Fat Substitutions

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Kitchen Ade

Fat Substitutions in Recipes

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Key things to keep in mind:

There are many tasty ways to reduce fat in your foods.

The trick is to replace fats with items that have a "good mouth feel" - and add that creamy-ness to your meals without the cholesterol!

Adding flavor with juices, stocks, pureed or chopped fruits and vegetables also let you cut down on fat and maintain "good taste".

Below is a quick substitution chart and tips, followed by a collection of baking substitutions.  So dig in!

Quick Low-fat Cooking Tips

  • Use evaporated skim milk as a substitute for cream in recipes. A half-cup of cream has 400 calories, almost all from fat; the evaporated skim milk has about 100 calories with only a trace of fat.

  • For reducing fat and cholesterol in baking, two egg whites can be substituted for one whole egg. 

  • For a low-fat alternative to thick, creamy soup, puree the ingredients with cooked potato instead of cream. 

  • You can usually reduce the fat in a recipe by a third if you replace it with equal parts of a liquid, such as fruit juice.

  • For most recipes, you can substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg.

  • A great cream sauce substitute: 1 cup low fat butter milk, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and tomato sauce or mustard.

  • For a low-fat alternative to sour cream, use drained non-fat yogurt with just a little sour cream mixed in. 

  • Instead of frosting a cake, try dusting it with cinnamon and cocoa or confectioner's sugar. 

  • In baking, applesauce can be substituted for oil. Or try pureed carrots!

  • Instead of butter, try dipping bread in olive oil for dinner. The fats in olive oil are much healthier, and it tastes delicious! 

  • Vegetable spray works even better than butter for no-stick eggs and has no fat! 

  • For a quick fat-free homemade dressing, follow directions on a Good Seasons packet, but substitute non-fat yogurt for the oil. 

  • For fat free cooking, marinate or baste meat, fish or chicken with concentrated fruit juice, fresh fruit juice or vegetable juices, or tamari or teriyaki sauce, or wine, instead of oils. 

  • Use salsa or low-fat yogurt for baked potatoes instead of traditional butter and sour cream.

Instead Of Use
1 cup of butter in baking 1/3 cup applesauce or fruit juice, and 2/3 cup butter
8 ounces of cream cheese 8 ounces of yogurt cheese
1 cup crème fraiche 1 cup yogurt cheese made from low-fat or nonfat yogurt
1 cup heavy cream (in recipes, not for whipping) 2 teaspoons cornstarch or 1 tablespoon flour whisked into 1 cup nonfat milk or use evaporated skim milk
1 cup sour cream 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese + 2 tablespoons skim milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup fat for sautéing 4 cups low fat stock, fruit juice or wine and sauté until liquid evaporates
1 egg 2 egg whites
1 cup oil or fat for basting 1 cup fruit juice or low fat stock or wine
1 cup butter, shortening or lard Use 3/4 cup vegetable oil or 3/4 cup reduced-fat tub margarine

Fat Substitutes in Home Baking

Fats (shortening, oil, butter, margarine, lard) acts as a barrier making the flour less likely to absorb water.  This gives the moist, tender baked product that seems to melt in your mouth.  Much of the fat in recipes can be replaced with fruit or vegetable purees, low-fat cottage cheese, tofu, or non-fat yogurt.  It won't result in quite the same texture as the fat-full product, but it will be close.  Start out by substituting one-third of the fat called for in a recipe with one of the options below, and then experiment with different levels of substitutions to see which gives you the product you most prefer.

  1. Applesauce - causes the least flavor and color change to baked products.  Works well in light-colored cakes, cookies and muffins.  Substitute applesauce for equal amounts of fat or oil. Measure in a standard measuring cup designed for liquid ingredients.  Applesauce leaves products very moist, so you may have to reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients in the recipe.

  2. Bananas - substitute for equal amounts of fat or oil.  Mash first, then measure into a standard measuring cup designed for dry ingredients. Bananas are best in chocolate cakes or brownies, as well as muffins, cookies and spice cakes.

  3. Prunes - puree before using - add 2 tablespoons water or prune juice to 1/2 cup of prunes to blender and puree until smooth.  Substitute for equal amounts of fat using a standard dry measuring cup.  Prunes tend to leave baked products drier, so add a little more moisture in the form of prune juice, milk or water.  Use prunes in dark colored products such as spice or chocolate baked goods.

  4. Pumpkin - heavy pigment imparts an orange color to baked goods.  Use in chocolate or spice flavored recipes, and any others where the pumpkin color and flavor might be desirable.  Measure cooked, mashed pumpkin in a standard dry measuring cup and substitute for equal amounts of fat or oil.

  5. Zucchini - grate when added in raw form.  If cooked, mash and remove seeds.  Measure raw, grated zucchini in a standard dry measuring cup.  Measure cooked zucchini in a standard liquid measuring cup.  Zucchini works well in quick breads and coffee cakes.  It does not change the flavor or color of products.

  6. Low-fat cottage cheese - bland in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Measure in a standard dry measuring cup.  Substitute only for half of the fat called for in a recipe.  Cottage cheese works well in muffins, but can give a bit of a rubbery texture.  Use in cheesecake as a substitute for cream cheese.

  7. Tofu - blend in a food process or blender till until smooth.  Measure in a standard liquid measuring cup.  Substitute for up to half of the fat called for in a recipe.  Tofu works well in muffins, but you may find it gives a rubbery texture and a "beany" flavor.

  8. Non-fat yogurt - substitute for equal amounts of fat.  Yogurt makes the product moist, so sometimes a reduction of other liquids in the product may be necessary.  Drain yogurt (paper coffee filters work well for this) first to remove some of the moisture.  Yogurt works well in muffins, cakes, cookies, and brownies.

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