Baking and Cooking Substitutions

Cook and bake with what you have


Since we’re all trying to stay home and avoid random trips to the store, it can be tough to cook when you don’t have all of the ingredients your favorite recipes call for. The good news is, there are often many ways to swap things out, and you may find alternatives that you like better than the original!

Start off with this list of ideas to keep you cookin’. Keep in mind, all of these swaps can go the other direction too!



If your recipe calls for… You can use… Things to note
sour cream plain yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
cream 1 c. milk + 2-3 Tbsp melted butter
egg (in baking) 1 Tbsp chia or flax seeds soaked in 3 Tbsp water (1 egg equivalent)


1/2 mashed banana

These alternatives will replace the binding properties of an egg in baking, but not necessarily the flavor of an egg.
baking powder 1 part baking soda + 2 parts cream of tartar This is actually the recipe for baking powder – you can make it at home anytime!
cream of tartar 1 part white vinegar + 1 part lemon juice
cream cheese cottage cheese, pureed until smooth
bacon bacon bits, Canadian bacon, ham to replicate the flavor of bacon only, use liquid smoke
bread crumbs crackers, oats, or stale bread (blend to crumb in food processor), crushed bran cereal for seasoned bread crumbs, add salt and herbs like parsley, oregano, and rosemary
rice pasta, couscous, bulgur, quinoa, barley, potato flakes
syrup for sweetness/flavor applesauce
wine broth add some vinegar for tartness/flavor if desired
raisins dried cranberries, blueberries, or cherries, chopped dried apples, chocolate chips
vinegar white wine, lemon or lime juice, sauerkraut juice (yes, really!)
mayonnaise plain yogurt, sour cream
broth boullion cube/paste/powder
butter shortening, margarine, oil Most oils will not work well to substitute for butter in pastry baking, because it requires the fat to be solid. Coconut oil will sometimes work.
brown sugar 1 c white sugar + 1 Tbsp molasses This is the recipe for brown sugar – you can make it at home anytime!
buttermilk plain yogurt or 1 c. milk + 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar
dark corn syrup molasses, maple syrup, light corn syrup + brown sugar
light corn syrup honey
tomato sauce 1 part tomato sauce + 1 part water
cinnamon nutmeg
beer apple cider vinegar, beef broth
fresh herbs 1/3 recommended amount of dried herbs
hot sauce 3 parts cayenne pepper + 1 part vinegar, diced jalapeños
salt crushed boullion cube, soy sauce, parmesan
flour (for thickening soups or sauces) 1/4 c. cornstarch + 2 Tbsp cold water, potato flakes
pesto sauteed spinach or kale + garlic + olive oil + salt Add pine nuts and some parmesan cheese if you have them!



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