TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking Ingredient Substitutions | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking Ingredient Substitutions | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking Ingredient Substitutions

Need buttermilk for a recipe? Check out the
substitution below. Photo courtesy Wisconsin
Milk Marketing Board.

  How many times have you started to make a recipe, only to find out you don’t have enough (or any) butter, honey, flour or other ingredient?

Don’t panic: A perfectly good ingredient substitution is as close as your browser. Just look up “ingredient substitution” and the item for which you need a substitute.

In many cases, you’ll never notice a flavor change. In others, the flavor will be a bit different but just as good (for example, a basil accent instead of parsley).

No saffron? Use turmeric. No soy sauce? Use Worcestershire. No beer? Use chicken broth.

Here are some of the most common ingredients you may need to substitute:


  • BAKING POWDER: 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/3 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • BROWN SUGAR: 1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup white sugar plus 2 tablespoons molasses

  • BUTTER: 1 cup butter = 1 cup margarine or 7/8 cup vegetable oil
  • BUTTERMILK: 1 cup buttermilk = 1 or 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup
  • CHOCOLATE: 1 square unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or other shortening
  • EGG: 1 egg = 1 heaping tablespoon soy flour plus 1 tablespoon water
  • FLOUR, ALL PURPOSE: 1 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • FLOUR, SELF RISING: 1 cup self-rising flour = 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 salt and enough all-purpose flour to make 1 cup
  • FLOUR, THICKENER: 1 tablespoon flour = 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch or 2 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • HERBS: 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs; if you don’t have the particular herb, use what you do have
  • HONEY: 1 cup honey = 1-1/4 cups sugar + 1/4 cup water
  • HOT PEPPER SAUCE: 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce = 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper + 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • KETCHUP: 1 cup ketchup = 1 cup tomato sauce + 1 teaspoon vinegar + 1 tablespoon sugar (or, use a noncaloric sweetener for “diet ketchup”)
  • LEMON JUICE: 1 teaspoon lemon juice = 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • MILK: 1 cup whole milk = 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water
  • ONION: 1 tablespoon of dried minced onion = 1/4 cup raw minced onion
  • YOGURT: 1 cup yogurt = 1 cup buttermilk
    Do you have a favorite go-to ingredient substitution? Let us know.


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