Common Ingredient Substitutions

There are times that without a trip to the store, a missing recipe ingredient can be replaced. This guide is about common recipe substitutions.

Ingredient Substitutions
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There have been times I wanted to tear my hair out because didn't have an ingredient at the last minute so here's my list of common ingredient substitutions that have worked for me in a pinch.

  • Allspice 1 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

  • Apple Pie Spice 1 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. cardamom

  • Baking Powder 1 tsp. = 1/3 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

  • Bay Leaf 1 whole = 1/4 tsp. crushed

  • Broth, Beef or Chicken 1 cup = 1 bullion cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water OR 1 1/2 tsp. powdered base dissolved in 1 cup boiling water

  • Buttermilk 1 cup = 1 cup plain yogurt

  • Corn Syrup 1 cup = 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/3 cup water

  • Cornstarch for thickening 1 Tbsp. = 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • Fruit, fresh, cut up 1 1/2 cups = 16 oz. can, drained

  • Garlic 1 clove = 1 tsp. chopped garlic OR 1/2 tsp. minced garlic or 1/8 tsp garlic powder or 1/4 tsp. garlic salt

  • Chopped Herbs fresh 1 Tbsp. = 1/2 tsp. dried

  • Honey 1 cup = 1 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water

  • Ketchup 1 cup = 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. vinegar

  • Lemon Juice 1 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. white vinegar

  • Milk, Whole 1 cup = 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1/2 cup water

  • Mustard, Dry 1 tsp. = 1 Tbsp. prepared mustard

  • Onion, small, chopped = 1 Tbsp. onion powder

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice 1 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. allspice, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

  • Sour Cream 1 cup = 1 cup plain yogurt or 3/4 cup milk, 3/4 tsp. lemon juice, 1/3 cup butter

  • Tomato Juice 1 cup = 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water

  • Worcestershire Sauce 1 tsp. = 1 tsp. steak sauce (A1 would be my choice ;-)

By Deeli from Richland, WA

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It is the time of year where the baking and cooking start and so I wanted to help. I am not sure where these came from but they sure come in handy. They were given to me and I thought they would help anybody who cooks because they have some conversions that they do not have on most charts and I have found to be very helpful. I really hope they will help you and can use them.

Ingredient Substitution List:

  • 1 tsp. baking powder = 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 1/4 cup buttermilk or 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 5/8 tsp. cream of tartar

  • 1 cup sifted cake flour = 7/8 cup sifted all-purpose flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 1-2 Tbsp.s

  • 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour plus 11/4 tsp.s baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup honey = 1 to 11/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid

  • 2 large eggs = 3 small eggs

  • 1 medium egg = 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbsp. water (for baking)

  • 1 medium egg = 2 egg yolks (in custards or cream fillings)

  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate = 1 square or 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

  • 6 squares or 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted = 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (as thickening) = 2 Tbsp. flour or 2 tsp. quick tapioca or 2 egg yolks

  • 1 tsp. lemon juice = 1/4 tsp. vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh herbs = 1/4 to 1 tsp. dried herbs

  • 1 small garlic clove = 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms = 3 ounces dried or 6 ounces canned

  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped = 2 cups thawed whipped topping

  • 1 cup whipping cream as liquid = 1/3 cup melted butter plus 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 cup light cream = 3 Tbsp. melted butter plus 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese = 1 cup cottage cheese, liquid drained

  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt, stirred, or 1 Tbsp. lemon juice stirred into milk to make 1 cup; let stand 5 minutes to make soured milk for baking only (never use sour milk that's been in the fridge too long; it's actually spoiled)

  • 1 cup whole milk = 2 tsp. melted butter plus 1 cup fat-free milk (or water) or equal parts evaporated milk and water or 1 cup nonfat dry milk plus 2 tsp.s melted butter

  • 1 cup sour cream = 3 Tbsp. melted butter stirred into 7/8 cup buttermilk, soured milk or plain yogurt

  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain yogurt (but it will taste less rich from the missing fat)

