Is Crisco Bad For You? Is It Worth Trying?

When it comes to cooking and baking, many people reach for shortening as a staple ingredient in their recipes. One of the most popular brands of shortening is Crisco, which has been a household name for over a century. 

However, as people become more health-conscious, concerns have been raised about the potential negative impact of consuming Crisco.

In this article, we will dive into the ingredients of Crisco, explore its health benefits and risks, and look at what experts have to say about this widely used cooking ingredient. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of whether Crisco is bad for you or not.

What is Crisco?

Crisco is a brand of vegetable shortening that was first introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1911. It is made from vegetable oil that has been hydrogenated, a process that turns the oil from a liquid into a solid. Crisco is commonly used in baking and frying, and is also used as a substitute for butter or margarine in recipes.

Nutrition Facts of Crisco 

Crisco is a type of shortening that is primarily composed of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, usually soybean oil. It is mainly used in baking and frying due to its high smoke point, which allows it to be used at high temperatures without breaking down.

The nutritional facts for Crisco are as follows:

  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (12g)
  • Calories: 110
  • Total fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 2.5g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

The primary ingredient in Crisco is partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which is a source of trans fats. Trans fats have been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fat intake to less than 1% of total daily calories. Therefore, Crisco should be used sparingly and in moderation.

Pros and Cons

Crisco is a vegetable shortening that has been used in cooking and baking for over 100 years. Here are some potential pros and cons of using Crisco:


  • Versatile: Crisco can be used in a variety of cooking and baking applications, from frying to making pie crusts.
  • Long shelf life: Because Crisco is a processed product, it has a long shelf life and can be stored for a while without going bad.
  • Dairy-free: Crisco is dairy-free, which is a plus for people with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance.


  • High in trans fats: Until recently, Crisco contained high levels of trans fats, which are known to be unhealthy and increase the risk of heart disease. In response to concerns about trans fats, the formula for Crisco has been changed to reduce the amount of trans fats.
  • Processed: Some people prefer to use less-processed, more natural ingredients in their cooking and baking.
  • Not suitable for all recipes: Because Crisco is a solid fat, it is not always the best choice for recipes that call for liquid fats or oils.

It’s worth noting that the pros and cons of Crisco can vary depending on the specific recipe and cooking application. For example, while some people may avoid Crisco because it is processed, others may appreciate its versatility and long shelf life.

Health Benefits of Crisco 

Crisco is primarily used as a cooking and baking ingredient, and is not typically associated with significant health benefits. However, it is a source of fat, which is an essential nutrient that plays a role in hormone production, insulation, and cushioning for organs.

It is important to note that Crisco is a highly processed food and contains trans fats, which are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other health problems. Therefore, it is recommended to limit or avoid consumption of Crisco and other sources of trans fats.

What Do Medical Experts Say About Crisco?

Crisco is a brand of shortening that is commonly used in baking and cooking. Medical experts have varying opinions on the health effects of consuming Crisco. Some believe that consuming too much of it can be harmful to health, while others believe that it can be part of a healthy diet in moderation.

According to Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Crisco is a highly processed food that is high in saturated and trans fats, both of which are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.” 

He recommends limiting intake of foods containing Crisco and opting for healthier fats such as olive oil or avocado.

Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, adds that “while it is true that Crisco is high in saturated and trans fats, it can still be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.”

What do Health experts say about Crisco?

According to the American Heart Association, “Crisco contains 12 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. Saturated fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.

Trans fats are even worse than saturated fats in terms of their effects on your cholesterol profile. They not only raise your bad LDL cholesterol levels but also lower your good HDL cholesterol levels.

Trans fats are found in many baked goods and fried foods, such as doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes, as well as frozen pizza and fried foods.”

The AHA recommends limiting intake of saturated fats and eliminating trans fats altogether. Therefore, it is advised to use healthier alternatives like olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil.

Who Should Avoid Crisco?

Crisco is a highly processed, hydrogenated vegetable oil that contains trans fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other health issues.

As a result, health experts recommend limiting or avoiding the consumption of Crisco and other trans fat-containing products.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fats to less than 1% of your daily calorie intake, which is about 2 grams per day for an average person on a 2,000 calorie diet. Additionally, individuals with a history of heart disease or high cholesterol should avoid consuming trans fats altogether.

Alternatives to Crisco 

1. Butter: Butter is a popular alternative to Crisco as it is a natural and flavorful fat. It contains beneficial nutrients such as vitamins A, D, and E, and it can be used in a variety of cooking and baking applications.

2. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is another alternative to Crisco that is rich in healthy fats, including medium-chain triglycerides. It has a subtle coconut flavor and can be used in both cooking and baking.

3. Olive Oil: Olive oil is a healthy alternative to Crisco that is rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to have numerous health benefits. It can be used in many cooking applications and is particularly well-suited for sautéing and roasting.

It is important to note that each of these alternatives has a unique flavor and cooking profile, so it is important to choose the best option based on the specific recipe and personal taste preferences.


Is Crisco gluten-free?

Yes, Crisco is gluten-free.

Can I use Crisco in place of butter in recipes?

Yes, you can use Crisco in place of butter in recipes.

How long does Crisco last?

Crisco has a shelf life of about two years.

Does Crisco need to be refrigerated?

Crisco does not need to be refrigerated but can be stored in a cool, dry place.

Can I reuse Crisco after frying food?

Crisco should not be reused after frying food as it can break down and produce harmful chemicals.

Conclusion: Is Crisco bad for you?

Crisco is a product that has been used for decades in many households for baking and cooking purposes. While it contains high amounts of saturated fat, it has been reformulated to reduce trans fats and increase healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. 

However, there are still concerns about its potential health risks, including an increased risk of heart disease and other health problems. It is important to use Crisco and other similar products in moderation and to consider healthier alternatives when possible.

Overall, while Crisco may not be inherently bad for you, it should be consumed in moderation and with caution.


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  • Marixie Manarang, MT, undergrad MD

    Marixie Manarang is licensed Medical Laboratory Scientist and an undergraduate of Doctor of Medicine (MD). For one year, she completed her internship training in a government hospital, primarily catering to retired veterans and their dependents. Through her preceptorships in medical school, she gained exposure to patients from various medical departments. Marixie’s passion for writing stems from her excellent medical background, being a mother, and a strong desire to assist the elderly and others in need. Education: Our Lady of Fatima University Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Medicine (2012-2015), Angeles University Foundation Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Medicine (2009-2011), Angeles University Foundation Bachelors, Medical Technology (2004-2009)






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