Is there something that I can use as a substitute for vegetable oil in a recipe? I'm actually making cornbread (I think it matters), and normally the recipe calls for 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Unfortunately I just realized that I'm out. Can I use butter or shortening instead? If so, roughly how much would I try?
On first blush, you will probably want a fat or oil with similar qualities as the "vegetable" oil you're replacing, such as olive oil. Butter has a much lower a smoke point, however, cornbread recipes exist that use butter or lard. I'd be willing to experiment, particularly if you're used to cooking with butter. (Just be careful with heat.) As far as quantity, I'd use a bit less than 1/3 of a cup, but that's me being defensive as I don't know the recipe you're using.
I've been making cornbread for decades, and quit using oil at all about 20 years ago.
Corn meal, flour, a little sugar, rising agents, salt, milk, an egg...
It comes out fine. A little bacon fat can make it tastier.