On one side, you have the iconic blue can of Crisco, a staple in American kitchens since the early 20th century. On the other side, a golden-hued canola oil, boasting its heart-healthy reputation and versatility. So, which is better, Crisco or canola oil? To find that out, let’s take a closer look at these two ingredients side by side…
Comparing Crisco vs canola oil
|Crisco/Vegetable shortening||Canola oil|
|Solid or Liquid?||Solid||Liquid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||360 degrees||225-445 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low, moderate, and high heat|
|Allergens||Soy, palm, tree nut||Rapeseed, canola|
Differences between Crisco and canola oil
Let’s start by understanding the main differences between Crisco and canola oil.
Crisco is a brand of vegetable shortening that has been a staple in kitchens for decades. It’s made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and has a solid texture at room temperature.
On the other hand, canola oil is a type of vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the canola plant. It remains liquid at room temperature and is known for its neutral flavor.
Baking and cooking with Crisco vs canola oil
Crisco and canola oil have distinct roles in the kitchen.
Canola oil is better suited for high-heat cooking methods such as frying and sautéing, thanks to its higher smoke point. It’s a versatile oil that works well with a wide range of dishes, from crispy fried chicken to stir-fried vegetables.
Crisco, with its lower smoke point, is commonly used in baking to enhance texture and flavor in pastries and cakes. Crisco’s solid texture is ideal for creating flaky pie crusts, tender biscuits, and delicious cookies. It adds richness and a desirable melt-in-your-mouth quality to these baked goods.
On the other hand, canola oil’s liquid form makes it perfect for moist cakes, muffins, and quick breads. Its neutral flavor allows other ingredients to shine, making it a versatile choice for various recipes.
For instance, when I’m preparing a buttery pie crust, I turn to Crisco to achieve that perfect flakiness. But when I’m whipping up a batch of light and airy blueberry muffins, canola oil is my go-to.
Can Crisco and canola oil be substituted for each other?
Crisco and canola oil can be used as substitutes for each other in some recipes, but with certain considerations. While both are cooking fats, Crisco is a solid shortening, and canola oil is a liquid oil.
When substituting, use an equal amount of melted Crisco for liquid canola oil or an equal amount of canola oil for solid Crisco. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor of the final dish may be slightly different due to the variation in their properties.
Nutrition: Crisco vs canola oil
In terms of calories and fat content, canola oil and Crisco are relatively similar.
However, Crisco contains a slightly higher amount of saturated fat compared to canola oil. Saturated fats are generally considered less healthy compared to unsaturated fats found in canola oil.
Canola oil is also a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy. Both options are free of cholesterol but canola oil may contain small amounts of trans fats, while Crisco is trans fat-free.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Crisco/Vegetable shortening||Canola oil|
|Polyunsaturated||8 g||3.9 g|
|Monounsaturated||3 g||8.9 g|
|Saturated||2 g||1.0 g|
|Trans||0 g||0.1 g|
|Total Fat||14 g||14 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store Crisco and canola oil
When it comes to storing Crisco or canola oil, the key is to keep them in a cool and dry place. In general, it’s best to store them in a pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight and heat sources like the stove or oven.
For Crisco, you can leave it at room temperature, as it has a solid consistency at that temperature. Just make sure to keep the lid tightly sealed to prevent any air or moisture from getting in. If you live in a particularly warm climate, you might want to store it in the fridge to maintain its freshness and prevent it from melting.
As for canola oil, it’s best to store it in a cool, dark place, away from heat and light. Direct exposure to light can cause the oil to go rancid more quickly. So, placing it in a pantry or cabinet away from sunlight is ideal. Just like with Crisco, ensure the cap is tightly closed to maintain its quality.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to check the expiration dates on each and use them before they expire for the best flavor and quality.
Crisco vs canola oil: Which is better
Now, the million-dollar question: which is better, Crisco or canola oil?
Taking into account the versatility, nutritional benefits, and ease of use, my personal choice would be canola oil. Its neutral flavor, liquid form, and heart-healthy properties make it a winner overall. While Crisco has its place for baking flaky pastries, canola oil is better for everyday cooking purposes.
Yes, you can use Crisco as a substitute for canola oil in many recipes, but keep in mind that the texture and flavor may be slightly different due to the solid nature of Crisco compared to the liquid consistency of canola oil.
The answer depends on the specific cooking or baking needs, as Crisco provides a unique texture and flavor in certain recipes, while oil offers a healthier and lighter option for frying and general cooking purposes.
Yes, Crisco can be a suitable substitute for vegetable oil in various recipes, but it’s important to note that Crisco is a solid fat, so it may affect the texture and flavor of the final dish compared to using a liquid vegetable oil.