Top 20 Common Ingredient Substitutions

Common Ingredient Substitutions

With holiday baking right around the corner and the ever-annoying prospects of having to run to the store for one missing ingredient, I thought you might like a list of the most common ingredient substitutions.  Hopefully, it will be a handy dandy little reference that will save you a little time–or even better, keep you from having to throw on a bra and head to the grocery store!

  1. 1 cup packed brown sugar {1 c. white sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses and decrease the liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup}
  2. 1 cup butter {7/8 cup vegetable oil}
  3. 1 tsp. baking powder {1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp cream of tartar}
  4. 1 clove of garlic {1/8 tsp. garlic powder)
  5. 1 cup half and half {1 tbsp. melted butter plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup}
  6. 1 tsp. dry mustard {1 tbsp. prepared mustard –only works in cooked mixtures}
  7. 1 cup molasses {1 cup honey}
  8. 1 cup tomato juice {1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water}
  9. 1 tbsp. cornstarch {2 tbsp. flour}
  10. 1 ounces unsweetened chocolate {3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tbsp. shortening, melted}
  11. 1 cup buttermilk {1 cup milk plus 1 tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice}
  12. 1 cup ricotta cheese {1 cup cottage cheese}
  13. 1 cup heavy cream {3/4 cup milk plus 3 tbsp. butter}
  14. 1 cup corn syrup { 1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/3 cup water}
  15. 1 tsp. cream of tartar {2 tsp. lemon juice and vinegar}
  16. 1 cup mayo {1 cup sour cream OR 1 cup plain yogurt}
  17. 1/2 cup soy sauce {4 tbsp. worchestershire mixed with 1 tbsp. water}
  18. 1 cup sugar {1 1/4 cup powdered sugar}
  19. 1 cup self-rising flour {1 cup all purpose flour plus 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt}
  20. 1 tsp. lemon juice {1/2 tsp. vinegar}

How about you, do you have any go-to substitutions for cooking/baking?



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  1. darlene says

    Thank you! Thank you! I am going to print this out and put it in my recipe book. Something I’ve needed for a while =)

  2. says

    Awesome! I love this!

    For those that may be baking for those who are gluten intolerant, using oat flour (I just blend up my oats in my blender to make oat flour) is an inexpensive substitute and much less confusing than using 4-5 different flours that aren’t really common to most kitchens. It doesn’t work for everything, but it has helped me out in a pinch.

  3. Cecily says

    For powdered sugar – Process 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbls constarch in your food processor or blender, 1-2 minutes, until it becomes a powder.

    • Leal says

      If you are going to use the powdered sugar immediately, you can skip the cornstarch. Cornstarch is added to commercial powdered sugar to keep it from clumping; it is not needed in home prepped powdered sugar.

  4. Mari says

    This is great thank Mavis. Being a Kiwi (New Zealander, not the fruiti, sometimes American recipes can be very confusing to us with the names you give ingredients or the strange things that are called for. I could never understand the why mayonnaise is used in so many things and never knew what to substitute it for. Now I do.

    I don’t have buttermilk as such, but I use my home made milk kefir instead, or the whey that comes off it when I make kefir cheese. I find that very good in scone (hehe you actually know what I mean when I say scone, because you are English) or biscuit or cookie recipes. I also use kefir it to make my home made mayonnaise or other low heat sauces too.

  5. says

    For one egg = 1/2 Tbs of Physillum husks stirred into scant 1/4 cup water. (Or enough husks to make water gelatinous.)
    It’s a low fat/high fiber substitute that works well in all my muffin recipes. :)

    • Pene says

      I use 1/3 cup ground flax seed to 1 cup cold water and get the equivalent of 4 eggs for smoothies and baking. Let set for at least 10 minutes to get gelatinous before using. An Omega 6 plus as well.

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