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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Shortening Substitutes for Pie Crust

Craving pie? Us too. But guess what? Sometimes, the kitchen’s short on shortening. No sweat.

We’ve all hit this bump. The good news? Tons of substitutes can save your crust and your day.

Think butter for richness, oil for flakiness, and even some secret players you wouldn’t expect.

Each swap not only works but brings its own zing to your pies. Ready to roll up your sleeves and get those pies baking?

Jump in as we spill the beans on making that perfect crust without the classic shortening.

Trust us, these tips are game-changers.

Is Shortening Necessary in Pie Crust?

Shortening, a type of fat typically made of vegetable oil or animal fat, has been widely used in baking for many centuries.

It is essential in making the perfect pie crust as it achieves a flaky texture and light, crisp flavor when mixed with moisture.

Shortening also helps to keep the dough light and tender as it prevents gluten from forming, ensuring that the crust holds its shape without becoming hard and crumbly.

The traditional way to use shortening is to cut it into cubes or small pieces and work them into the dry ingredients until they resemble wet sand.

This technique ensures that the shortening is evenly mixed throughout the dough before baking.

While some bakers prefer to use only butter or lard for pie crusts, shortening offers a unique combination of flavor and texture that can’t be replicated with other fats.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Shortening in Pie Crust

If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious alternative to shortening your pie crust, there are plenty of excellent options.

Here is a list of the top five substitutes for shortening in pie crust:

1 – Lard

Lard is a type of fat obtained from different animals, such as pigs or sheep.

It has a unique flavor and smooth texture that make it great for baking.

While some people prefer to use shortening when making pie crusts, lard also makes an excellent replacement as it will give the dough a more tender and flaky crust.

To substitute shortening with lard in pie crust recipes, simply use the same measurements and take care not to overwork the dough.

The key is to ensure that all the ingredients are cold, so refrigerating them before you begin is best.

The result will be a delicious addition to your next family gathering.

2 – Butter

Butter has been a staple pantry item for centuries and is loved for its unique taste and texture.

It’s made from churning cream or milk and is easily spreadable, making it a popular choice to top off toast and other baked treats.

Butter can also be used in savory dishes, lending its creamy flavor to everything from savory pastries to homemade sauces.

More impressively, butter can be substituted for shortening when baking pie crusts – all you need to do is leaves the butter in cubes to keep it cold and flaky as it bakes in the oven.

Try experimenting with this easy substitution the next time you make a sweet or savory pie – you will be amazed at how light and crispy the crust turns out.

3 – Margarine

Margarine is a type of butter alternative that was invented in France in 1869.

Often used in meal preparation, margarine has a unique taste and texture that varies depending on the brand.

Those looking to substitute margarine for shortening when baking a pie crust should keep one important factor in mind: Margarine usually contains more water than shortening and cannot be placed directly in cold pastry dough.

Instead, the margarine should be melted and mixed evenly with the other ingredients before being added to the pastry dough.

This step will help ensure an even spread of both flavor and texture throughout your pie crust.

4 – Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its numerous health benefits.

It has a mild, pleasant taste and a soft texture that makes it perfect for baked goods.

Bakers especially love using it to replace shortening when preparing pie crust since it adds a hint of sweetness while contributing to the crispiness of the crust.

All it takes is the same amount of coconut oil as you would use shortening – no more and no less – melted and stirred in with the other ingredients until fully incorporated.

From classic apple pies to custard tarts, coconut oil is sure to transform any dish into something extraordinary.

5 – Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a popular choice for cooking due to its versatile nature and relatively neutral taste.

It has a light texture which can work well in many dishes, particularly those requiring high heat.

If you’re looking to substitute it for shortening in pie crusts, vegetable oil can create a flakier, lighter-end product than using butter or margarine.

Whisk it with cold water and fold it into the flour mixture so that it forms small little bits of fat – these will help to create structure when cooked.

As an added bonus, you’ll get all of the various health benefits associated with vegetable oils, including fewer saturated fats and cholesterol than animal fats and potential anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fatty acids.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Shortening in Pie Crust

Looking to perfect your pie crust but don't have shortening on hand? Fear not! We've compiled a list of the 5 best substitutes for shortening that will yield flaky, delicious pie crusts every time.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Lard
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Coconut Oil
  • Vegetable Oil


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Shortening in Pie Crust
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