Can You Use Crisco As Lube, Or For Anal Sex?

While technically safe, Crisco might not be the best choice as a personal lubricant due to possible irritation, infection, condom breakage, and other issues.
Photograph Of Crisco Jar On White Tabletop With Blurred Bedding In The Distant Background
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Updated:July 2023

In some situations, yes — you may be able to use Crisco as a personal lubricant safely but there are several caveats to consider first.

Here’s why:

  • Crisco is vegetable shortening made from a blend of soybean and palm oils, which will degrade barriers made from latex or polyisoprene, including condoms, dental dams, and diaphragms — putting you and your partner at risk for unintended pregnancy and STI transmission.
  • If you are prone to vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections, any oil-based lubricant (including Crisco) can increase your risk of developing another infection.
  • Crisco can clog your pores and trap bacteria beneath the surface of your skin, leading to breakouts, irritation, and infection in and around your genitals and anus.
  • Even though Crisco is edible, it shouldn’t be used for oral sex because its thick consistency can be a choking hazard.
  • The vegetable oils used in the manufacture of Crisco (soybean and palm oils) may be potential allergens.
  • Crisco can permanently stain your sheets and clothing, and it will degrade sex toys made from latex and jelly rubber.

With so many drawbacks, Crisco is not going to be a great lube alternative for everyone.

Additionally, it’s important to note that Crisco is a brand.

Although it’s become synonymous with vegetable shortening, the brand produces a variety of shortening products and cooking oils.

In this article, however, we’ll be talking specifically about Crisco shortening — and vegetable shortening in general.

In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about using Crisco as a personal lubricant, including: 

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Lube Alternatives and Everything Lube hubs, in-depth and evolving resources that comprehensively explore all aspects of personal lubricants from the different types and how to use them, to ingredients and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.

Can You Use Crisco As Lube?

The short answer is yes — but you probably shouldn’t.

We’ve all been there. You’re in the kitchen making your grandma’s famous banana bread recipe and you’re feeling a little frisky.

You look down at the can of Crisco and think, “I can use this as lube, right?”

Not exactly!

In a pinch, it’s tempting to search your pantry for an alternative lube option. If you come across Crisco, it may be best to leave it in the kitchen.

Here’s what you need to know about using Crisco as a lube:

  • Crisco is shortening made of vegetable oil — primarily soybean and palm — and you shouldn’t use it for many of the same reasons why vegetable oil isn’t a good lube alternative.
  • Any oil-based lube will degrade latex or polyisoprene condoms, diaphragms, or dental dams, which can put you and your partner at risk for STI transmission or unintended pregnancy.
  • Oils in general (including Crisco) can increase your risk of developing vaginal infections if you’re prone to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
  • Crisco can clog your skin’s pores, trapping bacteria beneath the surface that can lead to breakouts, irritation, and infection
  • Crisco is made from a blend of soybean and palm oils, which may be allergens to some. Additionally, off-brand vegetable shortening can be made from a variety of other oil-based ingredients that you may be allergic to or sensitive to.
  • Although it is edible, it shouldn’t be used for oral sex due to its thickness — it can present a choking hazard if swallowed.
  • Like most oils and oil-based lubricants, Crisco can permanently stain fabrics and is difficult to remove thoroughly from the skin.
  • Crisco will also degrade sex toys made from latex or jelly rubber.

Crisco is basically vegetable oil in solid form. This means it has all of the same drawbacks as using vegetable oil as lube.

Any oil-based lubricant will degrade latex or polyisoprene barriers like condoms, diaphragms, and dental dams, putting you and your partner at risk for unintended pregnancy or STIs.

However, even if you’re using condoms made from nitrile, lambskin, or polyurethane, Crisco may not be a great choice as a lubricant.

Any oil-based lubricant can increase your risk of developing vaginal infections like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis if you’re prone to either.

Crisco can clog the pores of your skin, trapping harmful bacteria beneath the surface that can lead to irritation, breakouts, or even serious infection.

Although branded Crisco is made from soybean and palm oils, it’s easy enough to scan the label for potential allergens.

The same may not be true of off-brand vegetable shortenings that use a variety of other oils (some of which may be nut-based).

