Best Substitute For Shortening In Frosting

What is the Best Substitute For Shortening In Frosting 

The frosting is an essential part of cakes and other desserts. It adds a nice touch and makes the cake taste better. However, frosting can also be quite expensive if you buy the real thing. If you want to save money, you can use shortening instead. Also, shortening or hydrogenated vegetable oil is more convenient to buy in most grocery stores. 

With that, we have listed down different types of substitutes for frosting as well as the things to consider before choosing a shortening substitute and you can consider vegan butter.

What to Consider in Choosing a Shortening Substitute for Frosting

1. The first factor to consider when selecting a shortening substitute for your frosting recipe is its stiffer consistency or grainy consistency. You need to make sure it has a similar texture or consistency to your original recipe so that it will not affect the outcome of the final product. If you are using buttercream icing, then you should choose one which has the same consistency as butter. And so, researching about the product first is important.

2. Another important consideration is whether the shortening substitute contains trans fats. Trans fat content varies from brand to brand, but some brands contain up to 20% of trans fats while others may only contain 1%. This means that even though they look alike, their effect on our bodies might differ. So always check out the label carefully.

3. When buying a shortening substitute, try to get ones made with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil, olive oil, etc. These oils do not cause any harm to us, unlike hydrogenated vegetable oils.

4. Make sure that the shortening substitute does not contain preservatives like propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is used to preserve food products by preventing them from going bad. But this ingredient is harmful to human health because it causes cancer. Therefore, avoid these kinds of shortening substitutes.

5. Look at the price tag too! Some people prefer cheaper options over quality ones. That is why you must compare prices between various alternatives. Choose those that offer good value for money.

Best Shortening Substitutes for Frosting 

There are many ways to replace shortening in recipes. Here are some popular choices:

1. Sour Cream

Sour cream is a great option for replacing shortening in frostings. Its flavor is milder compared to butter. And to add extra flavor, mix in vanilla extract.

It works best for soft-set icings since sour cream tends to thicken faster than regular milk. To ensure that the sour cream doesn’t separate during baking, add powdered sugar after mixing together all the dry ingredients. Yogurt can also work as a substitute if you do not have a sour cream available in your pantry.

2. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a great substitute, especially if you opt to have a cream cheese frosting. Its smoothness gives off a rich and creamy feel because of its high-fat content. It is made of high protein casein and low moisture whey proteins. As a result, it keeps longer without spoiling. Also, it melts easily into other foods. Just remember to keep the amount of salt low. Too much salt can ruin the overall taste of the dessert.

You can either melt the cream cheese into room temperature water or warm it slightly until it becomes liquid. Then combine both liquids and beat thoroughly. Add additional sweetener according to your preference.

3. Margarine

Margarine is another common choice among bakers who want to use a healthier substitute for shortening. Unlike other types of margarine, stick margarine comes in tubs rather than jars. It is a good alternative because it is made of mostly unsaturated fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol levels. However, make sure that it should contain no artificial flavors added. If possible, choose organic varieties. They tend to be less processed, so there will be lesser chances of having additives.

To prepare a frosting using margarine, simply blend it with an equal quantity of softened butter. You can then adjust sweetness accordingly depending upon how sweet you would like the final product to be. Mix well before adding powdered sugar and flavoring agents. They tend to be more convenient to store and transport. However, stick margarine usually costs more per pound than other varieties.

4. Butter

Butter or unsalted butter is still considered the most preferred type of fat when making frosting. This is due to its ability to create a smoother texture. The reason behind this is that butter consists mainly of saturated fats. These facts give rise to a softer consistency and buttery taste. When combined with flour, they form a dough that holds shape better. On top of that, butter adds richness to baked goods. So, if you plan on making cakes, pies, cookies, etc., go ahead and include butter in your recipe. But make sure to reduce adding too much water since butter has a high water content already. 

However, creating white frosting using butter(unsalted butter) might be hard because of its color. But you can add frosting whiteners, though. So if you planning to have butter in buttercream frosting, then it will surely be a good choice!

5. Mascarpone

Mascarpone is similar to whipped cream but contains a higher percentage of fat. It is often used in Italian desserts such as tiramisu. Since mascarpone is very expensive, many people prefer whipping up their own version at home. Simply whip heavy cream until stiff peaks are formed. Once done, fold in some powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Continue folding until everything is incorporated evenly. Finally, transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip.

Mascarpone gives a flavor of mild cheesiness to any cake. And unlike regular whipped cream, it does not need refrigeration. Therefore, it makes a perfect addition to birthday cakes where freshness matters. 

6. Lard

Lard is also known as tallow. It is obtained from rendering animal fat. Like all kinds of lard, it is solidified by heat. This has been used for several centuries as a vegetable shortening because of its low cost. Today, however, it is rarely found in stores anymore. Instead, we find hydrogenated vegetable oils being sold under different names. Hydrogenating means combining oil molecules together through chemical reactions.

Lard In Frosting
Lard In Frosting

Lard is commonly used in baking recipes as a shortening substitute because of its rich aroma and smooth texture. Its melting point ranges between 35-40 degrees Celsius.


What can I use as an alternative to buttercream frosting?

You can try substituting buttercream frosting with one of the following:

1. Whipped Cream

Whipping cream is made from milk that has had air beaten out of it. You can easily whip it yourself at home. To do so, simply place 1 cup of whole milk into a bowl. Then beat it vigorously with a hand mixer or whisk until soft peaks appear. Add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed again.

2. Marshmallow Fluff

Marshmallow fluff is basically marshmallows mixed with whipped egg whites. 

3. Chocolate Ganache Filling

Chocolate ganache filling is essentially chocolate sauce poured over cooled dark chocolate mousse. It’s usually served chilled and spreadable. However, you can always warm it slightly before spreading it onto a cake.

How does shortening work in frosting?

Shortening works well when making frosting since it melts quickly once heated. This happens due to the fact that fats have high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, which melt at relatively low temperatures. Add them to your icing while still warm, you will still get a butter flavor and they are great on a cupcake or mini cupcake.

What is a healthy shortening substitute for frosting?

There are many alternatives to using shortening in frosting. Aside from the example stated above, you can also use coconut oil. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, which help boost metabolism and burn calories more efficiently than long-chain triglycerides. Another option could be olive oil, which is packed with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which help reduce cholesterol levels.

What is a good shortening substitute for bread?

If you need a healthier replacement for usual shortening, you can use olive oil for bread. Since olive oil is very stable, it won’t break apart as regular shortening would. This is largely useable for other baked good(s).

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