Shortening, made from solidified and hydrogenated vegetable oils, gives you a substitute for butter and oil in a recipe. Most shortening is flavorless, although butter-flavored versions are available. When you use shortening in recipes that call for melted butter or shortening, you can melt it using the same method used for butter. Shortening has a higher melt temperature than butter, so it can withstand more heat and may take longer to melt completely.
Measure the amount of shortening needed for the recipe into a medium-size saucepan. If you have sticks of shortening, cut the measured stick amount into 1/2-inch-thick slices to speed melting.
Heat the pan over medium heat. The shortening will begin to melt when the temperature approaches 117 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stir the shortening constantly with a spoon as it melts, so the heat stays evenly distributed and the shortening doesn't scorch. Pour the shortening into a separate bowl once it has melted so it doesn't continue to cook, and possibly scorch, in the heated pan.
- For quicker melting, place the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 20-second increments until it melts to the desired consistency.
- Vegetable shortening will re-solidify after melting when it sits at room temperature, so melt it immediately before you'll use it.
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