Substitute Commonly Used Ingredients

No matter how well-stocked you keep your pantry, there is bound to come a time when you need an ingredient for a recipe that you are lacking. Whether it's not having the ingredient at all, or even substituting for health reason. When and if this happens to you, this article should help.


Commonly Used Ingredient Substitutions

Ingredient Quantity Substitute
Baking Powder 1 tsp double acting 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 cup buttermilk or
1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Butter 1 cup 1 cup margarine or
7/8 cup lard + 1/2 tsp salt
Buttermilk 1 cup 1 Tbsp vinegar + sweet milk to make 1 cup or
2/3 cup plain yogurt + 1/3 cup sweet milk
Chocolate 1 ounce convert}} shortening
Corn Starch/thicken 1 Tbsp 2 Tbsp flour
Cream 1 cup 1/2 cup butter + 3/4 cup milk
Egg 1 whole 2 egg yolks
All Purpose Flour 1 cup 1 cup + 2 Tbsp cake flour
Cake Flour 1 cup 7/8 cup all purpose flour
Self-rising Flour 1 cup 1 cup flour (omit baking powder & salt)
Garlic 1 small clove 1/8 tsp garlic powder
Herbs 1 Tbsp fresh 1 tsp dried
Honey 1 cup 1 1/4 cups sugar + 1/4 cup liquid
Milk, fresh whole 1 cup 1 cup reconstituted dry milk + 2 tsp butter
Milk, whole 1 cup 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water
Milk, sour 1 cup 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar + sweet milk to make 1 cup
Molasses 1 cup 1 cup honey
Mustard, prepared 1 Tbsp 1 tsp dry mustard
Onion, fried 1 Onion 1 leek, chopped and fried
Onion, Minced/rehydrated 1 Tbsp instant 1 small fresh onion
Ricotta Cheese 1 cup convert}} skim milk
Sour Cream 1 cup 1 cup yogurt
Sugar, Brown 1 cup 3/4 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup molasses
Sugar, Powdered 1 1/3 cups 1 cup granulated sugar
Yogurt 1 cup 1 cup buttermilk
Wine 1/2 cup 1/4 cup of wine vinegar (red or white wine vinegar depending on what the recipe calls for) mixed with 1 Tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of water

General Guidelines

  1. Figure out how much of the missing ingredient you require for the recipe you're making.
  2. Consult the table above for common ingredient substitutions. When trying to find a substitute for a food, try to match the substance of the ingredient to the choice of substitution.
  3. Then substitute.


  • Try using substitutions sometimes even when not necessary to put a "personal touch" in your recipe.
  • Great substitutes for butter are applesauce and yogurt. They work very well in cookies.

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