Tips for Sugar & Flour Free Baking

Having healthy, nutritious, and delicious baked goods on hand for breakfast on-the-go is a mainstay of my weekly meal routine. I’ve picked up several useful strategies from Bright Line Eaters over the years for getting flavorful, delicious, nutrition-packed baked goods with hearty, well-formed textures.

These decadent yet wholesome breakfast goodies work without flour or sweetener by using whole grains, fresh fruit, ripe bananas, and the healthy fats and oils in nut butter. Because of learning to bake this way, I no longer miss the “treats” I used to eat for breakfast that led to a blood sugar crash. I’ve come to adore these baked breakfast concoctions. I enjoy them so much that even though I have since reintroduced small amounts of healthful flours and sweeteners into my diet, I still return to these recipes often.

Challenges of Sugar & Flour Free Baking

Flour-free and sweetener-free baking can be tricky. Without flour, it’s hard for moisture to absorb and it’s easy for baked goods to come out mushy. Without sweetener, flavors can be underwhelming, especially since the idea of cookies, muffins, and breads trigger flavor memories and expectations of highly palatable and desirable treats.

As for sweeteners, if I’m baking for others who are accustomed to sweeter foods, I might lightly sweeten these recipes with a teaspoon or two of a minimally processed, low glycemic sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar. For the sweetest baked goods made without processed sweeteners, use overly ripe bananas.

On the flour side, high protein flours such as quinoa, chickpea, almond, and oat are flours that my body tolerates well in small amounts. This is also the reasoning behind legume pasta being tolerable for many following a flour free diet.

A Few Tips & Tricks

Toasting & Processing Oats

While it definitely isn’t necessary, toasting rolled oats improves their flavor, and coarsely processing them in a food processor improves absorbency and adds texture to flourless baked goods.

To toast oats, preheat the oven to 325° F. Place oats on a baking sheet in a thin layer and toast until fragrant (about 15-20 min), stirring about halfway through. They won’t look noticeably different. Let cool to room temperature, add to a food processor, and process 10-15 seconds, until some oats are coarsely ground and others are still whole. I do this in large batches and store the oats in the pantry in a lidded container, ready for use.

If it’s important to you not to eat flour, don’t process them too finely, or, just skip this step. I have found that even just breaking up the grains a little bit improves the texture of the baked goods without affecting my body’s response to them. As always, do whatever is the most comfortable for you and honor your susceptibility.

How To Make a Flax Egg

“Flax eggs” are a popular substitute for regular eggs in vegan baking. Both regular eggs and flax eggs work great in these baking recipes and can be swapped out 1-for-1.

To make a flax egg, mix 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed with 3 Tbsp of warm water in a small bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes to thicken. If you have an issue with flax, you can do the same thing with chia seeds to make a “chia egg.”

Baking Powder & Baking Soda

I’ve found that baking powder works best for leavening flourless baked goods. Baking soda is more ideal when acidic ingredients are present such as lemon juice, cocoa powder, vinegar, or sweeteners.


Gallery of Yummy Baked Goods

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63 Comments

  1. Linda

    I make the Sunday morning blueberry muffins but add lemon zest from a whole lemon – makes an amazing difference

    • Great idea Linda! <3

    • Jewell

      how many can you have though? im not looking to eat a lot just want to be sure i dont eat more than should but the ingredients for the whole batch looks to be breakfast for one… help..lol thanks, very new for last 2weeks but down 9lbs..and lovin it…

  2. Linda Guenther

    Any chance you could make some of these recipes without eggs? I have an allergy to eggs and dairy. 🙁

    • Hi Linda, 95% of the recipes on my site are vegan (no eggs or dairy) but this is one where I’m not sure how to do it without eggs, because you need something to bind it together. You might try a flax egg, or you could try modifying something like this: https://katiesbrightkitchen.com/2017/09/06/plant-based-oaties/

      • Linda Guenther

        Thanks for responding Katie. I already do a combo of flax and chia seeds for my pancakes but thought you might have tried some other ingredients that may have worked better.
        The pictures you post of all your recipes always look sooooo good! I appreciate your passion for creating really delicious and healthy foods that are compliant with our BLE eating plan. Thank you, Katie!

      • Anonymous

        I use unsweetened applesauce or flax egg

    • Bonnie McFarlane

      You can use applesauce in place of eggs or flax eggs. I do that alot and you cannot tell the difference.

