5 Shortening Substitutes for Frosting (All You Need to Know)

When making frosting, you need the shortening properties to create a light and fluffy texture. However, many people nowadays prefer other alternatives. Either they want something with lesser trans fat, or they have no access to shortening in their kitchen. So, if you’re making frosting, you may wonder about the substitutes you can use.

You can use five alternatives rather than shortening when making your frosting. These products are butter, coconut oil, ghee, margarine, or vegan butter. The only thing to note is that there will be a slight change in texture, so learning these changes can help you adjust your recipe.

The thing about frosting is that it needs the texture and other properties of shortening to make a fluffy and light frosting. Thus, if you don’t want to use shortening and you want healthier alternatives, you need to make some adjustments through your preparation.

In this article, you’ll see our in-depth take on each of these five alternatives you can use and how you can adjust them to make a frosting even without using a shortening.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Shortening Substitutes for FrostingPin

Can you substitute shortening for frosting?

You need the shortening to create a light and fluffy texture if you’re making some frosting. However, if you don’t have access to shortening or you want to avoid using such, you can always find other alternatives. 

For instance, some great alternatives are already available in your kitchen. Let’s check out each one and how you can use them instead of shortening.

Shortening substitutes for frosting

Below are five of the products you can use as an alternative to shortening. 


If you have no shortening or don’t want to use such, you can get a stick of butter as your alternative. One thing to note is that butter contains other components besides fat, while shortening is pure fat. 

For this reason, you can adjust your recipe by adding a bit more butter rather than putting equal amounts. Also, it will help if your butter stays at room temperature, or at least soft enough, but not completely melted.

With such an option, you may not end up with the best result in fluffiness and lightness in texture. However, you can always enjoy a rich buttery flavor in your frosting.

Coconut Oil

If you don’t want to use butter, you can opt for coconut oil, and you’ll benefit from this since it has a similar texture to shortening. Another good thing is that it’s vegan-friendly.

One thing to note when using coconut oil as an alternative is that it will give a hint of coconut flavor to your frosting. Some people may enjoy that hint, while others may not.

If you’re part of the latter, you can look for refined coconut oil rather than unrefined. This way, you’ll also get a subtle flavor as you would with a shortening.

Also, you should make sure that the coconut oil isn’t completely melted when you make your frosting. It would be ideal if it’s at room temperature since it will not be solid, but it will not be so fluid.


Another ideal alternative you can use is ghee, also known as clarified butter. In general, it’s a better alternative than butter when you’re making frosting.

The difference between ghee and butter is that the former was rid of its milk solids and water. Thus, it results in a purer form of fat. 

It’s a great alternative to shortening as well. However, make sure the ghee is not entirely melted when you use it to make the frosting. 

In any recipe that calls for shortening, such as frosting, you can replace it with one-to-one to give it a more buttery flavor.

When you use ghee instead of shortening, you can be sure that your frosting will always have a rich flavor that you will surely enjoy.


Aside from being a flavor component, margarine also makes an ideal alternative to shortening. 

The only thing is that margarine contains water and comes with lower fat content. Thus, you need to adjust the recipe by adding more margarine to compensate for the lack of shortening.

For instance, you can compensate for a cup shortening by adding a cup and an extra tablespoon of margarine. Depending on how much frosting you make, you can add more or less margarine.

Vegan Butter

There is so much vegan butter available on the market. Thus, it would be good to be able to use it instead of shortening in any recipe that calls for such.

To get the proper fat-to-water ratio, add one or two teaspoons of shortening to each cup of water.

When you want to make some frosting but are concerned about what’s in the ingredients, vegan butter might be a terrific substitute for shortening.

Like butter and ghee, though, make sure your vegan butter is not completely melted, or at least it’s soft and at room temperature. This way, the process will be manageable, and the results will be much more similar to shortening.


In a nutshell, you can use five alternative shortening substitutes in place of shortening when you are making your frosting. You can use butter, coconut oil, ghee, margarine, or vegan butter. There will be a slight difference in texture with this change, so it is beneficial to learn these changes now to adjust your recipe.

When it comes to frosting, the thing about it is that it needs the texture and other properties of shortening to make it look fluffy and light. In other words, if you do not want to use shortening and you want healthier alternatives, you will need to make some adjustments to your cooking process.


Image credits – Canva

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