Simple {Ingredient} Substitutions

ingredient substitutions
Avoid That Mad Dash To The Grocery Store!

There is nothing more frustrating than having your heart set on baking/cooking something delicious at home just to discover you are out of one (or more) of the ingredients! Or, even worse, when you just got back from the store….and discover you forgot the main thing you went there for!  I might have done that a time or two….or a million.

Fret no more fellow forgetters!  I have compiled a list of Ingredient Substitutions that can save the day in an ingredient emergency!

I was just going to post one list I found that I thought was fairly comprehensive, but leave it to me to complicate things! There were several things on the list I thought were somewhat unnecessary (does anyone cook with arrowroot powder, beau monde seasoning, powdered mushrooms, or rennet??  What IS rennet anyway??) and many more I felt needed to be on the list that weren’t. So, I edited (and re-edited) several lists together to come up with this one that works for me, and I hope will work for you too. Feel free to let me know if there are any glaring omissions!

Oh how many trips to the store this list could have saved me over the years!!!  Especially at Thanksgiving and Christmastime! Hopefully having this list handy will take some of the stress out of your holiday baking this year (or at least save you some gas money!)

Ingredient Substitutions

ingredient substitutions

Allspice  –  1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup white vinegar

Apple pie spice   1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Balsamic vinegar (1 Tbs.)
1 Tbs. sherry or cider vinegar

Beer (1 cup)
1 cup non-alcoholic beer, beef broth, or apple cider

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)

Baking Soda
There is no substitute for baking soda

Barbecue Sauce
Substitute 1 cup ketchup and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke seasoning for 1 cup barbecue sauce.

Bread crumbs 1 cup
1 cup cracker crumbs OR 1 cup matzo meal OR 1 cup ground oats

ingredient substitutions

Broth, beef or chicken   1 cup
1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon powdered broth base dissolved in 1 cup boiling water

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

Buttermilk 1 cup
1 cup yogurt OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup

Cheddar cheese 1 cup shredded
1 cup shredded Colby cheddar OR 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Chicken stock     1 tablespoon  base, instant
1 cup canned or homemade chicken dissolved in broth or stock
1 cup water

Chili sauce       1 cup
1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, dash of ground cloves and dash of allspice

Chives, finely    2 teaspoons chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped green onion tops

Chocolate chips  1 ounce semisweet
1 ounce sweet cooking chocolate OR
1 cup chocolate candies OR
1 cup peanut butter OR
other flavored chips

ingredient substitutions

Cocoa 1/4 cup
1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate

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

Cooking Sprays, No-stick
Substitute for shortening to prepare baking sheets and baking pans.

Corn Syrup  1 cup
1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid (use whatever liquid is called for in the  recipe)
1 cup honey

Cornstarch  1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for thickening)

Cracker crumbs 1 cup
1 cup bread crumbs OR 1 cup matzo meal OR 1 cup ground oats

Cream cheese
Part skim milk ricotta cheese or lowfat cottage cheese beaten until smooth

ingredient substitutions

Cream, half and half (1 cup)7/8 cup whole milk + 2 Tbs. melted unsalted butter

Cream, heavy (1 cup) (not for whipping)
2/3 cup whole milk + 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter

Crème fraiche 1 cup
Combine 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt. Let stand for 6 hours at room temperature

Cream, sour       1 cup
3 tablespoons butter plus 7/8 cup sour  milk
7/8 cup buttermilk plus 3 tablespoons butter

Cream of tartar 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Egg 1 whole
Substitute 1/4 cup refrigerated egg product for 1 whole egg.

