No matter how old I get, desserts will always be my favorite part of a meal. My mom told me I would grow out of it, but nope, here I am still drooling over dessert menus whenever I get the chance. A meal is not complete without a little sweet treat at the end in my eyes, whether it's a slice of luxurious chocolate cake or a mini custard tart.
I am however not blind to the fact many desserts are loaded full of sugars and preservatives, and therefore not necessarily something you want to be indulging in all too often. If only there was a way to have restaurant standard, sweet and delicious desserts without putting a strain on your health.
Well, it seems there is. After doing some research I came across a whole range of delicious looking desserts which contain no added sugars. Of course, some of them contain sugar substitutes like honey or maple syrup, but overall they are going to be far better for you than anything store bought or sugar-laden. I never thought I would say it, but I might be ditching my usual recipes and shifting over to these desserts with no added sugar.
Sugar-free Dessert Recipes
1. Mango Custard Tarts
Ever since a family holiday in Portugal a few summers back, I have been determined to find a recipe that allows me to recreate the traditional and sensational custard tarts we consumed far too many of throughout our trip.
These Mango Custard Tarts may not be exactly true to the original, but they look delicious nonetheless, and mango is never a bad thing. The fresh mango will also help to add sweetness in this sugar free recipe. I love the idea of using a flower-shaped cookie cutter for the pastry, as it makes the tarts themselves look that little bit more special.
2. Mini Mascarpone Berry Cakes
The sweetness in these Mini Mascarpone Berry Cakes comes right from the berries, with a little help of some maple syrup. There are dates in the base which will both help to create solidity and to add more natural sugar.
As the recipe suggests, this idea is a mere template that you yourself could take and build on. Why stop at three layers? You could use as many different berries as you would like, even venturing to other fruits like mango or banana if you wish. Make sure to leave some whole berries aside as pretty decoration for the tops of your raw cakes.
3. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake
I thought that cutting out sugar would mean that I couldn't indulge in things like a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake, but this recipe has made it entirely possible.
Each and every layer of this cheesecake sounds delicious enough that I would eat it on its own, so when they all come together it sounds just heavenly. The base layer would have a crunch from the oats and nuts, just like the biscuit base of a regular cheesecake. The peanut butter layer doesn't have too many added ingredients so the nutty flavor can shine through, and is lightly sweetened with dates. The chocolate layer is made up of banana and avocado, and then of course flavored with cocoa, which will make the smoothest chocolate mixture you could imagine.
4. Apple Tart
The ideal situation in my attempt to cut down on sugary desserts would be to find alternatives to the classic desserts I usually make. This Apple Tart is a perfect example of that, and gives me faith that I will be able to make the cut without leaving many of my favorite desserts behind.
By selecting sweet apples when preparing to make this recipe, you remove the need for added sugars. This tart will be just as flavorful as any you have made before, full of fragrant cinnamon and apple sauce. If you use a pre-made pastry crust you could whip this up in no time, and I bet your family wouldn't even notice the difference.
5. Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies
There's nothing better than biting into a chocolate chip cookie and coming across a huge chunk of chocolatey goodness. These Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies certainly look like they would deliver on this aspect, with chocolate chips made from cocoa paste and honey.
I can imagine tucking into one, or four, of these cookies along with a tall glass of cold milk. All the sweetness in this recipe comes from honey, both in the cookie batter itself and in the chocolate chips, meaning that the sugar count is low and you won't have to feel guilty about going back for seconds.
6. Peanut Butter and Jelly Coconut Cashew Sandwich Cookies
I liked the look of these Peanut Butter and Jelly Coconut Cashew Sandwich Cookies because I hadn't seen anything quite like them before. The world of ‘raw' treats is relatively new to me, but after having come across multiple delicious looking recipes recently I am determined to make their acquaintance.
The one downside to this recipe is that jam can have a lot of sugar in it, but there are jams out there which don't, so it's entirely up to you which one you use. The cookie part of the treat looks like it would have a good bit of texture to it which I like, and they can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator which is always a plus.
7. Lemon Bars
Citrus flavored desserts are a great way to end a meal, as they are often refreshing and palette cleansing. When I read that this recipe for Lemon Bars had a secret ingredient in it, I imagined some kind of spice or unexpected herb, I would never have correctly guessed what it actually is.
What I really like about these bars is how sturdy they look. I have come across a fair few sloppy lemon tarts in my time, but with the oat cracker base and thicker lemon topping these would not suffer from the same issue. Because they are sweetened with maple syrup they're bound to have a hint of that delicious maple flavor through them too.
8. Extra Moist Chocolate Cake
I am not sure that I have ever attempted to make a flourless cake because, in all honesty, I didn't believe it would work. This recipe has proven me entirely wrong however, as this Extra Moist Chocolate Cake looks divine and most certainly holds itself together as any cake would.
The sweetness in this recipe comes from dates, although it claims that they don't come through flavor wise, a claim I am interested to prove or disprove. Few ingredients go into making this cake, which will mean it's both inexpensive and simple to recreate.
9. Floating Island
With a whopping three ingredients, this Floating Island dessert it undeniably worth a try. It's classic french dessert, so is bound to impress friends, and they will be none the wiser as to how simple it actually is to make.
It's hard to imagine how three everyday ingredients can make a dessert with more than one element, and goes to show how far a couple of ingredients can go. Floating Island is basically poached meringue atop a bed of custard, which to me sounds like a bowl of comforting yumminess. You can decorate and flavor your dessert in any way you would like, with fresh berries or caramel sauce, or leave it as plain vanilla if you would rather.
10. Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake always reminds me of a TV show with the same name that I loved when I was little. I am pretty sure I had multiple scented dolls that went along with it, and they are most probably still in the attic at my parents' house.
The almond base in this recipe is a nice twist on the classic, adding an almond flavor as well as reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe. The sweetness here comes from the sweetener, as well as of course the strawberries themselves, so make sure to select ones which look deep red and juicy.
My dad's favorite dessert in the world, but only before having gone through a serious health makeover. This Tiramisu is an incredibly interesting take on the classic dessert, maintaining the same base flavors of boozy chocolate and coffee, but with no added sugar or heavy cream.
I am always intrigued to try healthy versions of desserts, as it fascinates me when someone manages to recreate them. This recipe is packed full of prunes and chai seeds, neither of which you would expect to find in a regular tiramisu, but it looks delicious nonetheless. It will be interesting making this for my dad to see if he can be converted.
12. Strawberry Gummy Bears
Gummy bears are more of a candy than a dessert, but after coming across this sugar free recipe for Strawberry Gummy Bears I had to share it. They have forever been one of my guilty pleasures, and finding a way of eating them without worrying about my teeth falling out is an absolute dream.
There are very few ingredients in this recipe which is always reassuring when you're making sweet treats in my opinion, as it is easy to keep track of everything that goes into them. I can imagine you could take this recipe and use it to make multiple different flavors of gummy bears by swapping the strawberry puree for your desired fruit.
13. Banana Bread
I frequently bake Banana Bread, I love having it in the house as a breakfast option or simply to enjoy along with a cup of tea. That is if it lasts past the day I make it, my family have been known to scoff it all down before it has even cooled. The recipe I usually use is not at all sugar free, so I am extremely willing to give this one a go and hopefully make the switch.
It is vital that you use the ripest bananas you can find when making this recipe, as that is where the majority of the sweetness will come from. Green bananas will not give you half as good a result. The raisins or sultanas will also contribute sweetness so be sure not to omit them.
14. Neapolitan Cake
This Neapolitan Cake would be perfect for a birthday, party or celebration. There's something for everyone, regular vanilla cake, chocolate cake and fruity strawberry frosting.
I did not expect the strawberry frosting on this cake to contain actual strawberries. I thought it were more likely to be bottled flavouring but I am glad that is not the case. The flavor will be far more natural, and will carry just the right amount of sweetness. I continue to be baffled that you can make cakes as gorgeous as this one without any added sugar, and think it's something I will have to test out before I can fully believe it.
15. Blueberry Tart
I like the idea of a nut filled pie crust, especially in a simple dessert like this Blueberry Pie. The addition of walnuts and almonds will not only create a nutty flavor, which will balance well with the juicy, sweet fruit filling, but also an added crunch, which will again contrast well with the soft berries.
This recipe is incredibly simple to follow and could be whipped up at short notice if need be. The blueberries themselves carry enough flavor without the addition of sugar, and I can imagine this perfectly pairing with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream which will melt atop the warm pie.
16. Chocolate Whoopie Pies
You can't go far wrong with a good whoopie pie in my opinion. Whether you're entertaining guests or dealing with your own fussy kids, this recipe for Chocolate Whoopie Pies is bound to quieten everyone down for at least a few minutes, before they start singing your praises, that is.
With the naturally colored vanilla cashew cream glueing the two halves together, they look pretty as well as tasting epic. The shape of them, and their sturdiness, makes them easy for storing and lunchbox friendly. This tasty treat is mostly sweetened with maple syrup, although there is also coconut sugar in there.
17. Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut is one of my favorite ingredients to use in the warmer months, mostly because it reminds me of tropical holidays and can transport me to far away places even if for only a second.
Although it may not look like it, this Coconut Cream Pie is in fact low on carbs, due to the fact the less healthy ingredients used in the classic recipe have been swapped out for healthier alternatives. The pie crust is thick enough to give the pie structure, but not so thick that you will be consuming lots of it. Sprinkling toasted coconut on top is a nice touch, as it will enhance that coconut flavor as well as adding a little texture.
18. Chocolate Avocado Mousse
If you're looking for probably the quickest sugar free dessert out there then this could be it. This Chocolate Avocado Mousse is a one step recipe, simply add all the ingredients into a food processor and you're good to go.
