The Mental Health Benefits of Baking

person wearing oven gloves taking tray of muffins out of oven

Baking is an activity enjoyed by many, young and old. But did you know that as well as resulting in delicious baked goods to enjoy, baking also has many mental health benefits?

In this blog, we take a look at the mental health benefits of baking, so read on, whether you’re an avid baker or you’re looking for a new mood-boosting hobby.

Mental Health Benefits of Baking

1. Stress relief

Baking is a great activity for stress relief. Not only can you take out some of your frustrations on your dough, but baking can also reduce stress hormones such as cortisol.

Baking falls under art and creative therapy, and a study conducted by Dace Visnola et al., 2010, found that engaging in art therapy is likely to impact stress levels and lead to a reduction in cortisol levels.

As well as relieving stress, lowering the stress hormones, such as cortisol, can also positively impact your sleep, blood pressure, and immune system, so there are physical benefits as well as mental health benefits!

2. Enhance creativity

Baking is a great creative outlet, from experimenting with flavours, to creating unique cake designs. Creative activity has also been shown to have positive mental health benefits.

658 participants took part in a 13 day study conducted by Tamlin S. Conner et al in 2016 . For each of the 13 days, participants reported how long they spent on creative activities, positive and negative effects, and flourishing.

(“To flourish is to find fulfilment in our lives, accomplishing meaningful and worthwhile tasks, and connecting with others at a deeper level—in essence, living the “good life”.” – Seligman, 2011.) 

Overall, results showed that partaking in creative activity every day led to higher positivity and flourishing.

3. Boost our mood

Baking is a great feel-good activity! Research has shown that individuals with a mental health diagnosis can benefit from baking therapy, whether a delicious chocolate cake or a mouth-watering sausage roll.

Some of the reasons that baking can improve our mood include the fact that it is an activity that requires focus and concentration, which can ensure we stay present in the moment. Following a recipe requires calmness and concentration, which can provide a similar effect to mindfulness. Plus, lowering our stress levels can automatically make us feel a little happier!

In addition, seeing and tasting the finished product after all our hard work is a great mood booster and can provide a sense of achievement!

4. Stimulate the senses

Following on from the point above, baking is an activity that stimulates all five of our senses – touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste. The sensory aspect of baking can be very therapeutic for many people.

The stimulation of all our senses can increase our appetite, which may be helpful for individuals with a lack of appetite as a symptom of depression or other mental health diagnoses.

5. Create and strengthen relationships

Another important mental health benefit of baking is that it can strengthen your existing relationships, and even lead to forming new friendships!

Baking together with family members or with a friend is a lovely bonding experience and a perfect way to create new memories together.

Alternatively, making a batch of cookies or cupcakes can be a great icebreaker to start new conversations, whether with neighbours, or local businesses in the community.

There are also lots of colleges or community centres that hold baking groups, classes and workshops, which is a great way to learn new recipes, and meet new people with similar interests!

According to the Mental Health Foundation statistics, individuals who are more socially connected to friends, family, and communities are happier and healthier, and have fewer mental health problems than people who have less social interaction and connection.

6. Boost self-confidence

The process of preparing ingredients, measuring everything out, and following a recipe means that when we see and taste the finished product, it’s even better! It can lead to improved self-confidence due to the sense of achievement, similar to that of achieving a goal!

In a study published in 2016 by Lesley Haley and Elizabeth Anne McKay, the perspectives of 12 mental health service users engaging in baking were analysed. The results found that providing service users with opportunities to learn new skills and build confidence in producing an end product stimulated the individuals to attend the sessions.


There are many mental health benefits to baking, so not that you needed one, but there’s a perfect excuse to bake a cake!


At Northern Healthcare, our residents are regularly supported by our team of Mental Health Support Workers and Occupational Therapists to engage in baking activities. From cookies to bread, cakes to scones, our residents regularly reap the mental health benefits of putting together their favourite savoury and sweet treats.

Find out more about the different activities our residents enjoy.

Find out more about our team.



Dace Visnola, Dagmâra Sprûdþa, Mârîte Ârija Baíe, Anita Piíe, 2010. Effects of art therapy on stress and anxiety of employees.

Lesley Haley, Elizabeth Anne McKay, 2016. ‘Baking Gives You Confidence’: Users’ Views of Engaging in the Occupation of Baking.

Tamlin S. Conner, Colin G. DeYoung, Paul J. Silvia, 2016. Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing. 


Photo by Taylor Grote on Unsplash.

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