If you are making a homemade pie crust but don’t have any shortening on hand, or just want a dairy-free alternative, there are a number of substitutes you can use. And each of them will make a tasty, flaky crust perfect for any type of pie.
We bake a lot of pies in my house, and while I’m not opposed to using a store bought crust now and again, I usually make my crust homemade.
And there have been a number of times where I’ve started making a crust only to discover I’m all out of shortening. And for that reason, I’ve tested a number of shortening substitutes and will let you know which create the best pie crust.
So what are the best shortening substitutes for homemade pie crust?
The top substitutes for shortening when making crust are lard, butter, mashed bananas, avocado, and margarine.
Make sure to read on for how to use each of these alternatives in your recipe.
Related: Can You Use Expired Pie Crust
Shortening for Pie Crust Alternatives
Whether you’re baking a batch of pies for the holidays or just one for a family dessert, it’s important to know which shortening replacement will provide the best results.
Shortening imparts a rich flavor as well as the classic flaky pie crust texture we all know and love. And that comes from the high fat content of shortening (it’s 100% fat).
Each of the alternatives below will allow you to make a delicious pie crust, but some of them have a much lower fat content which will result in a change in texture. But they will all work well in any pie crust recipe.
Related: Things to do with Expired Pie Crust
Lard may not be as popular as it once was, but it is my go to substitute for shortening when making homemade pie crust. This versatile fat is produced from rendered animal fat and provides a rich flavor and flaky texture to any homemade pie crust.
In fact, lard is what I use to make the majority of my pie crusts. It is a versatile baking fat that is well worth keeping stocked in your kitchen.
Related: Substitutes for Lard
Equivalent1 tablespoon of lard equals 1 tablespoon of shortening
The most commonly used substitute for shortening is butter. While it contains less fat than shortening, it is a great replacement when making a crust for any type of pie. You also likely have butter in the fridge, making it the most convenient of the subs for shortening.
Go with unsalted butter if you have it, but if all you have is salted butter just reduce the other added salt in your recipe.
Related: Butter vs Lard
Equivalent1 tablespoon of butter equals 1 tablespoon of shortening
Yes mashed bananas can be used instead of shortening. It is a popular vegan friendly and dairy-free option that doesn’t require a lot of recipe adjustments to use.
Keep in mind that you will have a flatter crust due to the lack of fat. But if dairy free is a requirement for your baking, then this is an excellent substitute.
Equivalent1 1/2 tablespoons of mashed bananas equals 1 tablespoon of shortening
Another excellent non dairy shortening substitute you can use to make a homemade pie crust is pureed avocado. Use fresh, ripe avocado and simply process or mash it by hand before adding it to your other ingredients.
It will create a denser crust but the flavor is subtle and works well with all types of pies.
Equivalent1 tablespoon of mashed or pureed avocado equals 1 tablespoon of shortening
I do not use margarine in my kitchen often, but if it is all you have on hand it will work as a shortening substitute in a pinch. But if you have any of the other substitutes on this list, use them when making your crust.
It produces a fairly flat and dense crust, and the flavor is not to my liking. But if you are accustomed to baking with margarine then the flavor will likely not bother you.
Equivalent1 tablespoon of margarine equals 1 tablespoon of shortening
Shortening Replacement in Pie Crust FAQ
Can I use butter in place of shortening for pie crust?
Yes, butter can be used instead of shortening in pie crust. Butter is probably the most common substitute for the classic shortening pie crust recipe. While it offers a lower fat content than shortening, butter produces a flaky and flavorful pie crust ideal for any type of pie.
Can I use coconut oil instead of shortening?
Coconut oil is a great dairy free sub for shortening and produces an excellent pie crust. While it will be a bit denser than a crust made with shortening, if you enjoy the flavor of coconut it can be used in any pie crust recipe.
Can I use vegetable oil in place of shortening when making pie crust?
I do not recommend using vegetable oil for a pie crust. It will result in a flat and dense crust that lacks in flavor. You are better off using butter, lard, or a dairy-free option such as mashed banana when making a homemade pie crust.