100+ Recipe Substitutions – Replacements

Are there times when you are missing just one ingredient and can’t make a recipe?  Perhaps you are following a meal plan or trying to lose weight and you can’t have certain foods. If so, you will find these recipe substitutes and replacements a big help in getting your meals on the table in no time at all.Have you run out of an ingredient when you are cooking? Are you following a special diets mean recipe substitutes. If you follow a dairy free, gluten free,or Paleo diet, swap these foods instead.

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I’m sure you have all been in this situation.  It’s time to cook and you have found the perfect recipe. Except for one tiny detail.  You are missing just one of the ingredients.  Or perhaps you are trying to lose weight and want some lower calorie replacements.  Maybe you may be following a Vegetarian, Paleo or Gluten free diet, and find that certain foods are off limits. Not a problem – you won’t have to struggle to prepare meals.

I’ve made a list of over 100 recipe substitutes that will replace one food for another and give you similar results.

Check out these recipe substitutes for meal planning.Baking substitutes

I have found myself in all of the above situations so often that I’ve lost count  But don’t worry.  Most baking and recipe ingredients can be replaced by substitutes without changing the taste of texture of a dish.  And there are loads of other replacements that will fit the diet you are trying to stick to.

I’ve combined some of my favorite substitutes in one handy list for you   Some of the replacements can be used for any cooking technique or recipe, others are better suited to limited uses.  (I will show this in brackets if this is the case.)

There is also a section at the end of the list which talks about healthy substitutes, replacements for weight loss and gluten free substitutes.

It’s time to rescue that recipe!


Baked goods require exact measurements of ingredients, but there are many recipe substitutes that will still work in the recipe and give you a great taste and texture.

This baking substitutes will work great in your baked goods.


  1. 1 tsp baking powder = 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  2. 1 tsp lemon juice = 1/2 tsp vinegar
  3. 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate = 4 tbsp cocoa powder + 1 tbsp butter
  4. 1/4 cup cocoa = 1 oz square of unsweetened chocolate
  5. 1 tsp cream of tartar = 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
  6. 1 cup cake flour = 1 cup all purpose flour less 2 tbsp
  7. 1 cup self raising flour = 7/8 cup all purpose flour = 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp arrowroot = 1 tbsp flour or 1 tsp cornstarch
  9. 1 tbsp gelatin = 2 tsp agar agar
  10. 1 tsp lemon zest = 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  11. 1 cup of cake flour = 2 tbsp cornstarch and all purpose flour to fill one cup
  12. 1 tbsp tapioca = 1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
  13. 1 cup self raising flour = 1 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 tsp salt + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  14. 1 cup unsalted butter = 1 cup shortening
  15. 1 cup corn syrup = 1 1/4 cup sugar + 1/3 cup water


These recipe substitutes will give similar results in your recipe. Some may give you a slightly different taste but it will still be similar in most respects.These recipe substitutes will give similar results

  1. 1 tsp cornstarch = 2 tsp flour (for thickening)
  2. 1 tbsp butter or margarine = 1/2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil (frying, sauteing or grilling)
  3. 1 clove of garlic = 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  4. red wine = replace with equal amounts of grape juice or beef broth
  5. white wine = replace with equal amount so apple juice or chicken broth
  6. 1 cup of beer = 1 cup of chicken broth
  7. 1/4 cup of brandy = 1 tsp brandy extract plus enough water to make 1/4 cup
  8. 1 cup ketchup = 1 cup tomato sauce + 1 tsp vinegar + 1 tsp sugar
  9. 1 cup mayonnaise = 1 cup plain yogurt
  10. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese = 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese or 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  11. 1/2 cup Soy sauce = 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce + 1 tbsp water
  12. 1 tbsp chives = 1 tbsp green onions
  13. Substitute any mushrooms type for meat
  14. 1 tsp Seasoning salt = 1 tbsp fresh herbs


Many sugars can be used interchangeably but some do require additions or differences in amounts to give a similar taste..  
Sugar Substitues

