Even the most strict diets allow a little wiggle room for “cheating.” There’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite sweets every now and then. There’s also nothing wrong with making small tweaks to your homemade baked goods in order to save calories. After all, if you bake a healthier cake, you can get away with treating yourself to seconds.

Baking Without Oil

Replacing the oil in baked goods means that you’ll have a healthier goodie to snack on. You’ll save tons of calories and fat by swapping out oil for one of several replacements. Plus, you’ll feel better afterwards. Say “goodbye” to that heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach after snacking on brownies or mini cupcakes.

Appearance, Texture and Taste

The number one thing to remember when replacing oil with a healthier alternative is that your baked goods won’t taste the same. They may not even look the same. This doesn’t mean that they’ll taste bad, though. Aesthetically, they’ll still be as pleasing, too. Just keep this in mind for when you taste test. If you expect your cake or brownies to look and taste the same as usual, you may be disappointed or think you did something wrong in the recipe.

Healthy Replacements for Oil

There are several things you can replace oil with when baking. Ultimately, you’ll want to experiment with different ingredients until you find the taste and texture you like best. Common replacements for oil include:

  • Fruit puree
  • Prune puree
  • Mayonnaise
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Mashed bananas
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Diet soda
  • Mashed or pureed tofu
  • Flax meal

If you want to use prune puree, you can make it yourself easily instead of having to buy it. Puree six ounces of prunes in a blender along with one cup of water and two teaspoons of vanilla.

If you choose to replace oil with yogurt, choose low-fat or fat-free yogurt. This ingredient cuts the fat calories from a recipe while adding creaminess. The best part is that yogurt contains both calcium and protein, two healthy necessities for your diet. Replace all or part of the oil in your recipe with yogurt.

Typically, unsweetened applesauce is the number one replacement for oil. One cup of unsweetened applesauce has 100 calories. Compare this to the 124 calories that’s in just one tablespoon of canola oil. The other ingredients will work, though, so it’s worth giving them a shot, depending on the recipe.

In order to replace oil with flax meal, follow this substitution ratio: three parts flax seed meal for every part of oil that you have to replace. When baking with flax, keep in mind that this ingredient makes what you’re baking brown more quickly. Shorten the baking time and check regularly to make sure you’re not burning your cookies.

Oil-less Cake

In order to make a cake without oil, follow these directions:

1. Preheat the oven to whatever temperature the cake recipe suggests.
2. In a medium-size bowl, blend dry ingredients.
3. Mix the liquid ingredients together, blending thoroughly.
4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients.
5. Combine all ingredients either by hand or with an electric mixer.
6. Bake the cake until it feels firm in the middle. The time it takes to bake may be different from the recipe because you’re using different ingredients. Err on the side of not baking long enough and check it occasionally to make sure it’s not burning.

Other Oil-free Recipes

Cake isn’t the only baked good that you can make without oil. You can use applesauce and other replacements in cookies and cakes, too. When it comes to choosing replacements for oil, think about the recipe itself. Are you making something sweet, like cookies, or something not sweet, like a savory breakfast bread? If you’re not making something sweet, you can use non-sweet replacements, like sour cream or tofu.


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