Is Crisco Shortening Vegan?

By Olivia

When it comes to choosing ingredients for a vegan lifestyle, it’s important to be aware of any hidden animal products. Crisco shortening is a popular choice among bakers, but is it vegan-friendly? Let’s delve into the details and find out.

1. What is Crisco Shortening?

Crisco shortening is a type of vegetable shortening that was first introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1911. It gained popularity due to its ability to replace traditional animal fats, like lard, in various recipes. Crisco is primarily made from vegetable oils, such as soybean or palm oil, which are hydrogenated to create a solid consistency.

2. Ingredients in Crisco Shortening

To determine whether Crisco shortening is vegan or not, we need to examine its ingredients. Here are the ingredients typically found in Crisco:

  • Soybean Oil
  • Fully Hydrogenated Palm Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Partially Hydrogenated Palm and Soybean Oils
  • Mono and Diglycerides
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • TBHQ (Antioxidant)
  • Citric Acid

While the majority of these ingredients are plant-derived, there are a few items that may raise concerns for vegans, such as mono and diglycerides. Let’s explore this further:

3. Exploring Non-Vegan Ingredients

Mono and diglycerides are emulsifiers commonly used in processed foods. They help improve texture and prevent separation of ingredients. The concern for vegans arises because these emulsifiers can be derived from both plant and animal sources.

In the case of Crisco shortening, the origin of the mono and diglycerides is not specified on the packaging. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether they are sourced from vegetables or animals, making it uncertain whether Crisco is completely vegan.

4. Palm Oil Controversy

Palm oil is another ingredient present in Crisco shortening. While palm oil itself is vegan, its production often leads to environmental issues, such as deforestation and habitat destruction. Many vegans choose to avoid products containing palm oil due to these concerns.

If you are following a vegan lifestyle for environmental or ethical reasons, it may be worth considering alternatives to Crisco that use more sustainable oils.

5. Vegan Alternatives to Crisco Shortening

If you prefer to steer clear of potential non-vegan ingredients, there are several alternatives available:

  1. Coconut Oil: Known for its solid texture and high smoke point, coconut oil is a popular vegan substitute for shortening in baking recipes.
  2. Vegetable Margarine: Look for plant-based margarine products made without any dairy or animal-derived ingredients. Ensure the brand you choose is suitable for baking.
  3. Avocado: Though not a direct substitute for shortening due to its different consistency, mashed avocado can be used in some recipes to replace part of the fat.
  4. Applesauce: In certain baked goods like muffins and cakes, unsweetened applesauce can be used instead of shortening to reduce the fat content.
  5. Vegan Shortening Brands: Some companies offer vegan-friendly shortening options made without any animal-derived ingredients. Check with local health food stores or online retailers for these products.


While Crisco shortening appears to be mostly plant-based, the presence of potentially non-vegan ingredients like mono and diglycerides and the environmental concerns surrounding palm oil make it difficult to definitively label it as vegan. Vegans with strict dietary requirements or specific concerns may prefer to use one of the vegan alternatives mentioned above.

Ultimately, the choice between using Crisco shortening or opting for a vegan alternative depends on an individual’s personal beliefs and dietary preferences. It’s always crucial to read labels carefully and make choices that align with your ethics and values.