The first time I looked for a baking substitute it was because I didn’t have any butter left in the fridge for my family-favorite banana bread. Nowadays, healthy baking substitutions are quite common, and easy to do.
Dairy, flour, sugars (sweeteners), and butter/oil are the most commonly substituted.
Why? Two reasons; 1: They are the unhealthiest and substituting them provides a healthier outcome. 2: They’re not vegan, lactose-free, or gluten free.
Dairy, as you know is avoided by both vegans, and lactose-free individuals. So what can they use instead?
Instead of Milk Use…
Almond milk or coconut milk! Use a 1 to 1 ratio (1 cup of milk = 1 cup of almond milk). Almond milk isn’t as thick as 2% milk, so if you’re baking with it, you won’t have a very rich texture. This is better for light desserts or savoury dishes. Coconut milk on the other hand can be light or rich, so it can be a good substitute for everything from skim milk to heavy cream. Of course, it can sometimes leave a coconut-y taste.
Instead of Cream Use…
Coconut cream. Use only ¾ cup of coconut cream for every 1 cup of cow’s milk cream. It’s much thicker and richer than the dairy option, so you won’t need as much as a recipe calls for.
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Instead of Whipped Cream Use…
Coconut whipped cream (surprised?). Use a 1 to 1 ratio. You can actually easily make dairy-free whipped cream at home from one 15 Ounce can of full fat coconut milk by mixing in a stand mixer for 3-5 minutes.
White flour is arguably one of the unhealthiest solutions in baking. Not to mention the fact that it is incredibly unfriendly to gluten-free individuals and even some vegans.
Here are some tasty alternatives.
Instead of Flour, Use…
Almond flour. 1 cup almond flour + ½ tsp rising agent = 1 cup wheat flour. Remember that nut flours are much heavier than other baking flours so when subbing, go ¼ at a time.
…Or Coconut flour. 1/3 cup coconut flour + 1 extra egg per ounce of coconut flour + a dash of extra water = 1 cup of wheat flour. Using more than ½ cup at a time could allow the flours bitterness to take over. You may also need to reduce baking time, so keep an eye on the oven.
There are many natural sweeteners, and fats you can use in place of sugar and butter. Pick one (or more) from honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, date syrup, dates, fruit juice, and/or any other sweetener you prefer. Read the label on each to ensure you use the proper amount in your substitution. Some can be much heavier, or sweeter than the real thing.
No one sweetener is “better” than any other in terms of baking consistency, what’s more important is limiting the total amount of sugar in your life, whether it comes from natural sources or not.
Instead of Oil or Butter Use…
Banana! Mash one banana to replace 1 cup of oil or butter. The consistency is ideal and the banana offers nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamin b6.
…Or Chia Seeds. Use 2-3 tbsp+1 cup water = 1 cup of butter. The chia seeds have to soak in the water for 15 minutes. We don’t recommend using this swap for oil.
…Or Prunes (yes, really!). Use ¾ cup + ¼ boiling water = 1 cup butter. Make sure it’s well blended!
…Or Applesauce! Use ½ cup + ½ fat = 1 cup oil/butter. If you can’t taste the difference, try swapping more the next time around.
… Or Flax meal (for butter only). 3 tbsp flax meal + 1 tbsp water = 1 tbsp butter. Let mixture sit for 5-10 mins. Keep in mind, this option has a strong nutty flavor.
Did you think I would forget about those of you with those pesky egg allergies? No way Jose.
I recently used flax meal as an egg substitute and was so please to find there was no difference in the consistency.
Instead of Eggs Use…
Chia Seeds! Mix 1 tbsp + 1 cup water = 1 egg. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes before use.
…or Flax Meal. 1 tbsp+3 tbsp water = 1 egg. Let mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. Also, Don’t substitute chia for butter and eggs in the same recipe!
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