Healthier Alternatives to Your Favorite Fried Foods

by Kaila Stein
Apr 16, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Baked chicken, egg rolls and pickles
Image: Getty Images/Design: Kenzie Mastroe/SheKnows

Fried food is kind of hard not to love. Crispy fried chicken, french fries — don’t forget about doughnuts! Oh, and churros too. It’s all delicious and is basically the ultimate comfort food. But with that crunchy comfort comes a lot of extra calories. As much as we love it, fried food is not always kind to our waistlines or kitchens — that oil splatter!  As we inch closer to warmer weather and further away from loose, drapey sweaters and bulky coats, why not try to keep it on the healthier side with some lighter versions of our favorite fried foods? I mean, after all, fewer calories in our dinner means more room for margaritas and ice cream later, right?

We rounded up some delicious alternatives (seriously) to your favorite fried foods. These dishes don’t compromise on crunch or taste and will satisfy your deep-fried desires without all the greasy regret. From crispy oven-fried chicken to baked egg rolls and General Tso's chicken, these lightened-up dishes deliver on flavor.

1 /9: Baked Fried Chicken

1/9 :Baked Fried Chicken

Can you believe this delicious-looking chicken isn't fried? You need this recipe in your life. 

2 /9: Old-Fashioned Baked Cake Doughnuts

2/9 :Old-Fashioned Baked Cake Doughnuts

These old-fashioned doughnuts are baked, making them much lower in fat than a traditional fried doughnut. 

3 /9: Oven-Baked Fried Pickles

3/9 :Oven-Baked Fried Pickles

Get your fried-pickle fix without the grease and mess of frying. This oven-baked version makes an addictive party appetizer. 

4 /9: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

4/9 :Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

These Buffalo chicken meatballs have all the same flavors as a plate of Buffalo wings. These meatballs are made with ground chicken, minced celery and carrots and hot sauce and served with a homemade blue cheese dressing. 

5 /9: Oven Fries

5/9 :Oven Fries

If your love of french fries runs deep, you need to make these crispy oven fries. In this recipe, the fries are boiled first and then baked, which yields the perfect tender-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside fry. 

6 /9: Southwestern Baked Egg Rolls

6/9 :Southwestern Baked Egg Rolls

Love egg rolls but hate the heaviness of traditional fried egg rolls? These Southwestern baked egg rolls are the perfect compromise. They're filled with your favorite Southwestern flavors, but aren't dripping in oil, so you don't have to feel guilty when you eat an entire plateful of them. 

7/9 :Baked Churros

OK, who doesn't love a churro? Probably no one, but everyone hates the guilt that comes with eating these fried treats. Luckily, this recipe calls for baking the churros, so you can still achieve that traditional and indulgent flavor without all the extra oil. 

8 /9: Oven Baked Onion Rings

8/9 :Oven Baked Onion Rings

You can feel good about downing a plate of these baked onion rings made with buttermilk and baked potato chips for crunch. 

9 /9: Lighter General Tso's Chicken

9/9 :Lighter General Tso's Chicken

A lightened-up, baked version of the Chinese takeout classic with half the calories and all the flavor. Yes, please!