Baking without Trans Fat

Updated:Aug 17,2010

Fats - Bakery Lady (header)

Ready to bake without artificial trans fat?  Across the United States, bakers are eliminating artificial trans fat. Suppliers are stocking up on new 0 grams trans fat baking ingredients, and bakeries are using these ingredients in their recipes with great success.

Many baked products are made with ingredients that contain partially hydrogenated (artificial) trans fat, including vegetable shortenings, bakers' margarines, cake mixes and laminated doughs. Some trans fat-free (less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving) alternatives are available, and many more are expected on the market in the months to come. We encourage restaurants and bakeries to switch to trans fat-free alternatives with the lowest possible amounts of saturated fat.
Fats - Unbaked Pies (restaurant resources spot)
The American Heart Association is in close contact with the Trans Fat Help Center in New York City as it collaborates with the American Institute of Baking and the Hospitality Management Department at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) to identify new products and learn how bakers can use them. They found that the new products performed well, and in many cases as well or even better than those that contain trans fat.

Sources of Artificial Trans Fat

To begin making the switch, review your recipes for ingredients that may contain artificial trans fat. Check the product labels for “partially hydrogenated [vegetable] oil,” “shortening” or “margarine.” We have provided tips to help you check food labels.

Here are some items that might contain artificial trans fat:

  • Vegetable shortening
  • Baking margarine
  • Liquid cake shortening
  • Doughnut fry shortening
  • Mixes
  • Icings
  • Frozen dough and pie crusts
  • Canned fillings
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate chips and other candy add-ins
  • Whipped toppings
  • Fudge base
  • Compound coatings and wafers

You should check the labels of all foods in your kitchen, with the exception of agricultural products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, raw meat, fish, or poultry. If an item does not have a label, ask your supplier to provide one.

Choosing 0 Grams Trans Fat Baking Ingredients

Many baking ingredients are now made with 0 grams trans fat. A few are made with healthier vegetable oils such as canola, soy, and cottonseed. Most are made with palm oil.  Butter and other animal fats also do not contain artificial trans fat.  However, note that palm oil, butter and other animal fats are high in saturated fat and should be used sparingly.

Remember, saturated fat is the other unhealthy fat. Choose a replacement with the lowest possible amount of saturated fat. To find the heart-healthiest alternatives, test trans fat replacements that are lower in saturated fat, and use the one that works best in your recipes. We have designed our 0 grams trans fat baking product lists to make it easy for you to identify the 0 gram trans fat replacements that are lowest in saturated fat.

Your new baking shortenings and margarines may not last as long in your store room as those made with artificial trans fat. While some artificial trans fat-containing products may have lasted up to a year in your store room, these new products may last 6-9 months. Follow the manufacturer's storage instructions, and buy smaller amounts more frequently if necessary.

If your transition to 0 grams trans fat baking margarine or shortening does not go smoothly at first, don't be discouraged! You just need to try again. Sometimes all it takes is choosing and testing a different product. Or you might need to adjust your method or recipe. Check out our 0 grams trans fat baking FAQs.