The best substitute for shortening when baking biscuits is butter or margarine. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of shortening, then 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of butter should be used.
Lard can also be substituted for shortening in homemade biscuit recipes. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of shortening, then a cup minus 2 tablespoons of lard should be used.
Cooking oil is not a recommended replacement for shortening unless the recipe calls for the shortening to be melted. Likewise, olive oil should not be used.
A half-cup of applesauce can be used in place of 1 cup of shortening as well.