Common Substitutions for Recipes
Recipe Substitutions is for those times when you are in the middle of cooking and realize that you "thought" you had some of that "ingredient" at home when you went shopping. But you've already started creating your culinary delight, and you just don't want to have to run back to the store again.
Or maybe you have an allergy to a certain ingredient and you're wondering what you can substitute for it?
I have also included some substitutions to make your recipes healthier. (Less fat, less sugar, more fiber, less calories)
This is a list, of common substitutions that should work for most all recipes. They are sorted by the type of ingredient.
Dry Ingredient Substitution
If you recipe calls for:
Allspice 1 teaspoon
You can use this instead:
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves
Arrowroot starch 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon flour, OR 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Baking mix (1 cup)
1 cup pancake mix OR 1 cup Easy Biscuit Mixture
Baking powder 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk (decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup)
There is no substitute for baking soda
Bread crumbs 1 cup
1 cup cracker crumbs OR 1 cup matzo meal OR 1 cup ground oats
Brown sugar 1 cup,
packed 1 cup white sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses and decrease the liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup OR 1 cup white sugar OR 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
Cocoa 1/4 cup
1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
Cornstarch (for thickening)
Amount: 1 tablespoon
Substitute: 2 tablespoons flour
TIP: Liquids thickened with cornstarch will be somewhat translucent while flour gives a more opaque appearance. Cornstarch will thicken a liquid almost immediately. A flour-based sauce or gravy must be cooked longer to thicken and will have a floury taste if undercooked. Joy of Cooking cookbook (Scribner, 1997) advises when using flour as a substitution for cornstarch in sauces and gravies, that you simmer it for about 3 minutes AFTER it has thickened to help avoid a raw taste of flour.
Cornstarch-thickened liquids are more likely to thin if overheated or cooked too long. Regardless of whether you use cornstarch or flour, mix it with a little cold water or other cold liquid, about two parts liquid to one part thickener, before adding it to the rest of the liquid . (Note: when you mix flour with fat to make a roux for use as a thickener, you would not dissolve it in liquid first.)
Cream of tartar 1 teaspoon 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
Flour--Bread Flour 1 cup
If your recipe calls for "Bread Flour specifically" and you don't have any, you can use:
1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon wheat gluten (available at health food stores & some supermarkets)
Flour--Cake 1 cup
If your recipe calls for "Cake Flour specifically" and you don't have any, you can use:
1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons
Flour--Self-Rising 1 cup 7/8 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Ginger--dry 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
Ginger--fresh 1 teaspoon, minced 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger
Mace 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
White sugar 1 cup
1 cup brown sugar OR
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar OR
3/4 cup honey OR
3/4 cup corn syrup
Yeast-active dry 1 (.25-ounce) package
1 cake compressed yeast OR
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast OR
2 1/2 teaspoonsrapid rise yeast
Dairy Products - Creams - Milk -Mayonaise Cheese and Eggs
Buttermilk 1 cup
1 cup yogurt OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup
Milk--whole 1 cup
1 cup soy milk OR 1 cup rice milk OR
1 cup water or juice OR
1/4 cup dry milk powder plus 1 cup water OR
2/3 cup evaporated milk plus 1/3 cup water
Sweetened condensed milk 1 (14-ounce) can
3/4 cup white sugar mixed with 1/2 cup water and 1 1/8 cups dry powdered milk: Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 20 minutes
Sour milk 1 cup
1 tablespoon vinegar or
lemon juice mixed with enough milk to make 1 cup: Let stand 5 minutes to thicken
Evaporated milk 1 cup
1 cup light cream Farmer's cheese 8 ounces 8 ounces dry cottage cheese OR
8 ounces creamed cottage cheese, drained
Cream (half and half) 1 cup
7/8 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon butter
Cream (heavy) 1 cup
1 cup evaporated milk OR 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup butter
Cream (light) 1 cup
1 cup evaporated milk OR 3/4 cup milk plus 3 tablespoons butter
Cream (whipped) 1 cup
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
Egg 1 whole
(3 tablespoons or 1.7 oz) 2 1/2 tablespoons of powdered egg substitute plus 2 1/2 tablespoons water OR
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute OR
1/4 cup silken tofu pureed OR
3 tablespoons mayonnaise OR
half a banana mashed with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder OR
1 tablespoon powdered flax seed soaked in 3 tablespoons water
Sour cream 1 cup
