These are my essential ingredients that I keep in our Test Kitchen. I use them time and again to whip up all kinds of sweet treats.
If you love desserts and to bake, have no fear! Just because you follow the low FODMAP diet does not mean that you have to go without. I have a long history as a dessert maker, having owned a bakery with Robin, and the majority of my books are on sweets and baking.
Please note that this list is not geared towards vegan baking. For info on substitutions for low FODMAP vegan baking, please refer to our article Vegan & Low FODMAP Series: Converting Conventional Low FODMAP Recipes To Vegan Recipes.
Get Ready For Low FODMAP Baking
Butter is a fat and therefore low FODMAP; yes, it is low enough in lactose to be considered free of FODMAPs according to Monash University. I use unsalted butter in the Test Kitchen and when recipes call for it, please use it. Substituting another fat, be it margarine, solid coconut oil or a liquid oil will not provide the same results texture-wise, or flavor-wise.
Buy butter when it is on sale and keep some in the freezer.
2. Chocolate & Cocoa
How you can incorporate chocolate and cocoa into your low FODMAP cooking and baking is an entire subject unto itself. Please do check out the following articles:
- All About Dark Chocolate & The Low FODMAP Diet
- All About Milk Chocolate & The Low FODMAP Diet
- All About White Chocolate & The Low FODMAP Diet
- All About Cocoa & The Low FODMAP Diet
I am picky about my chocolate and cocoa, but I have tried to pare it down for you.
Use bulk and bar chocolate for melting; do not try and melt chips. They are formulated to hold their shape. The exception is disc-shaped chocolate, often called “melting discs”, that are meant to be melted.
Use the cacao percentage called for in the recipe. If the recipe says use a 55% cacao mass chocolate and you use 70% and do not like the results, you have your answer.
Note that cocoa in our recipes is sifted before measuring, and chocolate always melt better if finely chopped first.
Eggs add structure, volume and moisture to baked goods and desserts and we are never without. All of our recipes use large eggs; please do not substitute a different size. Look for Grade AA. White or brown does not matter.
You will often see a recipe calling for room temperature eggs. Simply place the eggs, in the shell, in a bowl with very warm water for a few minutes. Then you can proceed with the recipe. Temperature of ingredients does make a difference.
The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet, but it is lactose-free. Luckily there are many lactose-free dairy products out there for us to use.
Please use what is called for in the recipes for best results.
When I use dairy-milk it is almost always whole or full-fat, and is usually specified to be room temperature. Low fat and/or cold milk will not give you the same results.
Many hard cheeses, like cheddar and Parmesan, are low FODMAP and you can use the conventional choices.
When it comes to the high(er) FODMAP softer dairy and cheeses like cottage cheese, ricotta, sour cream and cream cheese, I most-often use a lactose-free equivalent. We also have a recipe for Lactose-Free Ricotta, which is much easier to make than you would ever expect.
With cream cheese in particular I use Green Valley Creamery brand and it “acts” differently from other products. As always, please use what is called for in the recipes. If you do not, I cannot guarantee results.
Cream! Whether are talking heavy cream, whipping cream or half-and-half, some folks have access to lactose-free and some do not. We have an article called DIY Lactose-Free Dairy that you should read and also be sure to read All About Cream & FODMAPs, which explains the equivalent fat content and differing nomenclature of creams in the U.S., Australia and the U.K.
Whether you are shopping for baking powder or yeast, there are choices to make. Baking soda is more straightforward.
For baking powder I recommend double-action, aluminum free baking powder such as Rumford. Make sure to keep track of the use-by date and keep it in its airtight container at room temperature.
For baking soda, which is sodium bicarbonate, I use Arm & Hammer brand and I transfer it to an airtight container (if it doesn’t come in one), which also happens to facilitate measuring. I keep this at room temperature, too.
You can test the freshness (and therefore leavening power) of baking powder or baking soda.
For yeast, follow individual recipe recommendations for dry active yeast or instant yeast. Either way I like Saf Yeast brand. You can store yeast in the refrigerator or at room temperature and always check use-by dates.
Buy Baking Soda and Yeast
6. Low FODMAP Gluten-Free Flour
When it comes to flour and low FODMAP baking and dessert making there is one flour that I consider a “must-have”, and two others that will help you get almost any job done, and done well.
