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.
There 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 
- 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.
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 .
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.
- Almond Extract
- Vanilla Extract
- Flavored Liqueur
- Brandy or Rum
- Lemon or Orange Zest
- Instant Coffee
- Sifted Cocoa
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