Best Substitutes For Cookies

best substitutes for cookies

Cookies are a beloved treat enjoyed by people of all ages. However, sometimes we find ourselves without the necessary ingredients to make our favorite batch of cookies. Whether it’s due to dietary restrictions, ingredient allergies, or simply running out of supplies, having a reliable substitute for cookies can be a lifesaver. In this article, we will explore various substitutes for cookies, their qualities, and how to use them effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Cookies are a popular treat, but sometimes we need to substitute ingredients or find alternatives.
  • There are various substitutes for cookies, such as biscuits, granola bars, fruit bars, and more.
  • Consider factors like taste, texture, and dietary restrictions when selecting a substitute for cookies.
  • Be mindful of ingredient ratios and baking times when using substitutes to ensure optimal results.

Why You Need A Substitute For Cookies

There are several reasons why you might need a substitute for cookies. Here are a few scenarios where having a substitute can come in handy:

  1. Dietary Restrictions: If you follow a particular diet, such as vegan, gluten-free, or keto, finding cookies that fit your dietary needs can be challenging. Having a substitute for cookies can ensure you still get to enjoy a delicious treat without compromising on your dietary restrictions.

  2. Allergies: Some individuals have allergies to specific ingredients commonly found in cookies, such as eggs, dairy, or nuts. In such cases, having a substitute that eliminates these allergens can allow everyone to enjoy a treat together.

  3. Limited Ingredients: Running out of a key ingredient while in the midst of baking can be frustrating. Having a substitute for cookies can help salvage your baking plans without having to run to the store for missing items.

  4. Healthier Option: If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional cookies, substituting certain ingredients can help reduce the overall calorie and sugar content. This can be especially beneficial for individuals watching their weight or trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Types Of Substitutes For Cookies

A stack of homemade cookies

When it comes to finding a suitable substitute for cookies, there are several options to consider. These alternatives vary in taste, texture, and overall characteristics. Here are some of the most popular substitutes:

  1. Biscuits: Biscuits are a great substitute for cookies, especially for those who enjoy a light, flaky texture. They can be plain or flavored with ingredients like chocolate chips or dried fruit. Biscuits can be made using ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, and leavening agents.

  2. Granola Bars: Granola bars are an excellent alternative to cookies, particularly for those who prefer a chewy and substantial texture. These bars often consist of oats, nuts, honey, and other flavorings. They are easy to make or can be store-bought in various flavors.

  3. Fruit Bars: Fruit bars, also known as fruit squares or fruit crumbles, are a healthier substitute for cookies. These bars typically have a buttery crust with a fruit filling. They can be made using fresh or dried fruits, such as apples, berries, or peaches.

  4. Cake Squares: If you’re in the mood for something soft and cake-like, cake squares can be an ideal replacement for cookies. These squares are made using cake batter, which is then baked and cut into bite-sized portions. They can be flavored with different extracts, spices, or additions like chocolate chips or nuts.

  5. Blondies or Brownies: Blondies and brownies are dense and fudgy alternatives to cookies. Blondies are made using a vanilla batter, while brownies have a chocolate base. These bars can be customized with various mix-ins like nuts, chocolate chunks, or swirls of caramel.

Best Substitutes For Cookies

A stack of homemade cookies

Now that we have explored the different types of substitutes, let’s dive into some of the best substitutes for cookies:

  1. Biscotti: Biscotti are Italian cookies known for their dry and crunchy texture. They are twice-baked, which gives them their distinct characteristics. Biscotti are often flavored with almonds, chocolate, or dried fruits. They pair well with coffee or tea and can be enjoyed as a snack or dessert.

  2. Oatmeal Bars: Oatmeal bars are a hearty and nutritious substitute for cookies. They are made with oats, which provide a chewy texture and a hint of nuttiness. Oatmeal bars can be flavored with spices like cinnamon or nutmeg and can be enhanced with mix-ins like dried fruits or chocolate chips.

  3. Energy Balls: Energy balls are a healthy and convenient substitute for cookies. They are typically made by combining ingredients such as dates, nuts, seeds, and sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup. These bite-sized treats are packed with nutrients and make for a great on-the-go snack.

  4. Shortbread: Shortbread is a simple and classic substitute for cookies. Its delicate and crumbly texture is achieved by using a higher ratio of fat to flour. Shortbread can be flavored with vanilla, citrus zest, or even chocolate. These cookies are versatile and can be enjoyed plain or used as a base for other desserts.

  5. Puffed Rice Treats: Puffed rice treats, also known as rice crispy treats, are a childhood favorite that makes for an excellent substitute for cookies. They are made by combining melted marshmallows with puffed rice cereal. These treats are quick and easy to make, making them a perfect last-minute substitute.

Choosing The Right Substitute For Cookies

A stack of homemade cookies delectable

When selecting a substitute for cookies, it’s important to consider various factors such as taste, texture, and dietary restrictions. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right substitute:

  • Taste Preference: Consider the flavors you enjoy. If you love a nutty taste, options like biscotti or energy balls might be the perfect fit. For a more indulgent treat, blondies or brownies can satisfy your chocolate cravings.

