Is there dairy in Crisco?

Crisco is a popular brand of shortening made from vegetable oils. Many people wonder if Crisco contains any dairy ingredients, especially those with dairy allergies or dietary restrictions like veganism. The quick answer is no, there is no dairy in Crisco. Crisco is 100% vegan and dairy-free.

What is Crisco?

Crisco is a brand of shortening produced by The J.M. Smucker Company. It was first introduced in 1911 by Procter & Gamble. The original Crisco shortening was made from vegetable oils, primarily cottonseed oil. Today’s Crisco is made from a blend of oils including soybean, fully hydrogenated palm, and other vegetable oils.

Crisco is sold in a few varieties:

  • Original all-vegetable shortening
  • Butter flavor shortening
  • Organic shortening
  • Zero trans fat shortening
  • All-natural shortening

Regardless of variety, Crisco products are non-dairy. They contain no milk, cream, butter, or any other dairy ingredient.

Common Ingredients in Crisco Shortening

Here are some of the main ingredients found in Crisco shortening products:

  • Soybean oil – Extracted from soybeans, soybean oil is the primary ingredient in Crisco. It gives Crisco its semisolid texture.
  • Fully hydrogenated oils – Oils like palm and cottonseed oil that have undergone full hydrogenation to turn liquid oils into solid fats.
  • Partially hydrogenated oils – Adding hydrogen to liquid oils makes them more solid. However, partial hydrogenation creates trans fats.
  • Monoglycerides – An emulsifier that helps bind ingredients together.
  • TBHQ – The preservative tertiary butylhydroquinone.
  • Citric acid – Added for flavor and as a preservative.
  • Natural and artificial flavors – Depending on the Crisco variety, natural butter flavors or artificial flavors are added.

As you can see, the ingredient list contains no milk products, lactose, casein, whey, or any other dairy derivatives. Crisco shortening is entirely vegan.

Why Crisco Has No Dairy

There are a few reasons why Crisco intentionally contains no dairy ingredients:

  • Adds versatility – By keeping Crisco dairy-free, it can be used by people with milk allergies or dietary restrictions like veganism or lactose intolerance.
  • Extends shelf life – Dairy ingredients can shorten the shelf life of packaged foods. Leaving them out keeps Crisco shelf-stable.
  • Reduces costs – Dairy ingredients are more expensive than the vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats used to make Crisco.
  • Improves performance – The plant-based oils in Crisco provide the right texture and performance for baking/cooking needs.

Being dairy-free is central to Crisco’s identity and benefits. Even Crisco’s butter flavor and organic varieties contain no milk-derived ingredients.

Crisco Shortening Uses

Here are some of the common uses of Crisco shortening:

  • Baking – Adds tenderness and richness to baked goods like cookies, cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, etc. Crisco creates flaky pie crusts and chewy cookies.
  • Frying – With a high smoke point, Crisco can be used for deep frying and pan frying with less risk of burning.
  • Sautéing – Provides a smooth texture when sautéing foods like vegetables.
  • Roasting – Can be used to roast vegetables and meats.
  • Icing/frosting – Whipped Crisco makes a fluffy and creamy icing or frosting.
  • Non-stick – Greases pans and prevents food from sticking.

The dairy-free and neutral flavor profile of Crisco shortening make it quite versatile in cooking and baking. People often use it instead of butter or other fats containing dairy.

Substituting Butter with Crisco

Butter is a popular baking ingredient, but contains dairy. Those avoiding dairy for health or personal reasons can substitute butter with Crisco in recipes. Here is how to substitute butter with Crisco:

Butter Crisco
1 cup 1 cup
1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon

Crisco can typically be swapped for butter at a 1:1 ratio. However, there are a few differences to keep in mind:

  • Crisco has a neutral flavor unlike the rich, creamy taste of butter.
  • Baked goods made with Crisco will feel a bit more dense or greasy.
  • Butter contains some water so it makes baked goods like cookies spread more.
  • Adjust cooking times/temps since Crisco browns faster than butter.

That said, Crisco still performs well in place of butter for most recipes. Cookies, cakes, pie crusts, and pastries can all be made successfully with Crisco as a butter substitute.

Nutrition Comparison

Here is a nutritional comparison between one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of original Crisco shortening:

Nutrient Butter Crisco
Calories 102 110
Total Fat 12g 13g
Saturated Fat 7g 2g
Trans Fat 0.4g 3g
Carbohydrates 0g 0g
Protein 0g 0g

As shown, Crisco and butter have a similar calorie and fat content. However, Crisco contains less saturated fat. It also has more trans fat due to the partial hydrogenation process. Neither contains any carbs or protein.

Is Margarine Dairy-Free?

Like Crisco, margarine is another dairy-free butter substitute used in cooking and baking. However, not all margarine is dairy-free. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Regular margarine – Contains milk ingredients and is not dairy-free or vegan.
  • Non-dairy margarines – Varieties like soybean, olive oil, or coconut oil margarines have no dairy and are vegan.
  • Margarine spreads – Can go either way. Some contain whey or other milk derivatives while other spreads are dairy-free.

To be sure your margarine is non-dairy, read ingredient labels closely. Look for the vegan certification symbols as well. Many big brands offer dairy-free margarine options.

Common Questions

Does Crisco have casein in it?

No, Crisco does not contain casein. Casein is a protein found in milk products. Since Crisco has no dairy ingredients whatsoever, it does not contain casein.

Is Crisco oil the same as vegetable oil?

No, Crisco oil is different from plain vegetable oil. Crisco oil is a blended oil, while vegetable oil is typically just soybean oil. Crisco oil contains soybean, palm, and canola oils to create a neutral blended oil.

Can you use Crisco for vegan baking?

Yes, Crisco is a popular choice for vegan baking. All Crisco products are 100% dairy-free and suitable for a vegan diet. Crisco gives similar performance to butter without using any animal products.

Does butter flavor Crisco have dairy?

No, even Crisco’s butter flavored shortening contains no dairy ingredients. It uses natural and artificial butter flavors to mimic the taste of butter, but is still entirely dairy-free and vegan.

The Bottom Line

Crisco shortening contains absolutely no dairy derivatives like milk, cream, or whey. The original Crisco and all its varieties rely solely on vegetable oils. Crisco is dairy-free and vegan, making it a useful alternative to butter in cooking, baking, and frying.

So in answer to the original question – no, there is no dairy in Crisco shortening. Crisco provides the rich taste and baking performance of butter without using any animal products.

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