Food Substitutions

 The Great SUBSTITUTION Guide – A to Z
When a recipe calls for an ingredient you don’t have or your grocer doesn’t carry, you don’t always know what you can use instead. Here’s a list of substitutions from A to Z – it could just be the handiest kitchen info you’ll ever use!

ALLSPICE: Use equal amount ground cloves.
ABBORIO RICE: Used mainly in preparing risotto; replace with another short- or medium rice.
ARUGULA: Use equal amount watercress.

BACON: Use equal amount ham.
BAKING POWDER: For 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.
BROWN SUGAR: For 1 cup brown sugar, use 1 cup granulated white sugar plus 2
teaspoons molasses.

CANDIED FRUIT: Use equal amount dried fruit. For 1 cup candied peel, use 1 teaspoon grated fresh citrus peel plus 1 cup golden raisins.
CHIVES: Use equal amount green onion tops.
CHORIZO SAUSAGE: Use equal amount spicy kielbasa.
CRÈME FRAICHE: Combine 1 cup heavy cream with 3 tablespoons buttermilk; cover and let stand at room temperature 12 hours. (If using ultra-pasteurized cream, let stand 24 hours.) Refrigerate up to 1 week.
CUMIN: There is no real equivalent; in Southwestern and Mexican dishes, use equal amount chili powder.
CURRANTS: Use equal amount chopped raisins.

DAIKON RADISH: Use equal amount red radish.
DIJON MUSTARD: For 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, use 1 tablespoon dry mustard mixed with 1 teaspoon water, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and a pinch of sugar.
DRIED BEANS: For 3/4 cup dried beans use 1 (16 ounce) can of beans, drained and rinsed.

ESCAROLE: Use equal amount chicory, kale or spinach.
EVAPORATED MILK: Use equal amount regular milk or cream.

FENNEL (ANISE): Use 2 cups chopped celery plus 1 teaspoon Sambuca or anisette liqueur.
FLOUNDER: Use another flat fish such as sole, or a white fish such as cod or halibut.
FLOUR: For 1 cup cake flour, use 1 cup all-purpose minus 2 tablespoons. For thickening: Replace 1 tablespoon flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or
2 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca.

GALANGAL: A member of the ginger family used frequently in Thai cooking; use equal amount fresh ginger.
GARLIC: For 1 medium garlic clove, use 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder.
GINGER: There is no real equivalent; for 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, use 1 teaspoon dried.

HEARTS OF PALM: Use cooked white or green asparagus.
HERBS: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the dried herb plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.

ITALIAN SEASONING: Combine 1 teaspoon basil, 1 tablespoon fresh or dried
parsley and 1/2 teaspoon oregano.

JALAPENO CHILE: For 1 fresh chile, use another variety, such as serrano, or 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
JICAMA: Use equal amount peeled, seeded cucumber.

KALE: Use equal amount collard or mustard greens.
KASHA: Use equal amount bulgur or cracked wheat.
KOHLRABI: Use a small turnip.

LADYFINGERS: Use equal amount sponge cake or pound cake.
LEEKS: Use equal amount onions.
LEMONGRASS: Use equal amount fresh lemon peel.
LIGHT CREAM: Use equal amount half-and-half cream.

MACE: Use equal amount nutmeg.
MANGO: Use equal amount peach.
MARSALA WINE: Use equal amount Madeira wine.
MASCARPONE CHEESE: For 1 pound, use 12 ounces cream cheese mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream.
MAYONNAISE: In salad dressing or dips, use equal amount sour cream or yogurt.

NAAN: A bread served with Indian food; use warmed pita bread brushed with melted butter.
NEUFCHATEL CHEESE: Use equal amount cream cheese.
NOODLES: For Chinese egg noodles, use equal amount fresh or dried angel-hair
pasta or vermicelli.

OLIVE OIL: Use equal amount vegetable oil. (Calorie for calorie all oils are the same.)
ONION: For 1 small onion, use 1/3 cup chopped fresh onion or 1 tablespoon minced dried onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder.
ORZO: Use equal amount small-shape pasta such as ditalini or tubettini.

PANCETTA: Italian salt-cured bacon; use amount bacon.
PHYLLO PASTRY: Use strudel leaves.
PORCINI MUSHROOMS: For fresh porcini, use equal amount domestic fresh mushrooms plus 1/2 ounce dried porcini.
POTATOES: For new potatoes, use large potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces.
PROSCIUTTO HAM: Use equal amount very thinly slice Black Forest or Westphalian ham.

QUAIL: For 1 quail, use half a Cornish hen.
QUINCE: Use equal amount pears or apples, but cook only until fruit is tender.
QUINOA: Use equal amount couscous.

RABBIT: Use equal amount chicken.
RADICCHIO: Use equal amount red cabbage.
RICOTTA: Use equal amount cottage cheese pureed in blender
RUTABAGA: Use equal amount turnips or butternut squash.

SAFFRON: Use a pinch of turmeric.
SCALLOPS: Use monkfish or skate.
SHALLOTS: Use equal amount chopped sweet onions.
SORREL: For 1 pound or sorrel, use 1 pound spinach and 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice.
SWEET POTATO: Use equal amount butternut squash.

TAHINI: Use equal amount peanut butter.
THAI FISH SAUCE: Use equal amount anchovy paste.
TOMATOES: For 1 pound fresh tomatoes, use 2 cups drained canned tomatoes.

UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE: For 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, use 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening.

VANILLA BEAN: For half a vanilla bean, use 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
VEAL CUTLETS: Use turkey, chicken or pork cutlets.
VERMOUTH: Use equal amount dry white wine.
VINEGAR: Use equal amount lemon juice.

WALNUTS: Use equal amount pecans.
WASABE: Japanese horseradish: use equal amount horseradish.
WINE: Use equal amount broth or orange juice, depending on recipe.
WONTON: Use meat-filled ravioli or tortellini.
XERES VINEGAR: Another name for sherry vinegar; use equal amount red wine
YAM: Use equal amount butternut squash.
YOGURT: Use equal amount buttermilk or sour cream.

ZITI: Use another tubular pasta such as penne.
ZUCCHINI: Use equal amount eggplant.
ZWIEBACK: Crumbs often used as a crust for cheesecake; use equal amount plain graham crackers.


Food Substitutions

BUTTER – 1 cup equals 7/8 oil or 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons solid shortening plus 1/2 teaspoon salt. Also, 1 cup equals 1 cup margarine.

BUTTERMILK – 1 cup equals 1 cup plain yogurt.

CREAM (half and half) – 1 cup equals 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter plus about 7/8 cup milk, or use 1/2 cup light cream and 1/2 cup milk.

CREAM (light) – 1 cup light cream equals 7/8 cup milk plus 3 tablespoons melted butter.

CREAM (heavy) – 1 cup heavy cream equals 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup melted butter. (But do not try to whip this. Won’t work.)

CREAM (whipping) – 1 cup whipping cream equals 2/3 cup well chilled evaporated milk, whipped, or 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder whipped with 1 cup ice water.

CREAM (sour, cultured) – 1 cup cultured sour cream equals 1/3 cup melted butter plus 3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt. For dips, 1 cup equals 1 cup cottage cheese pureed with 1/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk, or 6 ounces cream cheese plus enough milk to make 1 cup.

MILK (skim) – 1 cup skim equals 1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk plus about 3/4 cup water.

MILK (to sour) – Put 1 tablespoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in the bottom of a measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup. Stir and let stand 5 minutes before using.

MILK (whole) – 1 cup equals 1 cup skim milk plus 2 teaspoons melted butter;
1 cup equals 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water;
1 cup equals 1/4 cup dry whole milk plus 7/8 cup water;
1 cup equals 1 cup reconstituted nonfat dry milk plus 2 1/2 teaspoons melted butter or margarine;
1 cup equals 1 cup soy milk: in baking you may substitute 1 cup fruit juice for 1 cup milk.

YOGURT – 1 cup equals 1 cup buttermilk. (Some may be repeats!!)

For 1 cup sour cream, use 1 cup plain yogurt or 1 cup evaporated milk plus 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar. Or 1 cup cottage cheese mixed in the blender with 2 tablespoons milk plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Or 6 ounces cream cheese plus enough milk to make 1 cup.

For 1 cup butter milk or sour milk, use 1 cup yogurt. Or 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus sweet milk to make 1 cup; let stand minutes.

Instead of sour cream, use 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice plus 1/3 cup buttermilk plus 1 cup smooth cottage cheese, blend until smooth in blender.

For 1 pound butter, beat 2 cups evaporated milk SLOWLY until butter forms; pour into pan and chill. Or, beat 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup salad oil and 1 teaspoon salt into 1 pound of margarine.

For whipped cream, beat egg whites until stiff, then add 1 sliced banana per egg white; beat again until bananas are dissolved. Or add melted marshmallows to the white of an egg and beat until stiff. Or 1 can of chilled evaporated milk plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, whip until stiff.

For thickening – In sauces and custards, 2 egg yolks equals 1 egg.
For baking – 2 egg yolks plus 1 tablespoon cold water equals 1 egg.
For measuring – 1 1/2 tablespoons stirred egg yolks equals 1 egg yolk;
2 tablespoons stirred egg whites equals 1 egg white;
3 tablespoons mixed broken yolks and whites equals 1 medium size egg;
6 medium eggs equal about 1 cup;
5 large eggs equal about 1 cup;
4 extra large eggs equal about 1 cup;
10 to 11 medium egg whites equal about 1 cup;
8 large whites equal about 1 cup;
13 to 14 egg yolks equal about 1 cup;
12 large yolks equal about 1 cup;
10 to 11 extra large egg yolks equal about 1 cup.


ALLSPICE – 1 teaspoon equals 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 18 teaspoon ground

BAY LEAF – 1/4 teaspoon crushed equals about 1 whole bay leaf.

CAROB POWDER – 3 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons water equals 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate.

CHOCOLATE – For 1 square semi-sweetened chocolate, use 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or margarine plus 3 tablespoons sugar.

CHOCOLATE – 1 ounce unsweetened equals 3 tablespoons carob powder plus 2 tablespoons water; 1 ounce unsweetened equals 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or other kind of fat; 1 ounce unsweetened plus 4 teaspoons sugar equals 1 2/3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate.

COFFEE – 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee equals 1 teaspoon instant coffee in 1/2 cup water.

GARLIC – 1 clove equals 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or instant minced garlic.

GINGER – 1 tablespoon grated fresh equals 1 teaspoon powdered or 1 tablespoon
candied with sugar washed off.

HERBS – In general, 1 tablespoon fresh equals about 1/2 teaspoon dried.

MUSTARD – 1 tablespoon prepared equals 1 teaspoon dried. For 1 tablespoon mustard, use 1 teaspoon dry mustard plus 1 tablespoon vinegar or white wine.

ONION – 1 small fresh chopped onion equals 1 tablespoon instant minced onion or 1/4 cup frozen chopped onion; 1 tablespoon onion powder equals 1 medium-sized fresh onion

SOY SAUCE – 1/4 cup equals 3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce plus 1 tablespoon water.

WINE – for marinades, 1/2 cup equals 1/4 cup vinegar plus 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/4 cup water.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE – 1 teaspoon equals 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus dash of
hot pepper sauce.

For thickening – 1 tablespoon all-purpose equals 2 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca (use only for soups); 1 tablespoon equals 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or potato starch.

CAKE FLOUR – 1 cup equals 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour.

ALL-PURPOSE – 1 cup equals 1 1/4 cups cake flour;
1 cup equals 5/8 cup potato flour;
1 cup equals 1 1/4 cup rye or coarsely ground whole-grain flour;
1 cup equals 1 cup cornmeal.

SELF RISING FLOUR – 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder plus 1/2 teaspoon salt.

FOR 1 CUP ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR – 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour.


BAKING POWDER – There are three ways you can substitute for baking powder, depending on the recipe:
1 teaspoon baking powder equals 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar; or, 1 teaspoon baking powder equals 1/2 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt: and 1 teaspoon baking powder also equals 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/3 cup molasses. When using the substitutions that include liquid, reduce other liquid in recipe accordingly.


BROWN SUGAR – 1 cup firmly packed equals 1 cup granulated sugar. For 1 cup brown sugar – 2 tablespoons molasses plus 1 cup white sugar. Best used in cookies and other cooked products.

CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR – 1 3/4 cups equals 1 cup granulated sugar, but do not substitute in baking.

CORN SYRUP – 2 cups corn syrup equals 1 cup granulated sugar, but be careful when substituting. Never use corn syrup to replace more than half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe. In baking, try not to substitute at all but if you must, for each 2 cups sugar, reduce the liquid called for (other than syrup) by 1/4 cup.

HONEY – 1 cup equals 1 1/4 cup sugar. For baking, decrease liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup. If there is no liquid in the recipe, add 1/4 cup flour. Unless sour cream or sour milk is used in recipe, add a pinch of baking soda.

GRANULATED SUGAR – 1 cup equals 1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar but do not substitute in baking;
1 cup equals 1 cup packed brown sugar;
1 cup equals 1 cup super-fine sugar;
1 cup plus 1/4 cup whatever liquid is used in recipe equals 1 cup corn syrup;
1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/3 cup liquid equals 1 cup honey;
3/4 cup sugar equals 1 cup unsulphured molasses (in baking, decrease liquid for each cup of molasses, omit any baking powder and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.)

MAPLE SYRUP – 1 cup equals 1/2 cup maple sugar. To substitute for sugar in cooking, generally use only 3/4 cup maple syrup for sugar. To substitute maple syrup for sugar in baking, use the same proportions, but reduce the other liquid called for in the recipe by about 3 tablespoons for every cup of syrup substituted.

MOLASSES – 1 cup unsulphured molasses equals 3/4 cup sugar. In baking, decrease the liquid by 1/4 cup for each cup of molasses, omit any baking powder and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.


KETCHUP – 1/2 cup equals 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1/8 teaspoons ground cloves; 1 tablespoon equals 1 tablespoon tomato paste.

TOMATOES – 1 cup canned tomatoes equals 1 1/3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered

TOMATO JUICE – 1 cup tomato juice equals 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water plus dash of salt and sugar. Or use one part tomato paste to three parts water plus salt and sugar.

TOMATO PUREE – 1 cup equals 1/2 cup tomato paste plus 1/2 cup water.

TOMATO SAUCE – 1 cup equals 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste plus 1 1/2 cans water. Or 2 cups equals 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water.

TOMATO SOUP – 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can equals 1 cup tomato sauce plus 1/4 cup water.


BREAD CRUMBS – 1 slice bread equals 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs;
1 slice bread equals 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs;
1 cup dry bread crumbs equals 3/4 cup cracker crumbs.

YEAST – 1 package equals 2 1/4 teaspoons.