Cooking Tips
24 Substitutions for Common Ingredients You Might Be Looking for Right Now
So you can keep on cooking.
03-24-2020
Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson

Whether you’re averse to visiting the grocery store right now or can’t find what you’re looking for when you go, there will come a time that you do not have an ingredient for a recipe you’re ready to cook. We’re all amping up our time in the kitchen, and if you’re like me and my husband (and our cookie-loving daughters), you too are plowing through ingredients like, well, like there's a pandemic and you don’t want to leave the house. Even our girls are getting in the swing of making their own whole milk and buttermilk for baking projects. In other words, once we get through our work and homework for the day, our kitchen is busy and some ingredients—especially the baking ones—are running low.

Since we figured some of you might be in the same boat, we scoured our websites for relevant substitutions you might be looking for now. Here’s what we came up with—and please note that in some cases we offer more than one option for a substitution so that you can make the most of the ingredients that you do have.


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Dairy

Ingredient Quantity Substitute

Whole milk

1 cup

⅝ cup skim milk + ⅜ cup half-and-half

Whole milk

1 cup

⅔ cup 1 percent low-fat milk + ⅓ cup half-and-half

Whole milk

1 cup

¾ cup 2 percent low-fat milk + ¼ cup half-and-half

Whole milk

1 cup

⅞ cup skim milk + ⅛ cup heavy cream

Half-and-half

1 cup

¾ cup whole milk + ¼ cup heavy cream

Half-and-half

1 cup

⅔ cup skim or low-fat milk + ⅓ cup heavy cream

Heavy cream

1 cup

1 cup evaporated milk
*Not suitable for whipping or baking, but fine for soups and sauces.

Sour cream

1 cup

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
*Nonfat and low-fat yogurts are too lean to replace sour cream.

Plain yogurt

1 cup

1 cup sour cream

Buttermilk

1 cup

¾ cup plain whole milk or low-fat yogurt + ¼ cup whole milk

Buttermilk

1 cup

1 cup whole milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar

Dry Ingredients

Ingredient Quantity Substitute

Cake flour

1 cup

⅞ cup all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Bread flour

1 cup

1 cup all-purpose flour 
*Bread and pizza crusts may bake up with slightly less chew.

Baking powder

1 teaspoon

¼ teaspoons baking soda + ½ teaspoon cream of tartar 
*Use right away.

Light brown sugar

1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses
*Pulse the molasses in a food process along with the sugar or add the molasses to the other wet ingredients.

Dark brown sugar

1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons molasses

Confectioners’ sugar

1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon cornstarch, ground in blender
*Works well for dusting over cakes, less so in frostings and glazes.

Table salt

1 teaspoon

1½ teaspoons Morton Kosher Salt or 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

Wine

Ingredient Quantity Substitute

Wine/vermouth

½ cup

½ cup broth + 1 teaspoon wine vinegar

Wine/vermouth

½ cup

½ cup broth + 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Chocolate

Ingredient Quantity Substitute

Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

1 ounce

⅔ ounce unsweetened chocolate + 2 teaspoons sugar

Unsweetened chocolate

1 ounce

3 tablespoons cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Unsweetened chocolate

1 ounce

1½ ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
*Remove 1 tablespoon sugar from recipe.

Chocolate chips

Note: Chocolate chips have added stabilizers to help them hold their shape when baked into cookies. As a result, we don't recommend using them in chocolate sauces or puddings, but they do produce acceptable results when substituted for bittersweet or semisweet chocolate in a simple brownie recipe.

Eggs

Large Jumbo Extra-Large Medium
1 1 1 1
2 2 2
3
4 3
5 4 4 6
6 5 5 7

*For half an egg, whisk together the yolk and white and use half the liquid.

 

Miscellaneous

Ingredient Quantity Substitute

Apple cider

1 cup

¾ cup apple juice + ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce

Mirin

¼ cup

¼ cup sweet sherry

Soy sauce

¼ cup

¼ cup tamari

Fresh herbs

1 teaspoon

⅓ teaspoon dried herb counterpart
*We do not recommend substituting the dried version of delicate herbs such as parsley, cilantro, tarragon, dill, and chives.

Anchovy

2 filets (1 teaspoon)

1 tablespoon finely minced canned water-packed tuna

Tamarind juice concentrate

2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon lime juice + 1 tablespoon water