What is “stress baking”?

Let’s look at how and why individuals use stress baking as a coping method, not simply the name of this blog.

First and first, yes, it is the name of my blog. But there’s a lot more to it!

You’ve certainly heard the word stress baking bandied about a lot (particularly in 2020-2021 banana bread, anyone? ), but what does it mean?

The short answer: baking to relieve stress.

The lengthier response includes some psychology, the science behind various stress management approaches, and a dash of personal experience.

Baking can be therapeutic

I realize this isn’t true for everyone; I know plenty of individuals who would rather walk on legos than make a cake, but baking is soothing for me. I’ve been stress baking since I can remember, which is why I began this site in 2013.

Baking therapy is the ideal blend of coping mechanism and useful activity in my opinion. Even better, I get refreshments at the end. And who doesn’t like snacks?

Rather of vegging out in front of the TV for hours and feeling like a lazy slug, I’m making something. I can turn my worry and anxiety into something productive (and, perhaps, tasty). It makes me pleased that I can share it with others.

My cycle of stress usually looks like this:

  • Something happens to stress me out
  • I check through my list of recipe ideas (or add to it) to see what I already have on hand.
  • Prepare, bake, and test it as a new recipe for my blog so I may share it with others.
  • More taste testing
  • Distribute to neighbors and delivery personnel to share the pleasure.
  • Enjoy the aroma of freshly baked pastries floating throughout the home.
  • Rinse and repeat

I have OCD and find cleaning soothing, so scrubbing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen after it has been covered in flour and sprinkles lends itself to being a good component of my baking therapy regimen.

The psychology of baking

Because I am not a doctor, please bear in mind that I am sharing what I have learned over the years from genuine physicians and research, not medical advice or expertise.

Baking is a diversion. A wonderful diversion, but nevertheless a distraction. And it’s the type of distraction that requires you to be physically and psychologically present. You’re using all of your senses, including touch, smell, and taste.

You can’t concentrate on stirring a dish of cookie dough and scrolling through social media feeds at the same time unless you’re a particularly gifted multitasker.

There is also a conscious or subconscious part of baking that is primarily focused on the ensuing sweet goodies since consuming carbohydrates and sweets increases your happy hormones. Who wouldn’t feel delighted after eating a whoopie pie, right?

In all seriousness, consuming sweets may give you a dopamine boost. I’m not talking about a full pan of brownies here, friendo. Even eating dark chocolate may provide a little endorphin boost.

For others, the process of learning a new recipe and successfully transforming it into something tasty and edible from a collection of odd things in your cupboard might provide a serotonin boost. Confidence causes serotonin to be released, and being proud of something you built with your own hands might be precisely what you need for a mood boost.

Stress baking is a coping mechanism

People began using the words quarantine baking and pandemic baking in addition to the old standard stress baking in 2020, when they were trapped at home in greater numbers than ever before. Both of those hashtags were so popular that it was impossible to go through Instagram without being bombarded with photos tagged with one of them!

People wanted something to do to pass the time since they were out of job, or a new interest to replace the canceled group yoga session. And I liked seeing individuals all around the globe discover a new passion for baking, cooking, and their own kitchens.

For the first time in ten years, people were dragging out the pasta machine they were given at their wedding and combing the internet to learn how to make their own fettucine.

People who depended on takeout and microwave meals were forced to learn how to prepare their own pad thai and breakfast burritos as a result of business closures and supply chain concerns.

Some folks just wanted an excuse to hide in the kitchen for a few minutes to escape the chaos of homeschooling and ended up finding their new favorite chef on YouTube or Instagram who taught them how to cook pizza.

It can be a bonding mechanism, too

It didn’t matter why; it was a popular and accessible hobby for the vast majority of folks who found themselves spending significantly more time at home than they had anticipated. People were closer to their relationships as a result of their newly found common love of muffins. People also formed bonds with strangers.

People were able to exchange recipes, methods, and images of their very first sourdough bread and encourage each other on since it was popular and we had the magic of the internet. In such a sad period, it was a magnificent sight to witness.

People found local vendors and establishments they would not have discovered otherwise when stores reopened. And I believe it encouraged people rethink the importance of purchasing locally rather than at large box retailers.

Because the supply chains were so shattered that we couldn’t get even the most basic goods and meals at the supermarket, we went to the modest business down the block where six generations of women in their family have been making pasta and seasonings from scratch.

Is stress baking different than stress cooking?

Baking is all on accuracy and understanding how ingredients interact with one another. Cookies melt when there is too much butter and not enough flour. If you use outdated baking powder, your cake will not rise.

