My recipe calls for shortening. Can I use butter instead?  

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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Vegetable shortening (such as Crisco) contains no water, while butter does, so it takes slightly more butter to accomplish the job: for every one cup of shortening, you will need to use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of butter. Shortening makes crusts flaky and baked goodstender, but lacks the great flavor of butter. I often find that a combination of the two is best; that is, substitute part of the shortening with butter to get the best balance of flavor and texture.

Most vegetable shortening is now free of trans fats, but check your label.

Marge Perry
Jan, 2011
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