Although avocado might sound like a strange addition to a chocolate mousse, it gives the mousse the most silky smooth texture. It also makes the outcome of this recipe a little more substantial than an airy chocolate mousse. You can add as many dates as you would like dependant on how sweet you would like the mousse, and the addition of cinnamon and vanilla will give it such a luxurious flavor.
19. Mini Cheesecakes
Cheesecake has always been one of my favorite desserts, no matter what the flavor. Despite this, I haven't often made my own at home for some reason, although I am sure I will start now that I have gotten my hands on this recipe for sugar-free Mini Cheesecakes.
I like anything cute and mini, and these cheesecakes in particular are the perfect size for having a little treat without going over the top. The cheesecake mixture itself has lemon juice in it, which I personally love as it gives a real zesty flavor. This recipe is entirely customizable when it comes to flavor and toppings. You could use one of the suggestions given in the recipe, my personal favorite is the caramel sauce, or opt for something entirely different from your own imagination.
20. Fudgy Triple Chocolate Cookies
Whenever a chocolate treat is described to be ‘fudgy' my mouth starts watering immediately. To me, this means it will be rich, moist and undoubtably yummy.
These Fudgy Triple Chocolate Cookies look like they would be all three and more. They contain coconut sugar, which is not as healthy as no sugar at all, but is a better for you than refined white sugar. I prefer cookies to have a thickness similar to these ones, meaning they have a bit of chew to them as opposed to snapping like a majorly thin cookie would. The fact that these are low in sugar is a godsend as there is very little chance of me stopping after eating only one.
21. Carrot Cake Cupcakes
I have always liked carrot cake because you can tell yourself you're eating vegetables even if it's not necessarily the same thing. Despite the fact these Carrot Cake Cupcakes have no added sugar, they are still packed full of all the delicious spices which give carrot cake its classic flavor, like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Cream cheese frosting is my favorite flavor, it's never too sweet and has a far more interesting flavor than a traditional buttercream in my opinion. The majority of the sweetness in these cupcakes comes from honey, and even then there isn't a large quantity so the sugar content is extremely low.
22. Raspberry Ripple
From what I gather, this Raspberry Ripple is a kind of chocolate bark. This sort of recipe is incredibly easy to personalize, so let your imagination run wild and add whatever ingredients and toppings you please. Sprinkles and more frozen fruits could help you create a color explosion.
Frozen raspberries have an interesting flavor, both sweet and sharp, which works especially well with chocolate. Coconut is a perfect partner for the raspberries, and has a unique texture that will add a new element to the treat. Texture is important in this recipe, and you could add even more with crunchy nuts or chewy dried fruits.
23. Pumpkin Pie
This is another take on a classic recipe that would be extremely handy to have up your sleeve, as we will all most likely make a Pumpkin Pie at some point in the year.
None of my favorite pie spices have been removed from this recipe, which I am grateful for. There is sweetness coming from the dates, as well as a hint of citrus provided by the orange zest. It's a genius idea to serve the pie with coconut yogurt, as it is not only something a little bit different, but will also bring out the flavor of the coconut milk and flour in the pie itself. Be sure to pop those pumpkin seeds on top for an added crunch.
24. Chocolate Tiramisu Cake Roll
This decadent Chocolate Tiramisu Cake Roll would look highly impressive when served to guests, for which this recipe is perfectly suited as it makes a whopping 12 portions.
There are coffee elements in the cake itself as well as in the ganache and filling, so there is no chance that it would go unnoticed. Swiss roll style cakes always look far more complicated to make than they actually are, and this one is no exception. The recipe is incredibly detailed and easy to follow, and no one would ever guess it was sugar free.
25. Key Lime Pie
This is another no bake recipe which looks simply delicious. Key Lime Pie is a perfect dessert for summer months, as its zesty and refreshing flavor is exactly what you want to be eating on a warm day.
This recipe takes all of ten minutes to prepare, the refrigerator does far more work than you yourself need to. The pie crust ingredients simply need to be combined, then shaped and the filling can be made in a matter of seconds in a food processor. Erythritol is used here as a sugar substitute so the pie will be the perfect combination of sweet and citrusy.
I imagined cutting out sugar would be a near impossible task when it comes to desserts and sweet treats, but this little bit of research has proven me wrong and made me believe even I could do it. The recipes I found don't look any more difficult than those with sugar, and I would dare to say there are a few which even look tastier.
I am particularly drawn to the various cheesecake recipes, that being my favorite type of dessert, especially those Mini Cheesecakes of all different flavors. The Blueberry Pie looks delicious too, and I will definitely have to try the Strawberry Gummy Bears in the hopes they can satisfy my obsession in a healthier way.
Have you ever tried making a sugar free dessert? Are there any recipes here that you could use instead of the one you use frequently?