Is Shortening Vegan?

By Olivia

Shortening is a commonly used ingredient in baking and cooking, but its vegan status is often a topic of debate among those following a vegan lifestyle. So, is shortening vegan? Let’s dive into the details.

What is Shortening?

Shortening is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature. It is typically made from vegetable oils, such as soybean or palm oil. The process of hydrogenation is used to solidify the oils and create a smooth and creamy texture.

Shortening is commonly used in baking to create flaky pastries, tender cakes, and crispy cookies. It is also used for frying and sautéing.

Is Shortening Always Vegan?

While the main ingredient of shortening is derived from plants, not all shortening products are vegan. Some brands may use animal-derived ingredients or processing methods that are not vegan-friendly. It is important to read labels and check for any animal-derived ingredients, such as lard or dairy products.

Vegan-Friendly Shortening Options

Luckily, there are several vegan-friendly shortening options available in the market. These products are made without the use of any animal-derived ingredients and are suitable for those following a vegan lifestyle. Here are some popular vegan shortening brands:

  • Earth Balance Vegetable Shortening
  • Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening
  • Nutiva Organic Shortening

These vegan shortening options can be used as a 1:1 replacement for traditional shortening in recipes and provide the same desired results.

Difference Between Shortening and Butter

Shortening and butter are both commonly used in baking, but they have some key differences. While shortening is typically made from vegetable oils, butter is made from animal milk fats.

Here is a table highlighting the main differences between shortening and butter:

Made from vegetable oilsMade from animal milk fats
Solid at room temperatureSoft at room temperature
No added flavorNatural buttery flavor

How to Substitute Shortening in Vegan Baking

If you are following a vegan lifestyle and a recipe calls for shortening, you may need to find a suitable substitute. Here are some vegan-friendly alternatives to shortening in baking:

  • Coconut Oil: Substitute an equal amount of coconut oil for shortening. It will provide a similar texture and moisture.
  • Vegan Margarine: Use a vegan margarine that is labeled as a 1:1 replacement for butter or shortening.
  • Applesauce: In certain recipes, you can replace shortening with unsweetened applesauce to add moisture. This works best in cakes and muffins.


So, is shortening vegan? The answer is that it depends on the specific product. While shortening is typically made from vegetable oils and is vegan, some brands may contain animal-derived ingredients. It is essential to read labels carefully and choose vegan-friendly options. Fortunately, there are many vegan shortening alternatives available that can be used in baking and cooking without compromising on taste and texture.

Whether you choose to stick with vegan shortening or explore alternative substitutes, you can still enjoy delicious vegan baked goods and recipes without any compromise.