Low-Fat Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

low-fat vegan chocolate chip cookies

These low-fat vegan chocolate chip cookies use only a third of the sugar called for in most conventional cookie recipes, and  butter is replaced with applesauce and just a smidgen of oil—that’s the magic. From their smooth texture, you’d never think that these cookies are whole grain, made with whole wheat pastry flour. Your family and guests will love you for it! Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. 

Makes about 16 to 18 cookies

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry or spelt flour (see gluten-free variation)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds, optional
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or a bit more to make a smooth and slightly stiff batter)
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 to 1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the first 4 (dry) ingredients plus the optional flaxseeds in a mixing bowl and stir together.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce, oil, and vanilla. Stir together until the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed.

Stir in the chocolate chips and optional walnuts. Drop the batter onto parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheets in slightly rounded tablespoonfuls. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms are just starting to brown lightly. Let stand for a minute or two, then carefully remove with a spatula to a rack or plates to cool.

Gluten-free variation: Simply replace the flour, baking powder, and baking soda with a gluten-free flour mix, like Bob’s Red Mill. Eliminate the baking powder and soda.


low-fat vegan chocolate chip cookies

low-fat vegan chocolate chip cookies

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40 comments on “Low-Fat Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Diana

    This looks amazing!! A few quick questions:
    1) can I substitute oat flour for wheat flour?
    2) can I substitute regular vegetable oil for safflower oil?
    3) where did you buy the vegan semi sweet chocolate chips?

    Thanks in advance for your time!!

  2. Nava Post author

    Hi Diana — you can sub any kind of mild oil. Most semi-sweet chocolate chips are vegan; I get mine at a small natural foods store because I also like to buy Fair Trade chocolate. I’ve never tried these with oat flour, but I’d say there’s a very good chance it would be just fine. Enjoy!

  3. Mari

    Can I substitute apple sauce with homemade apple jam, which is quite thick? Or should I add some water to make the jam thinner?

  4. Dennis

    This was a great and easy recipe., and I made it a few times. I added half a tsp of vanilla extract which added a both to the taste and baking aroma. The vanilla extract (alcohol free) from Trader Joes. Is this vanilla consider vegan?

  5. Nava Post author

    Hi Dennis — I can’t think of anything that would make vanilla non-vegan. In fact, it’s a great idea and I’ll add it to the recipe’s ingredient list!

  6. Cheryl

    Dennis is my brother and he made a batch for my non-vegan family. They LOVED the cookies. Thanks Nava for the great recipe!

  7. Ophee

    I am interested in making these as a low fat vegan with a craving for cookies ;), but I have one question: are these crunchy, cakey, or chewy? My favorite is chewy and I am not totally sure what to change about a recipe to convert them from one to another. Thanks!

  8. Nava Post author

    Ophee, these are definitely not crunchy (usually the crunch is provided by a higher quantity of added fat!). I would say these are chewy. I hope you like them!

  9. Nava Post author

    Shannon, you can just use some extra applesauce; or a couple of tablespoons of nut butter or tahini that are nice and runny and not too thick.

  10. Nava Post author

    You can use unableached flour, though it isn’t as healthy; or you can order whole wheat pastry flour online. Light spelt flour is good, too.

  11. Shawna

    YIKES! My cookies did NOT turn out like your cookies! The batter was very runny and the cookies spread to twice their sizes. They are also dark brown unlike your white-ish cookies. Did you use the flaxseed in yours? Do you know what I did wrong?

  12. Nava Post author

    Hi Shawna, I’m so sorry these didn’t turn out for you! I can’t imagine what went wrong. I’ve made these dozens of times and so have other VK readers. I rarely use the flaxseed in mine. I can only theorize that perhaps you may have used double the amount of the wet ingredients as suggested? Other than having been with you as you were making these, I can’t really say. Again, so sorry. I wonder if the type of flour you used might have been a problem as well?