  1. 1 cup packed brown sugar = 1 cup of granulated sugar +1/4 cup of molasses
  2. 1 cup honey = 3/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup liquid
  3. 1 cup powdered sugar = 1 cup sugar + 1/3 tsp cornstarch (blend in a blender in batches)
  4. 2 tbsp sugar = 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (cookies, cakes, brownies)
  5. 1 tbsp sugar = 1/8 tsp Stevia (affiliate link)
  6. 1 cup sugar = 2/3 cup agave nectar
  7. 1 cup corn syrup = 1 1/4 cup white sugar + 1/3 cup of water


In many cases, you cannot simply substitute one type of fat or oil for another.  The consistency matters!
When you are out of oil, substitute these items

  1. 1 cup butter – 7/8 cup vegetable oil + 1/2 tsp salt
  2. 1 cup butter or oil = 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (cakes, muffins, cookies)
  3. 1/4 cup oil = 1/4 cup applesauce (cakes) 
  4. 2 tbsp butter = 2 tbsp mashed avocado (sandwiches)
  5. See more fat substitutes in the skinny substitutes list.


If you don’t have eggs, or don’t want to use them in recipes, try using these recipe substitutes.Egg Substitutes

  1. 2 tbsp water + 1/2 tsp baking powder (cookies/cakes)
  2. 1/2 banana (batters, breads, brownies)
  3. 1/4 cup applesauce (batters, breads, brownies)
  4. 1 egg = 1/4 cup pureed tofu + 1 tbsp flour (for vegans)
  5. 1 egg = 1/4 cup yogurt (brownies)
  6. 1 egg = 1/2 cup buttermilk (cakes)
  7. 1 egg = 3 tbsp pureed fruit (cakes)
  8. 2 eggs = 1 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tbsp water + 1 tsp baking powder. (stir well – use when cake calls for more than one egg)
  9. 1 egg  = 1/4 cup vegetable oil (cookies)
  10. 1 egg = 1 tbsp cornstarch + tbsp water (cookies)


Lots of dairy products can be substituted cup for cup and will not alter the recipe. A few need some tweaks, though.Dairy Substitutes

  1. 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt
  2. 1 cup half & half = 7/8 cup whole milk + 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  3. 1 cup heavy cream (won’t whip) = 1/3 cup butter + 2/3 cup milk See how to make this heavy cream substitute here.
  4. 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup milk + 1 1/3 tbsp vinegar
  5. 1 cup light cream = 1 cup evaporated milk
  6. 1 ounce sliced mozzarella cheese = 1 ounce sliced tofu (great for sandwiches or crackers)
  7. 1/2 cup sour cream = 1/2 cup pureed silken tofu, blended
  8. 1/2 cup of ice cream = 1/2 cup of frozen banana, blended
  9. 1 cup whole milk = 1 cup fat free milk + 1 tbsp canola oil
  10. 1/4 cup butter = 1/4 cup baby prunes (dark cakes or brownies)
  11. 1 cup butter = 1/2 cup buttermilk + 1/2 cup applesauce (cakes, breads, muffins)
  12. 1 cup cream cheese = 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese


Spices can be switched out for similar ones without changing the recipe too much.Spice Substitutes

  1. 1 tbsp fresh herbs = 1 tsp dried herbs
  2. 1 tsp allspice = 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ginger + 1/4 tsp cloves
  3. 1/4 tsp saffron = 1/4 tsp turmeric
  4. 1/2 tsp cardamom= 1/2 tsp ginger
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon = 1/4 tsp nutmeg or 1/4 tsp allspice
  6. 1 tbsp cumin = 1 tbsp chili powder
  7. 1 tsp apple pie spice = 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp nutmeg + 1/8 tsp allspice + dash of ground cloves
  8. 1 tbsp Italian seasoning = 1/3 tsp each of basil, oregano and rosemary
  9. 1 tsp poultry seasoning = 3/4 tsp sage + 1/4 tsp thyme
  10. 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice = 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/4 tsp ground allspice + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  11.  1 1/4 tsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder  =1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1 tsp ground cloves + 1 tsp ground fennel seed + 1 tsp ground star anise


