Using Shortening in Cookie Recipes

Have you ever wondered about the purpose of shortening in cookie recipes? In culinary circles, it used to be a widely accepted part of cookie recipes, but now some bakers question its use. While butter or margarine is preferred by many, shortening can also lend a unique richness and texture to cookies that nothing else can. Here, we’ll explain exactly what shortening is, why it’s used in cookies recipes, and give you a tasty shortening cookie recipe to try at home.

What is Shortening?

Shortening is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature (think of Crisco or vegetable shortening). It is made up of 100% fat and can give a light, flaky texture to pastries, such as pies, and light, airy texture to quick breads and cookies.

Why Use Shortening in Cookie Recipes?

When using butter or margarine in cookie recipes, the natural fat will melt easily in the oven and spread across the cookie sheet, resulting in flatter cookies. Shortening, though, will stay solid and help the cookie’s shape remain more intact. This is why many cookies, such as those for gingerbread houses, often require use of shortening.

In general, baking with shortening will also result in less environmental humidity, which can prevent the cookie from becoming dense and hard. In addition, shortening cookies also tend to stay moist and soft longer than those made with butter.

Tasty Shortening Cookie Recipe

This tasty shortening cookie will be sure to please your friends and family!


– 1 cup shortening
– 1 cup sugar
– 2 large eggs
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– Granulated sugar (for rolling)


1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
4. Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients to form a dough.
5. Divide dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar, then place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
7. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.


Shortening can be a great option to use in cookies recipes. It can create a light, airy texture that butter or margarine can’t match, and help cookies maintain their shape while baking. Give this shortening cookie recipe a try and taste the difference!