      • Hi Bonnie, thanks for the input. I know that in BLE at least, applesauce isn’t allowed. Also, we want to count the egg or flax toward our protein serving, so if you substituted for apple sauce and were following a food plan you’d have to adjust the categories. But for those lower on the susceptibility scale this might work well.

  3. Kathryn Hancock

    Is there anyway we can print these off?

    • Usually, but this is a different format. You could copy paste? Or write one down, there’s not much to it.

  4. Becky

    Hi Katie: This look wonderful! I can’t wait to try them 🙂 I’ve been doing BLE since the beginning of the year and have lost 8 lbs, but am missing the “baked goods” I used to eat. I was excited to see these can be used in the weight loss phase! Thanks for your recipes, they are wonderful and family friendly too (My 6 kids LOVE the peanut soup recipe you posted a few weeks ago!)

  5. Rebecca

    Thank you for posting these. You are my new best friend! I just started BLE a week ago and have been pretty religious about it. I’ve lost 10 pounds in 5 days!

    I’m so excited to check out the rest of your recipes!

  6. JKM

    I’ve experimented with a variety of variations 😉 of this recipe. I was trying for a plant based since my husband is in weight loss mode and didn’t want to have to add anything to it to make it meet his needs. The key has been to use a waffle maker to help it bake thoroughly as without the eggs as it is quite dense, but I haven’t started exploring adding in baking soda or baking powder yet. Maybe you’d be willing to give it a try?
    (4 serv, weight-loss plan)
    4 oz oats
    3 oz peanut powder
    2 oz flax meal
    8 oz banana mashed
    8 oz pumpkin
    8 oz apple mashed
    pumpkin pie spice to taste ( i use a lot!)
    cinnamon to taste
    1 tsp vanilla
    *mix all together and use 8.25 oz of batter for each waffle
    *once cool you can store in the fridge for quick grab-and-go lunch

    Notes:
    -in my deep waffle maker i can fit 2 servings into 1 waffle and then i just split it, it does take a little longer to cook through though but is quicker than doing one at a time
    -i’ve used blueberries instead of apple for variety
    -i food process the apples and bananas, it hasn’t been an issue or trigger of any kind, maybe because i balance it with pumpkin but I’d be careful and really pay attention to any cues your body may give you when trying mashed apples
    -we’ve used peanut butter instead of powder but it tends to be too gooey
    -i calculated the peanut powder based on the weight it would be if fully prepared with water added (as peanut butter) and then subtracted the weight of the water
    -the peanut powder doesn’t trigger me as it doesn’t have a lot of flavor in this mix

    • Thank you! I don’t actually have a waffle maker, so unfortunately I can’t pull this off right now. But it looks awesome!

      • I’ve made them in “rounds” before and they turn out okay if they are thin. Muffins are to thick.

  7. Sara

    I made the banana nut muffins for my daughter and me. I couldn’t believe how nicely they came out. I know that some people in my program would not support such a creative use of abstinent ingredients, but they were beyond delicious. So glad that we can be creative within the bounds of bright line eating plan. The variety and creativity is what I think makes the plan work in the long term. Thank you for being so daring. Looking forward to trying out all of the other recipes.

  8. Deb

    These all look amazing, is it possible to make these without oats (allergy to all grain)

    • I have no idea how to go about that Deb, since we don’t eat flour, oats are pretty much all we have left! What can you eat?

  9. Joelle

    I love love love these banana nut muffins! I’ve made a different version years ago but wasn’t over the moon for the gooey, uncooked-ish texture. These are perfect and are as legit of a muffin I could hope for! I’ve even accidentally made them once without the milk – still super delish! Thank you!

  10. Sandi DeMontmorency

    How much spice do you use in the banana nut muffins?

  11. JC

    I made the banana oat muffins last night for breakfast this morning because I needed something grab and go. So AMAZING! This is my first foray into BLE friendly baking and the results were exquisite. Thank you so much for these recipes and your time on this site!!

  12. Mary

    Hello! These look amazing! I have a couple of questions: Which type of oats are used when the recipe says just oats? Does it matter if quick or steel cut? Does using gluten-free v. regular oats make a difference?

    • Hi Mary, rolled oats or quick oats should be fine. I’d steer away from steel cut because they take longer to cook, although some people claim success with them. Gluten free doesn’t matter.

  13. Paul

    When you make your muffins do you use standard cupcake tins or smaller tins. Is a muffin tin smaller than one used for cupcakes? I to try out the Banana Quinoa muffins.

