Kathleen Purvis Q&A

Can you swap oil for margarine?

November 6, 2012 

Q: All of my cookie recipes call for sticks of margarine (aka oleo). Can I use oil instead?

Oil, margarine and butter aren’t interchangeable in baking.

Butter gives cookies both crispness and that unbeatable butter flavor. Butter substitutes, such as margarine and shortening, usually make softer cookies. Although some butter substitutes are designed to be lower-fat replacements for butter, make sure you use margarine that’s labeled for use in baking. Tub butter substitutes may have water beaten in.

Although you can substitute oil for a solid fat in baking, the results aren’t all that great. Oil may make the cookies heavy and greasy. But if you need to replace dairy products in a recipe, you can use a butter substitute made for baking or try the new solid coconut oil that’s available in most supermarkets.

Email questions about food and cooking to Kathleen Purvis at kpurvis@charlotteobserver.com.

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