If you are trying to follow a more healthy diet, try switching out these foods for more healthy ones.Fresh vegetables are great for healthy cooking

  1. 1 cup sugar = 1/2 cup applesauce
  2. 1 cup butter = 1 cup mashed avocado (good in chocolate brownies etc)
  3. Butter/oil/margarine = equal parts of either unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana (for baking)
  4. 1 egg = 1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp water – grind in a spice mill  (affiliate links)
  5. 1 egg = 2 egg whites
  6. 1 cup butter or shortening = 3/4 cup prunes + 1/4 cup hot water – pureed (brownies, chocolate cakes, dark baked goods)
  7. 1 cup bread crumbs = 1 cup ground oats
  8. Mashed potatoes – try mashed cauliflower
  9. Pasta – try zucchini noodles
  10. Ground beef – substitute ground turkey
  11. Rice – pulse cauliflower in a food processor and stir fry for a few minutes in coconut oil. See my recipe for cauliflower Mexican rice here.

Paleo Substitutes

A Paleo diet means that many foods are just off limits.  When a recipe calls for one of these ingredients, you can use these Paleo recipe substitutes instead. Be sure to also check out my Paleo Baking tips for perfect gluten free baked goods ever time.These paleo substitutes will help you stick to a paleo diet easity

  1. Soy Sauce – Use Coconut Aminos Instead
  2. Granulated Sugar – Try Coconut Sugar or Powdered Maple Sugar
  3. Bread Crumbs – Coat fish or chicken in flaxseeds.
  4. Cow’s Milk – Try almond milk or coconut milk in your cereal and smoothies.
  5. All purpose flour – Combine coconut flour and finely ground almond meal in baked goods.
  6. Heavy cream – Coconut cream makes a great substitute!
  7. Rice – Pulse cauliflower in a food processor and cook it with seasonings and a bit of oil.
  8. Pasta – A spiralizer turns zucchini and other vegetables into spaghetti like shapes.
  9. Vegetable oil – Coconut oil makes a great substitute!
  10. Margarine – Clarify butter to remove milk solids and give it a high smoke point.
  11. Peanut butter – Sunflower nut butter tastes very similar and is Paleo compliant.
  12. Milk Chocolate – Use at least 75% dark chocolate in place of the milk chocolate version.


Trying to lose a few inches? Swap these foods for less calorie dense ones to drop those pounds.Dieting? Try these recipe substitutes to lose those pounds

  1. 1 cup oil or butter = 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce + 1/2 cup oil or butter (anything)
  2. 1 cup oil or butter = 1 cup mashed bananas (brownies, cookies)
  3. 1 cup of heavy cream = 1 cup evaporated skim milk (whipped cream, cakes, biscuits)
  4. 1 can of diet soda = 1/c cup of oil +3 eggs (boxed cake mixes)
  5. 1 cup of butter = 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (spiced breads, cakes or muffins, or pancakes)
  6. 1 tbsp chervil = 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley + 1/2 tbsp tarragon
  7. 1 tbsp regular peanut butter + 1 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter
  8. 1 cup frosting = 1 cup meringue
  9. on Baked potatoes, substitute 1 tbsp plain yogurt for 1 tbsp sour cream
  10. Substitute 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips for 1 cup of regular chocolate chips to save calories
  11. 1/4 cup of butter = 1/4 cup of marshmallow creme (frostings)


A gluten free diet means that no wheat products are allowed.  But this doesn’t have to mean that you can’t enjoy the taste of your favorite foods. Try using these alternatives instead of your gluten ingredients.

Gluten Free Substitutes

  1. 1 cup Panko bread crumbs = 1 cup of almond flour (baking or breading)
  2. 1 cup of flour = 1 cup of pureed black beans (brownies)
  3. For Sandwich bread, substitute corn tortillas
  4. Pasta – substitute spaghetti squash
  5. Couscous – substitute quinoa
  6. Soy Sauce – substitute Tamari (affiliate link)
  7. Butter – substitute coconut oil
  8. Eggs – Ener G Egg Replacer (affiliate link)
  9. Flour for thickening – try tapioca starch

Do you have some favorite recipe substitutes that I have not mentioned?  Please leave them in the comments below and I will add my favorites to the article and tag your name.100+ Recipe Substitutes and Replacements - thegardeningcook.com/recipe-substitutes-replacements

With this handy list of food substitutes, you can still keep making your favorite recipes, even if you are out of one ingredient or it’s not allowed on your diet plan.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  18 comments for “100+ Recipe Substitutions – Replacements

  1. 08/05/2014 at 12:05 am

    I’m pinning this on my personal site as well as my blog site. I love this list!

