Can You Really Bake Collagen? Our In-House Nutritionist Spills The Science
In our humble opinion, there's no better way to elevate your daily recipes than with a couple of scoops of collagen powder. But don't just take our word for it: Studies have shown that taking collagen peptides will support skin elasticity and hydration levels and promote youthful texture1.*
Collagen supplements (our favorites here) also provide many of the amino acids and nutrients needed for hair growth, not to mention they can help support your gut2 and joint health3.* Some people like mixing their collagen into their beverage or smoothie of choice, while others like to whip out the mixer and make some food creations. Essentially, you can have your cake and reap skin-supporting benefits, too.*
Now, we have a library of yummy, collagen-infused recipes to test (seriously, go whip up our food and beverage options and let the flavors speak for themselves)—but before placing your tray into the oven or simmering your pot on the stove, you may be wondering: What does heat really do to collagen? Can the temperature diminish its benefits?
We sent the question over to our trusted director of scientific affairs and in-house nutritionist, Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., R.D. Her answer? A little more nuanced than you might think.
What happens when you bake or cook collagen?
"High-quality collagen peptides in powders are temperature stable," notes Ferira. "mindbodygreen made sure that the collagen in beauty & gut collagen+ boasts this kind of stability. What this means is that the collagen powder is quite versatile in its ability to be incorporated into your favorite cold, tepid, warm, or hot beverage, smoothie, or food."
But here's the thing: Collagen powder is not invincible or indestructible. Says Ferira, collagen can withstand temperatures up to approximately 200 degrees Celsius (or 392 degrees Fahrenheit). "A temperature significantly higher than that for a prolonged period of time will increase the potential for damage to the integrity of the protein," she adds.
What does this mean for your daily recipes? Well, hot liquids (like your morning coffee) usually hover around 100 degrees Celsius (or 212 degrees Fahrenheit) at boiling point—so there's no need to worry about damaging collagen's integrity while stirring into your brew or a hearty, skin-supporting soup.*
But when it comes to baking, that's when collagen care becomes necessary. That's because when you bake, you can easily crank the heat way over 392 degrees Fahrenheit—plus, the collagen may be exposed to that super high heat over a long period of time. "Above 200 degrees Celsius (i.e., greater than 392 degrees Fahrenheit), the collagen can start to lose its inherent properties and structure," says Ferira. "Additionally, its smell and taste may become more prominent."
How to bake collagen without losing its integrity.
So long as you bake at low temperatures, a high-quality collagen powder should be just fine. Ferira suggests sticking to 170 degrees Celsius (or 338 degrees Fahrenheit) is your safest best, but even recipes that call for 350 degrees Fahrenheit should be OK (again, they are below that 392 degrees Fahrenheit cutoff mentioned earlier), but not for very long. You'll want to monitor how long your tray sits in the oven: Up to 20 to 30 minutes should be A-OK.
Or, you could always aim for no-bake recipes that require zero heat. "[This] will 100 percent ensure the protein integrity remains intact," Ferira notes.
Our favorite recipes.
Chuck some collagen powder into any recipe you like—or you can always go the simple route and stir it into your morning coffee. But if you're in the market for a little inspiration, take a peek at some of our favorite mouthwatering recipes:
- Breakfast bread: Up for a cozy, nutritious morning meal? Try this breakfast bread from registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, R.D., founder of Once Upon a Pumpkin. "The recipe is gluten- and dairy-free, low in sugar, packed with healthy fat and fiber—and an added dose of amino acids and antioxidants thanks to the collagen," she says. "With breakfast, as a snack or a treat, you can know you're not only comforting your body, but you're taking care of it, too."
- Mixed berry chia muffins: Another breakfast recipe, these berry-chia muffins are fluffy, delicious, and incredibly easy to cobble together.
- Carrot ginger soup: Partial to savory flavors? "Warming and delicious, this soup will feed your skin and soul,"* says registered dietitian Isabel Smith, R.D., CDN. The collagen powder will dissolve into the bowl, so all you're left with is a rich, creamy texture.
- Keto lemon muffins: These lemon-chia muffins have the perfect texture, thanks to coconut and almond flour. (And if you were wondering: Yes, our collagen is keto.) Then there's lemon juice and zest to ensure the tangy flavor comes through, as well as chia seeds and collagen peptides for a protein punch.
- Gluten-free banana pancakes: Take it from registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D.: "[This is] an indulgent stack that tastes rich and doughy, yet provides so many health and beauty benefits."* Don't sleep on the fresh raspberry sauce, either—not only do they add a gorgeous splash of color to the pancakes, but they also offer extra vitamin C and folate.
TL;DR? A high-quality collagen powder should be able to stand up to 200 degrees Celsius, or 392 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven. So, before you add collagen peptides to your yummy recipes, make sure the directions don't call for any temperature above that point. Just some food for thought.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.