  • Texture: Determine the texture you prefer. If you enjoy a light and crispy treat, shortbread or biscotti are great choices. For those who prefer something chewy or substantial, oatmeal bars or granola bars are good alternatives.

  • Dietary Restrictions: If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, make sure to choose a substitute that accommodates your needs. Vegan options might include fruit bars or energy balls, while gluten-free alternatives could be oatmeal bars or puffed rice treats.

  • Baking Difficulty: Consider the level of difficulty involved in making the substitute. If you’re looking for a quick fix, puffed rice treats or energy balls require minimal effort. On the other hand, biscotti or shortbread may require more time and precision.

Cooking With Substitutes For Cookies

A stack of homemade cookies delectable

Cooking with substitutes for cookies requires slight adjustments in ingredient ratios and baking times. Here are a few tips to ensure successful results:

  1. Ingredient Ratios: When substituting cookies with alternatives such as granola bars or fruit bars, it’s essential to maintain a similar ratio of dry to wet ingredients. This will help in achieving the desired texture and consistency. Additionally, adjusting sugar levels can help ensure the right sweetness.

  2. Baking Temperature and Time: Since different substitutes have different densities and moisture levels, it’s important to adjust baking temperatures and times accordingly. Follow the instructions in the recipe or keep an eye on the baked goods to prevent undercooking or excessive browning.

  3. Mix-Ins and Additions: Customize your substitutes by adding mix-ins and flavorings. Consider additions such as chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, or spices to enhance the taste and texture. Be mindful of the consistency of the substitute and ensure the add-ins complement the overall result.

  4. Substituting for Dietary Restrictions: If you are substituting for specific dietary needs, such as vegan or gluten-free, make sure to choose ingredient substitutes that comply with those requirements. Use vegan butter or coconut oil instead of dairy butter, and opt for gluten-free alternatives like almond flour or gluten-free oats.

Pro Tip: To achieve optimal results when substituting cookies, always start with a small batch or test recipe. This will allow you to adjust proportions and baking times if necessary, ensuring you get the best results with your chosen substitute.

Recipes Using Substitutes For Cookies


Here are a few delicious recipes using some of the substitutes mentioned earlier:

  1. Oatmeal Raisin Energy Balls:
  • Ingredients:

    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup nut butter (such as almond or peanut butter)
    • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Instructions:

    1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients until well combined.
    2. Using your hands, roll the mixture into small bite-sized balls.
    3. Place the energy balls in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
    4. Enjoy as a quick snack or dessert.
  1. Fruit Crumble Bars:
  • Ingredients:
    • For the crust:
      • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
    • For the fruit filling:
      • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (such as berries or peaches)
      • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
      • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
      • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a baking dish.
    2. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt for the crust. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
    3. Press two-thirds of the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
    4. In another bowl, mix the fruit, lemon juice, sugar, and flour for the filling. Spread the fruit mixture evenly over the crust.
    5. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the fruit filling.
    6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbly.
    7. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Storage And Shelf Life Of Substitutes


When it comes to storing your substitute treats, proper storage methods can help maintain their freshness and quality. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Biscotti: Biscotti can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator or freezer.

  • Oatmeal Bars, Energy Balls, and Granola Bars: Store these treats in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. To extend their shelf life, refrigerate or freeze them for up to 3 months.

  • Fruit Bars: Freshly baked fruit bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. To prolong their shelf life, refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

  • Shortbread, Puffed Rice Treats, Blondies, and Brownies: These treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. To maintain freshness, refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Pro Tip: To keep your substitute treats fresh for a longer period, place a slice of bread or a small piece of apple in the container. The bread or apple helps to retain moisture, preventing your treats from drying out.


Substituting cookies can be a fun and creative way to enjoy delicious treats even when you don’t have all the necessary ingredients. By exploring different substitute options, considering taste preferences, dietary restrictions, and adjusting baking techniques, you can create delectable alternatives that satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you choose biscotti, energy balls, or fruit bars, having a reliable substitute for cookies ensures that you never have to miss out on a delightful treat again.


What Are The Best Substitutes For Cookies If I Want A Healthier Snack?

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to cookies, you might want to try fruit salad, smoothies, yogurt parfaits, or energy balls. All of these snacks are easy to make, delicious, and packed with nutrients.

What Can I Use Instead Of Sugar When Making Cookies?

If you’re looking for a sugar-free alternative, you can use natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar. You can also use artificial sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract.

I Want To Make Gluten-free Cookies. What Are My Options?

If you want to make gluten-free cookies, you can use alternative flours like almond flour, coconut flour, or rice flour. You can also use oat flour or cornstarch. Just be aware that the texture and taste of your cookies might be different than if you use traditional wheat flour.

I’m Allergic To Nuts. What Can I Use Instead Of Nuts In Cookie Recipes?

If you’re allergic to nuts, you can use seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds as a substitute. You can also use coconut flakes or shredded coconut. Just be sure to check the recipe to make sure the substitution won’t affect the overall taste and consistency.

Are There Any Low-carb Substitutes For Cookies?

If you’re looking for a low-carb option, you can use almond flour or coconut flour in place of traditional wheat flour. You can also use natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract instead of sugar. Another option is to make no-bake energy balls using ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

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  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.