    • admin
      08/05/2014 at 10:22 am

      Thanks Sarah. I am glad that you find the list useful. Thanks for sharing it. If you put it on my site, please link to my article. Carol

  2. Lisa
    08/25/2014 at 8:44 pm

    Hi, my name is Lisa I live in Alaska and I have been asking all over if there is a substitute for citrus, (i.e. lemons, limes, oranges, etc.) including citric/abosorbic acids for when you make jams or other homemade yummies. I’m highly allergic.

    • admin
      08/25/2014 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for the question. I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you on this one though. Extracts might work for the taste but don’t have the bulk that the actual citrus fruits have. Carol

  3. 10/24/2015 at 11:17 am

    Thank you for sharing us this very wonderful information, now we can cook with a more healthy food substitute..

    • Carol
      10/25/2015 at 12:14 pm

      My pleasure Barbara. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  4. Diana
    12/10/2015 at 2:57 pm

    Is there a print friendly version of is available? It is such a helpful list! Thanks!

    • Carol
      12/10/2015 at 5:54 pm

      HI Diana. No I am afraid I don’t have a graphic of it. 100 subsititutes is a LOT of things to put into one photo and I didn’t have time to do that. You could print the whole page out with your file menu on the browser though.

    • Jennifer
      03/19/2020 at 8:55 am

      What can you substitute for evaporated milk

      • Carol Speake
        03/20/2020 at 11:31 am

        In many recipes, evaporated milk can be replaced with a combination of whole milk and half-and-half. For 1 cup of evaporated milk, use 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup half-and-half.

  5. Jean-Pierre Dodge
    05/07/2017 at 12:29 am

    One more…
    I live in Vietnam, and, although it is a sugarcane country, molasses, unless it is imported (like $25 a liter) it is not otherwise available. The other day my son and his Vietnamese wife were visiting me, and I had decided to make a typical French-Canadian pork beans recipe from back home. All of a second, I thought of replacing the molasses with Coca Cola! I didn’t tell anyone, but my son suddenly said: I don’t know how you made this bean sauce, but it is the first time I taste something so good! And indeed, this has been my best ever pork beans.
    I did also use Coca Cola to finish off cooking bacon and pork belly cubes… it is just outstandingly delicious.

  6. 06/15/2017 at 11:41 pm

    The fennel seeds ingredient in Chinese 5 Spice Powder recipe can be replaced by anise or else? Will it have any change in texture or flavor?

    • Carol
      06/16/2017 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Lita. Yes, you could use anise seed since it has a licorice flavor too. It is stronger in flavor than fennel so less should be used. Carol

  7. Nancy
    12/10/2019 at 11:38 am

    Is it possible to substitute 2 tblspoons of kalhua for 2tblspoons of instant coffee mixed into 1 tblsp of milk?

    • Carol Speake
      12/11/2019 at 1:03 pm

      I suppose you could substitute that way, but one is alcoholic and the other is not, so it’s not a direct substitution.

  8. Robin Best
    06/09/2020 at 3:01 pm

    I have a chicken salad recipe that calls for mayo, lemon juice and dry vermouth plus seasonings. What could I substitute for the vermouth?
    Love your list…thanks

    • Carol Speake
      06/09/2020 at 5:00 pm

      If your recipe asks for sweet vermouth, you can use apple or grape juice or balsamic vinegar. If the recipe calls for dry vermouth, you can use use non-alcoholic white wine, white grape juice or white wine vinegar.

  9. Robin Best
    06/09/2020 at 9:55 pm

    Thank you. Appreciate your quick response.

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