When you find yourself without an ingredient for a recipe, don’t immediately rush off to the store or forgo making the recipe. Instead, see if you can find a common baking substitution using what you already have on hand.
Whether you are in the middle of baking chocolate chip cookies or whipping together a lasagna, do not fret if you find yourself without eggs or ricotta cheese. I have put together a comprehensive list of common baking and cooking substitutions that will not only save you an emergency run to the grocery store but will also save you money, as you learn to use what you already have on hand in your pantry to make your recipe work!
There are many times you may find yourself in need of an ingredient you do not have. While that can be extremely frustrating, do not despair! Oftentimes, you have exactly what you need to make a quick substitution and you can still have success.
So whether you are trying to make egg-free cookies because you have an egg allergy or because you opened the egg carton to see you were 2 eggs short of the 4 the recipe called for, these substitutions will help you in being able to proceed with the recipe with ease.
It is important to note that some substitutions will change the quality, texture, and/or taste of the final product. It is best to not make more than one or two substitutions to a recipe for the best results. And if you can, always follow the recipe as written.
Dairy and Egg Substitutes
- For every egg, mix together 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water and let sit for 5 minutes before using.
- Use ¼ cup applesauce in place of 1 egg.
- Add either 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of any variety of milk--this works with unsweetened nondairy milk as well as traditional milk. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before using.
- Alternatively, you can use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in place of the vinegar.
- Half and Half:
- Use ½ cup whole milk mixed with ½ cup heavy cream from every 1 cup of half and half needed.
- Heavy Cream, not whipped:
- Mix together ⅓ cup melted butter with ¾ cup of whole milk to make 1 cup of heavy cream.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk:
- Over medium heat, whisk together ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk with 1 cup of granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons butter. Heat until sugar is dissolved into the milk.
- Ricotta Cheese:
- Strain cottage cheese over a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth for at least 4 hours. Use the strained cottage cheese for ricotta cheese. Use the remaining whey to add to smoothies, oatmeal or discard.
- Mascarpone Cheese:
- For every 16 ounces of mascarpone cheese, mix together 12 ounces of room temperature cream cheese with ¼ cup heavy whipping cream and ¼ cup sour cream.
- Use equal parts sour cream.
- Alternatively, equal parts plain Greek yogurt works as well.
- Sour Cream:
- In recipes calling for sour cream or to use as a topping, use equal parts plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
- Unsalted Butter:
- Use salted butter and reduce salt in the recipe by ¼ teaspoon for every ½ cup (or one stick) of butter.
Staple Baking Substitutes
- Vegetable/Canola Oil:
- Use vegetable and canola oil interchangeably.
- To reduce the fat in baked goods, substitute up to half of the vegetable or canola oil with unsweetened applesauce or plain Greek yogurt.
- Bread Flour:
- Mix together 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten for every 1 cup of bread flour.
- Cake Flour:
- 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour is equivalent to 1 cup cake flour.
- Self-Rising Flour:
- For every 1 cup of self-rising flour, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon baking soda.
- Pastry Flour:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of corn starch equals 1 cup of pastry flour.
- Self-rising Cornmeal:
- For every 1 cup of self-rising cornmeal, mix together ⅞ cup ground cornmeal with 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder, and ½ tsp. salt.
- Baking Powder:
- For every 1 teaspoon of baking powder, mix together ⅓ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar.
- Baking Soda:
- For every ¼ teaspoon of baking soda called for in a recipe use 1 teaspoon baking powder.
- Use equal amounts of arrowroot powder
- Powdered Sugar:
- To replace ½ cup of powdered sugar, grind ½ cup granulated sugar in a blender until fine and resembles powdered sugar. This can still be a bit more gritty than traditional powdered sugar so it may alter the texture of a fine icing.
- Brown Sugar:
- For ½ cup of brown sugar, mix together ½ cup white sugar with 2 teaspoons of molasses.
- Corn syrup:
- Mix together 1 ¼ cup light brown sugar with ⅓ cup hot water until sugar is dissolved for every 1 cup of corn syrup.
- 1 envelope (¼-ounce) active dry yeast = 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast = ¾ teaspoon instant yeast. Keep in mind if using instant yeast over active dry yeast, it will not need to prove like active dry yeast.
- Bread Crumbs:
- Use equal amounts of cracker crumbs, ground oats, or crushed cornflakes.
- For every ⅓ cup, use 1 slice of dry bread
Click HERE to download a printable version of these substitutions to keep on hand!
And feel free to add your favorite substitution to the comments in order to help others!