Liquid Shortening vs Oil: Mastering the Fats of the Kitchen

Liquid Shortening vs Oil: Mastering the Fats of the Kitchen

Written by: Dennis Reinhardt


Time to read 3 min


Picking the correct fat or oil for cooking and baking can have a big impact on the taste, texture, and look of your food. Out of all the different kinds of cooking fats, oil and liquid shortening are two of the most popular ones. This piece talks about the differences between oil and liquid shortening. It will help you choose the right fat for different cooking tasks.

How to Understand Liquid Shortening

Liquid shortening is often made from partly hydrogenated vegetable oils and is a popular choice in both home and business kitchens. People love it because it's smooth and stays stable when heated. It is usually used for baking, but because it has a high smoke point, it can also be used for frying. Because liquid shortening is smooth, it's easy to mix into recipes and doughs, which helps baked goods stay soft and moist.

The Role of Clear Frying Oil

On the other hand, clear pan oil like canola, sunflower, or corn oil is made to be used mostly for frying but can also be used for other cooking methods. It is refined to get rid of any impurities. This gives it a high smoke point and a clear look that makes it easy for cooks to see how long something is cooking. It's great for cooking because it doesn't add any extra flavor to the food and has a bland flavor.

Comparative Analysis: Liquid Shortening vs Oil

While both liquid shortening and oil are essential kitchen staples, they have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different cooking tasks:

Texture and Consistency : Liquid shortening is great for baking because it has a creamy texture. It mixes easily with other ingredients and helps make cookies and cakes that are soft and moist. Since oil is a liquid at room temperature, it is better for sauces, marinades, and cooking where you want a lighter texture.

Flavor Profile: Liquid shortening and oil are both made to have very little flavor so that the food's own flavor can stand out. But people with very good taste can pick out the slight differences in flavor, especially when used in high-heat cooking.

Heat Tolerance : Most liquid shortening doesn't catch fire easily, so it can be used for both baking and cooking. But clear frying oils are often treated to be able to handle even higher temperatures. This makes them perfect for high-heat cooking like deep-frying and sautéing.

Health Considerations : It's important to think about how your choice will affect your health. Trans fats, which can be found in liquid shortening, have been linked to a number of health problems. Most clear oils don't have trans fats, and they may be a better choice overall if they aren't processed.

Selecting the Right Fat for Your Cooking

Often the choice between oil and liquid shortening comes down to the needs of the recipe and the result you want:

For Baking : Most of the time, liquid shortening is better for baking because it makes baked things soft and moist.

For Frying : Peanut or canola oils, which have high smoke points, are often used for frying so that the food gets crispy without burning.

For General Cooking : The answer may come down to personal taste when it comes to texture and health concerns. Oils can be used in many ways and are often chosen because they are better.

Expert Tips for Using Fats in the Kitchen

  • If you are baking with liquid shortening, make sure it is well mixed in so the textures are even.

  • When frying, make sure the oil is at the right temperature before adding the food so that it doesn't soak up too much oil.

  • Keep oils and shortenings in a cool, dark place to keep their quality and make them last longer.


Both clear cooking oil and liquid shortening have their own benefits in the kitchen. By learning about their traits and the best ways to use them, you can improve the quality of your food and make choices that fit your cooking style and health goals.