If mealtime is stressful for you, these recipe substitutes and replacements will be a big help in getting your meals on the table in no time at all.
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.
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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.
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.
- 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice = 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate = 4 tablespoon cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa = 1 ounce square of unsweetened chocolate
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar = 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 cup cake flour = 1 cup all purpose flour less 2 tablespoon
- 1 cup self raising flour = 7/8 cup all purpose flour = 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot = 1 tablespoon flour or 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon gelatin = 2 teaspoons agar agar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest = 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 cup of cake flour = 2 tablespoons cornstarch and all purpose flour to fill one cup
- 1 tablespoon tapioca = 1 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 cup self raising flour = 1 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter = 1 cup shortening
- 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.
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch = 2 teaspoons flour (for thickening)
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine = 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil (frying, sautéing or grilling)
- 1 clove of garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- red wine = replace with equal amounts of grape juice or beef broth
- white wine = replace with equal amount so apple juice or chicken broth
- 1 cup of beer = 1 cup of chicken broth
- 1/4 cup of brandy = 1 teaspoon brandy extract plus enough water to make 1/4 cup
- 1 cup ketchup = 1 cup tomato sauce + 1 teaspoon vinegar + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup mayonnaise = 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese = 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese or 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup Soy sauce = 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce + 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon chives = 1 tablespoon green onions
- Substitute any mushrooms type for meat
- 1 teaspoon Seasoning salt = 1 tablespoon fresh herbs
Many sugars can be used interchangeably but some do require additions or differences in amounts to give a similar taste..
- 1 cup packed brown sugar = 1 cup of granulated sugar +1/4 cup of molasses
- 1 cup honey = 3/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup liquid
- 1 cup powdered sugar = 1 cup sugar + 1/3 teaspoon cornstarch (blend in a blender in batches)
- 2 tablespoon sugar = 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (cookies, cakes, brownies)
- 1 tablespoon sugar = 1/8 teaspoon Stevia (affiliate link)
- 1 cup sugar = 2/3 cup agave nectar
- 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!
- 1 cup butter – 7/8 cup vegetable oil + 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter or oil = 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (cakes, muffins, cookies)
- 1/4 cup oil = 1/4 cup applesauce (cakes)
- 2 tablespoon butter = 2 tablespoons mashed avocado (sandwiches)
- 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.
- 2 tablespoon water + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (cookies/cakes)
- 1/2 banana (batters, breads, brownies)
- 1/4 cup applesauce (batters, breads, brownies)
- 1 egg = 1/4 cup pureed tofu + 1 tablespoon flour (for vegans)
- 1 egg = 1/4 cup yogurt (brownies)
- 1 egg = 1/2 cup buttermilk (cakes)
- 1 egg = 3 tablespoons pureed fruit (cakes)
- 2 eggs = 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 tablespoon water + 1 teaspoon baking powder. (stir well – use when cake calls for more than one egg)
- 1 egg = 1/4 cup vegetable oil (cookies)
- 1 egg = 1 tablespoon cornstarch + tablespoon water (cookies)
Lots of dairy products can be substituted cup for cup and will not alter the recipe. A few need some tweaks, though.
- 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup half & half = 7/8 cup whole milk + 2 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream (won’t whip) = 1/3 cup butter + 2/3 cup milk See how to make this heavy cream substitute here.
- 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup milk + 1 1/3 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 cup light cream = 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 ounce sliced mozzarella cheese = 1 ounce sliced tofu (great for sandwiches or crackers)
- 1/2 cup sour cream = 1/2 cup pureed silken tofu, blended
- 1/2 cup of ice cream = 1/2 cup of frozen banana, blended
- 1 cup whole milk = 1 cup fat free milk + 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/4 cup butter = 1/4 cup baby prunes (dark cakes or brownies)
- 1 cup butter = 1/2 cup buttermilk + 1/2 cup applesauce (cakes, breads, muffins)
- 1 cup cream cheese = 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
Spices can be switched out for similar ones without changing the recipe too much.
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs
- 1 teaspoon allspice = 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ginger + 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron = 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom= 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon = 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon cumin = 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice = 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg + 1/8 teaspoon allspice + dash of ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning = 1/3 teaspoon each of basil, oregano and rosemary
- 1 teaspoon p poultry seasoning = 3/4 teaspoon sage + 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice = 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice Powder =1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1 teaspoon ground cloves + 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed + 1 teaspoon ground star anise
If you are trying to follow a more healthy diet, try switching out these foods for more healthy ones.
- 1 cup sugar = 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 cup butter = 1 cup mashed avocado (good in chocolate brownies etc)
- Butter/oil/margarine = equal parts of either unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana (for baking)
- 1 egg = 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoon water – grind in a spice mill (affiliate links)
- 1 egg = 2 egg whites
- 1 cup butter or shortening = 3/4 cup prunes + 1/4 cup hot water – pureed (brownies, chocolate cakes, dark baked goods)
- 1 cup bread crumbs = 1 cup ground oats
- Mashed potatoes – try mashed cauliflower
- Pasta – try zucchini noodles
- Ground beef – substitute ground turkey
- 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.
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.
- Soy Sauce – Use Coconut Aminos Instead
- Granulated Sugar – Try Coconut Sugar or Powdered Maple Sugar
- Bread Crumbs – Coat fish or chicken in flaxseeds.
- Cow’s Milk – Try almond milk or coconut milk in your cereal and smoothies.
- All purpose flour – Combine coconut flour and finely ground almond meal in baked goods.
- Heavy cream – Coconut cream makes a great substitute!
- Rice – Pulse cauliflower in a food processor and cook it with seasonings and a bit of oil.
- Pasta – A spiralizer turns zucchini and other vegetables into spaghetti like shapes.
- Vegetable oil – Coconut oil makes a great substitute!
- Margarine – Clarify butter to remove milk solids and give it a high smoke point.
- Peanut butter – Sunflower nut butter tastes very similar and is Paleo compliant.
- 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.
- 1 cup oil or butter = 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce + 1/2 cup oil or butter (anything)
- 1 cup oil or butter = 1 cup mashed bananas (brownies, cookies)
- 1 cup of heavy cream = 1 cup evaporated skim milk (whipped cream, cakes, biscuits)
- 1 can of diet soda = 1/c cup of oil +3 eggs (boxed cake mixes)
- 1 cup of butter = 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (spiced breads, cakes or muffins, or pancakes)
- 1 tablespoon chervil = 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley + 1/2 tablespoon tarragon
- 1 tablespoon regular peanut butter + 1 tablespoon reduced fat peanut butter
- 1 cup frosting = 1 cup meringue
- on Baked potatoes, substitute 1 tablespoon plain yogurt for 1 tablespoon sour cream
- Substitute 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips for 1 cup of regular chocolate chips to save calories
- 1/4 cup of butter = 1/4 cup of marshmallow creme (frostings)
GLUTEN FREE SUBSTITUTES:
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.
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs = 1 cup of almond flour (baking or breading)
- 1 cup of flour = 1 cup of pureed black beans (brownies)
- For Sandwich bread, substitute corn tortillas
- Pasta – substitute spaghetti squash
- Couscous – substitute quinoa
- Soy Sauce – substitute Tamari (affiliate link)
- Butter – substitute coconut oil
- Eggs – Ener G Egg Replacer (affiliate link)
- 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.
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.