for shortening, it has to be the solid stuff. I made this mistake once and really had a mess. So definitely use shortening if that's what the recipe calls for.
If a recipe calls for shortening (which I don't buy as I don't use if often enough and then end up throwing it out when it becomes rancid) could I replace it with cooking oil?
Sue from Saudi Arabia
When using butter, use slightly less than the amount of shortening requested. For example, if a cookie recipe asks for 1 cup of shortening, use 3/4 cup of butter. (01/29/2005)
Can I replace shortening with cooking oil?
Since shortening is basically hydrogenated oil, replacing it is good idea. Hydrogenated oil is the major source of transfats, which is now known to be even more dangerous than saturated fats. It's been implicated in many many diseases. In other words, using pure butter is healthier than using vegetable shortening. In fact, animal lard may also be healthier.
If you need the hardness of shortening, but want to avoid butter and lard, there are vegetable spreads that are solidified without hydrogenation. Most famous is SmartBalance, which has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. They have versions that also include lax seed oil and fish oil.
You can try emailing them to see if shortening can be substituted. smartbalance.com (06/16/2010)
By T&T Grandma
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