If you have sensitive skin or numerous allergies, it’s probably best to skip using vegetable shortening as lube.

Even though Crisco is meant for cooking and therefore completely edible, it has a thick consistency that can be a choking hazard if swallowed during oral sex.

Additionally, Crisco is essentially oil in solid form — which is very difficult to remove thoroughly from the skin without plenty of soap and scrubbing.

For this reason, even when it’s used during external masturbation only, you’re likely to irritate delicate genital skin while trying to wash it off.

Finally, as an oil, Crisco will permanently stain fabrics (like bedding or clothing) and it will degrade sex toys made from latex or jelly rubber.

You can use Crisco as lube on silicone toys safely.

All caveats aside, if Crisco doesn’t match what you need from a personal lubricant, it’s probably best to find a safer alternative or a store-bought lube.

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Can You Use Crisco As Vaginal Lube?

Although it may be perfectly safe for some folks, you may not want to use Crisco — or any vegetable shortening — as a personal lubricant for vaginal penetration.

Being oil-based, Crisco is difficult to clean — and that proves especially true when it’s inside your vagina.

Any kind of oil (even formulated oil-based lubes!) can increase your risk of bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection when being used for vaginal penetration.

That risk increases during pregnancy when hormonal shifts make such infections even more common. Lube can cause a yeast infection, especially when you’re already prone to them.

Additionally, using Crisco as a sex lube can clog your pores.

When that happens, bacteria become trapped under the surface of your skin, leading to breakouts, irritation, and possible infection.

Technically speaking, you could use Crisco externally for masturbation of the vulva, but it’s important to remember that you’ll need soap (and likely some degree of vigorous scrubbing) to remove it afterward.

The skin on your vulva is delicate; the harder you have to work to remove lubricant, the higher the risk of irritation.

As we mentioned earlier, Crisco and vegetable shortening will degrade STI barriers made from latex or polyisoprene — including condoms, dental dams, or diaphragms — negating their efficacy.

Crisco will also degrade sex toys made from latex or jelly rubber.

You can use Crisco as lube on silicone toys, as long as you have no concerns over vaginal infections or skin irritation.

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Can You Use Crisco As Anal Lube?

You can use Crisco anal lube but there are caveats associated with it.

The biggest concern about using Crisco as anal lube is its condom compatibility — or lack thereof.

Using Crisco as lube will degrade condoms made from latex or polyisoprene, putting you and your partner at risk for STI transmission, including HIV.

Although vegetable shortening and oil are compatible with nitrile, polyurethane, and lambskin condoms, the latter offers no protection against STIs.

Using Crisco as anal lube can lead to many of the same problems as using it vaginally, including clogged pores, skin breakouts, and irritation.

Plus, it’s just plain messy.

Crisco will stain your bedding and clothing, and it’s difficult to remove from the skin without plenty of soap and scrubbing.

Finally, Crisco will degrade latex and jelly rubber sex toys, including those used during pegging.

Oil-based lubes are great for anal sex because they are thicker and longer-lasting, but you may be better off finding a store-bought lube that does what you need it to.

No matter what you decide, always use a lubricant during anal sex.

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What Is Crisco Made From And Is It Safe?

Crisco was created in 1911 as a baking alternative to lard and was originally made from cottonseed oil, which is also used in other products like Neosporin.

Today, Crisco is made from vegetable oil — mostly soybean oil and fully hydrogenated palm oil.

Hydrogenation is a process that adds hydrogen to unsaturated fat, turning the oil from a liquid into a solid — and into saturated fat.

It essentially raises the melting point, as well, which is why you can use Crisco for frying foods with very high heat.

Additionally, hydrogenation improves the shelf-life of the oil so it stays fresh and usable for a long, long time.

Crisco is safe to eat and cook with, however, it has fallen out of style in recent years because it was made with trans fats, which have been associated with heart disease.

To be fair, they changed their recipe in 2007 to eliminate any trans fats.

Crisco is “safe” when used for cooking, and it may be considered safe as a personal lubricant, all caveats we talked about earlier aside.

Additionally, off-brand vegetable shortenings are made with partially (or fully) hydrogenated vegetable oils — however, those oils will vary based on the product.