Espresso Instant Coffee Powder
Substitute 2 to 3 teaspoons instant coffee granules for 1 tablespoon espresso coffee powder.
Substitute 2 1/2 tablespoons instant cappuccino drink mix for 1 tablespoon espresso coffee powder.

ingredient substitutions

Extracts 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon oil of similar flavor

Flavor-based oil 1/4 teaspoon
1 teaspoon extract of same flavor

Flour, all-purpose (1 cup) 1 cup + 2 Tbs. cake flour

Flour, cake (1 cup) 1 cup minus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Flour, self rising (1 cup) 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder + 1/2 tsp. salt

Garlic 1 clove, small
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/4 teaspoon instant minced garlic

Garlic salt 3/4 teaspoon
1 medium size clove or 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh

Ginger–dry 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

Ginger–fresh 1 teaspoon, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger

Green onion 1/2 cup chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion, OR
1/2 cup chopped leek OR
1/2 cup chopped shallots

ingredient substitutions 7

Herbs, dried      1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon fresh, finely cut

Herbs, fresh      1 tablespoon,
1 teaspoon dried herbs

Honey  1 cup
1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid (use liquid called for in recipe)

Hot pepper sauce 1 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus 1 teaspoon vinegar

Italian Seasoning
Substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves for 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.

Ketchup 1 cup
1 cup tomato sauce plus 1 teaspoon vinegar plus 1 tablespoon sugar

Lemon juice (1 Tbs.)1 Tbs. bottled lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar

Lemon zest (1 tsp.)1 tsp. lime or orange zest or 1/2 tsp. lemon extract chopped

2 cups,   (4 cups cooked)   uncooked
2 cups spaghetti, uncooked, (2 inch pieces)
4 cups noodles, uncooked

Marshmallows     1 cup
10 large miniature

Marshmallow Creme
Substitute 16 large or 160 miniature marshmallows plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup for 1 cup marshmallow creme. Place in double boiler or stainless steel bowl over simmering water; stir until smooth.

 ingredient substitutions

Mayonnaise 1 cup
1 cup sour cream OR
1 cup plain yogurt

Milk, buttermilk  1 cup
1 cup plain yogurt

Milk, evaporated  1 can (about 12 ounces)
Whip until smooth: 1 cup nonfat dry milk; 1 3/4 cups warm water. Keep refrigerated

Milk, nonfat (1 cup)
1/3 cup powdered milk + 3/4 cup water

Milk, whole (1 cup)
1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water or 1 cup skim milk + 1 Tbs. melted butter

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

Oil  (1 cup)1 cup melted butter, margarine, or shortening depending on the recipe

Onion   1 small
1/4 cup chopped, fresh onion
1-1/3 teaspoons onion salt
1 to 2 tablespoons minced onion
1 teaspoon onion powder

Orange Juice
Substitute 3/4 cup water plus 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate for 1 cup orange juice.

Orange zest (1 tsp.)
1 tsp. lemon or lime zest or 1 tsp. finely chopped candied orange peel

Poultry seasoning (1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. ground sage + 1/4 tsp. ground thyme + 1/4 tsp. ground rosemary

ingredient substitutions

Pumpkin pie spice (1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon + 1/4 tsp. ginger + 1/8 tsp. nutmeg + 1/8 tsp. cloves-

Shortening (1 cup)
1 cup butter or margarine. Do not substitute oil for shortening.

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

Soy sauce 1/2 cup
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Sugar, brown      1 cup, firmly packed
1 cup granular sugar
1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses

Sugar, white  1 cup
1 cup brown sugar OR
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar OR
3/4 cup honey OR
3/4 cup corn syrup

Tomato juice (1 cup)
1/2 cup tomato sauce + 1/2 cup water

ingredient substitutions

Tomato paste (1/2 cup)
1 cup tomato sauce cooked until reduced by 1/2

Tomato sauce (2 cups)
3/4 cup tomato paste + 1 cup water

Tomatoes, canned (1 cup)
1 1/3 cup fresh cut-up tomatoes; simmered 10 minutes

Vanilla Bean
Substitute 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract for 1 8-inch vanilla bean.

Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon, 1-inch vanilla bean split and simmered in liquid of recipe

Vegetable Oil
Substitute equal amounts melted butter or margarine for vegetable oil.

White vinegar (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or 1/3 cup lemon juice

Wine, red (1 cup)
1 cup non-alcoholic wine, apple cider, beef broth, tomato juice or water

Wine, white (1 cup)
1 cup non-alcoholic wine, white grape juice, apple juice, chicken broth or water

Worcestershire    1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon bottled steak sauce

Yogurt, plain (1 cup) 
1 cup sour cream, buttermilk, or creme fresh or
1 cup heavy whipping cream + 1 Tbs. lemon juice


And as a reward for reading through that extremely LONG list….
here’s a little BONUS.