1 cup plain yogurt OR
1 tablespoon lemon juice or
vinegar plus enough cream to make 1 cup OR
3/4 cup buttermilk mixed with 1/3 cup butter
Mayonnaise 1 cup
1 cup sour cream OR
1 cup plain yogurt
Cream cheese 1 cup
1 cup pureed cottage cheese OR 1 cup plain yogurt, strained overnight in a cheesecloth
Cheddar cheese 1 cup shredded 1 cup shredded Colby cheddar OR 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup
grated 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese OR
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
Cottage cheese 1 cup
1 cup farmer's cheese OR 1 cup ricotta cheese
Cracker crumbs 1 cup 1 cup bread crumbs OR 1 cup matzo meal OR 1 cup ground oats
Ricotta 1 cup
1 cup dry cottage cheese OR
1 cup silken tofu
Yogurt 1 cup
1 cup sour cream OR
1 cup buttermilk OR
1 cup sour milk
Broth: beef or chicken 1 cup
1 bouillon cube plus 1 cup boiling water OR 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus enough water to make 1 cup OR 1 cup vegetable broth
Soy sauce 1/2 cup
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Vinegar 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice OR
2 teaspoons white wine
Stock--beef or chicken 1 cup
1 cube beef or chicken bouillon dissolved in 1 cup water
Chicken base 1 tablespoon
1 cup canned or homemade chicken broth or stock. Reduce liquid in recipe by 1 cup
Condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 (10.75-ounce) can
1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of celery, cream of chicken, OR golden mushroom soup
Corn syrup 1 cup
1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/3 cup water OR 1 cup honey OR 1 cup light treacle syrup
Honey 1 cup
1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/3 cup water OR
1 cup corn syrup OR
1 cup light treacle syrup
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon vinegar OR 1 teaspoon white wine OR 1 teaspoon lime juice
Orange juice 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon other citrus juice
Lime juice 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon vinegar OR
1 teaspoon white wine OR
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Hot pepper sauce 1 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus 1 teaspoon vinegar
Ketchup 1 cup
1 cup tomato sauce plus 1 teaspoon vinegar plus 1 tablespoon sugar
Molasses 1 cup
Mix 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Mustard--prepared 1 tablespoon
Mix together 1 tablespoon dried mustard, 1 teaspoon water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar
CrÃ¨me fraiche 1 cup
Combine 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt. Let stand for 6 hours at room temperature
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Fats and Oils
Margarine 1 cup
1 cup shortening plus 1/2 teaspoon salt OR
1 cup butter OR
7/8 cup vegetable oil plus 1/2 teaspoon salt OR
7/8 cup lard plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil--for baking 1 cup
1 cup applesauce OR
1 cup fruit puree
Vegetable oil--for frying 1 cup
1 cup lard OR
1 cup vegetable shortening
Fats for baking 1 cup
1 cup applesauce OR
1 cup fruit puree
Lard 1 cup
1 cup shortening OR
7/8 cup vegetable oil OR
1 cup butter
Saffron 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Butter (salted) 1 cup 1 cup margarine OR 1 cup shortening plus 1/2 teaspoon salt OR 7/8 cup vegetable oil plus 1/2 teaspoon salt OR 7/8 cup lard plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
Butter (unsalted) 1 cup
1 cup shortening OR 7/8 cup vegetable oil OR 7/8 cup lard
Alcoholic Ingredient Substitution
Amaretto- Almond extract.
Beer or ale-For light beers, substitute chicken broth, ginger ale or white grape juice. For heavier beers, use a stronger beef, chicken or mushroom broth or stock. Non-alcoholic beers may also be substituted.
Brandy Scotch or bourbon. If a particular flavor is specified, use the corresponding fruit juice, such as apple, apricot, cherry, peach, raspberry etc. or grape juice. Corresponding flavored extracts can be used for small amounts.
Calvados (Apple brandy)- Apple juice concentrate or juice.
Chambord Black raspberry liqueur - Raspberry juice, syrup or extract.
Champagne (Sparkling white wine) - Sparkling white grape juice, ginger ale, white wine.
Claret Light red wine or Bordeaux. Non-alcoholic wine, diluted currant or grape juice, cherry cider syrup.
Cognac Aged, (double-distilled wine or fermented fruit juice. Cognac is considered the finest brandy.) - Other less expensive brandies may be substituted, Scotch or whiskey, or use peach, apricot or pear juice.
Cointreau French, (orange-flavored liqueur.)- Orange juice concentrate or regular orange juice that has been reduced to a thicker consistency.
Curacao Liqueur made from bitter Seville oranges.- Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Creme de menthe (sweetened mint liqueur.) - Mix spearmint extract or oil with a little water or grapefruit juice. Use a drop of food coloring if you need the green color.
Framboise French raspberry liqueur. Raspberry juice or syrup.
Frangelico Italian hazelnut liqueur. Hazelnut or almond extract.
Galliano Golden Italian anise liqueur. Licorice extract.
