Fruit for Fat – Baking without the Crisco

Let’s start this Friday with a huge dose of gratitude and a side of Shout Out – You, my Reader-friends, are awesome. Thank you so much for all the love and “Congrats” yesterday!!

Since Fitness magazine can only include so much in a short Q&A, I’m here to share more tips with you – Baking Substitutions, Fruit (or Vegetable) for Fat!


Beginning with options, where should you look? Any pureed fruit or vegetable will moisten your cake (or muffin) and essentially replace the need for fat (oil, butter, Crisco, etc). Most people assume applesauce is the go-to, but it’s just one of your choices. Pureed pumpkin, squash, tomato, (mashed) banana, etc – they would all work! They would obviously contribute some of their own flavor, so that where a personal preference comes in. In my opinion, mashed bananas & applesauce offer a more neutral taste.

As the Fitness article mentioned, the substitution isn’t always a 1:1 ratio. “Use one-half cup of applesauce, or other fruit puree, in place of one cup of butter or oil…”

muffins 028

While there are differing opinions, I’ve always gone with the 1/2 cup-rule (to replace 1 c fat), and then added additional puree if necessary (i.e. if the dough seems too dry). Fruit or vegetable purees contain water, so using too much will alter the texture.

All of this being said, there is an exception – Cookies. Again, this is personal opinion and personal kitchen failures. I’ve yet to bake a cookie I truly loved without any fat.; some things just shouldn’t be messed with.

Low-fat (or no-fat) cookies generally have a cake-like texture; less crisp & less spread.

8.20 027

That’s not to say you can’t make them a little bit healthier than the store-bought Oreo or Chip’s Ahoy chewy disc. Here are the differences between the main fat sources:

Margarine: Made from vegetable fat
Butter: Made from animal fat
Crisco: Made from liquid plant oil, turned solid (i.e. not natural)
Oils: Generally made from one source (i.e. Olive, Sunflower, Coconut, etc). Vegetable oil is a mix of vegetable and nut/seed sources.

You’ll never see a can of Crisco in my kitchen. I would recommend going with Oils – avoiding butter, Crisco & margarine – to provide more mono/poly-unsaturated fats. You can also decrease fat and calories in cookies or cakes/muffins, by using egg whites (in place of a full egg) and non-fat yogurt.


It comes down to your preferences and practices! These are tips to help you adjust your recipes to suit your taste buds, and help you create healthier treats.

Feel free to add some of your healthy-baking tips, experiences, opinions or questions!



Filed under about me, advice, baked goods, food, Nutrition

15 responses to “Fruit for Fat – Baking without the Crisco

  1. Awesome post! I shy away from recipes a LOT because I am turned off by all the fat. Good to know we have OPTIONS.

    Have a great weekend!!

  2. I’ve baked with strained applesauce in choc chip cookies and it worked like a charm. The key is in straining the liquid out. Can’t find my recipe right now (but I’ll look and post later if you are interested).

  3. Elizabeth

    I didn’t know about the other purees that could be substituted, but I do remember my middle school home ec teacher telling us about the applesauce substitute. Yay for healthy lessons!

    Also on substitutes, there have been a couple times I’ve tried to substitute Splenda for sugar and it’s been disastrous. So, yeah, some things shouldn’t be messed with.

  4. awesome, informative post! I think baking substitutions are fun to play around with – so many options and different flavor/texture combinations. I’m excited to contiue experimenting. 🙂

  5. This is great Heather.. I’m with you, you won’t see a can of Crisco in my kitchen EXCEPT for when it comes to making pies. I have created a recipe where I can at least half the “normal” of Crisco that is typically in a pie.. so at least that is good!

    Are you much of a pie maker? If so, what’s the trick to not using Crisco?

  6. Hmm where did I see this tip?! OH YES, IN PRINT – FITNESS MAGAZINE!!

  7. I think it should be made clear that most oils labeled Vegetable Oil are not mixes of several types but are actually just soybean oil. If you check the ingredients list on most it’ll just say soybean oil. Soybean oil has a higher ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s, the most desirable ratio is 1:1.

    • Heather C

      Great point, Carleen! Thanks for adding!

      • And I’m totally jealous of the Fitness magazine quote!! Thats amazing! I hope to do the same some day, I had the same obsession you did when I was younger except with Self magazine. Some research in exercise science and kinesiology at my college was referenced in Self and I freaked over that, I can’t imagine actually having your own name in print! Congrats!

  8. 🙂 🙂 still so excited for you!

  9. Like the site, here! I’m always looking for more instruction to write about how a woman can lose weight. How you might check out my site, too!

Let's Hear It!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s