9 Delicious PCOS Friendly Desserts: Ingredient List + Recipes

These PCOS-friendly desserts let you indulge your sweet tooth without risking your health.

Best news ever: living with PCOS doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert.

When I first switched to a low-carb, low-sugar diet, I thought I was kissing cakes, pancakes, and muffins goodbye...forever.

But here's the thing: following a PCOS diet doesn't mean you must deprive yourself. Not even a little bit.

If you have PCOS, you can feast on a whole range of decadent sweet treats. All it takes is swapping out regular ingredients for PCOS-friendly substitutes.  These healthier alternatives taste just as good as their conventional counterparts, and most of them are ridiculously easy to make.

So, exactly how do you bake a healthy -- decadent -- PCOS dessert? Let's find out.

What makes a PCOS-friendly dessert?

A PCOS-friendly dessert is low in carbohydrates, dairy, and added sugars. You'll see most recipes use alternative flours instead of all-purpose flour, while many swap dairy milk for milk substitutes, like almond or oat milk.

These vanilla cupcakes are dairy-free and low carb.

Let’s cover what you should and shouldn’t include in a PCOS dessert. 

Ingredients to avoid

Most PCOS-friendly dessert recipes either reduce or avoid regular baking basics, like milk, sugar, and all-purpose flour.

  • Milk: carbohydrates like milk can increase insulin and androgen levels, according to research cited in Verywell Health. Experts recommend, therefore, limiting dairy if you have PCOS.
  • Sugar: Sugar can lead to increased insulin levels, according to the Open Heart journal.  One animal study found a high-fat high sugar diet saw rats developing PCOS. PCOS Nutrition recommends avoiding ingredients like dextrose, fructose, glucose, sucrose, and corn syrup.
  • White flour: white flour is high in simple carbohydrates, triggering a high insulin response. 

While it's useful to understand what you want to avoid in a PCOS dessert -- here's what to include.

PCOS friendly dessert ingredients 

There is a list of PCOS-friendly ingredients you can use while baking, and these include:

  • Milk alternatives
  • Sugar substitutes
  • Flour alternatives

Milk alternatives 

Milk alternatives include almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and more. A quick way to find a PCOS cake recipe using any of these milk substitutes is to simply search for it online.

For example, the search query “almond milk chocolate cake recipe” returns tons of dairy-free chocolate cake recipes.

Sugar alternatives 

Sugar alternatives are natural and artificial sweeteners. BBC Food suggests the following sugar alternatives for desserts:

  • Natural sugars: honey, maple syrup 
  • Sugar alcohols: Erythritol, Xylitol 
  • Sweet extracts: Stevia, agave nectar,  rice malt syrup 

When selecting a sugar alternative, investigate the options thoroughly. While writing this post, I found a lot of information about the potential risks of non-nutritive sweeteners like Stevia. According to the Nutrients journal, some research suggests non-nutritive sweeteners can interfere with the gut microbiota. The results are pretty alarming, with the paper noting:

“There have been several forms of dysbiosis that have been observed following NNS consumption…”

The authors of that paper are calling for more awareness about these potential drawbacks:

“Consumers must be aware that contrary to the existing belief, that substitution of natural sugar by NAS is beneficial for their health, there is growing evidence of NAS being implicated in the development of metabolic abnormalities.”

During my research, I also found a few recipes with rice malt sugar.  But, according to Healthline, rice malt syrup may not be the healthiest sugar substitute. Not only does it spike blood sugar, but it can also contain high levels of arsenic. 

“... its high GI, lack of nutrients, and risk of arsenic contamination are significant downsides. Even if it is fructose-free, rice syrup seems mostly harmful.”

Coconut sugar might also be a good substitute. This chocolate cake recipe uses coconut sugar or honey. 

Flour substitutes 

White flour substitutes include whole wheat flour, almond flour, and coconut flour. If you use a flour substitute, remember you’ll likely have to adapt the recipe in some way. Take the healthy chocolate recipe which uses whole wheat flour. Here, you need cocoa powder, oil, and sugar to mask a “wheaty taste”.

For more options, check out this comprehensive list of flour substitutes.  I've experimented with wholewheat flour, almond flour, spelt flour, and macadamia flour, and I've had the best results with macadamia flour. Keep in mind that spelt flour isn't the best option if you have irritable bowel syndrome because it's relatively high in FODMAPS.

9 Easy PCOS friendly desserts

From fudgy chocolate cakes to dairy-free biscuits, the selection below is filled with PCOS desserts for any occasion.

  1. Strawberry peach bavarois (vegan & grain-free): This dairy-free PCOS dessert is light and refreshing, making it the perfect summer treat. It’s packed with fruit so you’ll get an antioxidant boost while you indulge your sweet tooth. 
  2. Avocado chocolate mousse: Friends and family won’t believe this mousse is made out of avocado. I only discovered the joy of using avocados in baking when I tasted an avo brownie a few months ago. Since then, I’ve been hooked. 
  3. Avocado chocolate cake: If you loved the avocado chocolate mousse (and you will), you’ll enjoy this fudgy chocolate cake. 
  4. Keto cheesecake: Try this super simple low-carb cheesecake.  Top with your favourite berries and enjoy. 
  5. Lemon zucchini cake: A PCOS-friendly cake recipe that combines zucchini and lemon. 
  6. Chocolate caramel fudge cups: Learn how to make caramel fudge cups using just six ingredients.
  7. Vanilla cupcakes: I made these vanilla cupcakes using macadamia flour, and they were delicious. I blended coconut sugar in a Nutribullet and used that as a powered sweetener.  They're also super easy to make - I'm no pro baker, and they turned out beautifully.
  8. Keto creme brulee: All you need is eggs, vanilla extract, whipping cream, and a natural sweetener to put together this PCOS dessert.
  9. Almond flour biscuits:  A great PCOS dessert recipe when you’re looking for a quick, easy option. 

Experiment with a PCOS friendly dessert today 

Just because a dessert is PCOS-friendly doesn’t mean it can’t be decadent and delicious.  Select a recipe and try one of these PCOS desserts.