Some oils used in off-brand vegetable shortening may be nut-based so if allergies are a concern, always read the label thoroughly — no matter how you intend to use it.

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What Are Better Lube Alternatives To Crisco?

If you’re rethinking using Crisco as a lube, that’s understandable and you have plenty of other lubes to choose from.

Better personal lubricant options include:

Here’s a cheat sheet for selecting the best lube based on how you intend to use it:

Lube Type:
Oral Sex Yes Yes Not usually
Vaginal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Anal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Condom Types All All Polyurethane, nitrile and lambskin only
Sex Toy Types All All but silicone All but latex
Bath/Shower Use No Yes Yes
Does It Stain? No Yes Yes
Lube Type:
Oral Sex
Vaginal Sex
Anal Sex
Condom Types
Sex Toy Types
Bath/Shower Use
Does It Stain?

There is a personal lubricant designed for every situation, so if you’re not sure which to choose, you can read through our in-depth lube guide or take our lube quiz to find your perfect match.

Our Top Lube Recommendations

After researching hundreds of personal lubricants — and personally testing dozens of them ourselves — we have found the very best lubes of each type, vetted by our team and recommended for their safety and performance.

Editor's Note: When you purchase a product via an affiliate link (*) on our site, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

We’ll take a quick look at the four main lubricant categories below.

  • Water-Based Personal Lubricants

Many people prefer water-based lube because of its lightweight consistency and similarity to your body’s natural lubrication.

Water-based lubes are great because you can use them safely with any type of condom, dental dam, or diaphragm.

Plus, they’re water-soluble which means they’re easy to clean off your sheets or body.

However, this also means that water-based lube won’t work in the shower since it will rinse away almost instantly.

Water-based lubes aren’t especially long-lasting — even on dry land — and can require some reapplication during use.

Still, water-based lubes remain incredibly versatile so if you’re interested in finding out more, we reviewed the best water-based personal lubricants.

  • Silicone-Based Personal Lubricants

Silicone-based lubes are loved for their silky, smooth texture although it’s very different from your body’s natural lubrication.

These lubes tend to be thicker compared to water-based products, making them a great choice for anal sex.

Silicone-based lubes can be used with all kinds of condoms, dental dams, diaphragms, and most sex toy materials.

It sounds counterintuitive but silicone lube will degrade toys made from silicone.

If you’re looking to get hot and heavy in the bath, silicone lube is a perfect choice but it does require more intensive cleanup — and it can stain fabrics.

We explored the best silicone-based personal lubes to find the safest and most effective products available.

  • Oil-Based Personal Lubricants

Oil-based lubes are usually made from natural (and sometimes organic) oils that are body-safe.

It’s important to note that there are oil-based lubes that use oils derived from nuts, which can be an issue for people with allergies or sensitivities.

Although they are safe to use with lambskin, nitrile, or polyurethane condoms, oil-based lubes will degrade condoms made from latex or polyisoprene.

Additionally, they’ll break down latex diaphragms and dental dams, although most oil-based lubes shouldn’t be used for oral sex as they can be a choking hazard.

Their thick consistency makes them another good pick for anal sex.

We did the research and reviewed the best oil-based personal lubricants to help you along with your search for the perfect one.

  • Natural And Organic Lubricants

Natural or organic lubes can be water-based or oil-based, depending on their ingredients.

As with oil-based lubes, it’s a good idea to check the label if you have allergies since many are made from nut-based oils.

We researched and found the best and safest natural and organic lubricants so you can find just the right product.

Are There Any Safe At-Home Lube Alternatives?

If you’re desperate for an at-home lube alternative, there are several worth considering, including:

If using an oil-based lube alternative, take the same precautions you normally would with any oil-based lube.

Don’t use it with latex or polyisoprene barriers against pregnancy or STIs.

Additionally, it’s smart to do a patch test on your skin (such as your inner elbow) to watch for potential reactions before using it as a lubricant on your genitals.

Bottom Line:

With the risk of irritation, infection, condom breakage, and the huge mess it leaves behind, Crisco may not be the best choice when you’re looking to reduce some friction on the fly.

It can be safe for some folks in certain situations, but if you’re at all uncertain about using Crisco as lube, there are so many better options to choose from.

All Things Lube