  • Pecans = walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts

  • Chunky peanut butter = creamy peanut butter (or grind roasted peanuts in a blender with a little peanut oil)

  • 1 cup bread crumbs = 1/4 cup cracker crumbs

  • 1 cup butter = 1 cup margarine or 7/8 cup vegetable oil or 7/8 cup butter-flavored shortening

  • 1 pound lard = 2 cups shortening

  • 1 cup sugar (in baking bread) = 1 cup honey plus a pinch of baking soda

  • 1 cup sugar (in baking) = 7/8 cup honey plus a pinch of baking soda

  • 1 cup sugar (in main dishes) = 1/4 cup honey

  • 1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup white sugar plus 2 Tbsp. molasses

  • 1 cup molasses (in baking) = 1 cup sugar (omit baking soda; use baking powder)

  • 1/4 cup dry red wine or white wine = 2 Tbsp. sherry or port

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup = 1/4 cup maple-flavored syrup, corn syrup or 1 cup sugar and increase liquid in recipe by 3 Tbsp.

  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice = 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1 pound tomatoes = 3 medium or 1/4 cup sauce (6 ounces) or 1/4 cup paste (2 ounces)

  • 8 ounces tomato sauce = 2/3 cup water plus 1/3 cup tomato paste

  • 3 cups tomato juice = 21/4 cups water plus 6 ounces tomato paste plus 1/4 tsp. salt, dash of sugar

  • 1 large marshmallow = 10 mini (dust off cornstarch from their surfaces or it might overload a recipe)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar = 11/4 cups powdered sugar for uses other than baking

  • 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger = 1 tsp. chopped fresh or 2 tsp. minced crystallized

  • 1 head fresh dill = 2 tsp.s dill seed

  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh horseradish = 2 Tbsp. bottled

  • 1 tsp. lemon juice = 1/4 tsp. vinegar

  • 1 tsp. dry mustard = 1 Tbsp. prepared mustard or 1/4 tsp. mustard seeds

  • 1 /4 cup rum = 1 tsp. rum extract plus liquid to make 1/4 cup

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract = 1 inch vanilla bean, split and simmered in liquid of recipe

  • 1 cup wine = 13 Tbsp. water, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. sugar or a little less than 1 cup apple juice plus lemon juice

  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs = 3 to 4 slices bread, torn and blenderized

  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk = 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. dry milk powder plus 1/4 cup warm water plus 1/4 cup sugar and dissolve

  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar = 11/4 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp. maple sugar = 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar plus a dash of maple extract

By Darlene from Fairview, PA

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Another question from an Aussie! Can someone please tell me what Mrs. Dash sauce is? We can't buy that here in Australia and I'm not sure what I could substitute. Would I be able to substitute a tomato or BBQ sauce?

Julie from Sydney, Australia

AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Hi there Down Under! Ok, Mrs. Dash has a website, the "sauces" advertized are marinades > 6 varieties. Check them out.....they seem to be a combination of a number of herbs & spices, vinegars, veggie/meat stock, and some have tomatoe sauce in them. If you want a marinade for any meat try this:

1/2 cup BBQ sauce (spicey)

1/4 cup vinegar (white )

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic salt

Mix together well. Can be used as a marinade > let meat (any meat or chicken) marinate in the mixture for min 2 hrs (is the best left over night) covered in the refridgerator, remove meat & cook/bbq as desired.


Cook meat in the sauce in a crockpot for 6-8 hrs, or bake in the oven in a casserole dish, 350 degrees

for 1 1/2 hrs.

Good Luck, and enjoy!

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Read More Answers...

I run out of stuff a lot! I took recipe cards, wrote down substitutions that I can make up fast and taped them inside a kitchen cupboard door. Here are the ones I use a lot, others to follow!

  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch for thickening: 2 Tbsp. flour

  • 1 cup fresh milk: 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 tsp. soda. In your recipe, decrease baking powder 2 tsp., if needed

  • Sour Milk/ Buttermilk: 1 Tbsp. lemon juice of vinegar, 1 cup milk, stir and let stand for a couple of minutes.