You will note that the flours mentioned here are all blends, and they contain xanthan gum. Both of these points are important. Blends allow the manufacturer to combine various flours and starches to create a singular product that highlights the best of what they all have to offer. It allows you to not have to stock several different products.
The xanthan gum provides some of the texture that is missing from finished baked goods made with gluten-free flours or blends.
Our #1 choice for a conventional all-purpose flour replacement is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to1 Baking Flour. I have tried them all and without a doubt, this flour has consistently proven itself.
If you are an avid baker and want to stock a flour that is more equivalent to a “cake flour”, then I recommend King Arthur Gluten Free Measure For Measure Flour. It has a more finely milled texture than our recommended all-purpose blend and yields a softer crumb, similar to a cake flour.
Then for certain recipes, all yeast-based as it so happens, like our Cinnamon Rolls and Pecan Sticky Buns, I highly recommend Better Batter. It has the unusual addition of pectin, which I find essential in these cases. In fact, in my opinion you cannot make these recipes without it. Period.
For a more in depth look at flour in general, read our article Choosing A Low FODMAP All-Purpose Flour and if you are looking for do-it-yourself, we have two blends: one with xanthan gum and one without.
Buy Low FODMAP & Gluten-Free Flour
For baking and dessert making I use table salt, while our savory cooking recipes use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. Salts measure differently, and taste different as well – including how “salty” they are. Use what is called for in recipes.
I do not use fine-grained sea salt. I find its salinity too aggressive.
There are many low FODMAP sweeteners and the ones we use the most are white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup and light corn syrup. Those are our recommended basics for Low FODMAP baking and dessert making. Corn syrup is often used in candy-making and is not the same as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Since we are really into baking, we keep a coarse turbinado sugar at hand as well, but it is in no way a “basic”.
We also keep rice malt syrup, golden syrup, molasses and honey in the Test Kitchen to use in small low FODMAP amounts.
Rice malt syrup, which contains no FODMAPs, and is a great substitute for liquid sweeteners in conventional recipes when high(er) FODMAP honey or molasses are called for, or when you want a subtle sweet flavor. For recipes calling for maple syrup, you could use half rice malt syrup (also called rice syrup or brown rice syrup) to reduce the sweetness level.
9. Vanilla, Spices & Flavorings
When it comes to vanilla and almond extracts, we like to use pure, not artificial. While you could use lemon extract (it would not be a FODMAP issue), I am not partial to its flavor and do not keep it in my pantry.
As for spices, make sure yours are fresh – as in your dried ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves etc. are fresh and not stale. Buy small amounts that you will use up in 6-months.
When it comes to nutmeg, in particular, I like to grate it fresh and the recipe amounts reflect that. Freshly ground nutmeg is very fluffy and measures differently from pre-ground.
While it is not a must, I do like to keep instant espresso powder around. Try it in our Espresso Brownies!
You will note that in many recipes I will call for adding the vanilla and/or spices to the butter and sugar, but before the eggs. This is because fat is a great carrier of flavor and I like the way these flavorings can be incorporated into a dish at this stage.
10. Xanthan Gum
While all the flour blends mentioned above contain xanthan gum, occasionally you need extra xanthan gum to give low FODMAP and gluten-free baked goods a boost. While it is a pricey item, it lasts a long, long time. I transfer mine to a glass jar with a tight lid and it lasts for years.
Baking low FODMAP treats and sweets can flow smoothly if you have what you need at hand. With the ingredients discussed here you will be ready to make the great majority of all of our desserts and sweets. While it is important to use the ingredients called for in all low FODMAP recipes (to ensure FODMAP content), it is especially important when baking as your final results will suffer in texture, flavor and possibly even yield if you substitute.
Check out our articles on 8 Essential Low FODMAP Refrigerator & Freezer Items and 12 Essential Low FODMAP Pantry Items.
Since you are a baker, our ebook, Low FODMAP Baking is geared towards folks like you! It contains over 275 pages of original recipes and tips and tricks not found elsewhere, including an entire section on substitutions.
Be sure to check out all of our low FODMAP products in our Shop curated just for you!