Handy Ingredient Substitute Recipes

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Ingredient substitutions are mainly used when baking or cooking dishes and you realize at the last minute you’re out of stock of the necessary food item.

SuppliesThere may be a slight taste or texture change when using them but the results are generally acceptable and many won’t notice the difference at all.

You can download a handy chart here (pdf). It’s nothing fancy but you’ll find a jam packed two pages with items sorted in alphabetical order.

The chart acts as a guide (suitable for both cooking and baking), alter according to your needs where necessary. These came from a combination of cookbooks and online resources.

I’ve also made a quick reference list below for more common items. You’ll also find recipes for making your own brown sugar and whipped cream at the bottom.

  • Cake Flour: If you’re running short on cake flour and need it now, here’s a tip for making your own: Add two level tablespoons of corn starch to a one cup measuring cup, then fill with bread flour. Sift three times then use as needed.
  • Self Rising Flour: In a one cup measure, place 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt, then fill to top with flour. Mix well and store in an airtight container if not used right away.
  • Half And Half Cream: In a one cup measure, place 3 Tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons of melted butter. Top up the cup with whole milk. You can also use an equal measure of evaporated milk.
  • Buttermilk: (for 1 cup) In a one cup measuring cup, add 1 TBS of vinegar or lemon juice, then top up the rest of the measuring cup with milk. Set aside for 5 minutes, stir, then use.
  • Sour Cream: 1/3 cup milk + 2 teaspoons lemon juice + 1 cup cottage cheese. Process in a blender until smooth.
  • Graham Cracker Crumb Crust: In a pinch you can use crushed corn flakes in place of graham cracker crumbs. To make crust: 2 cups crushed corn flakes*, 1/3 cup melted butter, 2 TBS sugar. Gradually add the melted butter to the crushed corn flakes and sugar. Mix well and press into pie plate (8″ or 9″). Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. *Use the non-frosted corn flakes.
  • Chocolate Squares: 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa & 1/4 cup melted Crisco (for 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate squares).
  • Soy Sauce:: Mix 3 tablespoons molasses, pinch ground ginger, 2 tablespoons Worcester sauce, and a little flour.
  • Balsamic Vinegar:: 1 tablespoon cider vinegar plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar = 1 TBS balsamic vinegar; or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar = 1 TBS balsamic vinegar; or equal amount of sherry or cider vinegar.
  • Molasses: Honey; Dark Corn Syrup; Maple Syrup
  • Lemon Juice: 2 tablespoons lemon juice = 1 tablespoon vinegar.
  • Eggs: You’ll find a list here

Baking Powder

  • Try 1/4 tsp bicarb (baking soda) & 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (for 1 tsp).
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb per 1 cup of buttermilk (for 2 tsp–use buttermilk already called for).
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb per 1 cup of sour milk (or use 1 cup milk soured with 1 TBS vinegar or lemon juice; use milk already called for)–for 2 tsp b.p.
  • 1 cup of milk with 1 3/4 tsp cream of tartar, add 1/2 tsp bicarb–for 2 tsp b.p. (use milk already required)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb per 1 cup of molasses (use molasses already called for)–for 2 tsp b.p.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup boiling water, 1 cup skim milk powder. Combine items in a blender and mix until all lumps are gone and milk is smooth. Store in refrigerator and chill before using.
  • 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, 1/4 cup margarine. Bring to a boil until margarine melts and sugar is dissolved. Add 1 cup dry powdered milk and beat until smooth.
  • 1/4 cup hot water, 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Mix in blender for 1 minute or until sugar is partially dissolved. Continue to blend slowly adding 1 1/4 cups skim milk powder. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before using. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
  • 1/4 cup margarine, 1 cup boiling water. Melt the margarine in the water then add 2 cups white sugar. Beat with mixer until smooth. Gradually add 4 cups skim milk powder, beat until smooth and thick. Makes 3 cups, keep refrigerated.
  • 1/2 cup hot water (scant), 3/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cups powdered milk. Add water to blender, start blending while gradually adding powdered milk. Gradually add sugar. Blend until sugar is dissolved. Cool and refrigerate before using.
  • Dissolve 1/4 cup margarine in 1 cup boiling water. Add 2 cups sugar, beat with mixer until dissolved. Gradually add 4 cups skim milk powder. Beat. Makes 1 quart, keep refrigerated.

Brown Sugar

Here are some tips for making your own brown sugar, perfect to use when you’re in a pinch or you may find you want to use it all the time rather than store bought (since you can adjust the flavor strength to suit your needs).

  • Directions: Mix together well with a fork or with your hands then store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag.

#1 (1 cup)

1 cup Sugar (white)
1 TBS Molasses (for light brown) or
2 TBS Molasses (for dark brown)

#2 (3 cups)

3 cups Sugar (white)
1/4 cup Molasses

#3 (9 pounds)

9 lbs Sugar (white granulated)
1 lb Molasses


  • Try different varieties and measurements of molasses to see what you like best.
  • The darker the color the stronger the flavor.
  • If your brown sugar is too hard to use, try these tips for softening it up.

Whipped Cream

Try this mix as a substitute…

2 large ripe bananas, sliced
3 tsp sugar
2 egg whites


  • Whip together just like you would regular cream. Add some flavoring if you like.

Flavoring Ideas:

  • Almond Extract
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Flavored Liqueur
  • Brandy or Rum
  • Lemon or Orange Zest
  • Instant Coffee
  • Sifted Cocoa
  • Cinnamon

Real Whipped Cream

1 tsp gelatin
4 tsp water

  • Combine the above until thick; Microwave 25 to 30 seconds until clear; Cool slightly

1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla


  • Whip together until thickened then add the gelatin mixture (while still whipping); Whip until stiff

*The printable chart was first published April 10, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

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What Readers Are Saying:
7 Comments to “Handy Ingredient Substitute Recipes”
  1. Bobbie says:

    For someone that does a lot of baking these tips can be a life saver.
    Some of them I have used but there are a lot of good ones that I was
    not aware of. Thank you for your daily tip and crafts.

  2. Carole says:

    Hi, love that you have them here, will definitely post them in my kitchen.
    I was wondering though for the cake flour substitute wouldn’t you use all purpose flour instead of bread flour since cake flour is made with soft wheat, low gluten and bread flour is hard wheat, high gluten… I love your site, tell everyone I know how great it is.

  3. Lorraine Ouimette says:

    love these charts they have made my time in the kitchen so muck quiker and fool proof and now l do not have to run out to get ingredient if l have another resource to use thanks lorraine

  4. carmen says:

    Thank you so much for these baking substitute now I will bake a lot more.

  5. ohbegrey says:

    1) please remember that un-cooked egg whites(and yolks)these days may be contaminated with bacteria and are not safe to eat, especially for babies and persons with compromised immune systems. eggs should be cooked before eaten.
    2) Crisco is a manufactured fat, hydrogenated oil, and is saturated fat and not to be considered food; when adding fat to cocoa to make chocolate, use oil instead of Crisco.
    may you stay healthy!!

  6. Jayne says:

    Instead of using molasses to make brown sugar , could you use black treacle? Thanks for so many great ideas…

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