40 Ingredient Substitutes For Cooking And Baking

During the pandemic, people around the world have discovered a newfound enthusiasm for cooking and baking at home. In fact, a shift in the number of meals cooked at home was already underway, changing in some countries by 15% or more from year to year. Preparing meals at home is a wonderful way to develop new skills, try new and fresh flavors during a time when opportunities are limited, bond with family and loved ones, and develop healthier lifestyles. However, home-cooked food is not without its challenges, especially during a pandemic. During a time when running out to the store on a whim may be unsafe or impossible, ingredient substitutions can save the day. Here’s an ingredient substitution guide from How To Cook Recipes that provides a quick reference for ingredient swaps that can help you out in a pinch:

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40 Ingredient Substitutes For Cooking And Baking

What Are Some Baking Powder Substitutes?

One teaspoon of baking powder can be replaced with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, ¼ teaspoon of cornstarch, or ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.

What Can You Use Instead of Baking Soda?

One teaspoon of baking soda can be replaced with four teaspoons of baking powder. It’s important to note that this substitution may result in a more salty, acidic flavor than the original recipe intended.

What Can You Use Instead of Brown Sugar?

A suitable brown sugar replacement for a one-cup quantity is one tablespoon of molasses mixed with one cup of granulated sugar. In fact, that is what brown sugar is made of!

What Is a Buttermilk Substitute?

An ideal buttermilk replacement is clabbered milk: If you need a cup of buttermilk, replace it with one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar mixed with enough milk to equal one cup. Another solution is one cup of plain yogurt, sour cream, or kefir. What happens if you use milk instead of buttermilk? This is not recommended because the absence of acid in regular milk will not yield the same end result. It’s key to add an acidic ingredient to milk in order to use it as a buttermilk substitute.

What Are Some Egg Substitutes?

Whether you are a vegan or you are simply out of eggs, there are some egg replacement solutions that can help make your recipe a success. Here are several options for replacing one egg:

  • Two egg yolks plus one tablespoon of cold water
  • Three tablespoons of vegetable oil plus one tablespoon of water (for baking)
  • Three tablespoons of mayonnaise (for replacing eggs in cake)
  • Half of a mashed banana (or ¼ cup). If the bananas are very ripe, this may result in a stronger banana flavor, increased sweetness, and a rubbery texture. It’s best to use the banana egg-replacement trick for quick breads, muffins, and cakes.
  • A quarter-cup of silken tofu. Blend the silken tofu and add some water until it is smooth. This is best for pies, quick breads, muffins, and dense cakes. It may create a heavy texture, so avoid using tofu to replace multiple eggs.

Here are a few more common ingredient substitutes for reference:

  • Mayonnaise: Sour cream, plain yogurt, or pureed cream cheese in a 1-to-1 ratio
  • Lemon Juice: ½ teaspoon vinegar per 1 teaspoon of lemon juice needed
  • Heavy Cream: ¾ cup whole milk plus 1/3 cup melted butter per cup of heavy cream. Keep in mind that this will not whip like actual heavy cream will.
  • Oil for Baking: Unsweetened applesauce in a 1-to-1 ratio
  • Vanilla Extract: Bourbon/rum, maple syrup, or almond extract in a 1-to-1 ratio


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This page was last updated by Megan Miller