Commonly used equivalent measures:

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
4 tablespooons = 1/4 cup
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup
16 tablespoons = 1 cup
2 cups = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
1/2 ounce (1/8 stick) = 1 tablespoon
1 ounce (1/4 stick) = 2 tablespoons
2 ounces (1/2 stick) = 4 tablespoons
4 ounces (1 stick) = 1/2 cup
16 ounces (4 sticks) = 2 cups
12-ounce morsels = 1 cup melted chocolate
12-ounce morsels = 2 cups whole morsels
1 cup heavy cream = 2 cups whipped cream
8-10 whites, large = 1 cup egg whites
12-14 yolks, large = 1 cup egg yolks
1 pound = 4 cups
1 medium lemon = 3 tablespoons juice + 1 tablespoon grated rind
1 medium orange = 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice + 2 tablespoons grated rind
1 pound apples = 3 medium whole or 3 cups sliced
1 pound bananas = 3 medium whole or 1 1/2 cups mashed
4 1/2 ounces nuts, chopped = 1 cup
1/4 cup kernels = 8 cups popped
1 pound brown sugar = 2 1/4 cups
1 pound confectioners’ = 4 1/2 cups sifted
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  1. Anonymous says

    You know what, it is not useless and she took the time to share so I appreciate it. Thank you for the info!!

  2. Anonymous says

    You have a vast amount here…alot that I haven't seen and REALLY appreciate. I'm passing this on to my daughters. Just last night my 20 yr old asked if she could sub. corn oil for corn syrup! LOL!

  3. Jill Mount says

    Thank you for the wonderful list. I like to have all my ingredients lined up and ready to go, but sometimes “it just ain’t so”. If I use all the milk then there isn’t any for breakfast or some other condition. This will surely help. I love your blog.

    • Jeannie says

      I use a mixture of ketchup and coke (diet coke in my case) as a substitution for barbecue sauce. I use different proportions depending on how thick I want the sauce at the end of my recipe but basically a 12 ounce can of soda is enough to mix with 1 cup of ketchup. ***It will foam so use a bowl to mix it in.

  4. Kathy says

    Jill: Where did you find a substitute for Rennet. Rennet is an ingredients needed for making homemade cheese and I have got two recipes for Mozzeralla on my pinterest page that look very easy. Ah!! Fresh Mozzeralla. But I need rennet and the only way I can get it is by mail. If there is a sub for it I would love to have it. Love your blog. Practically my entire recipe for homemade beauty product and cleaners binder is full of printed pages signed off as “one good thing”. I really appreciate the time you take to make and test all these products. One more thing. Your new post making liquid laundry detergent with dawn. It sure looks easier but the reason I am sticking with the old recipe (is this a good reason?) is because I am not a blue person and I love the color of the yellow soap. God bless you, Kathy

    • says

      The closest substitute for Rennet is Lemon Juice – it’s the closest but not very close in my opinion. Citric Acid is supposed to be slightly better as not the taste/flavour of Lemon, as usual it’s all down to the individual.

  5. Trixie says

    Hi Jillee! I thought I’d read every post you’ve ever written but you pinned this on Pinterest and I found that I was wrong. D:

    Anyway, do you know where you found those gorgeous measuring cups and spoons? I LOVE them and I want. (Sound pretty spoiled don’t I? – lol)

    Thanks – have a great day (0=

  6. Gerri says

    Great list! I love having all that information in one list! I have posted it on my blog and added a link to your blog. Thanks again!

  7. bobbijo says

    Very helpful & extensive! Thank you! This will come in handy!
    I don’t know about cooking with arrowroot but I’ve seen homemade deodorant recipes on pinterst that call for it. Also, like someone said above some mozzerella cheese recipes call for rennet (i don’t know what that is either). A substitution for these would be helpful just in case we ever need/want them. Maybe cornstarch for arrowroot?? Powdered mushrooms is probably just finely ground mushrooms. What is beau monde seasoning, anyway? Thank you again :)

  8. Margie says

    I go to my local grocery store every few months and ask them for the breadcrumbs from the underside of their bread slicing machine. Put them in baggies and freeze. Use, them as needed.