Healthy Baking Substitutes | The daily link

When I was in preschool and made my first batch of muffins for class, my mom told me to replace applesauce with oil. Curious suggestion, I thought. For brownies, cakes, and banana bread, we’ve always used applesauce instead of oil. For a while I wondered why the ingredient lists even included oil. It was clearly an unwritten and unspoken rule.

It was only recently that I learned that this was not a standardized practice. But, it totally should be. By cutting out some of the saturated fats and added sugars, this particular substitute is a pretty foolproof choice. Unless, of course, you are allergic to apples.

I’ve compiled some of my favorite substitutes for dietary restrictions, healthy cooking, or times when you’re just out of eggs.


Maya Salem/Daily Nexus

Buttermilk is really just fermented milk. Its acidic quality helps the lifting process Cooking. It also breaks down proteins, such as gluten, resulting in a more delicate crumb.

In order to obtain this same characteristic with a substitute, it suffices to add an acid. For example, for a cup of buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a measuring cup and fill the rest with milk. It is important to let the mixture stand for a few minutes before incorporating it into your recipe.


For 1 cup milk, substitute 1 cup buttermilk plus ½ teaspoon baking soda. Or, 1 cup skim milk plus 2 teaspoons oil/fat.

In baking, depending on the recipe, a 1 to 1 ratio of fruit juice can sometimes be replaced the milk. Be sure to adjust for extra sugar levels.

Chocolate or cocoa powder

Substitute 3 tablespoons of cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of shortening for 1 square (or tablespoon) of unsweetened chocolate, or vice versa.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you used your cocoa powder in homemade hot chocolate mixes or forgot you nibbled on the rest of the chocolate chips while watching “Bridgerton” last night, this substitute is for you!

Applesauce for oil

Unsweetened applesauce can be used quite universally in a 1 to 1 ratio for cooking. the antioxidant-rich fruits contains no fat, unlike its 109-gram counterpart. It also keeps your baked goods moist.

If you don’t have applesauce on hand, a mashed banana or other mashed fruit can work in a pinch.


For most baking, you can replace 2 teaspoons of flour with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Cornstarch is a fairly unique, though not widely used, ingredient. It is generally used as a thickening agent.

If you are looking for a vegan egg substitute, you can also mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of warm water. This is best used in cookies, cakes or breads.

Herbs, spices, seasonings

The general rule is that 1 fresh teaspoon equals ⅓ to ½ dried teaspoon. When you don’t have access to fresh produce, dried seasonings work much the same way. It is important to remember that dried herbs are more concentratedso respect this report.

black beans for flour

Maya Salem/Daily Nexus

Rinsed and drained black beans can be mashed and replaced with flour in baking. Not only does it offer a gluten-free option, but it also provides a good source of protein! A can of black beans contains twice the protein of flour.

Bananas for sugar

Similar to the tip of applesauce, bananas can replace sugar. As fruits ripen, their nutrient composition changes, a evolutionary tactics to entice animals to eat them and spread their seeds. This starch breakdown is quite easy to see in bananas, as they become more colorful. In other words, the more speckled the fruit, the sweeter it is.

Simply add a mashed ripe or overripe banana (plus a little water to balance the viscosity) to your baking, in place of a cup of sugar. Figs and dates also work well, although they are less common.

It’s always better to have options when it comes to cooking, whether it’s dietary restrictions, trying to eat healthy, or even a lack of ingredients in your pantry! As I learn new facets of ingredients, I think it’s important to understand the versatility of kitchen items. Especially considering the rise in the price of vegetable oil in the world, as Ukraine faces dire conditions as one of the largest exporters of edible oil.

Tag us @ucsbonthemenu on Instagram if you try any of these baking substitutions, or have some yourself!