No Sugar Recipes

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

This is a recipe that I talk about in the book Year of No Sugar– I LOVE it because it answers the question: “but isn’t bread making hard?” With a resounding “no!– not this one!” However, as you’ll see, it does take a little time, so plan to make it when you know you’ll be home for a couple of hours. I also love that it makes two loaves, because homemade bread always goes fast.

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup barley malt syrup (can also use brown rice syrup)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

In bowl of a mixer put the cup of oats. Pour boiling water over the oats and let sit one hour. At one hour, sprinkle the yeast, salt, and olive oil on top. Add the barley malt syrup and mix with the dough hook. Stir in the whole wheat flour. Stir in two cups of all-purpose flour. Then stir in two more cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing in between each addition.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface for kneading. Use final cup of flour to add to the dough whenever it gets sticky. Knead for a full five minutes, until dough has absorbed most of the final cup of flour and feels smooth. Place in a bowl and allow to rise for one hour.

Butter two loaf pans and heat oven to 350 degrees. After the hour has passed, turn dough onto the counter, cut in half and place each half in a bread pan. Allow to rise another 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 33 minutes. Remove bread from oven and allow to sit five minutes before turning loaves out and letting cool on a rack.


Pancakes are a BIG favorite in our house… we eat them pretty much every weekend and if there are ever leftovers I freeze them with a piece of wax or parchment paper between each one so we can heat them in the toaster oven on a school morning during the week.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (or: 1 cup AP flour & 1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 2 Tbsp dextrose
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
  • 2 cups buttermilk (or: 2 cups water & 8 Tbsp powdered buttermilk)
  • canola oil

Whisk together flour, dextrose, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl (also powdered buttermilk, if using). In a separate bowl whisk together egg, melted butter, and buttermilk (or water). Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, pour the egg & butter mixture into the well, whisking gently until mixture is just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix: a few lumps should remain.

Heat a skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, use small amount (1 Tbsp) of canola oil to cook the cakes and add more as you go as needed. Use a ¼ cup measure to scoop batter onto hot skillet. Cook until bubbles begin to appear and then flip pancakes, cooking until they are nice and golden brown.

Instead of maple syrup, for sweetening we’ll often top pancakes with sliced fruit such as bananas, blueberries or strawberries. Or, we’ll add these fruits into the pancakes themselves as they are cooking on their first side.

Variation: Try mixing 2 ripe mashed bananas and 4 Tbsp unsweetened dried coconut into the batter to make Banana Coconut Pancakes.


Dad’s Poppyseed Cake

Dad’s Dextrose Poppyseed Cake
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)
  • 2 cups dextrose
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 stiff beaten egg whites

Soak poppy seeds in milk for one hour.

Heat oven to 375. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans. Cream butter then gradually add dextrose until fluffy. Add the milk/ poppyseed combination. Add vanilla. Stir until evenly mixed. Sift dry ingredients together and then stir into the liquid ingredients. Mix until smooth. Carefully fold in the stiff beaten egg whites.

Pour batter into two cake pans equally. Bake in 375 oven 20 -25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes and then remove.



One of the biggest mental hurdles I had to get over on the No Sugar Project was the Mayonnaise Problem: I just couldn’t find No Sugar Mayo… but neither were we prepared to go a whole year without it. I was terribly intimidated… wasn’t homemade mayonnaise one of those things you had to be a real chef to make? Not so. If you have a Cuisinart you will be amazed at how ridiculously easy this is.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup canola oil

Place all ingredients except oil in food processor. Process 15 seconds. With the motor running, add the oil in a consistent stream. (If you are using a Cuisinart, there is a hole in the white plastic plunger designed just for the purpose of funneling in oil at a nice steady pace so your mayo turns out perfect.)

Fresh homemade mayonnaise lasts about three days.


Eve’s Dirt Cookies (aka Oatmeal Raisin Cookies)

We’ve made a lot of cookies this year in an attempt to curtail our collective family sweet-tooth. This most recent recipe got the biggest raves of them all, from kids and grown-ups alike, so I finally felt these “Dirt Cookies” might be good enough to share… Be sure to make them nice and big!

  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots (unsweetened, and unsulphured if you can find them)
  • 1 1/2 cup dextrose
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 c. rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 c. raisins

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together in a small bowl the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

In an electric mixer, beat together the buter and dextrose on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides as needed.

Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly mix in flour mixture until combined. By hand, mix in oats, apricots, and raisins.

