****There is more thorough information on an updated blog post ‘Cooking 201: Substitutes for Fats: Oils, Butter, Shortening, & More‘***
But there is another class of fats that we commonly use in baking: oil. Some basic guidelines and substitutes are below.
Note these are regular substitutions; I’ll be covering “healthy substitutes” in a separate post.
If you’re making something such as cookies that requires the creaming/fluffing together of the softened butter and sugar, I would NOT recommend substituting oil. The incorporation of air is vital for the proper texture of the final product.
If you’re making pie crusts, I would not suggest using oil in place of butter, shortening, or lard.
If you’re making cakes or muffins (or frying something), this is the ideal place to substitute oil for butter.
Substituting olive oil for vegetable oil in baking is done by some…if you wish to attempt this, make sure you get neutral or “late harvest” oil flavors. Strong olive oil flavor does not come across well in baked goods (obviously).
If substituting for high-heat cooking, make sure you pick an oil with a high smoking point: peanut and grapeseed are the most commonly recommended.
Vegetable oil, for baking
1 C. oil= 1 C. applesauce
1 C. oil= 1 C. fruit puree
1 C. oil= 1 & 1/4 C. melted unsalted butter, but you need to subtract 2 oz. of liquid from elsewhere in the recipe (example, reduce milk by 2 oz.).
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 C. oil= 1 C. lard
1 C. oil= 1 C. vegetable shortening
1 C. olive oil= 1 C. canola oil or vegetable oil (might be slight taste difference)
Butter can sometimes be used- this is a “hot topic” among those who get passionate about such things. I’ll leave this up to personal preference and the experts.