  13. Amanda

    I made a few changes, added cacao powder and berries jam with a little bit of water in the place of apple sauce, and didn’t put the vanilla extract or any oil.. and OMG these are the best cookies I’ve ever eaten !! Thank you for this recipe.

  14. Ruth Mahalia

    I just made these but replaced the apple sauce, oil and sugar with a puree (done in a Vitamix) using one unpeeled diced apple, 5 Sunsweet dried plums, and 1/3 cup water. The cookies came out tasting great. My 9 year old loved them!

  15. Susanne

    I’ve made these cookies countless times (no substitutions) and they are always a hit around our house. Best lowfat cookie I’ve tried. Thank you, Nava!

  16. Aiko

    I am probably the least careful baker out there, but I tried out a really loose version of this in which I replaced half the wheat flour with oat flour and replaced the apple sauce with apple puree. This ended up making the batter too runny so I poured it into a pan and baked it like a brownie. It was still amazingly delicious.

  17. Kim

    Hi! First time making anything from your blog. These cookies were amazeballs the next day! The texture of a soft sugar cookie but the taste of a chocolate chip cookie! Not having any pastry flour, I subbed AP/Cake flour in a 2:1 ratio. Getting WW pastry flour on my next trip to Whole Foods. Thanks again!

  18. Beth

    Hi Nava, I’ve never posted a comment on a website before, but these cookies are so perfect, I couldn’t resist. I doubled the recipe (found I needed to add more flour for a semi-stiff dough) and love them. I am a yoga teacher and healthy is important to me. But, I’ve made them for the local fire department to thank them for their hard work here in the Northwest with the recent fires. They are sure to LOVE them!

  19. Rachel

    Hi! These cookies look amazing & I want to try them out to eat with friends. I was wondering if it’s possible to swap our the sugar for a zero calorie sweetener like stevia or equal?

  20. Nava Post author

    Rachel, I’m afraid I can’t answer that question with any confidence — often, it’s the sweetener, wet or dry, that adds not only flavor but also a certain texture to baked goods. That said, these cookies have relatively little sugar, so it could be interesting to add stevia. Not Equal, though. Not a big fan of artificial sweeteners!

  21. Hannah

    They turned out crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Not really what I was expecting but still they are amazing!! Great recipe!!

  22. Nava Post author

    Glad you liked these Hannah. Baking results can vary according to the humidity in the air, how accurate the oven temp is, etc. But as long as you liked the result, that’s what matters!

  23. Natalie

    I made these cookings with the gluten free 1:1 baking flour by Red Mill. They tasted good, but the texture was off. The inside was fluffy, while the edges and bottom were tough. Not crunchy or burned, just tough like jerky. I have no idea what would cause this. Should I take it out earlier? Anyone know whats causing this? Help is really appreciated, as I’m new to gluten free and vegan baking.

  24. Amber

    My cookies didn’t bake down at all. I was so sad. I saw your picture and I thought they looked wonderful. But my cookies spread and plumped up just like every other applesauce baked cookie I’ve tried. I was bummed because I was hopeful that the 1T of oil was really magic, but it wasn’t.

  25. noon

    omg!!! omfg that was a total hit!!
    i am IN LOVE <3<3
    soo i made alil twist instead a cup flour i did half flour half rolled oats n i added 1 tbsp peanut butter and 1 tbsp almond milk instead of oil.but turned out just perfect 🙂
    thank you ..

  26. Stephanie

    These are awesome!!! We used spelt flour, apple butter instead of applesauce, ghee instead of oil, date palm sugar. and added rolled oats. I guess that’s a lot of substitutions, but they were so good!

  27. Nannette

    Thank you so much! After looking through 3 of my vegan cookbooks and not finding what I wanted I gave up and asked Siri to look for “lowfat vegan chocolate chip cookies”. Yours were first up, and after reading the reviews, I made them exactly as written. They are wonderful! My guys are going to be so happy I have finally found a “legal” chocolate chip cookie recipe! We will definitely enjoy them in celebration after my kiddo’s band concert tonight.

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