Working with 1/4 cup dough at a time, roll dough into balls and lay on parchment-covered baking sheets (I use a Silpat), spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. (I get about six cookies per cookie sheet.) Flatten cookie tops slightly using your palm.

Bake until the tops of the cookies are lightly golden, but the centers are still soft and puffy: 22 to 25 minutes, making sure to rotate and switch baking sheets halfway through.

Let cookies cool on baking sheet for ten minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.


Fudge Brownies

Again, this recipe is the best of the bunch after we tried several variations. We enjoyed them most with carob chips until we realized carob, for our purposes, was yet another processed sugar (whoops!) Anyway, they’re great without them too, and of course you could always add some toasted nuts or maybe even raisins… hmmmmmm…….


  • 1 cup  (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups dextrose
  • 4 large eggs
  •  1 1/4 cups cocoa (Dutch-process is best)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Melt butter over low heat then add dextrose and stir to combine.

Crack four eggs into a bowl and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Add the hot butter mixture and stir until smooth.

Add the flour, stir until smooth. Spoon batter into greased pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let pan cool on a rack before cutting and serving.


Eve’s Apricot Lemon Date bars

My earliest experiments with No Sugar Baking all involved dried apricots, dates and bananas… this got old pretty quickly, but these Apricot Lemon bars stood out as the best of the bunch. They’re sweet, cakey and great for hearty snacks or lunch-boxes.

  • 2 cups chopped pitted dates and dried apricots
  • juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup water


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup dextrose
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350.

In a saucepan combine dates, apricots, lemon juice and water. Cook covered, on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, cream together the butter and dextrose. Add egg and continue to mix. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda. Finally, add the oats and mix with your hands. Press two-thirds of the crumbly dough into an oiled 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Spread fruit mixture over the dough. Crumble remaining dough on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan. Cut into bars.

33 thoughts on “No Sugar Recipes

  1. I Was wondering what icing you used for the poppy cake. I need a stiff, no sugar, no chocolate icing that can stand up to fondant. I feel it is so wrong to pack my 3 year old with ANY added sugar, and that her birthday cake shouldn’t be any different. (We don’t actually. Eat the fondant, qo that’s not a concern). I have a coconut whipping cream, and almond as well, But cannot use whipped cream alone under the fondant, it will ‘melt’ and ruin it. So I need to stiffen it will something that is not powdered sugar, but not nasty like corn starch, because we do want to actually eat it. Any help?

    1. The icing recipe I used was from David Gillespie’s wonderful collection of no-sugar recipes available at … because it is a pay site it wouldn’t be right for me to pass it on here, but I can tell you it was a very simple recipe featuring cream cheese and dextrose.

      If I were you- and if I didn’t want to join then I would try modifying a cream cheese frosting recipe using dextrose in place of the sugar… Good luck!!

  2. Hi Eve, I just stumbled upon your blog and your fudge brownies recipe after searching for a few sugar-free baking ideas – I am now 27 days fructose-free after reading David Gillespie’s book.
    I have tried a couple of dextrose recipes before and none of them worked, so poor hubby (who is also fructose-free now) was lamenting over the lack of baked goodies in our house. I decided to try your recipe and it turned out more like a cake for me but it is absolutely delicious!! We loved it, I had to freeze it in portions or we would have devoured the whole thing in one night! You would never know that it is baked with dextrose. I will definitely be making this a lot in the future, might even add walnuts/hazelnuts next time. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe 🙂

    1. Terrific! As a baked goods lover myself I am very sympathetic with your husband’s lamentations- and very happy to hear the brownies fit the bill. They are one of my very favorite no-sugar recipes.

      I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend Gillespies Howmuchsugar website- if you haven’t already joined I can tell you that the recipes are well worth the price of admission!

  3. Hey there! Im currently reading the year of no sugar book and loving it! Tonight my boyfriend and I went to HEB to buy the ingredients for the fudge brownies but could not find dextrose to save our lives. Honestly I’ve never heard of it or used it before so I have no idea where we would find it. Any ideas or suggestions where to look for dextrose? Also, my boyfriend is convinced that dextrose is sugar. I disagreed with him so I’d love to know your thoughts Eve. 🙂

    1. Huge apologies that I am so horrible as to not have answered your question until now. My only excuse is that I have a new book out and, also, apparently, I have been sucked into a black hole.

