The purpose of fat in recipes is to maintain the moisture of the product. You can decrease the amount of fat used up to 50% and not replace with anything and still have an acceptable product, although it will be a bit tougher. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, use 2/3 or cup instead.

Do not use a light or calorie reduced margarine to bake with. The water content in these products is quite high and often the product is a failure.

Baking tips for Cookies

  • Bake fat reduced cookies at 275 - 300F. Do not over-bake. Baking at a reduced temperature will reduce the toughness. They will need to bake a bit longer.
  • Cookies that contain oatmeal or oat bran are easier to reduce the fat, as they make a more tender product.
  • Shortbread does not turn out well if the fat is reduced.

Baking tips for Cakes, Muffins and Quick Breads

  • Keep the taste of nuts, coconut, or chocolate chips, but reduce the amount used by 25 50%. For example, instead of 1 cup of walnuts, use cup.
  • Toast nuts to bring out their flavor
  • To reduce the fat in cheesecake, use lower fat cream cheese. Cheesecakes do not turn out well if the fat is reduced too much.
  • Add shredded carrot, zucchini, apple, canned pumpkin or pineapple, fresh or frozen berries, or rhubarb to increase fibre, nutrition and taste in your recipes.
  • Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat or barley flour to increase the fibre content.
  • Paper liners can be hard to peel. Try spraying liners or muffin tins with non-stick spray or use a non-stick muffin tin. Use parchment paper to line cake and loaf pans.
  • Bake muffins at 350F and quick breads and cakes at 325F.

Using Fruit Puree Instead of Fat

good substitute in gingerbread, chocolate and white cakes and recipes in which you do not want to change the original flavor

Mashed Bananas:
good for muffins, quick breads and chocolate cake

Pureed Pears:
good in quick breads and coffee cakes

Pureed Peaches:
good in muffins and spice cakes

Pureed Prunes:
good in chocolate based recipes

Mashed Squash, Sweet Potato and Pumpkin:
adds a super moist texture to most baked foods. They are especially good in spice cakes, loaves and cakes that contain pineapple, orange or apple.

Substitution list:

Instead of:


Butter, Margarine, Shortening
or Lard
1 cup (250mL)

cup (125 mL) butter and cup (125 mL) puree fruit
cup (125 mL) butter and cup (125 mL) buttermilk or low-fat yogurt
1 cup (250 mL) pureed fruit
cup (175 mL) oil

Butter, Margarine, Shortening
or Lard
1/2 cup (125mL)

cup (50 mL) butter and cup (50 mL) fruit puree
cup (50 mL) butter and cup (50 mL) buttermilk or low-fat yogurt
cup (125 mL) fruit puree
1/3 cup (75 mL) oil

1 cup (250mL)

cup (125 mL) sugar and cup (125 mL) sugar substitute

Baking chocolate
1 oz

3 Tbsp (45 mL) cocoa and
1 tsp (8 mL) oil

1 whole

2 egg whites
cup (50 mL) fat free egg substitute

Cream Cheese
8 oz (250 g)

8 oz light cream cheese

1 cup (250 mL)

1 cup (250 mL) evaporated skim milk

Milk, whole
1 cup (250 mL)

1 cup (250 mL) low fat buttermilk or skim milk

1 cup (250 mL)

cup (125 mL) toasted nuts