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Dec 9, 2012 11:22 AM

Favorite non butter-based desserts?

What are your favorite desserts without (or with very very little) butter?

So, for example, a fruit tart would not count, but a pavlova would.

Similarly, a sponge cake or a meringue would be ok, but not a classic genoise.

I think mine would be, in no particular order, Tiramisu, Cheesecake, Mochi balls w/ Azuki beans, and Ice Cream.


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  1. In posing this question you have made me realize that there are very few desserts I like that don't have butter.

    I am not a huge sweet eater to begin with (give me french fries over the finest chocolates) but when I do want something sweet it is usually something with caramel or something with a nice buttery crust or puff pastry.

    Even cheese cake needs to have buttery crust or at least a salted caramel sauces….

    So my answer is NONE!

    1. Stilton and Port...gotta have that animal fat and this isn't technically butter!

      I love the Julia Child saying, "If you're afraid of butter, use cream."

      1 Reply
      1. re: tim irvine

        Well, it's not so much fear, but deep dislike.

      2. Old fashioned bread pudding. I made one last night with panettone and served it with fresh berries...yum.

        6 Replies
        1. re: critter101

          I have never seen a bread pudding recipe that does not call for butter! Never mind the sauce that most include usually have a whole stick of the stuff. Care to share your recipe?

          1. re: foodieX2

            Bread pudding does not have to be made with butter (in fact, I do it all the time), and it's probably better without it.

            Bread pudding, at its core, is essentially some sort of bread or carbohydrate drenched in custard, and then baked in a water bath. And custard, traditionally, is just a combo of milk, eggs, and sugar.

            Of course, you can dress up bread pudding in all sorts of fashion, with sauces and what-not, but bread pudding can absolutely be made without any butter (assuming you are using a bread that has no butter to begin with).

            1. re: foodieX2

              I rarely use butter in my bread pudding. Plenty of cream or half and half and eggs/egg yolks but never butter. There might be butter in the bread but I think quick breads like pumpkin bread are better in bread pudding w/out butter/oil.

              Something along these lines:


              1. re: chowser

                Absolutely! Made one the other night with old hamburger buns, skim milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and a few pecans. I just put it in a ceramic casserole and baked it. It was tasty, despite being made ostensibly from nonfat junk food.

            2. re: critter101

              Here's the recipe using leftover white bread. As I said, I substituted panettone (don't have the package, so not sure if it contained butter. I did cut the amount of sugar in half, since the panettone itself is sweet):

              Old Fashioned Bread Pudding
              2 slightly beaten eggs
              2 1/4 cups half and half
              1/2 cup sugar
              1 tsp. vanilla
              1/2 tsp. cinnamon
              1/4 tsp. salt
              2 cups day old white bread, cubed
              1/2 cup raisins (optional)
              Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first six ingredients and mix together well. Add remaining ingredients and pour into an 8 or 9 inch square oven proof dish. Sprinkle top with an additional bit of sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place dish in a larger pan of hot water, about 1 inch deep - forming a water bath. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted between center and edge comes out clean.

            3. Many desserts that use butter can be done w/ lard and often is better--eg pie crusts, tarts, even chinese almond cookies. I love the flakiness of chinese almond cookies w/ lard. I love "puff" pastry w/ adzuki beans. Happy mouth cookies:


              It's debatable for me whether I prefer butter based or non-butter based desserts (ice cream, panna cotta, mochi, custard tarts, etc.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                I like a lard pie crust much better than a butter one!

                1. re: jeanmarieok

                  As do I, but it's usually 50/50 lard and shortening.

              2. Lots!

                Wine-Poached Pears

                Eton Mess with raspberries


                Panna Cotta


                Chocolate Pots de Creme