This may blow your mind, but my husband does not eat sugar. As in, no sweeteners. At all. No Truvia, no Stevia, no honey, no syrup, nothing. He used to get debilitating migraines every few weeks, and ever since making this drastic dietary shift, he has not had a migraine. For him, sugar-free is more than worth it.
Eating truly sugar-free requires thorough label reading because the food industry likes to sneak sugar into everything.
Tomato sauce? Many brands have sugar. Peanut butter? Many brands have sugar (How I miss you, JIF). Craisins? Sugar.
My husband has been eating this way for years now, so we’ve hit a good rhythm with trusted brands. It also motivates him to lead most of the cooking at home, which you won’t hear me complain about. But this man used to love pie. I mean, the story is that I married him for his pies. And my sweet tooth is still around, so it makes me a little sad when we can’t share dishes together.
Fortunately, we discovered a few truly sugar-free dishes that we can enjoy, tweaked them over the years, and share them with you now:
Sugar-Free Apple Pie
Honest to goodness, I prefer this recipe to traditional apple pie. The natural apple flavor shines, and you don’t have to feel guilty about the sugar. Win-win! Because you’re not using sugar, you might mix the standard Granny Smith apple with a few still-firm-but-less-tart varieties like Honeycrisp, Jonagold, or Braeburn. Makes one pie.
2 pie shells
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 can unsweetened apple juice concentrate
6 cups sliced apples
- Pre-cook the bottom pie crust until it just begins to brown. This will prevent a soggy bottom from the pre-cooked apple mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk corn starch, cinnamon, and ⅓ of the juice concentrate.
- Simmer apples in the remaining juice until tender (approximately 10 minutes).
- Stir in cornstarch/cinnamon mix, simmer until thick.
- Let cool, then pour into the bottom pie crust and cover with top crust.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is brown.
Banana-Sweetened Pumpkin Pie
Full disclosure: If you’re hooked on Frisch’s, this will not do the trick for you. If you like pumpkin pie well enough and have a moderate sugar habit, this will be nice. But if you’ve been deprived of pumpkin pie for years like my husband was, it is apparently cathartic. You should have seen his face when he ate this for the first time – he was the grumpy food critic in Ratatouille transported to a beloved childhood memory. Makes one pie.
2 peeled, ripe bananas
1 15oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Bake bananas for 15-20 minutes until just beginning to caramelize.
- Mix together roasted bananas, pumpkin, cream, and spices.
- Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Add 3 eggs and mix until combined.
- Pour custard mixture into pie crust.
- Bake at 425 for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake another 30-45 minutes until the pie is set.
Sugar-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
These were Spencer’s favorite cookies growing up. Back when Spencer and I were first dating, I surprised him on his birthday with homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. It went over very well and became a birthday tradition. Imagine my frustration when he cut sugar, and I no longer had an easy birthday surprise! Then, at my workplace baby shower for my first kid, a friend brought these cookies. When I learned they were completely sugar-free, I nearly lost my mind with excitement, and even managed to keep the recipe a secret until his next birthday. These also work as great breakfast bites if you’re on a road trip. Makes about 25 palm-sized cookies.
3 ripe bananas
2 cup oats
½ cup raisins
⅓ cup applesauce
¼ milk (or almond milk)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: ½ cup pecans or top with almond slices
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas.
- Add all other ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Spoon onto parchment paper on cookie sheet.
- Cook 11-13 minutes or until edges brown and almonds toast.
- Refrigerate if you don’t eat them all at once.
Sugar-Free Banana Bread
Banana bread has a strong tradition in my family, but that beloved recipe has a full cup of sugar. This recipe is heartier and makes a delicious breakfast when toasted and covered with salted butter. We triple the recipe to make three loaves and it has been our standard breakfast for nearly a year now – the kids love it (though they certainly still go ga-ga for their Nona’s “Sugar Banana Bread” as they call it).
TIPS: My family’s tradition was always to throw browning bananas into the freezer until we were ready to make banana bread. This recipe works better when you’re using unfrozen bananas. Roasting frozen bananas still works, it’s just a bit more work to thaw ahead of time, and it gets messier. Also, this bread takes a while to cook. Make sure it’s on the middle rack, and be patient. Err on the side of overcooked. Makes one loaf.
6 over-ripe bananas, peeled
¼ cup oil
2 whole eggs (or flaxseed meal as an egg replacement)
1 tbspP vanilla
2 cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine bananas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast 15-20 minutes or until they start to caramelize.
- Let cool, then mash. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease an 8×4 loaf pan and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together oil, roasted bananas and their juices, eggs, and vanilla.
- Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine (it gets thick).
- Pour (or scoop… it really is a thick batter) into the prepared pan. Bake at 375 for one hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Sugar-Free Peach Cobbler
I know peach cobbler is not traditionally a fall or holiday recipe, but y’all… when peaches are in season, I eat this non-stop. Frankly, this method can be used for any fruit. For blueberries, add a splash of lemon juice, for apples pre-cook the apples in juice similar to the apple pie recipe, and for mixed berries, just swap the berries with the peaches and carry on. Some enjoy this recipe with ice cream, and there is Keto sugar-free ice cream that doesn’t give Spencer migraines… but me? I enjoy it warm and in large servings.
4-6 peaches, diced (If using another fruit, just make sure you can fill your pan with a nice thick layer)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (original recipe called for almond, I didn’t prefer it, but you should know that’s an option)
½ tsp cinnamon
Drop Biscuit Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tbsp baking powder
½ tsp cream of tartar
Dash of salt
¼ cup melted butter
½ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat 8” square baking pan with butter or oil.
- In a bowl, toss your fruit with cornstarch, extract, and cinnamon. Pour into the pan.
- Make Drop Biscuits.
- In large bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- Stir in butter and milk until moistened.
- Drop batter onto the fruit mixture.
- Bake until biscuits turn golden (about 30-40 minutes).