5 Healthy Baking Tricks That Cut the Fat

Updated: Jan. 05, 2022

It's not as hard as you might think to lighten up dessert! You can cut back on the fat in baked goods in seconds.

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Making dough top view. Overhead of baker stir egg yolk with flour. Cooking ingredients for pastry on rustic wood, culinary classes or recipe concept.; Shutterstock ID 713271550; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH Light baking

The rich combo of butter, cream and chocolate can create a li’l piece of heaven, but the high fat content isn’t exactly good for you. Just a handful of healthy baking tricks will help the most decadent desserts be better for you and as delicious as ever.

Read up on the difference between good fats and bad fats.

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Spiced applesauce
Taste of Home

Add Fruits and Vegetables

Rather than going all-in with butter and oil, use half of what the recipe calls for and replace the rest with pureed fruit or vegetables. Not only does this substitution add natural sweetness (read: you can probably decrease the sugar, too), a lot of these healthy alternatives contain pectin, which helps create a similar texture to full-fat baked goods.

Best of all, there are plenty of options! You can try unsweetened applesauce in muffin recipes, mashed sweet potato in spice cakes or prune puree in chocolate ones.

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Pouring milk into glass; Shutterstock ID 279701309

Keep Dairy Light

It’s no secret that dairy ingredients make baked goods all the more mouthwatering, but there are ways to cut fat here, too. For cakes with cream cheese frosting, like classic carrot cake, swap full-fat cream cheese with its reduced-fat counterpart. Heavy cream can be substituted with evaporated skim milk, and fat-free milk typically makes a fine replacement for whole milk. Low-fat yogurt can not only take the place of its full-fat version, but can be used in place of sour cream, as well.

Here’s how to adjust a baking recipe to be dairy-free.

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Taste of Home

Trim a Little off the Top

Let’s face it: So many recipes pile on a huge amount of frosting. This seems even truer now than it has in the past because of the bakery-style cupcake craze. Some of those frosting towers can have up to 1/2 cup frosting to create Instagram-worthy swirls!

Most frostings and fillings can be reduced by 25 percent without missing any. Thin glazes can be reduced even more—this homemade angel food cake doesn’t need the extra glaze!

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Bowl with cocoa powder and tasty chocolate on wooden background

Get Smarter with Chocolate

The gooey goodness of chocolate chip cookies may seem irreplaceable, but a small substitution goes a long way in cutting the fat. Next time you’re whipping up a batch, go lighter on the morsels and add a little cocoa powder to get the same chocolaty flavor, but less fat. (Here’s everything you need to know about cocoa powder.) 

If you’re feeling adventurous, add a dash of instant espresso powder to chocolate cakes and cookies to bring out the chocolate flavor—without making your dessert taste like coffee.

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Taste of Home

Try Vegan Recipes

It turns out that a lot of the fat in baked goods comes from animal products that are typically high in saturated fat. By using vegan recipes—like ours for vegan chocolate chip cookies—you can skip the experimentation of your own and get right to baking a treat that’s probably lower in unhealthy saturated fat. Watch out for tropical oils, though. They’re sometimes used in vegan recipes, but are high in saturated fat.

It might take a try or two to bake things to Grandma-approved perfection, so keep an eye on your measurements and check on bakes more often than you would otherwise. The extra effort will go a long way toward fitting your favorite treats into your healthy lifestyle.