According to the Wikipedia article on shortening, it seems as though margarine is considered shortening.

Has anyone substituted margarine for shortening in any recipes, and can you report your results?

  • When you say shortening, are you specifically referring to artificial shortening i.e. hydrogenated oil? Or are you including natural shortenings, lard for example? Aug 6, 2013 at 13:40
  • 1
    I have a peanut butter oatmeal cookie recipe that calls for "shortening"
    – Zmart
    Aug 6, 2013 at 23:15

2 Answers 2


Margarine is essentially 80% hydrogenated vegetable oil, the rest being mostly water and a touch of coloring and flavoring.

Shortening is essentially 100% hydrogenated vegetable oil.

That means that to truly substitute shortening versus margarine, you would need 5 units of margarine, versus 4 units of shortening plus one unit of water.

However, in many, many applications substituting 1:1 is well within the tolerance of recipes. This applies to almost all savory cooking, and most baking including breads, quick breads, cookies, and cakes.


I do not use margarine in any cookie recipes since the margarine is not what it used to be. The cookies that have margarine in them do not hold their shape and spread all over the cookie sheet. I use real butter.

  • 2
    If you want your cookies to hold their shape, you should use real shortening (pure hydrogenated oil), not butter. Butter gives a nice taste, but has a melt profile which is very different from shortening and not very good for keeping shape. Maybe margarine is even worse, I don't know because I have never baked with it and my cookbooks don't discuss it, but your solution is sub-optimal.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 23, 2013 at 0:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.