Ingredient Substitution Guide

The purpose of this guide of popular ingredient substitutions is to give you the freedom of flexibility. Instead of rushing out to the store (or scrapping the recipe), you should feel confident to off-road with the next best ingredient. The final appearance, taste and texture may be altered (especially in baking), but if you combine these suggestions with your own intuition and taste buds, you may make something even better than the original recipe. For tips on making substitutions relating to baking, dairy and eggs and herbs and spices see the end of this guide.

(Note: All substitutions suggested are one-to-one unless otherwise stated.)

All-Purpose Flour: For 1 cup, combine ½ cup bread flour and ½ cup cake flour.

Allspice: For 1 teaspoon, combine ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, a pinch of ground cloves and a pinch of grated nutmeg.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Lemon juice, unseasoned rice vinegar or white wine vinegar.

Baking Powder (double-acting): For 1 teaspoon, combine ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon baking soda.

Baking Soda: For 1 teaspoon, use 3 teaspoons baking powder.

Balsamic Vinegar: For 1 tablespoon, combine 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and ½ teaspoon granulated sugar, brown sugar or honey.

Basil: Tarragon, oregano or thyme. Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.

Breadcrumbs: Crushed crackers, crushed pretzels or crushed potato chips. Alternatively, for ½ cup breadcrumbs, grind 1 slice of bread in a food processor.

Brown Sugar (light and dark): Turbinado or muscovado sugar. Alternatively, for 1 cup, combine 1 cup granulated sugar with 2 to 3 tablespoons molasses. (The resulting baked goods may be crunchier and sweeter.)

Butter: All baking: Greek yogurt, applesauce or oil. Non-baking: Canola oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil or ghee.

Buttermilk: All baking: For 1 cup, combine 1 cup whole, low-fat or skim milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white distilled or white wine vinegar. Non-baking such as mashed potatoes and salad or slaw dressings: Combine plain yogurt, sour cream or kefir with enough milk or water to create a pourable heavy-cream consistency.

Cake Flour: For 1 cup, measure 1 cup all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

Cardamom (ground): Ground cinnamon or half the amount of ground clove.

Cayenne Pepper: Twice the amount of crushed red pepper flakes.

Cheddar: Colby Jack cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, fontina or mozzarella.

Chevre (fresh goat cheese): Cream cheese or mascarpone loosened with a little yogurt.

Chicken Broth: Vegetable or beef broth. Alternatively, water seasoned with a little soy sauce, bouillon cubes or bouillon granules — or water by itself, if the recipe requires a cup or less.

Chili Powder: For 1 tablespoon, combine 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne (optional).

Cilantro: Parsley, basil or a combination of both. Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.

Coconut Oil: For all (except baking): Unsalted butter, avocado oil, nut oils or extra-virgin olive oil.

Coriander (ground or whole): Ground or whole cumin.

Cornstarch: Best for all substitutions, including puddings, custards, sauces and batters: For 1 tablespoon, use 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot, 2 teaspoons potato starch or 2 teaspoons rice flour. Best for breading and frying: For 1 tablespoon, use 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

Corn Syrup (light and dark): All baking (except candy-making): honey, agave, brown rice syrup, cane syrup, maple syrup or golden syrup. Alternatively, for 1 cup light corn syrup, combine 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup hot water. For candy-making: brown rice syrup or golden syrup.

Cream of Tartar: Lemon juice.

Cream Cheese: Neufchatel. Alternatively, pureed and strained cottage cheese or ricotta mixed with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. (Since these cheeses don’t have the stabilizers of cream cheese, some curdling may occur.)

Creme Fraiche: Sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Cumin (ground): Taco seasoning, chili powder or ground coriander.

Dijon Mustard: Spicy brown mustard, honey mustard or stone-ground mustard. Alternatively, for 2 tablespoons, combine 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of sugar.

Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder: For 3 tablespoons, combine 3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder and ⅛ teaspoon baking soda.

Eggs: Best for all baking and batters (example: pancakes): For 1 egg, use 3 tablespoons aquafaba (the viscous liquid from canned beans; chickpea aquafaba is preferred.) Best for muffins, quick breads and cakes: For 1 egg, combine 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon water. Alternatively, use ¼ cup applesauce, ¼ cup pureed silken tofu or ¼ cup canned pumpkin for every whole egg needed. (Homemade alternatives are not appropriate for omelets, souffles, frittatas and other egg-heavy dishes.)

Egg Whites: For all baking, batters and meringue (except Swiss, Italian and French buttercreams): For 1 egg white, use 2 tablespoons aquafaba (see above). (Homemade alternatives are not appropriate for omelets, souffles, frittatas and other egg-heavy dishes.)

Evaporated Milk: For all (except baking): Milk, half-and-half, heavy cream and mixed powdered milk.

Fish Sauce: Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

Garam Masala: For 1 teaspoon, combine ¾ teaspoon ground cumin and ¼ teaspoon allspice, pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice.

Granulated Sugar: Light or dark brown sugar, packed. Alternatively, turbinado or demerara sugar, finely ground in a food processor. (Baked goods may be moister and less sweet.)

