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Shortening -Baking with Less Calories

Updated on September 16, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I am interested in making some delicious, unusual meals and desserts, particularly for special occasions. Easy, quick meals are also great.


Photo courtesy of Lard
Photo courtesy of Lard


Photo courtesy of Crisco
Photo courtesy of Crisco


Shortening may be butter, margarine or lard, but its generic meaning is any semisolid fat used in cooking especially used in baked goods. It can come from an animal or a vegetable. The reason it is is called shortening is because it promotes a short or crumbling texture. Shortening has a higher smoke point and it is 100% fat, compared to butter or margarine which has an 80% content.

The calorie and saturated fat count:

  • Shortening: 1 cup = 1812 calories, saturated fat is 53.5 g.
  • Butter: 1 cup = 1628 calories, saturated fat is 116.6 g.
  • Lard: 1 cup = 1849 calories, saturated fat is 80.4 g
  • Crisco butter flavor 1 cup = 1760 calories, saturated fat 192

Looking at these high amounts make me think of stroke and heart attack, as this amount of saturated fat will certainly increase your cholesterol and triglycerides.

So, what is the answer when we want our cake, cookies or just something to spread on our toast? There are different substitutes on the market and some tricks for the kitchen. Olvio is a new product that is made from olive oil and although you refrigerate it, it is still soft for spreading at all times. It has the appearance of and texture of margarine. It has whey and buttermilk in the recipe so it is okay for vegetarians but not for vegans.

WikiHow Cake

Photo Courtesy of WikiHow Cake
Photo Courtesy of WikiHow Cake

Yogurt as Shortening Substitute

Yogurt is another product that can be used as a substitute in baking. Following are some easy guidelines for using yogurt:

  • When a recipe calls for butter, replace half the butter with half as much yogurt. For instance, instead of 1 cup butter, use 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup yogurt.
  • When a recipe calls for shortening or oil, replace half the oil with 3/4 the amount of yogurt. For example, instead of 1 cup of oil, use 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yogurt.
  • Substitute yogurt cup for cup for sour cream in recipes.
  • Yogurt can even replace some of the water or milk in a recipe. Begin by substituting 1/4 of the liquid with yogurt. The result will be creamier and more flavorful.

There are other items you can use to cut back on butter and shortening. Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil. To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don't substitute oil for butter or shortening. Substitute mayonnaise for part of the shortening in your baking recipes. It adds moistness and makes for a tender texture. Be careful though. Try using half mayo and half shortening at first.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Using Canola Oil

My mother makes wonderful chocolate chip cookies. She substitutes canola oil but uses a little less than the cup the recipe calls for. Her cookies rise, are moist and delicious. So you don’t mix oil with applesauce, but you can use it by itself and expect a good result. Another thing you can do to cut fat is use parchment paper on your baking sheets, then you do not have to grease your pans

Coconut Oil for Baking

Coconut oil can be used in baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, muffins, pastries, pie crusts, waffles, and pancakes, candy bars, chocolate coatings, candy coatings, protein bars, meal replacement products, and many other products. Coconut oil has a unique taste, texture, and an incredibly long shelf life.

Not only is coconut oil lower in calories than most other fats and oils, less coconut oil is required when baking or cooking! You can replace butter, shortening or lard with three-quarters the amount of coconut oil to obtain the same results. The melting point of our Organic Palm Shortening is 97 degrees F., making it very shelf stable. It is not hydrogenized, and contains NO trans fats!

In Summary

There are ways to bake with a few less calories and saturated fat. In World War II they often couldn’t get all the ingredients they wanted, so they learned to improvise and my mother has a cookbook from that era that has a chocolate cake using mayonnaise as a substitute. Now, many people are becoming more health conscious, so they are trying to find healthy alternative but still be able to eat sweets occasionally.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Silja Paulus, Yes, I agree that yogurt is also a good substitute. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Silja Paulus profile image

    Silja Paulus 

    7 years ago from Bristol, United Kingdom

    This encouraged me to give a try with coconut oil. Somehow I've not considered it before, although I know it's healthier. I've used sour cream to substitute some of the butter in the recipe. Yoghurt is also a good idea.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Sue, I'm glad you learned something useful from the hub. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I had no idea you could use yogurt as a substitute for half the shortening. Great information and research. Voted up, useful and bookmarked.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nancy, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • nancy_30 profile image


