How to Make Ingredient Substitutions in Recipes

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Cooking at home gets frustrating when you’re in the middle of a recipe and discover you don’t have what you need. With this list, you’ll know the cooking ingredient substitutions that work, so your recipe still comes out beautifully.

List of cooking ingredient substitutions

Master List of Cooking Ingredient Substitutions

Check out these common ingredient swaps to make when you don’t have everything a recipe calls for.

Keep This List Handy

Hang this list of cooking ingredient substitutions inside a kitchen cupboard. Next time you’re out of something, you’ll know what you can use in its place without making yet another trip to the store.

If you’re out of……Make this cooking ingredient substitution…The substitution makes this amount…
Allspice1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1 teaspoon
Baking mix1 cup pancake mix1 cup
Baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar1 teaspoon
Beer/wine1 cup chicken broth1 cup
Breadcrumbs1 cup cracker crumbs OR 1 cup ground instant oatmeal1 cup
Broth (chicken or beef)1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water OR 1 cup vegetable broth1 cup
Brown sugar1 cup white sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses, mixed well. (For dark brown sugar use 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses.)1 cup
Butter, salted1 cup unsalted butter OR 1 cup shortening and 1/2 teaspoon salt1 cup
Butter, unsalted1 cup shortening1 cup
Buttermilk1 tablespoon white vinegar OR lemon juice and enough milk or plain yogurt to make 1 cup1 cup
Chocolate, semisweet(not chips)1 ounce (a square) of unsweetened baking chocolate and 3 tsp. white sugar1 ounce
Chocolate, semisweet chips1 cup chocolate candy bar, chopped1 cup
Chocolate, unsweetened3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon shortening or neutral-flavored cooking oil1 ounce
Cocoa powder1 once (a square) of unsweetened baking chocolate, ground1/4 cup
Corn syrup, light1 1/4 cup white sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup water OR use dark corn syrup (though the flavor will be affected)1 cup
Cracker crumbs1 cup bread crumbs OR 1 cup ground instant oats1 cup
Cream, half-and-half1 tablespoon melted butter and enough milk to make 1 cup1 cup
Cream, heavy (for baking or cooking, not whipping)1/3 cup melted butter and 3/4 cup milk OR 1 cup evaporated milk (not fat-free)1 cup
Cream cheese1 cup cottage cheese put through a blender1 cup
Crème fraiche1 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon plain yogurt left to stand at room temperature 2-4 hours1 cup
Egg1/4 cup liquid egg substitute (Egg Beaters) OR 1 tablespoon flax-seed soaked in 3 tablespoons warm water until gel forms1 egg
Egg white3 tablespoons meringue powder mixed in 6 tablespoons water3 egg whites
Evaporated milk1 cup light cream1 cup
Flour, bread1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten1 cup
Flour, self-rising7/8 cup all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt1 cup
Garlic, clove1/8 teaspoon garlic powder1 clove
Ginger, powdered2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger1 teaspoon
Ginger, fresh1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger1 teaspoon minced
Green onion1/2 cup chopped yellow onion or leek1/2 cup
Herbs, dried1 tablespoon fresh herb1 teaspoon dried herb
Herbs, fresh1 teaspoon dried herb1 tablespoon fresh herb
Honey1 cup light corn syrup OR 1 1/4 cup white sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup water1 cup
Hot sauce3/4 teaspoon cayenne powder and 1 teaspoon white vinegar1 teaspoon
Ketchup1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar mixed into 1 cup tomato sauce1 cup
Lard1 cup shortening or 1 cup butter1 cup
Lemon grass1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest2 stalks
Lemon juice1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice OR 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar1 teaspoon
Lemon zest2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice OR 1 teaspoon lime zest1 teaspoon
Lime juice1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice OR 1 teaspoon white vinegar1 teaspoon
Lime zest1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest1 teaspoon
Margarine1 cup shortening and 1/2 teaspoon salt OR 1 cup butter1 cup
Mayonnaise1 cup plain yogurt OR 1 cup Greek yogurt OR 1 cup sour cream1 cup
Milk, Whole1/2 cup evaporated milk and 1/2 cup water OR 1/3 cup dry milk powder and 1 cup water OR 1 cup rice milk, soy milk or almond milk1 cup
Molasses3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, mixed well1 cup
Mustard, dry1 tablespoon prepared mustard1 teaspoon
Mustard, prepared1 tablespoon dry mustard mixed with 1 teaspoon water and 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar1 tablespoon
Oil (for baking)1 cup applesauce1 cup
Oil (for sautéing)3 tablespoons chicken, beef or vegetable broth2 tablespoons
Onion1 cup chopped leeks OR 1 cup chopped green onions OR 1/4 dried onion flakes OR 1 tablespoon onion powder1 cup, chopped
Orange juice1 tablespoon other citrus juice1 tablespoon
Orange liqueur1/2 teaspoon orange extract and 1 tablespoon water2 tablespoons
Orange zest1 teaspoon lemon juice1 tablespoon
Pumpkin pie spice1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves1 teaspoon
Raisins1 cup dried cranberries or 1 cup dried currants1 cup
Ricotta cheeseDrain 2 cups cottage cheese in a sieve for 30 minutes, measure out 1 cup after draining OR 1 cup silken tofu1 cup
Shallots1/2 cup chopped leek or 1/2 cup chopped green onion (white part only)1/2 cup
Shortening1 cup butter1 cup
Sour cream1 cup plain or Greek yogurt OR 1 tablespoon vinegar and enough cream to make 1 cup1 cup
Sugar, Brown1 cup white sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon molasses1 cup
Sugar, White1 cup packed brown sugar (flavor will be affected)1 cup
Tomato sauce1/2 cup tomato paste combined with 1/2 cup water (adjust flavor as desired)1 cup
Vegetable oil (baking)1 cup applesauce1 cup
Vinegar1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice1 teaspoon
Wine1 cup chicken, beef of vegetable broth1 cup
Yogurt1 cup sour cream or 1 cup buttermilk1 cup

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  1. Mixed Kreations says:

    You won’t be sorry. It’s supper delicious 😀

  2. Oh Mighty Katie, I believe it was YOU who once wrote to use finely minced mushrooms to expand a recipe when you want to stretch ground beef (or ground whatever). I haven’t had a need to do that yet, but it stuck in my mind. It qualifies as a substitute, right? Also: last night I found a low-carb meatball recipe which calls for flaxseed meal instead of bread crumbs (which I would normally use). The meatballs had a beautiful, light texture. Of course, they’re only low-carb if you don’t serve them over egg noodles or mashed taters or something… 🙂

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re right, I did recommend using minced mushrooms to replace, or supplement, ground beef. What an excellent memory you have, Terry!

      The flax seed meal one as a substitute for bread crumbs is new to me. As you can see above, ground seeds when mixed with water make a good substitution for eggs. Maybe they worked the same in your meatballs? I’ll have to give that a try!

  3. Wow what a great chart to have around.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thanks, Alicia!

  4. Love the cooking substitutions. It’s a keeper!