10 Low-Fat Cooking Tricks You Didn’t Know

Updated: Feb. 08, 2017

Learn the secret to a low-fat risotto. Plus, a trick for making a lower calorie guacamole and more.

1. You don’t need to add cream to a well made risotto

There are two tricks to making a great risotto; patience and the right rice. Don’t ever attempt to make this ancient dish with regular long-grain rice because it will turn mushy, not creamy, when cooked in this manner. Second, use a heavyweight pot that distributes heat evenly. Melt the butter, oil, or fat slowly, add the rice, stir, and don’t add any liquid until all of the grains are coated with fat. The very minute that the rice stops absorbing liquid, you’ll know that it’s done.

2. For low-fat salad dressings with tons of flavor, replace one-fourth of the oil with carrot juice.

3. Bananas are the secret to complex-tasting muffins

For complex-tasting blueberry muffins with less fat, replace the butter in your favorite recipe with a mixture of mashed bananas and vegetable oil.

4. To make low-fat guacamole, puree peas and use them to replace some or all of the avocados in your favorite guacamole recipe.

5. Use yogurt for tender low-fat muffins

Replace half of the liquid in the batter with yogurt. The acidity of yogurt helps to enhance tenderness in the absence of fat.

6. Use mustard instead of egg to bread

Mustard’s claim to fame is as a condiment, usually on hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches. But many chefs, when preparing lower-cholesterol breaded cutlets, replace egg with mustard, since bread crumbs adhere to mustard even better than they do to beaten egg. Plus, mustard’s fat and cholesterol counts are virtually nil. Use this technique anytime you make cutlets, stronger-flavored fish, and even fried eggplant.

7. Throw fatty meats in a stew

Chefs often recommend cooking stews the day before to let the flavors meld, but short ribs and shanks are often cooked the day before for another, more pressing reason — it cooks out the copious fat that can be found in these cuts, and then you can skim it off the top the next day before serving. Put the whole pot in the refrigerator, if you have room, then scrape off and discard the congealed fat before reheating the next day.

8. Boil duck first

There are two secrets to a great duck dish: The first — giving the duck a bath in boiling salted water — is an ages-old kitchen trick designed to help draw out some of its fat (ducks are notoriously fatty), helping it to have super-crispy skin. The second trick — using orange juice or preserves — is a no-fail way to add fruit flavor any time of year, with a standard kitchen ingredient.

9. Make guilt free creamy soups with evaporated fat-free milk
This is a dish that almost everyone loves, and traditionally, it would be thickened with pure cream. The trick here is to replace that cream with evaporated fat-free milk. The results will be astonishing!

10. For rich-tasting gratins and quiches without excess fat, use evaporated milk instead of cream or whole milk.

Sources: The Cheating Chef’s Secret Cookbook and Extraordinary Meals From Ordinary Ingredients

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest