Log in Register

Follow Nigella on: Facebook Twitter Vimeo Pinterest Instagram

Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

Submit your query

Please note, we are only able to answer questions selected for publication and aren't able to enter into personal correspondence.

Latest Queries


    Hi, I have a few american recipes asking for nonhydrogenated shortening, margarine and coconut oil, what does this mean and where can I purchase them from in the UK? please could you help? Many Thanks

    From the nigella team:

    Hydrogenation is a chemical process which adds hydrogen to a fat. It used to be a popular process for fats in the food industry as it would turn what would be liquid fats at room temperature (such as vegetable oils) into solid fats. It also improves the keeping qualities and shelf life of the fats. However the process tends to produce trans fats which have been identified as contributing to cholesterol build up in the bloodstream, so now many people will try to avoid hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated products. In the UK if the shortening or margarine contains hydrogentaed oils then this must be stated on the packaging so it should be clear from a quick read of the ingredient list.

    We understand that Cookeen and the Flora products in the UK are free from hydrogenated oils. In the US we understand that Earth Balance is free from hydrogenated oils. If you don't mind saturated animal fats then butter can be used instead of margarine and lard instead of vegetable shortening.

Need some help in the kitchen?

Ask Nigella

Submit your query

Remember you can use the search bar to delve through our Kitchen Queries archives.