  14. Paul

    These recipes are great for my wife who is on BLE weight loss, but how do I convert them me – also on BLE weight loss?

  15. Hi Paul, that’s exactly what I would do, extra nuts, seeds, or almond butter. On maintenance I eat double protein, and I get it by using nuts and nut butter as a topping.

    • Paul

      Thanks Katie. Adding toppings keeps me from having to try to modify the recipe. I love that.

  16. Paul

    Do beets need to be peeled before roasting them in the oven?

    • Nope, if you roast them you can eat the peels, or peel them after roasting. Or, you can boil them in the peel and they will slide right off after they are fork tender.

  17. Christine

    When you use milk, do you mean almond milk or regular milk?

  18. Paul Burek

    Do you use the standard size muffin / cupcake tin or the mini muffin tin for these breakfast recipes?

    • It doesn’t matter. You can use anything, even a bread pan.

      • What I meant to ask, what size tin do you use to get the 9 count of the quinoa cakes?

      • Like I said in the post, I didn’t make those so I’m not sure. I just gathered together some posts from Instagram with the poster’s permission. Is there a reason you are trying to get 9? They may have made a double recipe. I get 5-6 in regular sized tins but I’ve never made the quinoa ones.

      • I guess it doesn’t matter if there are 9. The recipe says the 9 muffins are a single servicing – so as long as the ingredients are added with the right proportions, 5 is as good as9.

      • Exactly, you just make as many as the recipe fills and that’s one breakfast serving. I get your confusion, thanks for clarifying.

  19. I think you can convert these to WFPB by using a Flax-Egg in place of the egg.

  20. Inbal

    Hi Katie – do any of those freeze well?

    • I would think so, I’ve never tried it though.

    • Sadie

      I make and freeze the BLE breakfast cookies (Katie’s recipe) and the Blueberry Banana Mini-Loaves (I make as muffins) regularly when I have extra ripe bananas. I use them for on-the-go breakfasts, or when I don’t have the fresh fruit for one of my regular BLE breakfasts. They both freeze and thaw beautifully.

  21. if you make them ahead how do you store them. I let mine cool then put them in a container and they went bad on the counter?

    • I refrigerate or freeze them, but they have been fine for me stored in a container at room temp for a couple of days.

  22. Renee

    can I use peanut butter instead of almond butter?

  23. Kate

    Hi Katie,

    Baking powder isn’t BLE so what could I use instead?
    Thanks

    • Most BLEers who eat these kinds of “baked goods” are fine with a little baking powder. Susan says it’s not BLE friendly in the FAQ because baked goods aren’t BLE friendly, but not because of the baking powder itself. She doesn’t eat these kinds of “copycat” foods and is somewhat anti-recipe, so the issue doesn’t come up there. Most people in the BLE community that I know who do well with recipes and eat these kinds of baked breakfasts have no issue with baking powder. If it really bothers you then just leave it out. It will be fine without it. If it’s giving you too much mental chatter then I’d say that you need simpler breakfasts. Hope that helps!

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  25. Karen McDaris

    I’ve been on BLE for 2 weeks and have lost 8 lbs….so excited to try these recipes….where can I find more BLE recipes?
    Thanks,
    Karen

    • People post a lot of recipes in the BLE support communities. My site has lots, but honestly most people in BLE eat pretty simply and really don’t use recipes. Susan is coming out with an official cookbook soon though, and there’s a free ebook that comes with their programs.

  26. Anonymous

    Thanks so much Katie! These breakfast muffin recipes are ingenious! Simple, tasty and nutritious. Great way to have guilt free muffins! The recipes is so flexible too! I can add different fruits and spices!

  27. Jett Cooper

    Hi Katie, I’ve made the muffins a couple times. Very delicious, but they stuck to the muffin pan, then I used muffin cups- still stuck. . Any tips? Thx 🙂

    • I use silicone reusable muffin cups that work well. You can also try lightly greasing the tins with a little oil or butter.

  28. Cathy

    Would it be a problem if I ground the oats in my coffee grinder, for a fluffy muffin instead of dry oats?

    • Not a problem at all, I actually recommend toasting and processing them coarsely in a food processor. Grinding them a lot is basically making oat flour, which isn’t BLE compliant, but I certainly do that and enjoy it! 🙂 Actually, these days I just buy and use oat flour, it’s easier. 😉

  29. Carol

    Has anyone made these without egg?

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