Palm Oil-free Baking Guide
Holiday spoiler alert: Most store-bought desserts and baked sweets — everything from cookies and cupcakes to donuts and pies — use palm oil. So do packaged cookie doughs, pie crusts and dry cake or brownie mixes. Sadly, most bakeries also use palm oil, so even donuts and specialty cakes that you buy from Panera, Cheryl’s or Krispie Kreme have palm oil.
The good news is that with a bit of a time investment, you can bake your own goods and avoid palm oil all together. Many recipes are pretty easy to decipher and understand. Avoid shortening and margerine, there’s palm oil there, too. But a basic cookie dough recipe: eggs, flour, sugars, vanilla, baking powder, butter… well, that’s pretty straight forward. This is, by far, the easiest way to ensure you’re serving dishes that align with your morals.
Wait… what’s the deal with palm oil?
Rainforests are hotspots for biodiversity and filter vast amounts of carbon and pollution. Every day, three football fields’ worth of rainforest is burnt down to make way for palm plantations, which kills or displaces endangered animals such as tiger and orangutans. It’s estimated that fewer than 3,000 tigers still live in the wild, as their territory disappears daily. New roads allow poachers to hunt more easily and fires and machinery kill and injure animals. Palm oil is BIG business, with nearly half of our breads, donuts, nut butters, baby formulas, make up, cereal, cookies, pet food, potato chips and shampoo containing palm oil.
By saying no to palm oil, you’re standing up to commercial interests and voting with your dollar bills. It’s supply and demand. If you and I can avoid palm oil, it’s one less acre of forest that is burned to make way for new plantations. And one more tiger that keeps its home.
Are My Purchased Baked Goods Safe?
Whether you buy pre-made cookies from a grocery store, a bakery or from Costco, they will likely have palm oil. Yes, it is so easy to just grab a package of those perfectly baked, meticulously decorated delights, so we totally aren’t judging you.
Learn to read ingredients
Many times you will see in the ingredients the word “palm,” which makes it easy to avoid them. Examples include: palm oil, palm kernel oil or vegetable oil (too vague to definitively tell if it’s palm oil) and palmitate and palmitoyl. However, also learn to look for laur-, stear-, and glyc-, as they are usually made with palm oil ingredients. The challenge is that some of these ingredients could be palm OR coconut-derived, making it hard to definitively know.
These Products are Free of Palm Oil
Pilsbury Brownie Mix
- Chocolate Fudge
- Milk Chocolate
- Dark Chocolate
- Classic Fudge
- Purely Simple Chocolate Chunk
Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream – All Flavors!
Pepperidge Farms Chessmen cookies
Pepperidge Farms Farmhouse Thin & Crispy cookies