Cooking is more of an art form with greater leeway. If you add a sprinkle of this spice and a dash of that, change out proteins at random, and leave out items you don’t have, it typically works out OK. You have more leeway to experiment with recipes than you do with baking.

Some individuals (like me) want accuracy and structure and lean toward creating delicacies such as cupcakes and pies.

Others prefer to explore and discover new tastes, particularly in savory foods, and cooking is ideal for them.

There’s no wrong way to stress bake

There are no restrictions for stress baking. There are no guidelines to follow in order to accomplish it correctly. Stress baking may be whatever you want it to be.

And, contrary to common opinion, comfort foods are not required! Sure, many individuals go for carb-heavy cookies, banana bread, doughnuts, or mac and cheese, but that does not have to be the case.

  • If your version of baking therapy consists of finding the fastest recipes you can find because you’re short on time and your aim is to get food in your mouth as soon as possible, that’s fantastic.
  • There are many of possibilities if you require the recipes to be incredibly easy since you don’t have the attention span for anything more sophisticated.
  • If you need recipes to create with your kids since you don’t have time for yourself, you can have a fantastic (and perhaps a little messy) group baking therapy session.
  • If you’re searching for a new pastime and want to learn how to bake, start with the Baking Basics and work your way up to fantastic tiers cakes!
  • Or maybe you want to work your way through a cookbook with difficult and time-consuming dishes because you need a longer-term diversion and something to do with the time you’d otherwise spend psychologically spinning out of control perfect.

The furious whipping of frosting, crushing of peppermint, and the oh-so-delicate positioning of cupcake decorations all help me find an outlet for my anxieties and anxious energy most of the time.

Other times, I simply want to be able to dump everything in a bowl and be done with it. Though, at that point, it’s more about the tension of eating the final cookies than it is about the procedure.

It doesn’t matter how you approach stress baking; what matters is that you’re doing what works for you to handle your pressures while still having fun!

Stress baking recipe ideas

As I previously said, there is no incorrect way to stress bake, so choose any recipe in the world and go for it! But, if you’re seeking for inspiration, here are a couple of my personal faves that appear to be popular with others.

It was difficult to choose just a handful for each category, so I encourage browsing through my recipe archives!


The Best Banana Bread This is not a title I bestow lightly! For years, readers have agreed that this is THE BEST banana bread recipe: easy-to-make, moist banana bread that is crisp on the exterior and full of flavor. There is no need for a mixer with this recipe.

Banana Muffins in a Single Bowl These muffins truly caught off in 2020, particularly among single individuals who didn’t require a dozen muffins for themselves. This quick small batch 1 banana muffin recipe is based on my favorite banana bread recipe and requires just one banana, one dish, and 30 minutes.

Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Duplicate Another simple dish that became popular in 2020 when people couldn’t go to Starbucks as readily as they used to. This dish is so popular that it is popular all year! I also produced an iced version for people who like iced coffee.

Scones with Cranberries and Vanilla Beans Don’t be put off by the prospect of preparing your own scones! These cranberry vanilla bean scones are brimming with cranberry and vanilla flavors, with a tinge of orange, and are deliciously delicate on the inside with a pleasantly crispy top drizzled with icing for extra sweetness.


Cookies with Fluffernutter These are at the more difficult end of the baking scale and have been very popular for years. They’re a cookie version of a popular New England fluffernutter sandwich, with thin, chewy peanut butter cookies filled with swirls of marshmallow fluff. Try my fluffernutter rice krispie treats if you like them.

Whipped Mascarpone Cream This stabilized mascarpone whipped cream is my all-time favorite, and it just takes 15 minutes to prepare. It’s light and fluffy, and honestly works with everything. It’s ideal for topping cupcakes or ice cream, dipping fruit in, or eating by the spoonful. Way better than canned whipped cream, and has been a long-time reader favorite recipe.

The Most Delicious Fudgy Brownies If you’re searching for a go-to brownie recipe, this is it. These brownies are rich, fudgy delight that can be made in one dish with no mixer.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats Speaking of rice krispie treats, this recipe quickly went viral! PSLs are popular, and it seems that pumpkin spice applied to basic krispie desserts is no exception.

Cookies with Maple Syrup and Sugar These maple sugar cookies are soft cut-out sugar cookies with crisp, defined edges that are rich with maple syrup taste and a delicious maple frosting, ready in about 30 minutes and no refrigeration necessary. This is a long-time autumn favorite that also produces fantastic Christmas cookies.

Savory snacks

Mozzarella Sticks Made From Scratch This is yet another dish that went viral during the epidemic! People were unable to visit their favorite restaurant since everything was closed, and they were wanting that ooey, gooey fried cheese. I’ve also included a recipe for my favorite small-batch marinara sauce!

