The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

All shortenings and shortening substitutes contain trans fats? This is news to me.

jvlin's picture

All shortenings and shortening substitutes contain trans fats? This is news to me.

I'm looking for a trans fat-free shortening for frying donuts, and my distributor told me directly that all oils of this nature (crisco, palm oil, shortening blends) contain trace amounts of trans fats, as low as 0g (under 0.5g but higher than 0.1g). This is disappointing, because I really wanted a product that was strictly trans fat-free.

I cannot use any sort of liquid oil, as it makes donuts taste greasy and unpalatable.

Is it really true that there is no real trans fat-free shortening for frying donuts in? Thanks!

carltonb's picture

I have been told similar information. Almost all shortenings for frying contain some trans fats. Most are so minuscule in amounts just like you said. I have tried my non trans fat shortening like AP, hi ratio and such, but do not withstand the high heat.

Though I can not get a company rep to publicly state it, I believe that all shortenings that say they have no trans fats contain some because of the process for making the shortenings.


Carlton Brooks CCE, CEPC, ACE

pmccool's picture

So long as you stick to the non-hydrogenated kind. 


yy's picture

Natural (unhydrogenated) lard is trans fat free, although I'm not sure how accessible it is. You would also have to disclose that your donuts are fried in an animal product.

Are you sure you want to give up on liquid oil? In my experience, the greasiness level has more to do with frying temperature and technique than it does with the type of oil used, since all fats are liquid at frying temperatures.

dabrownman's picture

animal unhydrogenated lard (like my sopes) have to taste way better than any other kind and are probably illegal in NYC :-)  But no trans fats.

PaddyL's picture

I switched from Crisco to peanut oil for doughnuts with no greasy problems at all.  The only problem I had with liquid oil was getting rid of it, so I'm thinking of going back to Crisco simply because, when it solidifies, it's easier to clean up.  Since I only make doughnuts once or twice a year, I don't see the harm in solid fat.

gerhard's picture

Taste  not so good when cold, I think it is that the cold oil coats your tongue and doesn't easily dissipate.  In my experience lard is great for pie crust but when used for frying it smokes and it leaves a unpleasant lingering after taste.  To me doughnuts are an occasional indulgence and not  consumed in large enough quantity to worry about their health effects. 


gerhard's picture

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Daniel Rennal's picture
Daniel Rennal

Coconut oil is the next best thing to lard if you can't find it.  It's very stable at high temperatures and is excellent for frying, or sauteing or roasting or for about a thousand other things, if you don't want too much of a coconut flavor there are more clarified kinds that you can purchase that have an almost neutral flavor.   and it's solid at room temperature, melts around 76 degrees.

Eric Gustafson's picture
Eric Gustafson

Hi everyone I will start my post by introducing myself. My name is Eric Gustafson and I'm the CEO of Coast Packing Company located in Vernon, CA. Coast is an edible renderer of animal fats and we produce shortenings and oils. Coast is a family owned and operated business and will be celebrating our 92nd anniversary at the end of this month. I am the 4th generation of my family to lead the company which was founded by my great grandfather in 1922. I do not want to provide a shameless plug for our company but I found this website while doing some research on Trans Fats and could not resist. I hope you do not mind me helping and shedding some light on your questions. 

First its it's important to recognize some facts. There is no such thing as Trans fat free. All oils and shortenings contain some traces of Trans fat, i.e., soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, Palm oil, etc... Also, there are good Trans fats and bad Trans fats. Good Trans fats are naturally occurring and commonly found in beef and dairy. Bad Trans fats are the man made mainly from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Most agencies continue to recognize this and as a result specifically state this. In California AB 97 banned artificial Trans fat and clearly set out to differentiate between harmful artificial Trans fat and natural Trans fat. The FDA is currently taking open comments on their pending decision to remove partially hydrogenated vegetable oils/shortenings from GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status. 

Now for the sake of time and not boring you all I will tell you that if you are looking for a Zero Trans Fat based shortening for baking or frying you can use Lard that does not contain hydrogenated Lard and/or Beef Tallow shortening. Lard has zero Trans fat and Beef Tallow has minimal traces of Natural Trans fat which is not considered harmful. The traces of Natural Trans fat are small enough that we are able to claim Zero Trans fat per FDA and USDA labeling requirements. 

If you have any questions you can feel free to call 323-277-7700 or e mail, . We market a full line of animal fat shortening products for all types of baking and frying. If you want excellent Donuts our Supreme and Golden Bake shortenings will do a great job and have an extremely high smoke point. Besides our full line of animal fat shortenings we also sell vegetable oils and shortenings.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share a little bit about our company and shed some light on Trans fats.

Eric R. Gustafson