      But to answer your question, dextrose can be a tricky ingredient to find. Sometimes the health food store carries it in our neighborhood, but not always, so I have two choices: to order it online (I get mine from Amazon) or to have the health store order it for me. Since the publication of Year of No Sugar, I’ve been able to locate organic dextrose, and there are also a wider variety of sizes you can find now, you don’t have to go all-in with the beach-ball sized 25 lb container if you aren’t ready for that kind of commitment!

      But also since Year of No Sugar‘s publication I’ve been using other non-dextrose alternative sweeteners such as barley malt syrup and brown rice syrup, both of which are a bit easier to find.The only catch is that they are viscous, and don’t work well if a granular or powdery texture is what you are looking for in your recipe. Some folks find dextrose to have a not-nice aftertaste, and others find it makes them feel bloated, so its good to experiment and see what works for you. In particular I wish I had offered folks the alternative of using mashed banana in my apricot/date bars, because it is every bit as good- just a little stickier- and I don’t know anyone who has trouble finding bananas.

      Your boyfriend is in good company in his suspicion of dextrose, I get this question a lot. Here is the blog I wrote explaining the issue:

  4. I am new to this whole no sugar movement and while I still consume sugar, how is dextrose an okay substitute in these recipes if it’s considered sugar itself?

  5. Can any of these recipes be made without the Dextrose? I am interested in making the Apricot Lemon Date Bars but am not willing to replace one sugar with another.

    1. Apologies for the terrible delay responding, but I do have an answer to your question: In fact, its funny you should ask- because I often think if I could change ONE THING in the book it would be to amend this recipe so that people had a choice whether to use dextrose OR an equivalent amount of mashed banana. (because who has trouble finding mashed banana?) I actually prefer the recipe this way and always make it with banana now. Just be aware that it does make the mixture stickier, but don’t worry- it will come out just as it should.

  6. I was curious about the apricots…. David Gillespie says no dried fruit…..I love the sound of the lemon apricot bars but am two weeks into the no sugar thing…..

    1. It all depends on where you want to draw the line— I decided to include dried fruit in our No Sugar regime because it still contains much of the fiber which slows the absorption of the fructose and counter balances its negative effects. On the other hand I reject smoothies, because even though the fiber is present, it has been chopped up into tiny pieces, rendering it much less effective.

  7. Hi Eve. What a great project. I watched Dr. Lustig’s talk years ago (and am now again) and recently read your book and saw your presentation at a Burlington bookstore via YouTube. I’ll read Gillespie’s book too. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12 (now 38), but still dealt with weight issues due my sugar intake. I’m now trying to do sugar (fructose) free. One thing I already know I’ll miss is: carrot cake. Did you happen to make any of that or come across a good recipe for that? Thanks!

    1. Hi Hannah- that’s a good question- I haven’t tried, but I have a lot of carrots in my garden this year so perhaps it is a good time to try coming up with a no sugar carrot cake recipe! I’ll let you know if I get anything good…

  8. Hi Eve,

    Wondering if you would share the recipe for the no sugar bread you mentioned in the book (oatmeal bread?).


    1. Hi Kathy- this I don’t know- I’ve never done it, but I’d say try it! I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen? (Horrible Bread Machine Disaster Rocks Small Town is a headline you hardly EVER see.)

  9. Hi Eve,
    I just finished Year of No Sugar. Loved it! Your writing style made me, as a reader, feel like we were just hangin’ out over the red wine that you allowed yourself. 😉
    Can you tell me a general rule of thumb for dextrose as a baking substitute? For example, 1 cup of white, standard, granulated sugar equals how many cups of dextrose?

    1. Nora thank you! I LOVE this description of my style 🙂 As I mention in the book, dextrose is about 1/3 the sweetness of regular sugar, but you’re not going to want to literally triple the measurement for dextrose, primarily because that much larger amount will mess with the ration of wet to dry ingredients. I find using 50% more dextrose than what’s called for in sugar gives a nice subtle sweetness, but usually isn’t enough of an alteration to change the dynamics of your recipe. So if I have a recipe that is calling for say a cup of granulated sugar, I will use 1 1/2 cups powdered dextrose. After that you can always play around to refine it further to your taste.

  10. HI EVE
    I am Latifa Bashir from Ethiopia and been living in K.S.A and Really your book inspired me a lot as it was so much helpful i saw it at you tube but first on channel Ahmed alshugairi well known pubic figure in K.S.A in one of his episode about what food we are eating and the hidden truth about them and as implement in my eating habit i would like to ask you if their is any give away from your book in paper back that would be so helpful as its not available here in Adds Ababa, Ethiopia

    And thanks a lot for your giving me your valuable time

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