Gruyere: Emmental, Jarlsberg, aged Cheddar or Fontina.

Half-and-Half: For 1 cup, combine a scant cup whole milk and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Alternatively, combine ¾ cup whole milk and ¼ cup heavy cream.

Heavy Cream: (Except for whipping) Coconut milk or unsweetened coconut cream.

Heavy Whipping Cream: (Except for whipping) Half-and-half. Alternatively, for 1 cup, combine ¾ cup milk and 4 tablespoons melted butter.

Hoisin Sauce: BBQ sauce. Alternatively, for ¼ cup, combine ¼ cup soy sauce and 1 to 2 tablespoons honey or molasses.

Honey: Maple syrup, light or dark corn syrup.

Kosher Salt: For ½ teaspoon, use ¼ teaspoon iodized (table) salt.

Lemon Juice: Orange juice or lime juice.

Marjoram: Sage, thyme, summer savory or basil. Alternatively, half the amount of oregano. Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.

Marsala Wine: Madeira, port or sherry. Alternatively, white wine with a splash of brandy.

Milk: Yogurt or sour cream thinned with water to a pourable consistency.

Mirin: For 1 tablespoon, combine 1 tablespoon white wine, dry sherry or rice vinegar with ½ teaspoon sugar.

Molasses: Dark corn syrup, maple syrup or honey. Alternatively, for 1 cup molasses, combine ¾ cup brown sugar (preferably dark) or ¾ cup granulated sugar with ¼ cup hot water.

Nutmeg (ground): Mace, allspice or pumpkin pie spice. Alternatively, half the amount of ground cinnamon or ground clove.

Oregano: Thyme or basil. Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.

Oyster Sauce: Soy sauce or hoisin sauce.

Paprika: Chili powder.

Parmesan: Pecorino Romano

Parsley: Basil, chervil or celery leaf. Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.

Peanut Butter: Sunflower butter, almond butter and any other nut butter.

Red Wine Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar.

Rice Vinegar or Rice Wine Vinegar: For 1 tablespoon, combine 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar with 1 teaspoon sugar.

Rosemary: Thyme. Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.

Self-Rising Flour: For 1 cup, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon fine salt.

Sesame Oil: Any nut oil. Alternatively, for 1 cup, toast ¼ cup white sesame seeds and let sit in 1 cup neutral oil (vegetable or grapeseed) for 2 hours; strain before using. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Shallots: Red onion or scallion whites.

Sour Cream: Plain yogurt, Greek yogurt or creme fraiche.

Soy Sauce: For small amounts: Worcestershire sauce. For larger amounts (example: dipping sauce): Tamari, coconut aminos or liquid amino acids.

Table Salt: For ½ teaspoon, use ¾ teaspoon kosher salt.

Tarragon: Chervil. Alternatively, double the amount of basil. Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.

Thyme: Basil, marjoram, oregano or rosemary. Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.

Tomato Paste: For 1 tablespoon, simmer 3 tablespoons tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes until very thick, then cool.

Tomato Sauce: Tomato puree. Alternatively, canned tomatoes pureed in a blender or equal parts tomato paste and water combined.

Vanilla Extract: Maple syrup, bourbon, brandy or rum.

Vegetable Oil: Canola oil, olive oil, avocado oil, melted and cooled coconut oil or ghee.

Vegetable Shortening: Unsalted butter or coconut oil.
White Wine (dry): Broth or stock. Alternatively, water with a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar.

White Wine Vinegar: Red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar.

Worcestershire Sauce: For 1 tablespoon, combine 2 teaspoons soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar, ¼ teaspoon sugar and a dash of hot sauce.

Xanthan Gum: For 1 tablespoon, combine 2 ½ teaspoons hot water and ½ teaspoon chia seeds or ground flax seed; let sit for a couple of minutes until thick.

Yogurt (Greek and plain): Sour cream or creme fraiche.

Additional Substitution Tips

Baking: Yes, baking is a science. But many recipes are forgiving when it comes to ingredient swaps (especially muffins and quick breads). Tweaked cookies, bars and cakes may have a different texture or flavor (for example, using granulated sugar with molasses in place of brown sugar will make crunchier and sweeter baked goods and vice versa) and egg subs are the most likely to change texture and even cooking times. So be sure to adjust expectations along with the recipe.

Dairy & Eggs: Some dairy is super easy to swap — sour cream, yogurt and creme fraiche are virtually interchangeable. And if you pay attention to consistency — like making half-and-half from a combo of milk and heavy cream or thinning yogurt out with a little water to stand in for milk — then finding ingredient substitutions isn’t difficult. eggs can be tricky and any substitutions will most likely affect final texture and cooking times.

Herbs & Spices: Running out of a spice or herb is an opportunity to experiment. Of all the substitutions, these are the easiest and the most flexible. Many of the warmer spices (like cinnamon, cardamom and apple pie spice) can confidently stand in for each other, and the same is true for the more pungent and savory ones (think cumin, paprika and chili powder). Herbs are also versatile: Tender and leafy varieties (basil, parsley, tarragon) are vastly interchangeable, as are woody herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano). Trust your taste buds to help make a successful swap. (Note: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dry herbs.)

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