7 Substitutes for Common Baking Ingredients for a Healthier Diet

Desserts aren’t very healthy but you can’t deny that they’re delicious. Sweet and savoury treats that can be as much a treat for your palate as a treat for your eyes!
 

 
Unfortunately, some ingredients run out faster than others, so you may find yourself missing one or two key materials for your next baking conquest. Get to know some common baking ingredient substitutes for a healthier diet and happier you!
  

2. Sugar Substitutes

Sugar is of course one of the main ingredients in almost every recipe for desserts imaginable. However, because it is used in many other foods and drinks too, you may very well have family members dipping into the kitchen and using up all the sugar for their coffee!
 
Sugar can be replaced by many other ingredients but it is important to take note that because of their characteristics, your dessert might not turn out as normal. So it is important to know when and why to use them.
 
Honey
It’s sweeter than sugar so use a ratio of ¾ : 1 cup of honey to sugar to substitute. Remember that darker honey has a stronger flavour and if the recipe calls for ¼ of sugar or more, add a bit of baking soda to compensate for the denser honey.
 
Brown Sugar
Using a 1 : 1 ratio substitution is fine, however, it may make your dessert darker. It contains molasses which adds moisture and chewiness to your recipes. Darker brown sugar contains more molasses. Great for brownies and cookies.
 

 
Unsweetened Applesauce
Using a 1 : 1 ratio substitution is fine but you will need to adjust the rest of your recipe to reduce the amount of wet ingredients. Usually adjusting by ¼ cup of liquid ingredients should be fine, but do not change the amount of eggs. Do not use in recipes that need sugar to crisp up or caramelize.
 
Maple Syrup
You can substitute sugar at a ratio of ⅔ or ¾ : 1 cup of maple syrup to sugar. Like honey, you will need to reduce the other wet ingredients but only by about 3 tablespoons.
 
Baking Powder Substitutes
Desc: There are many different kinds of leavening agents, but not all of them can replace each other. Baking powder is more common in people’s homes because it has other household uses. So when it runs out what can you use?
 
Baking Soda
Use a ratio of 1 : 3 teaspoons of baking soda to baking powder. Remember to add 1 teaspoon of acid ingredients like lemon or vinegar for every ½ teaspoon of baking soda, but this is not needed for baking powder.

 
Whipped Egg Whites
The amount needed changes according to the recipe but it can only be used for low fat dishes that are light and fluffy like pancakes and angel food. The air also escapes easily so you would need to put your batter in the oven quickly.
  

3. All-Purpose Flour Substitutes

There are many different types of flours for you to choose from. But the one most bakers are familiar with is all-purpose flour because of its versatility in many different kinds of recipes. All-purpose flour is made from a combination of soft and hard flours, that is what makes it suitable for many different kinds of baked goods.
 
So while you can look up what type of flour is best for your recipe, these suggested replacements below are useful for a majority of different recipes as well. Just remember to take note of their characteristics.
 

 
Whole Wheat Flour
Use a ⅞ : 1 cup of whole wheat to all-purpose flour. It’s healthier because it contains grains, helping with digestion. Best for pancakes, waffles and muffins; it can also be used for breads.
 
Almond Flour
Use a 1 :1 ratio of almond flour to all-purpose flour. However you will need to use more binding agents like eggs. Almond flour has a rougher texture and it’s denser than all-purpose flour. Great for breads, scones and biscuits.
  

4. Butter Substitutes

Simple butter and toast is an irresistible temptation if you’re feeling mouth itchy. So don’t be surprised to find this key baking ingredient missing from your fridge! Try out one of the other substitute ingredients if your butter goes missing again.
 

 
Mashed Bananas
Uses a 1 : 1 ratio of mashed bananas to softened butter. However bananas are sweet and contain a small amount of fiber so cooking time may be shorter than the original recipe calls for. great for cakes, muffins and cookies.
 
Avocados
Use a ratio of ½ : 1 of mashed avocado to butter. Avocados have lower calories and it creates softer and moist baked goods. Great for cookies, muffins and quick breads.
 
Cooking Oil
The substitution ratio depends on the recipe, but it is a great replacement when your recipe needs melted butter.
  

5. Chocolate Substitutes

Along with vanilla, chocolate is one of the most common flavourings in baking. Below are some healthier alternatives. Use these other ingredients below at a 1 : 1 ratio of substitution. It will be less sweet and milky, but some people prefer that.
 
Dark Chocolate
Not to completely write off chocolate, but dark chocolate is a much healthier version that contains less sugar and more antioxidants that improve blood circulation.
 
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Made of 100% cocoa, it has even more of the same benefits that dark chocolate does. It also has almost no fat, cholesterol or sugar content.
 

 
Cacao Nibs
They are simply a less processed form of cocoa powder. They can be ground into cocoa powder manually or be used like chocolate chips.
  

6. Oil Substitutes

Oil is used to cook and keep your baked goods moist during and after it is baked. But if another family member has used up your cooking oil for a deep frying spree, have no fear and substitute it with one of the following.
 
Mashed Bananas
The needed ratio differs depending on what kind of recipe you are making. But generally, use a ratio of ¾ : 1 ratio of mashed bananas to oil for rich dense cakes and breads; and a ½ : 1 ratio for lighter recipes. As bananas have their own distinct sweetness and flavour, remember to compensate for that in your recipes.
 

 
Pumpkin Puree
Use a 1 : 1 cup ratio of pumpkin puree to oil. Try to avoid using it in recipes where there are other flavours you desire to taste, like other fruits. It also cooks faster so your baking time should be lessened.
 
Shortening
Use a 1 : 1 cup ratio of shortening to oil. Shortening is solid fat content, so it will add more air when beaten into a batter. It will change the texture and make your cake more dense.
  

7. Egg Substitutes

Eggs are expensive nowadays, and you will need a lot of them depending on your recipe of the day. Both substitute ingredients below do need a bit of preparation though. You will need 1 tablespoon of ground seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water, leave it for 10-20 minutes or overnight. This amount of gel is roughly a 1 : 1 ratio of gel to egg substitution
 
Chia Seeds
This does not need to be ground up. It is black or white in colour. Good for recipes with light flavours as chia seeds have no taste.
 

 
Flax Seeds
It is slightly flatter and larger than Chia seeds. It is brown or golden in colour. Good for recipes where you want a slightly nutty flavour.
 

 
While it can be disappointing to have to rethink your baking plans, a little bump on the road should never hold you baking from literally tasting your dreams!
 
While all these aforementioned substitute ingredients are for simple recipes, do take care that more complex recipes have a higher chance of rejecting substitute ingredients.
 
If you’re up to the challenge of creating a baked good that none of your friends and family can, browse our selection of baking classes to see if any catches your eye!

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