Shortening is one of the most useful tools in your kitchen. Its mild flavor is perfect for any recipes that don’t call for a flavored oil, and some people even think that shortening is a healthier alternative to butter. Plus, since shortening is vegetarian it’s a fantastic option for vegetarians and vegans.
But most shortening comes in large packages that can be difficult to store and may go bad before you finish the container.
Can you freeze shortening? Yes, shortening can be frozen, but you need to take some steps to help protect it first. Learn how to freeze shortening at home.
Thankfully, you’ll have a few options for how to store shortening to keep it healthy and stop it from going bad. Freezing works, but you’ll need to know a little more to help protect your shortening.
Here’s what you need to know.
Can You Freeze Crisco?
Crisco is one of the most popular brands of vegetable shortening out there. Its mild, slightly sweet flavor is the secret behind a lot of dishes, but it’s also one of the worst offenders when it comes to coming in large containers.
Can Crisco be frozen? Thankfully, yes, Crisco can be safely frozen without changing the properties of the shortening.
It doesn’t matter what kind of Crisco you’re trying to freeze. If you’re wondering can you freeze Crisco shortening sticks, you can, you just need to take a few precautions.
Don’t worry, we’ll talk more about the process of safely freezing Crisco and other kinds of shortening later in the article.
Does Shortening Freeze Well?
If you’re wondering how to freeze shortening, you should be asking a slightly different question first. That is: does shortening freeze well? After all, some things can be frozen, but the taste, texture, or other properties change in the process.
When it comes to shortening, shortening does freeze well most of the time, but you’ll need to be careful.
For one thing, shortening shouldn’t be frozen multiple times, which means you need to keep it frozen until you’re ready to thaw it completely. You can’t just take it in and out of the freezer without risking freezer burn and other changes.
It’s also worth trying a small bit of shortening before you freeze a whole container. Most shortening will stay the same flavor after freezing, but some kinds might change the flavor slightly.
Try freezing a couple of tablespoons for a week, thaw it, and taste it to see if it still tastes the same. If it does you can probably freeze your shortening for up to a year safely.
If the taste changes you might not want to freeze that brand, or you might need to do more to protect the shortening.
Pros and Cons of Freezing Shortening
Here are some of the most important pros and cons of freezing shortening.
- Last longer
- Helps prevent bacteria and mold
- Keeps the shortening from separating
- Helps large store large containers
- Freezer burn can change the texture and taste
- Repeated freezing and thawing will cause separation and flavor changes
How To Freeze Shortening
If you are interested in freezing shortening it’s important to think about how you’re going to freeze it.
For instance, you can freeze shortening in its original container, especially if it’s wrapped in some kind of paper or foil when you buy it. Or you can cut the shortening into smaller pieces, wrap them, and then freeze the smaller sections.
Crisco sticks are already packaged in a way that can be frozen effectively and easily. But you might want to use smaller portions if you’re trying to freeze a larger tub of Crisco.
Smaller portions might be a good idea if you’re not going to use a lot of shortening at once since you should avoid thawing frozen shortening more than once.
It’s important to remember that shortening needs to be wrapped to be frozen. You can’t freeze Crisco or another shortening in ice cube trays like other frozen goods.
There are a few options for how you can protect shortening in the freezer, including:
- Small plastic freezer bags.
- Wrapping in plastic wrap (wrap tightly)
- Tightly fit Tupperware containers
- Vacuum sealed containers
Once you’ve taken shortening out of the freezer you may be wondering what your other options are for storing it. Most shortening is considered shelf-stable, but that doesn’t mean it won’t go rancid if you store them on a shelf.
So how can you store shortening long term? Can you put Crisco in the fridge?
Yes, you can store shortening in the fridge. However, you want to keep Crisco and another shortening in a tightly sealed container, otherwise, it might start to pick up other flavors and smells from other foods stored in your fridge.
How Long Does Shortening Last In The Freezer?
Crisco and other shortenings can usually last up to a year in the freezer. They might still be safe to use after a year, but it’s more likely to have gotten the freezer-burned and lost some of its moisture in the freezer.
Tight wrapping and other storage methods can help, but a year is about the most you can expect without any changes to the shortening.
You might be able to use the shortening for some things, like deep frying, even after it’s been freezer burned. However, it probably won’t work very well for more delicate things like baked goods or pie crust since the moisture levels are different and the taste might have changed.
How Do You Thaw Shortening?
You can leave shortening out on the counter if you need to thaw it quickly. We don’t recommend microwaving or heating your shortening unless you need it in liquid form since it will take longer to firm back up than frozen shortening will take to thaw.
You can also take your shortening out of the freezer several hours ahead of time and let it thaw in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
The advantage of thawing your shortening on the counter is that it’s faster. But thawing faster can leave your shortening at risk of going rancid or changing texture, whereas gentler thawing in the fridge takes longer but does a better job of protecting the texture and flavor.
What Can I Use Shortening For?
Shortening is incredibly versatile stuff, so there are literally dozens or hundreds of possible uses. You can use shortening in almost any recipe that calls for butter or oil.
Just in case though, here are some ideas for inspiration:
Pie is one of the most popular uses for shortening, specifically pie crusts. That’s because the shortening helps create a flakey and flavorful crust, and is more neutral-flavored than butter.
Deep frying donuts is one of the most important parts of the process if you want to develop flavor and that delicious airy texture. Shortening is the perfect frying oil since its subtle flavor won’t change the flavor of your donuts. By the way, you can also freeze donuts before they go to waste.
Deep frying in shortening works for fried chicken the same way as it works for donuts. It helps protect the flavor of the chicken and also provides a lot of moisture to the meat and crispness to the crust.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Shortening Last?
Shortening is considered shelf-stable and can last a long time even if you just keep it on a counter or in a cabinet. You can only count on about 6 months though since the contaminants in your kitchen and the temperature of your home can change how long the shortening lasts.
If you want to store your shortening a little longer you can wrap and freeze it.
Can You Freeze Lard?
Like shortening, lard is relatively shelf-stable, but it can be frozen to help it last even longer. Also like shortening though, freezing lard is a process. You can’t just throw lard into the freezer and hope for the best, you’ll need to render the lard and protect it to help prevent freezer burn.
Freezing Crisco and other shortening is one of the best ways to preserve it, but it’s not a foolproof method. Always check the scent and appearance of your shortening before using it to make sure it’s still safe and has the properties you need for your cooking.
But, if you’ve stored it with the methods we recommend, chances are your shortening will be as delicious and effective as ever.