Almost every baking recipe calls for some kind of fat to be added to retain the moisture, flavor and texture of the baked good. This can take the form of oil, shortening or butter. However, while oil and shortening are full fat, butter has a slight amount of water. These items are interchangeable, however the end result will be slightly different. Butter adds a creamier flavor to any recipe and, in a pinch, can easily be used instead of shortening.
Things You'll Need
Chill the butter before use so that it retains a solid nature, similar to shortening, when baked.
Read the recipe to figure out how much shortening is called for.
Measure out the same amount of butter as the amount of shortening that is called for. The ratio is one part butter to one part shortening — 1 cup of butter is equivalent to 1 cup of shortening.
If the butter is salted, remove 1/2 tsp. of salt from the recipe for every 1 cup of butter used. For example, if 1/2 cup salted butter is substituted for 1/2 cup shortening, remove 1/4 tsp. salt from the recipe.
If the recipe does not turn out as moist as you wanted it, add another 1/8 cup of butter in addition to the one to one ratio when baking. For example, use 1 1/8 cup of butter for every 1 cup of shortening called for.
Remember that butter is around 80% fat while shortening is 100% fat, which will always cause the end result of a recipe to be slightly different when one is substituted for the other.
References and ResourcesBaking 911: The Pantry: FATS
AllRecipes: Common Ingredient Substitutions
The Food Thesaurus: Food Subs: Oils
Utah State University: Extension Frequently Asked Questions
Kansas State University: Ingredient Substitutions