This healthy trifle is a traditional British dessert made with healthier ingredients. There are still delicious layers with creamy custard, but it's a low fat trifle recipe which is also low sugar and gluten free. All the nostalgia, without all the calories!
What you'll love about the recipe
- With pillowy, creamy layers, this healthy trifle feels like an indulgent treat. It's delicious as a show-stopper summer dessert or as part of a healthier Christmas feast
- Gluten free, low in saturated fat and low in added sugar. You can also use this recipe to make a dairy free healthy trifle
- A low calorie trifle with just 130 calories for a generous serving
- Easy recipe with no baking required. An ideal make-ahead dessert which you can scale up to feed a crowd for a special occasion
- You'll just need a few everyday ingredients. And unlike many low-calorie desserts, this healthy trifle is made with nutritious unprocessed ingredients
Gluten free bread. Bear with me on this one as I know it sounds a little strange! But a traditional, delicious English summer pudding has layers of bread soaked in sweetened fruit. This gluten free trifle uses the same idea , and the gluten free bread is an ideal replacement for cake.
Mixed berries. A bag of frozen mixed berries is perfect for this healthy fruit trifle, but you could also use fresh fruit. The berries need to be juicy so that there's plenty of sweet juice to soak into the bread.
Sugar. This recipe is relatively low in added sugar, but the fruit is slightly sweetened, as is the custard. If you prefer, you could use maple syrup or honey. If you want a completely sugar free trifle, use a sweetener.
Milk, egg and cornflour are needed to make the low fat gluten free custard for the trifle. Don't be put off by the idea of making your own custard - it really is very easy. I used skimmed milk, but use whatever you prefer. You can make dairy free custard if you prefer with oatmilk.
(Note that cornflour is sometimes known as cornstarch, it's not the same as cornmeal!)
If you like custard, you might also like this healthy gluten free rhubarb and custard tart.
Thick Greek yogurt is used as an alternative to whipped cream on this healthy trifle. Use low fat or full fat, but make sure that it is thick and rich.
Vanilla is an important flavour in this recipe. Try to use a good quality extract (rather than flavouring), and add it to both the custard and the yogurt topping. Alternatively, you could use almond extract for a low calorie almond trifle
- Healthy trifle toppings. A few nuts or extra fruit will make the dessert look pretty:) You could also add a quick homemade granola topping for extra crunch.
- If you are making this recipe as a Christmas trifle, you could add a couple of tablespoons of your favourite tipple such as Amaretto or sherry.
How to make healthy trifle
I made this berry trifle in one large glass bowl so that you can see the layers. If you prefer you can make individual trifles. Either glasses or jam jars both work well. Trifle in a jar is easy to serve and store.
Bring the fruit up to the boil with a tablespoon of sugar and simmer for a couple of minutes. This is important so that the juices in the fruit start to run - if necessary squish the fruit slightly with a spoon so there is plenty of juice.
Trim the crusts off the bread, and cut into 1cm cubes. Layer the bread over the base of the trifle dish, then spread over the fruit and all of the juice. The bread should be completely covered.
To make the custard, add the cold milk, cornstarch, remaining sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 eggs to a cold pan. Whisk well until thoroughly mixed. Then place the pan on a lowish heat and slowly bring to the boil. Stir constantly. As the custard comes up to the boil, it will magically thicken. Simmer for a minute and remove from the heat. There's also a whole page on how to make custard without cream if you want more detail.
Allow the custard to cool for a couple of minutes so there's no danger of the heat smashing your bowl, then layer the custard onto the fruit. Pop the bowl in the fridge.
Gently mix the yogurt with the remaining half a teaspoon of vanilla. Once the custard is cool to the touch, spread the yogurt over the top of the trifle.
Decorate as you like. You could either pile on additional fruit or make a dainty pattern with a few berries and flaked almonds. You could also make a patriotic themed dessert with some blueberries and strawberries!
Serving and storage
It's best to allow your healthy trifle to chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before eating. If you've got time, I think it's even nicer the day after it is made.
When you serve it up, make sure everyone has a good balance of the delicious layers in this dessert!
You can store trifle in the fridge for up to 3 days. Don't freeze it though as the textures will spoil.
Frequently asked questions
I think this healthy gluten free trifle tastes better when it is made the night before. The fruit has more time to soak in, and the flavours marry together. But if you don't have time, the trifle will still be delicious on the day that it is made.
Trifle can vary enormously in the number of calories per portion. Some recipes are very high in fat, which makes them very high in calories. Some of the recipes and products that I checked had over 400 calories per portion, plus over 25g of fat. This healthy trifle recipe has just 130 calories and less than 1.5g of fat.
Normally trifle has a layer of sponge which will contain gluten. In this healthy trifle recipe, we've used gluten free bread rather than sponge, but of course you could also use a gluten free sponge cake.
Yes, you can make a very successful dairy free trifle. Use this dairy free custard recipe (make double the quantity), and top with a thick Greek style dairy free yogurt.
Other healthy desserts you might enjoy
You might also like to browse these other delicious healthy desserts.
Or try some of the desserts below. They are all made with wholesome ingredients, with less than 200 calories and can be made gluten-free.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
You can also follow me on Pinterest and Facebook. Or subscribe to the newsletter to receive delicious healthy recipes straight to your inbox.
Healthy Trifle (gluten free)
- glass trifle dish or use 6 individual dishes
- 200 g mixed berries fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 slices gluten free bread
- 400 ml milk
- 1.5 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 200 ml greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- optional decoration of fruit and flaked almonds
- Extra fruit and nuts for decoration
- Put the berries in a pan along with one tablespoon of sugar and bring up to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the juices start to run.
- Trim the crusts from the bread and cut into 1cm pieces. Place in the bottom of the bowl.
- Tip the berries and their juice over the bread, making sure it's all covered with juice.
- Add the cold milk, cornflour, egg, 1.5 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract to a pan and stir well to mix. Place on a low to medium heat and bring up to a simmer, stirring constantly. As it comes to the boil, the mixture will thicken into custard.
- Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then spoon over the fruit layer. Chill in the fridge.
- Gently mix the yogurt with ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. When the custard is cool to the touch, top with the yogurt.
- Decorate as you like with extra fruit and flaked almonds.
- For a dairy free trifle, make the custard with oat milk and use a dairy free yogurt.
- Almond extract can be used in place of vanilla if preferred
- For a festive dessert add a couple of tablespoons of your favourite tipple to the fruit mixture. Sherry is traditional, but Amaretto or a fruit liqueur also goes well.
- For individual trifles, either glasses or jam jars both work well.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.