Ruby Tuesday Pasta Salad Duplicate our is very probably the most popular recipe on our site. It’s becoming more difficult to locate a Ruby Tuesday where you can fill your plate full with this fan-favorite pasta salad, so you’re fortunate you can cook it at home!

Soft Pretzels Made From Scratch You won’t have to wait long for the dough to rise, and you won’t need a thermometer. And, just so you know, these taste well with my beer cheese dip.

Lunch and dinner

Pantry Pasta in Minutes Pantry pasta is ideal for individuals who are short on time and supplies, since it can be created with any items you have in your fridge and pantry! A simple recipe basis that takes around 15 minutes to prepare.

Gnocchi Pan Fried with Brussels Sprouts Pan-fried Italian sausage, brussels sprouts, and gnocchi with lemon zest and butter for a supper ready in less than 30 minutes!

Soup with Carrots and Ginger This carrot ginger soup is a quick, healthful, and hearty winter dinner that is creamy with a slight spicy bite of ginger and ready in 30 minutes. This recipe includes instructions for cooking it in an Instant Pot as well as on the stovetop.

Macaroni and Cheese Baked It’s difficult to say no to the ultimate comfort meal, you know?

Kid-friendly recipes

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies in One Bowl Many people have told me that these are their favorite cookie recipes to create with their children. These large, chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are prepared in one dish, do not need a stand mixer (aff link), do not require cooling, are done in 30 minutes, and are completely customisable to any add-ins you want or have on hand.

One massive chocolate chip cookie It’s exactly how it sounds! There’s also a double chocolate chip variant.

Funfetti Popcorn with 4 Ingredients Funfetti popcorn is full of sprinkles and is addicting, salty, and sweet. It just takes four ingredients and 30 minutes to make the ideal sharing snack.

Dog treats

I wouldn’t want to forget about our four-legged companions! Try one of these treats for your pet:

  • Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Dog Treats
  • 3-Ingredient Banana Dog Treats
  • Apple Pupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
  • Peanut Butter and Banana Pupcakes
  • Peanut Butter Cookie Dog Treats
  • Peanut Butter and Bacon Dog Treats


Is there such a thing as stress baking?

Whatever you choose to call it: stress baking, anxiety baking, or procrastibaking. When people are worried, they search for something to do, something to divert them, and baking gives that for many individuals. There are several causes for this, including: Dr.

Is stress baking healthy?

Baking is a stress-relieving pastime that might be useful for worried persons. Baking needs a lot of attention, which helps you concentrate on the work at hand. When something becomes habitual, it becomes simpler to remain calm and relaxed while avoiding distractions to keep negative emotions at bay.

What is the psychology of stress baking?

“When you focus your attention on an activity like baking, you are more present in the moment and less focused on past or future stressors.” Baking can be beneficial to our mental health for reasons other than stress alleviation.

What does baking as a coping mechanism mean?

Baking is an excellent technique to distract yourself from a stressful workplace, a rough day at school, or a particularly unpleasant aspect of life. Baking needs all or most of your focus and serves as a temporary distraction from whatever is causing you anxiety or tension.

Is baking good for anxiety?

“The physical activity and sensations associated with baking can be very grounding for people who feel anxious or overwhelmed, as it heightens awareness of their body and being present in the moment; both of which can reduce stress and improve mood,” explains Beurkens.

Why do I cook when I’m anxious?

Another reason cooking may help individuals feel successful and in control is because it might make them feel accomplished and in control. “It communicates to people: my life is very busy, and I took an hour or two hours to make this meal, and look, everything remained okay,” Schraufnagel adds.

Is stress worse than junk food?

Brigham Young University researchers compared these two health risks in a report published in Nature Scientific Reports. Despite the fact that the study was conducted on mice, the researchers feel that the effects of stress and junk food are analogous to what occurs in people.

What foods make stress worse?

If you’re anxious, try to avoid the following foods:
Sugary beverages and meals.
Chips, cookies, frozen snacks, and ready-made meals are examples of processed foods.
Fried meals, red meat, full-fat dairy, butter, and baked products are rich in trans fats and saturated fats.

What is the best food for stress?

To help reduce stress naturally, try including any of these items into your diet.
Oatmeal. This long-time favorite is a complex carbohydrate.
Tuna with salmon.
Chocolate that is dark.
Tea made from chamomile flowers.

How do chefs deal with stress?

Request Assistance. The top cooks understand that they cannot accomplish their professions alone and are not ashamed to ask for assistance. When working in the kitchen, understanding how to efficiently assign jobs may assist not only relieve stress but also keep the kitchen operating smoothly.

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