  • 1 square unsweetened chocolate (1 oz.): 3 Tbsp. cocoa plus 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 1 cup honey: 11/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid.

  • 1 cup canned tomatoes: 1 and 1/3 cup diced fresh tomatoes, simmered about 10 minutes.

There you go! I also make up hints for gifts at bridal showers!

    Source: My very old Betty Crocker cookbook

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I love hot sauce, especially the Tabasco brand. I'm looking for a powdered substitute, that comes in a shaker type bottle like seasoning salt. Any ideas? Thanks.

    By kf4tqj from N.E. Alabama

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    There is one that I get from the local farmers market here in Flint, Michigan.

    "It's called slap ya mama"

    it can be purchased on-line @

    It is awesome,there is 3 levels of hot, too.

    They have a great cream cheese dip recipe also. Hope this is what your looking for.

    You can e-mail me if you have a problem,

    @ dah4301958 at

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    Read More Answers...

    Have you ever started mixing ingredients for a recipe, get halfway through the list, and Uh-Oh, discover that you are out of an ingredient? Well, sometimes it is something that can safely be omitted.

    It may alter the recipe slightly, but not ruin it. For example, that teaspoon of vanilla will probably never be missed. Or perhaps you can substitute a little lemon, almond, or other flavoring in its place. Other ingredients make a big difference, and you cannot continue without a trip to the store. Or a suitable substitute.

    Here is a list of many suitable substitutions that I have gleaned from various sources over the years.

    If it calls for:Use instead:
    1 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp cream of tartar plus 1/3 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp allspice1/2 tsp cinnamon plus 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    1 Tbsp Prepared Mustard1 tsp dry mustard
    3/4 cup cracker crumbs1 cup dry breadcrumbs
    1 square baking chocolate3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 Tbsp. oil
    1 cup brown sugar1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, 1/4 tsp soda
    1 cup light corn syrup1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water
    1 cup honey1 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup water
    1 cup powdered sugar1 cup sugar plus 1 Tbsp cornstarch. Process in blender.
    1 cup sugar1 cup packed brown sugar or 2 cups powdered sugar
    1 cup light cream1 Tbsp melted butter plus enough milk to make 1 cup
    1 egg2 egg whites plus 1 tsp vegetable oil
    1 cup sour milk or buttermilk1Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, then fill the cup with milk
    1 cup Yogurt1 cup sour cream or 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup cottage cheese, blended till smooth
    1 cup Nuts (in baked products) 1 cup rolled oats, oven toasted
    1 cup Catsup (for cooking)1 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp vinegar
    1 Tbsp raw Ginger1/8 tsp ground powdered Ginger
    lemon juice of 1 lemon2-3 Tbsp lemon juice (Realemon)
    1 tsp lemon juice1/2 tsp vinegar
    1 cup miniature marshmallows10 large marshmallows, snipped with wet scissors
    Herbs 1 Tbsp fresh1 tsp dried Herbs
    1 cup self rising flour1 cup all purpose flour plus 1 1/4 tsp baking powder & 1/4 tsp salt
    2 cups chopped fresh16 oz canned tomatoes, drained
    1 cup tomato juice1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water
    2 cups tomato sauce3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water
    1 can tomato soup1 cup tomato sauce plus 1/4 cup water

    You may substitute up to half the shortening or margarine in a recipe with applesauce in baked desserts.

    Self Rising Flour

    I make this up regularly and keep it on hand .

    • 8 cups all purpose flour
    • 5 Tbsp. baking powder
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 1 Tbsp salt

    Combine all ingredients and sift together 3 times.

    Store in a Ziplock bag or a large coffee can with plastic lid.

    Print this out and keep it never know when you are going to need it.

    CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Easy Substitution List. I keep this list inside my cookbook in case I am ever in a pinch for alternative ingredients. Easy Substitutions: If the recipe calls for: Cheese - cream cheese: cottage cheese blended with butter or milk.

    CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    Food and Recipes Food Tips SubstitutionsMarch 10, 2013
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