Grand Marnier French liqueur, (orange-flavored.) - Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Grappa Italian grape brandy. Grape juice or reduced red wine.
Grenadine Pomegranate syrup, Pomegranate syrup or juice.
Hard Cider Fermented, - Apple cider or juice.
Kahlua Strong coffee or espresso with a touch of cocoa powder.
Red Burgundy Dry French wine. Non-alcoholic wine, red wine vinegar, grape juice.
Red wine Sweet or dry wine. Non-alcoholic wine, beef or chicken broth or stock, diluted red wine vinegar, red grape juice diluted with red wine vinegar or rice vinegar, tomato juice, liquid from canned mushrooms, plain water.
Rum - For light rum, use pineapple juice flavored with almond extract. For dark rum, use molasses thinned with pineapple juice and flavored with almond extract. Or use rum extract flavoring.
Sake Fermented rice drink.- Rice vinegar.
Schnapps Flavored, colorless liquor. Use corresponding flavored extract such as peppermint, peach, etc.
Sherry - Orange or pineapple juice.
Southern Comfort (Bourbon mixed with peach liqueur.) - Peach nectar mixed with a little cider vinegar.
Tequila Liquor (made of the agave plant.)Cactus nectar or juice.
Triple Sec (Orang-flavored liqueur.) Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Vermouth (Wine-based drink infused with herbs, sweet or dry.)-For sweet, use non-alcoholic sweet wine, apple or grape juice or balsamic vinegar. For dry, use non-alcoholic white wine, white grape juice or white wine vinegar.
Whiskey (whisky) Bourbon, Scotch and whiskey may be used interchangably. Small amounts may be eliminated. Large amounts cannot be effectively substituted.
White Burgundy (Dry French wine.) Non-alcoholic wine, white grape juice diluted with white wine vinegar.
White wine - Non-alcoholic wine, chicken broth or stock, diluted white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, white grape juice diluted with white wine vinegar, ginger ale, canned mushroom liquid, water. For marinades, substitute 1/4 cup vinegar plus 1 Tbsp sugar plus 1/4 cup water.
Solids - Nuts, Vegetables, Fruits, Chocolate
Orange zest 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon orange extract OR
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Lime zest 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Macadamia nuts 1 cup
1 cup almonds OR
1 cup hazelnuts
Chocolate(semisweet) 1 ounce
1 (1-ounce) square of unsweetened chocolate plus 4 teaspoons sugar OR 1 ounce semisweet chocolate chips plus 1 teaspoon shortening
Chocolate (unsweetened) 1 ounce 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon shortening or vegetable oil
Parsley 1 tablespoon chopped fresh
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil OR
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Pepperoni 1 ounce
1 ounce salami
Raisin 1 cup
1 cup dried currants OR 1 cup dried cranberries OR 1 cup chopped pitted prunes
Rice--white 1 cup, cooked
1 cup cooked barley OR
1 cup cooked bulgur OR
1 cup cooked brown or wild rice
Chervil 1 tablespoon
chopped fresh 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Garlic 1 clove
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder OR
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic OR
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt--reduce salt in recipe
Gelatin 1 tablespoon, granulated 2 teaspoons agar agar
Green onion 1/2 cup
chopped 1/2 cup chopped onion, OR
1/2 cup chopped leek OR
1/2 cup chopped shallots
Hazelnuts 1 cup whole
1 cup macadamia nuts OR
1 cup almonds
Mint--fresh 1/4 cup chopped
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
Herbs--fresh 1 tablespoon
chopped fresh 1 teaspoon (chopped or whole leaf) dried herbs
Onion 1 cup
chopped 1 cup chopped green onions OR
1 cup chopped shallots OR
1 cup chopped leeks OR
1/4 cup dried minced onion OR
1/4 cup onion powder
Lemon zest 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract OR 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon grass 2 fresh stalks
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Herring 8 ounces
8 ounces of sardines
Salami 1 ounce
1 ounce pepperoni
Semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup
1 cup chocolate candies OR
1 cup peanut butter or
other flavored chips OR
1 cup chopped nuts OR
1 cup chopped dried fruit
Shallots, chopped 1/2 cup
1/2 cup chopped onion, OR
1/2 cup chopped leek OR
1/2 cup chopped green onion
How to modify Recipe to make it Healthier -Reducing Fat & Cutting Calories
Instead of this: Try using this:
Instead of Shortening, butter, margarine, or solid fat.
Use ¼ less liquid oil or solid fat called for in the recipe. If recipe calls for 1 cup use ¾ cup. If recipe uses ¼ cup shortening, use 3 Tablespoons oil. Use equal amounts of oil for melted shortening, margarine or butter.