    9 years ago from Georgia

    Great hub. I enjoyed learning about all these shortening substitutes. It was very interesting learning that you can use yogurt as a substitute. Thanks for all the great information.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Support Med, Lard is also know for outstanding pie crust. Thanks for your comments.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 

    9 years ago from Michigan

    Healthy information to cut back on fat content. I have never cooked with lard, but I hear that it makes the most flavorful of fried chicken--but I'll keep to my corn or canola oil. Voted-up/rated!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nellienna, I am so glad you enjoyed the hub. Thank your so much for your comments.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    9 years ago from TEXAS

    drbj - much Mexican cooking relies on lard. In Dallas it's available.

    Pamela - I once baked all the time, made my own bread, the whole nine yards. But I bake so little these days, I'm out of the loop to know about most of these new products. But using yogurt as a substitute for sour cream is such a great idea, except there are now so few instances in which I am using sour cream! LOL - I just go for the yogurt "straight". But I notice so many very useful healthy suggestions in this hub! I really enjoyed it!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Greatlife, We don't want to think about the calories! Anyway, thank you so much for your comments.

    Love to Read, Thanks for your comment.

    GPAGE, Thank you so much for your comments. I just wrote a hub on grains today where I talk about scones but we aren't allowed to print recipes yet, however, I think I copied some on my notes and I will check.

  • GPAGE profile image


    9 years ago from California

    Pamela..This was a very helpful hub. Thank you for this!!!......especially since I LOVE to and habee (another hubber) are great with food ideas on here! I was wondering if you knew a great "scone" recipe with less fat?

    Best, G

  • Loves To Read profile image

    Loves To Read 

    9 years ago

    Some very clever cooking ideas Pamela. I never thought of using yoghurt in place of shortening or coconut milk. Good hub

  • Greatlife profile image


    9 years ago

    Never thought about all the calories that came along with the yummy cakes and bakery products. Thanks for this helpful info, a great article for the contest.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Sandy, I am glad you found out some new information about those awful calories. Thanks for your comment.

    Anginwu, Thank you so much for your comments.

  • anglnwu profile image


    9 years ago

    I learned so much from this hub. I love all the substitutes you suggested. I also use yogurt to substitute for coconut milk when making curry. Enjoyable read and great work, Pam. Of course, this piece deserves to be rated up.

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 

    9 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    I had no idea how many calories these cooking shortenings were. Thanks for giving us substitutes.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    R Talloni, I am glad to hear you had good success with the coconut oil. Thank you for your comment.

    Hello, Good luck. Thanks for your comment.

    Michael Jay, Thank you so much for your comments.

    Products for all, Thanks for your comment.

    Katiem, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comments.

    drbj, Thank you so much for your comments.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    9 years ago from Washington

    I love the shortening substitute with yogurt - that is what I've been experimenting with. Great hub...I have to confess that I do use lard for my piecrusts but I'm trying to figure out my new all-time favorite. That is the only time I ever use it and it's only because for some reason, I can't make a piecrust any other way! Back to the drawing board....

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    9 years ago from south Florida

    Yummmmm, Pam. Those chocolate chip cookies look good enough to eat right off the picture.

    I didn't know lard was still available on the market. Guess that tells you a lot about my knowledge of cooking.

    This is excellent information about cutting down fat when baking. Thanks.

  • katiem2 profile image

    Katie McMurray 

    9 years ago from Westerville

    Pamela, I've often wondered why many bakers choose lard over vegetable shortening and now I have a better understanding of the two. Thanks for the info on shortening baking with less calories. :)

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Great Hub!

  • Michael Jay profile image

    Michael Jay 

    9 years ago

    Great hub, Pamela! I really liked the way you presented useful information with great pictures.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    9 years ago from London, UK

    Sounds great. I never baked with yohurt but will try.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Good info! I have had great success with coconut oil but want to try the yoghurt again. Thanks for the reminder.


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