Healthy substitutes for oil in baking! Making the switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious and wholesome homemade baked goods. You can take just about any recipe, vegan or not, and make it better and healthier by replacing the oil or butter.
Unsweetened Apple Sauce
Applesauce is great in cakes, muffins, and soft-baked cookies. The ratio is typically 1:1. So, if the recipe calls for ½ cup of oil, use ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce.
Use applesauce for recipes that are moist and dense. It’s perfect for banana bread, carrot cake, chocolate cake, and fruity muffins.
DON’T use applesauce that is sweetened or flavored. Blah! And, applesauce is not good for cookies you want to bake up thin and crisp. But, we will be talking about it. Also, baked goods made with applesauce are best when you let them cool at least 10-15 minutes before cutting to prevent crumbling.
Nut butters like SUNFLOWER, Homemade Almond Butter, and CASHEW BUTTER are great for cookies. Especially thin or crisp cookies. Use nut butters that are ALL natural with no added oil. Use an equal amount of nut butter to replace the butter or oil in a recipe. Almond butter is great. Remember, nut butter is no bueno for those with nut allergies and it’s high in fat.
Silken tofu is good for recipes that are a little more dense as well. Use in baked goods with strong flavors like chocolate. Use ⅓ cup of silken tofu to replace every ½ cup of oil. You can blend silken tofu to make a puree and use it as an oil substitute in cookies, muffins, cakes and brownies.
What is aquafaba? This is just a fancy word for chickpea juice. Yes, the juice in the chickpea can. The flavor is actually pretty neutral and the consistency is very similar to vegetable oil. I recently baked a cake with it and it’s one of my favorite oil replacements so far. It’s also great for cookies and muffins or just about anything else really! Use an equal amount of aquafaba to replace the oil in any recipe.
Mashed Banana, Pumpkin or Sweet Potato
You can use mashed bananas, pumpkin or sweet potato for scones, muffins and bread. Use ⅓ cup of any of the three to replace every ½ cup of oil. Keep it mind that this is really only an option if you want the final product to have a slight banana, pumpkin or sweet potato flavor! But, that ain’t a bad thing.
There you have it. Replacements for healthy oil-free plant-based baking. Pretty simple, right?
Check Out These Oil-Free Recipes
- The Best Fluffy Vegan Pancakes
- Healthy Vegan Banana Bread
- Vegan Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
- The Best Vegan Belgian Waffles
For more information on the science behind the problems with oil in your diet, check out the following resources:
- Why Olive Oil Is Not Healthy For Your Heart by Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD
- Is Coconut Oil Healthy or Hazardous? by Alona Pulde, MD & Matthew Lederman, MD
- Olive Oil & Artery Function by Dr. Michael Greger, MD FACLM
- Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease (book) by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, JR., MD
- Wicked Healthy: How To Saute & Roast Without Oil by Chad & Derek Sarno
- Weight Loss & Health In 3 Easy Steps by Shane Martin
Wow! Super Helpful. Thanks for explaining this all so well… I’ve been looking for a guide and answers like this. You are. A M A Z I N G!
Than you so much!!!
My dilemma with oil involves when taking an existing recipe for salad dressings that calls for 2 tbsp’s up to 1/4 cup along with spices etc. I’ve tried tahini but say in a southwest quinoa type salad or lentil based salad, and often ethnic recipes it’s a little heavy./too creamy. Would you recommend Aquafaba?
Love your recipes!! Quick question, I use aquafaba all the time but have struggled freezing it in portions that I can use. I saw that you recommend freezing it in ice cube trays which is an awesome idea! So when I am going to thaw it, how much aquafaba per ice cube in the tray?
It should be around 1 Tbsp. per cube…roughly
Thank you, I am so anxious to learn that I over read. In your aquafaba notes was the word “my”omitted when you say It’s favorite oil? No need to post this question.
Thanks, Reba. I’ll have to check that:)
This is so timely! Thank you, thank you! I was just trying to convert some muffin recipes today and wondered what to use instead of oil or butter. I’ve often wondered if anyone ever uses mashed avocado to replace butter in cakes or other baked goods.
Shane, your website and recipes are my favorite “go-to” ! What substitute do you recommend for dry, crunchy baked chocolate chip cookies. I miss them!
Brandi, from the Vegan 8, has the best! Simple and no processed ingredients. These are my favorite.
Can aquafaba be frozen?
Yes I freeze mine in ice cube trays and take out only what I need for a recipe.
YES! See David’s response. Ice cube trays are great for just such a thing:)
Don’t forget about the beans from the can you got the aquafaba! I use Great Northern Beans aquafaba as it has an even more neutral flavor than chickpeas. Try pureeing the beans to replace oil in a recipe or leave them whole to replace butter; the ratio is 1:1 for either. In her book “I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage,” Crytal Godfrey explains how: “For recipes where butter or margarine is creamed with sugar, simply place whole beans with the sugar, then cream together. For cookies, grease the cookie sheet [or use a silicone mat or parchment paper].” Match the color of beans to the treat: black beans with chocolate, white beans for lighter colored treats. This is a great way to sneak some nutritian into a chocolate chip cookie!
Just found your blog, so excited and grateful for it! What is the ratio of oil to aquafaba? I would love to make my favorite banana bread recipe with this!
Candra, welcome and so excited you’re here!!! Use equal amounts of aquafaba to oil. Good luck!
Thanks for this awesome list! It’s a must-have for anyone eliminating fat from baking…so appreciated 🙂
You are welcome! Hope you find it helpful.
You are most welcome! Thanks for reaching out.