Instead of Shortening, butter, or oil in baking
Use applesauce or prune puree for half of the butter, shortening or oil. May need to reduce baking time by 25%.
Instead of whole milk, half and half or evaporated milk
Use skim milk, 1% milk, evaporated skim milk, fat-free half and half , or plain soymilk with calcium.
Instead of Butter, shortening, margarine, or oil to prevent sticking.
When frying foods USE cooking spray, water, broth or nonstick pans.
Instead of Full-fat cream cheese
Use low-fat or nonfat cream cheese, Neufchatel or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth.
Instead of Full-fat sour cream, full-fat cottage cheese, full-fat Ricotta cheese
Use nonfat or reduced fat sour cream or fat-free plain yogurt. (Yogurt is not heat stable.) Use 2% or fat-free cottage cheese. Use part-skim ricotta.
Instead of Whipping cream
Use evaporated skim milk
Use nonfat whipped topping or cream (This is only nonfat if one serving size is used.)
Instead of Eggs
Use egg whites (usually 2 egg whites for every egg) or ¼ cup egg substitute.
Instead of Whole fat cheese
Use reduced fat cheese, but add it at the end of the baking time or use part skim mozzarella.
Instead of Frying in fat
Use cooking methods such as bake, boil, broil, grill, poach, roast, stir-fry, or microwave.
Instead of Regular mayonnaise or salad dressing
Use low fat, reduced or nonfat mayonnaise or salad dressing.
Instead of Canned fish
Use water-packed canned products or canned products packed in 'lite' syrup.
Instead of Fatter cuts of meat-skin on Leaner cuts of meat or ground meat,
Remove skin before cooking.
How to modify Recipe to make it Healthier - To Reduce Sodium
Organic Food Recipes 2010 Wall Calendar
Omit salt or reduce salt by Â½ in most recipes (except in products with yeast). Cook foods without adding salt. Don't put the salt shaker on the table.
Frozen or canned vegetables
Choose frozen vegetables without sauces or use no-salt-added canned goods. Rinsing canned vegetables will help reduce sodium.
Seasoning Salt or spice mixes with salt
Use salt-free seasonings and spice mixes. Use herbs, spices, lemon juice, or vinegar to flavor food instead of salt.
Seasonings high in sodium include catsup, chili sauce, chili powder, bouillon cubes, barbecue sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and meat tenderizers.
How to modify Recipe to make it Healthier - To Reduce Sugar
Play with Your Food 2010 Wall Calendar
Reducing sugar by ¼ to 1/3 in baked goods and desserts. If recipe calls for 1 cup, use 2/3 cup.
Cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract can be added to give impression of sweetness. (Do not remove all sugar in yeast breads as sugar provides food for the yeast.)
Replacing sugar with amounts of sucralose (*Splenda™), works well for most baked products. Add Â½ teaspoon baking soda in addition to each cup of Splenda™ used. Baking time is usually shorter and product will have a smaller yield.
Try using aspartame (*NutraSweet™), saccharin, or acesulfame potassium in other products that are not baked.
The sweet taste will vary with product combination or amounts of each sweetener used.
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit slices or use light versions of yogurt.
Syrup Pureed fruit, such as no sugar added applesauce, or sugar-free syrup
Sugar in canned or frozen fruits
Decrease or eliminate sugar when canning or freezing fruits or buy unsweetened frozen fruit or fruit canned in its own juice, water, or light syrup.
Note: Use of brand name does not mean an endorsement of the product.
How to modify Recipe to make it Healthier - To Increase Fiber
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Instead of White rice,
Use enriched grains Whole grain, brown rice, wild rice, whole cornmeal (not degermed), whole barley, bulgur, kasha, quinoa, or whole wheat couscous.
Instead of All purpose flour
Use whole wheat flour for up to Â½ of the flour. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups flour, try 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour. Use "white whole-wheat flour" or "whole wheat pastry flour" for total amount of all-purpose flour.
Instead of pastas, crackers, cookies, cereals
Use whole grain pastas, crackers, cookies, and cereals.
Instead of White bread
Use 100% whole wheat bread and 100% whole grain bread.
Instead of Iceberg lettuce
Use Romaine lettuce, endive, and other leafy lettuces, or baby spinach.
Instead of Meat
Use more dried beans and peas. Add legumes and lentils to many different dishes: try adding lentils to your spaghetti sauce.
Instead of Peeled fruit and vegetables
Add extra fruits and vegetables, such as adding carrots to spaghetti sauce, leaving apple peels in apple crisp, zucchini bread, etc. Add extra fruits and vegetables to recipes and include the peel when appropriate.
I would love to hear what you found useful on this website, or tips and suggestions that might help others in their cooking.
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