Who doesn’t love baked goodies or fried food? Whether we are health conscious or not, we all love our occasional baked desserts and sweetbreads. What gives these foods, especially baked products, a delicious taste, and soft texture? It’s shortening, of course!
My favorite sort of shortening is palm shortening! It adds a great sturdy texture to baked goods. Moreover, its use is not restricted to baking! It can be used for frying as well, considering it has a higher melting point than other sorts of fats.
What would you do if you were all out of palm shortening? In that case, you would need a few substitutes. Let me tell you; you have definitely come to the right article to get the best palm shortening substitutes.
The main question here is, what are some substitutes for palm shortening? Some of the best palm shortening substitutes are coconut oil, butter, margarine and lard.
Although, I think before we get into the substitutes, let us learn a little more about palm shortening? The sections below will help you with that.
Quick Peek: Palm Shortening
This section will help you understand all about palm shortening, its uses, and its nutritional values. Read on to know all about it!
What Is Palm Shortening?
Shortening is basically fat that stays solid at room temperature. However, it is different from butter as it is completely dairy-free. Moreover, shortening is 100% fat, whereas butter is 80% fat and 20% water.
Shortening can be made from any sort of vegetable oil or animal fat. Palm shortening is specifically made from palm oil.
Palm shortening is made by hydrogenation of palm oil. The hydrogenation process is what makes it solid at room temperature. Palm shortening is the second most popular cooking oil globally, after soybean oil.
Describing Palm Shortening: Flavor And Texture
Palm shortening is extremely neutral in taste. It does not really add any taste to food products like butter or other fats do.
It has a thick consistency that remains solid at room temperature. It is usually translucent in color. It can be easily incorporated into any baked product.
Uses of Palm Shortening
Palm shortening is mostly used in baking. However, considering its high melting point and neutral taste, it is also used for grilling and frying.
In baking, shortening is mostly used for products that need a short dough. A short dough is a type of dough that does not need to be stretched. Short doughs don’t really need any gluten formation as that would make the texture more bread-like.
Short doughs usually need to remain flaky in texture. Shortening helps exactly with that. Considering its high melting point, it traps more air bubbles and melts at a later stage. This makes an end product that is flaky and holds its shape well.
Palm Shortening On The Health Radar
As palm shortening is 100% fat, it isn’t really the healthiest thing in the world. However, since it goes through the process of complete hydrogenation, it is trans-fat free.
Despite not being a healthy ingredient, palm shortening is definitely healthier than other shortening forms. More people opt for palm shortening as it is better for the heart than other shortening forms.
A single tablespoon or 15 grams of palm shortening usually contains 120 calories. These calories are all from fat as palm shortening has no vital nutrients or minerals. Palm shortening also contains some amount of saturated fats, which adds to its being unhealthy.
I think I have rambled enough about palm shortening! Now, let’s quickly look at its substitutes.
7 Best Palm Shortening Substitutes
This section will help you know about the best shortening substitutes and their uses. They are as follows
Like palm shortening, coconut oil is derived from a widely available coconut plant. It also stays solid at room temperature, just like palm shortening.
Coconut oil contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Due to its health benefits, coconut oil should be your top priority while thinking of a substitute for palm shortening.
Coconut oil is a very versatile ingredient and can be used for baking and cooking, just like palm shortening. It contains healthy fats too. Here’s the recipe for Indian style fried cabbage for you.
Coconut oil is a great substitute, especially for vegetarian and vegan recipes. Some people might find the taste of coconut oil overpowering. However, if you are willing to experiment and don’t have a problem with its taste, you should definitely use it in place of palm shortening.
Who doesn’t love butter? It adds an extremely rich flavor to baked products and in cooking. This is because of the presence of milk solids.
Butter, however, contains 20 % water, as opposed to palm shortening, which is 100% fat. So, using butter may change the texture of your food, especially baked goods.
