The Best Resource To Turn To In An Ingredient Emergency

Ingredient Substitutions

There are few things more frustrating than having your heart set on baking or cooking something and then discovering you’re out of one (or more) of the crucial ingredients. I also hate returning from the grocery store and realizing I didn’t get the main thing I went there to get! (We don’t have to get into specifics about how many times I’ve done this, right?)

But fret no more, fellow forgetters, because the common ingredient substitutions featured in today’s post can save your skin in either scenario. Instead of getting derailed and making yet another trip to the store, you can use something else in place of what you don’t have and keep on truckin’.

Ingredient Substitutions

While researching ingredient substitutions, I came across lists that seemed unnecessarily comprehensive (just what is rennet anyway?) as well as lists that weren’t comprehensive enough. In the end, I decided to come up with my own list that works for me, and I’m confident it will work for you too!

Check out the list in full here, then download your own copy of the list as a printable PDF near the end of this post.

Ingredient Substitutions

Common Ingredient Substitutions For Cooking And Baking

For ingredients with several viable substitutions, I’ve listed each option on a separate line. Ingredients with a plus sign (+) between them are meant to be combined.

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

Ingredient Substitutions

Balsamic vinegar (1 Tbsp)
Substitute… 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Beer (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup non-alcoholic beer
1 cup beef broth
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Ingredient Substitutions

Baking powder (1 tsp)
Substitute… 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 cup buttermilk (in this case, decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup)

Barbecue sauce (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup ketchup + 1/2 to 1 tsp liquid smoke

Bread crumbs (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup cracker crumbs
1 cup matzo meal
1 cup ground oats

Brown sugar (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup granulated sugar + 2 Tbsp molasses

Ingredient Substitutions

Butter, salted (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup margarine
1 cup shortening + 1/2 tsp salt
7/8 cup vegetable oil + 1/2 tsp salt

Buttermilk (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup

Ingredient Substitutions

Corn syrup (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup honey
1 cup sugar + 1/4 cup liquid (whatever is called for in the recipe)

Ingredient Substitutions

Cream cheese (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, beaten until smooth

Cream, half and half (1 cup)
Substitute… 7/8 cup whole milk + 2 Tbsp melted butter

Ingredient Substitutions

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

Cream of tartar (1 tsp)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp vinegar

Herbs, dried (1 tsp)
Substitute… 1 Tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped

Ingredient Substitutions

Herbs, fresh (1 Tbsp)
Substitute… 1 tsp dried herbs

Ingredient Substitutions

Honey (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 1/4 cups sugar + 1/4 cup liquid (whatever is called for in the recipe)

Hot pepper sauce (1 tsp)
Substitute… 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper + 1 tsp vinegar

Ingredient Substitutions

Lemon juice (1 Tbsp)
Substitute… 1 Tbsp white vinegar

Mayonnaise (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup sour cream
1 cup yogurt

Ingredient Substitutions

Mustard (1 Tbsp)
Substitute… 1 Tbsp dried mustard + 1 tsp water + 1 tsp vinegar + 1 tsp sugar

Oil (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup melted butter
1 cup margarine
1 cup shortening

Shortening (1 cup)
Substitute… 1 cup butter
1 cup margarine

White vinegar (1/4 cup)
Substitute… 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Ingredient Substitutions

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

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

Ingredient Substitutions

Download The Ingredient Substitutions Cheat Sheet

Download a printable version of this list using the button below. Hang it on the inside of a cupboard door or keep it in a drawer so you can reference it at needed.

Ingredient Substitutions Cheat Sheet

Print out this handy “cheat sheet” of common ingredient substitutions and keep it in your kitchen for quick and easy reference.

A comprehensive resource listing various activities for Thanksgiving.

Download The Ingredient Substitutions PDF

Have you ever used substitutions to salvage a cooking or baking project?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Wow! All of these downloads are so useful. I’m just getting into making a lot of these because (1) they’re cheaper & fresher, and (2) winter is here already; our stores are about 20 – 25 miles away; not ideal when there’s snow & ice on the roads.
    Thank You for posting everything here.

  • Like Beverly, I’m often out of tartar sauce. I use mayo with enough pickle relish until it looks right. I add about 4 drops of Tabasco Hot Sauce and stir. I mix it up in the jar that It’s stored in. Sometimes I add about 1/4 tsp of yellow mustard.
    Normally I measure everything, but this seems to work great with guess work.

  • Here’s one to add — a substitute for eggs in baking cakes or cookies — and it really works well! EGGS (Equivalent of 2 eggs) Add 2 T. gelatin to 2 T. cold water and mix thoroughly.
    Add 1/4 c. boiling water. Place in refrigerator to thicken a bit while
    preparing cookies or cake.

  • I’ve been looking for a substitute for baking ammonia. I have a wonderful old recipe for peppermint cookies that calls for baking ammonia. Contrary to the name, I cannot find any that is food grade.

  • Hello,
    was wondering if you have any ideas for removing odors from a bedroom where we had new wood furniture (amish made) delivered and I cannot get rid of the varnish and paint smells. It has been like 4 months already now. Any hints would be appreciated. I’m assuming they probably used a shellac of some kind.

  • This list is helpful and basically very good. I do think readers must remember that some of the substitutes will change the taste of the dish. Honey, for instance has a very distinctive taste in cooking and baking, so is not an exact substitute for Karo syrup. Maple syrup works also, but will change the flavor of the dish. The substitutes for cream cheese you mentioned do not get firm when cold so will definitely change the texture of the dish. Also Ricotta and smooth cottage cheese are not exact exchanges which is immediately realized if one uses cottage cheese for Ricotta in lasagna!! They all work but can change the original recipe in taste and/or texture.

  • Wow . This is great. I love the wine substitutions, as we don’t drink at our house. Reminds me of a few weeks ago when my mom had left town and I kept having to call when I was trying to cook for substitutes and finding where certain items are stored in the kitchen. This list is a definetly a keeper.

  • I never seem to have Tartar Sauce , I like it with my fish. I’ve learned that Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip with pickle relish makes a great, simple substitute.

  • Rennet is used to make homemade cheese.

    I was laughing because I’d never (as in have never even bought/thought of buying) have a lot of the substitutions in my cabinets. But some are handy

  • WOW! Thank you for this. I have a use for herbs list that I laminated and keep in my kitchen. It is double sided. How did you adhere your list to the cabinet?

  • Wow, great list! I didn’t know about the substitute for cream/half and half. I was just facing this dilemma the other day. Had I known, I would have substituted and made what I originally planned!

    • I have had to find replacements many times. I have an old Better Homes and Garden cook book with this list in it. Have used it lots of times. We don’t drink wine often so I am usually at a loss for a sub on that. I usually will just use water or broth as I don’t have grape juice either. No kids anymore, no juice. I keep my list taped to the inside of my cabinet that I keep most of my baking supplies. It’s easy and handy that way.

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