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Kitchen Ingredient Substitutions

Updated on December 25, 2010
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Applesauce for ShorteningNutmeg for CinnamonGinger for Nutmeg (with cinnamon)Cinnamon for Nutmeg (with ginger)Tofu or Mayonnaise or Banana for EggVegetable oil for butterPowdered Milk for MilkAll-Purpose flour for cake or bread flourCream and Yogurt for Creme Fraiche
Applesauce for Shortening
Applesauce for Shortening
Nutmeg for Cinnamon
Nutmeg for Cinnamon
Ginger for Nutmeg (with cinnamon)
Ginger for Nutmeg (with cinnamon)
Cinnamon for Nutmeg (with ginger)
Cinnamon for Nutmeg (with ginger)
Tofu or Mayonnaise or Banana for Egg
Tofu or Mayonnaise or Banana for Egg
Vegetable oil for butter
Vegetable oil for butter
Powdered Milk for Milk
Powdered Milk for Milk
All-Purpose flour for cake or bread flour
All-Purpose flour for cake or bread flour
Cream and Yogurt for Creme Fraiche
Cream and Yogurt for Creme Fraiche

Dang! I'm out of...

This happens to everyone who has ever stepped foot into the kitchen to make something. A key ingredient is missing. Perhaps more importantly, you'd rather not use the butter, oil, or fat a recipe calls for. Or you don't want to purchase some expensive spice you are only going to use once, but you have others in the pantry.  Can you make a substitution? Yes, you can!

There are solutions and I'm going to give you some here.

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Applesauce for Shortening

This is one of the best ways to sweeten an existing recipe (usually for quick breads*) and reduce the fat at the same time. The formula is simple. For every cup of shortening substitute a cup of applesauce.

If you have not applesauce you can use another fruit puree such as pear. Just be aware that the ultimate flavor of the dish might be slightly altered.

Still in this calorie and fat conscious new century this is a great substitution for shortening.

* Any bread that uses baking soda or baking powder or both.

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Whole nutmegCinnamonGinger (sectioned)
Whole nutmeg
Whole nutmeg
Ginger (sectioned)
Ginger (sectioned)

Allspice (or a collection of spices) for Nutmeg

Nutmeg isn't cheap and honestly how often do you use it? Maybe for that pumpkin pie; maybe for the potatoes. But do you really use it often enough that you use it all before it goes stale and becomes a "former" spice?

Unless you are a commercial kitchen probably not.

You can substitute a combination of cinnamon and ginger to make up for the nutmeg. Use four times the combined amount of these two spices to make up for the 1/4 amount of nutmeg. For example: if the recipe calls for a teaspoon of nutmeg use two of cinnamon and two of ginger.

You might also try allspice. Use a one for one measure. As it's name implies, allspice can taste like a variety of spices depending on the dish it's used in.

Just the opposite is true of you are out of cinnamon or ginger and you want to use nutmeg as a substitute. Use 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg for every teaspoon of cinnamon or ginger.

Crème Fraiche
Crème Fraiche

Crème Fraiche / Sour Cream / Sour Milk

These are substitutions for the bold-faced ingredient.

Creme Fraiche: Mix 1 Cup of heavy (or whipping) cream and 1 Tablespoon of plain yogurt. Let stand at room temperature for 6 hours.

Sour Cream: One (1) Cup plain yogurt. Or one (1) Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough cream to make 1 cup. You can also substitute three-quarter (3/4) Cup buttermilk mixed with one-third (1/3) Cup butter; mixed of course.

Sour Milk: One (1) Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice mixed with enough milk to make one (1) Cup of liquid. Let stand for five (5) minutes to thicken.


All-purpose for Cake Flour: 1 Cup all-purpose flour less two (2) Tablespoons

Self-Rising Flour:  Seven eighths (7/8) Cup all-purpose flour plus one and one half (1 1/2) teaspoons baking powder and one half (1/2) teaspoon of salt

Bread Flour: One (1) Cup all-purpose flour plus one (1) teaspoon wheat gluten.


Milk / Cream

Sweetened Condensed Milk: Three-quarter (3/4) Cup sugar mixed with one-half (1/2) Cup water and one and one-eighth (1 1/8) Cups dry powdered milk: Bring to a boil reduce for twenty (20) minutes.

Cream: Seven-eighths (7/8) Cup milk plus one (1) Tablespoon butter. Melted and combined of course.

Heavy Cream: One (1) Cup evaporated milk or three-quarter (3/4) Cup milk plus one-third (1/3) Cup butter. Melted and combined of course.

Cream Cheese: One (1) Cup pureed cottage cheese or one (1) Cup plain yogurt, strained overnight in a cheesecloth

Cottage Cheese: One (1) ricotta cheese

Buttermilk: One (1) Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make one (1) Cup or one (1) Cup yogurt

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Butter / Egg

Butter (unsalted): One (1) Cup shortening or seven-eighths (7/8) Cup vegetable oil OR seven-eighths (7/8) Cup lard

Butter (salted): One (1) Cup shortening plus one-half (1/2) teaspoon salt or seven-eighths (7/8) Cup vegetable oil plus one-half (1/2) teaspoon salt or seven-eighths (7/8) cup lard plus one-half (1/2) teaspoon salt or 1 cup margarine.

Raw Egg: Two and one-half (2 1/2) Tablespoons of powdered egg substitute plus two and one-half (2 1/2) Tablespoons water or one-quarter (1/4) Cup liquid egg substitute or one-quarter (1/4) Cup silken tofu pureed or three (3) Tablespoons mayonnaise or half a banana mashed with one-half (1/2) teaspoon baking powder or one (1) Tablespoon powdered flax seed soaked in three (3) tablespoons water.

Missing Ingredient
1 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Apple Sauce
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnimon & 2 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 Cup Crème Fraiche
1 Cup cream & 1 Tbs yogurt
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup plain yogurt
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Tbs lemon juice & 7/8 Cup cream
1 Cup Sour Milk
1 Cup Milk & 1 Tbs lemon or vinegar
1 Cup Cake Flour
1 Cup All purpose minus 2 Tbs
1 Cup Self Rising Flour
7/8 Cup all purpose & 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Cup Bread Flour
1 Cup all purpose & 1 tsp wheat gluten
1 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
see above
1 Cup Cream
7/8 Cup Milk & 1 Tbs butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Evaporated Milk & 1/3 Cup butter
1 Cup Cream Cheese
1 Cup Pureed cottage cheese
1 Cup Cream Cheese
1 Cup Yogurt strained overnight
1 Cup Cottage Cheese
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Milk & 1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Raw Egg
2 1/2 Tbs powdered egg
1 Raw Egg
1/4 Cup silken tofu pureed
1 Raw Egg
3 Tbs mayonnaise
1 Raw Egg
1/2 banana mashed with 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Raw Egg
1 Tbs powdered flax-seed in 3 Tbs water


If anyone has success with these substitutions or have better ones, please, let us all know.


Submit a Comment
  • advisor4qb profile image


    9 years ago from On New Footing


    I LOVE IT!



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