Since it has a lower melting point than palm shortening, it may make the texture of your baked product a little flimsy compared to firm baked products obtained with shortening.
However, butter would be a great substitute for palm shortening if a different texture does not bother you. Moreover, the richness that butter adds to baked products especially is almost irreplaceable. Here is the copycat recipe for Whataburger honey butter for you.
Margarine is almost like butter and shortening had a baby. It has a thick, spreadable consistency, just like butter. However, it is made from vegetable oil. It has a slightly lesser fat content, and it contains unsaturated fats, which are better for health.
Since it has some water content, margarine does alter the texture of baked products a bit. Palm shortening would give a firmer product as compared to margarine. Here is the recipe for donauwelle made using margarine.
However, margarine is easily available and still works as a great palm shortening substitute. If the texture isn’t too much on your mind and you have some margarine handy, you can positively use it as a palm shortening substitute.
Lard is made by rendering fatty tissues of pigs. It is white and is semi-solid in texture. It is 100% fat, just like palm shortening.
Lard has a rich taste and adds the same to any baked product. It works as a great palm shortening substitute for various recipes. However, it isn’t the first choice of shortening for vegetarians and vegans, considering it is all animal fat.
Lard can contain high amounts of saturated fat. However, lard with lower amounts of saturated fat content is also available. Lard is the best choice if you want to add richness to your food. Here is the recipe for Hawaiian poi made using lard.
5. Vegetable Shortening
Like palm shortening is derived from palm oil, vegetable shortening is derived from vegetable oil. It is 100% fat and stays solid at room temperature.
Vegetable shortening is a great substitute for palm shortening. This is because they are essentially the same thing. They both have a neutral flavor and provide the same firm texture to food.
Moreover, vegetable shortening is very easily available in the market. It can be used as a substitute in any recipe in a 1:1 ratio.
6. Canola Oil
Canola oil is oil made from canola seeds. It is solid at room temperature and is much healthier than palm oil shortening. It has a high melting point, just like palm shortening. Hence, it can give a texture similar to palm oil shortening, making it a great substitute.
It also has an extremely neutral flavor. This makes it a great palm oil shortening substitute. However, the consistency of canola oil is liquid. Hence, the ratios while substituting it for palm shortening might differ.
Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is an extremely important ingredient in the Indian subcontinent. It is used for cooking and baking.
It has an extremely rich flavor and no amount of water. Hence it gives a texture very similar to palm shortening. For this reason, it is a great palm shortening substitute.
Ghee can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for palm shortening. However, an important thing to remember is that ghee is not vegan as it is made from dairy. Hence, it might not be the first choice for vegans.
Now you know all about palm shortening and its substitutes! However, are you still confused about which one would work best for your recipe? Just for that, I have classified it further as per suitability, availability, and flavor profile.
Most Suitable: The most suitable substitute for palm shortening would be vegetable shortening.
Easily Available: The most easily available palm shortening substitute is butter.
Best Flavor Profile: Ghee would provide the best flavor and texture while used as a substitute for palm shortening.
As we have reached the end of this article, I hope it has helped you understand all about palm shortening and its substitutes. Palm shortening is definitely one of the healthier forms of shortening and is completely vegan!
So the next time you decide to bake a pie or cookies, definitely do consider using palm shortening as it will give them a great texture.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Is palm shortening good for you?
Palm oil does have antioxidants. However, shortening consumed in high volumes can be bad for you.
What is the difference between palm shortening and coconut oil?
Palm shortening has more fats than coconut oil. Coconut oil is richer in minerals whereas palm shortening has more vitamin E and K.
Is palm shortening healthier than olive oil?
Palm shortening contains more saturated fat than olive oil, which makes it unhealthy as compared to olive oil.
Is palm shortening harmful to health?
As it contains high amounts of saturated fats, it can be harmful for people with cardiovascular issues.
Is vegetable oil healthier than palm oil?
Yes, vegetable oil is healthier than palm oil.