You would be surprised to know that there are so many alternatives that you can use as a Crisco substitute. Crisco is a shortening that is made from vegetable oils. Here we have compiled a list of 14 ingredients that you can use as Crisco substitutes:
Lard is an excellent Crisco substitute that has been around for centuries. It is generally made from animal fat (mainly pork). Fat from the whole animal is extracted in producing lard. Lard has been used as an original shortening even before Crisco came into existence.
Lard can also be considered healthier than Crisco as it is a natural animal product and does not contain any partially hydrogenated oils like those present in Crisco. This makes it an excellent Crisco substitute. Lard is also versatile and can be used in numerous cooking recipes. Some people may appreciate the original taste and flavor that lard provides when used as a shortening. Lard also gives more layers to the crispy varieties of food due to its bigger fat crystals. So, if you prefer to use natural animal products, lard can be a great Crisco substitute. Some even like mixing lard with Crisco to enjoy certain recipes.
2. Organic Leaf Lard
Leaf lard is another Crisco substitute, and it also comes in an organic form. Leaf lard is distinct from original lard as it is made from the fat present on the pig’s kidneys and internal organs. It is also sometimes referred to as internal fat. Leaf lard does not have the porky flavor which regular lard has. It can be an excellent substitute for people who prefer to use animal fat but without the porky smell or flavor. Leaf lard is also a perfect choice for spreads as it is soft and has a fine texture. Leaf lard may be a better choice than traditional lard, but it comes at a premium price as it is graded as premium lard. Organic leaf lard is even more expensive and harder to find.
Applesauce can be a great Crisco substitute. For people who prefer to avoid animal fat products like lard, applesauce can do wonders when used as a shortening substitute. Since apple sauce is naturally sweet, it makes the best Crisco substitute for recipes that call for added sweetness. Using apple sauce can also amount to a reduction in added sugar. When used as a shortening substitute, applesauce does alter the final product’s texture and makes it more liquid-like; hence, some people also prefer to use part applesauce and part vegetable shortening in their recipes to maintain the texture of baked foods. But if you love apples, this can be a great Crisco substitute.
4. Pureed Prunes
Another Crisco substitute that you may not have heard of is pureed prunes. Pureed prunes or prune puree work great as a Crisco substitute when used in recipes that call for shortening. The natural pectin and sorbitol present in pureed prunes provide the ingredients necessary to mimic shortening. Pectin has fat-like properties, and it helps in giving moisture to the food. Sorbitol present in pureed prunes makes the resulting product chewy. Hence, pureed prunes are a great alternative to using shortening or Crisco for binding the ingredients of the food.
5. Mashed Bananas
Mashed bananas can also work as a Crisco substitute by reducing the number of calories. Substituting mashed bananas for Crisco also requires some slight modifications to your recipes, such as lowering the baking temperature or adding eggs. Mashed bananas are a great low-calorie substitute for Crisco. They can help make healthy recipes with natural sweetness as you are eliminating fats present in Crisco or other shortenings.
6. Animal Fat
Animal fats have been used all over the world before Crisco came into existence, and hence they can be used as a Crisco substitute without a doubt. Though lard is more popular because of its availability, any animal fat can do the job of being a substitute for Crisco or shortening. If you do not prefer pork or dislike the flavor of lard, you can substitute it with any available animal fat according to your preferences.
Butter is, without a doubt, a widely used Crisco substitute. Butter gives a mouth-watering flavor to baked goods when used as a shortening substitute. Famous peanut butter cookies call for butter as a shortening substitute. However, the texture that you will get from the butter will be a little different due to the water content present in the butter. Crisco, on the other hand, has 0% water. Hence, baked items that use Crisco rise more than items where butter is used as a shortening substitute. But if the rising is not an issue, butter is definitely a tasty and flavorful Crisco substitute.
8. Vegan Butter
Vegan butter is also used as a Crisco substitute when a buttery taste is desired. For people who prefer nondairy products, vegan butter is an excellent alternative to Crisco. Vegan butter does really well as a shortening substitute and is made from plant-based oils.
9. Vegetable Oil
Since Crisco is made of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, you can use various kinds of vegetable oils as a Crisco substitute. Vegetable oil works in similar ways as shortening, and many people use it for making cakes. Vegetable oil, however, gives a thick texture to the food. Like butter, the height achieved from using vegetable oil as a Crisco substitute will be less, and the end product will be softer.
10. Olive Oil
Olive oil can be considered a healthy Crisco substitute. When it is used as a shortening substitute, the natural aroma and flavor of olive oil dissipate as the food is being baked. Hence, it is best to be used for recipes where the food is baked for a longer time. Using olive oil as a shortening substitute where the food is not required to be baked will result in food smelling like olive oil. So, it is not recommended to be used in making certain foods like cake frosting. Due to its health benefits, olive oil is considered an excellent Crisco substitute and even better than other cooking oils since it contains monounsaturated fats, which are healthy.
Margarine, which is essentially made from vegetable oils, can be used as a Crisco substitute. Margarine is composed of about 80% hydrogenated vegetable oil, and the rest is water, milk solids, and other additives. Many people avoid using margarine due to the presence of trans-fats which are very unhealthy. However, margarine can be successfully used as a Crisco substitute when baking cookies or cakes. The texture that will result from using margarine will be a little different than the texture achieved from using Crisco. Baked items like cookies tend to be a little tough to chew when margarine is used as a shortening substitute.
12. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a highly healthy option for a Crisco substitute due to its medium-chain fatty acids and vitamin E. Coconut oil also gives the food a nutty flavor and aroma when used as a shortening substitute. It is very similar to shortening because coconut oil is solid at room temperatures below 76 degrees F. However, if you do not prefer to have the coconut flavor in your cooking, you can opt for a refined variety of coconut oil. Baked foods turn out nice and crispy when coconut oil is substituted for shortening.
13. Bacon Grease
Do you have extra bacon grease lying around? Excellent, because it can be used as a Crisco substitute. Bacon fat is very similar to lard as they both come from pork. Bacon grease would have a salty taste if your bacon were salted. So it helps to be mindful and reduce the amount of salt in the recipe when using bacon grease as a shortening substitute. It will also give a bacon flavor to the foods you cook, which can be an added plus if you like the bacon flavor. Bacon grease wins as a shortening substitute over other vegetable oils because it has fewer additives and tastes excellent.
Schmaltz is essentially chicken fat, and it is not very popular. However, it is widely used in European dishes. Many people use schmaltz as a butter substitute in a kosher diet. Schmaltz can also be used as a Crisco substitute if you plan to make some foods like dairy-free pie crusts.
In addition to the above 14 Crisco alternatives, you may also discover other similar ingredients that work for you. You can even try a combination of the above ingredients when substituting for Crisco to attain the taste of your liking and make your baked items deliciously healthy.