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In a Pinch Ingredient Substitution


Guide E-131
Reviewed by Cassandra Vanderpool
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University


Author: Extension Diabetes Coordinator, Department of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, New Mexico State University. (Print friendly PDF)

Have you ever been in the middle of preparing a recipe and discovered you were out of an important ingredient? If so, you had to decide on a solution to the problem—make a suitable substitute for that ingredient from supplies available in your pantry, or make a trip to the grocery store.

The jaunt to the store ensures that you get the ingredient specified in the recipe, but it can also take valuable time and energy you might not have.

Ingredient substitution—or using similar ingredients that perform the same function in a food—is the easiest alternative. The key to success with ingredient substitution is being able to put your finger on the information when you need it. The following information is designed to help you do just that.

Many substitutions are simply another form of the needed ingredient. For example, 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder can be substituted for one small garlic clove. These simple substitutions are called equivalents because the ingredients are similar. When equivalent ingredients are substituted, very little, if any, change will be noticed in the finished product.

Another type of substitution involves using an ingredient with properties similar to the ingredient called for in the recipe. An example would be substituting plain yogurt for sour cream in a salad dressing.

Each ingredient in a recipe has a specific function. Therefore, this kind of substitution can result in a product with different quality characteristics. This means that flavor, color, or texture of the product may change because of an ingredient substitution.

Cutting board with knife and some vegetables
(© Evgeny Karandaev | Dreamstime.com)

Ingredient Substitution Chart

Ingredient

Amount

Substitutes

Allspice

1 tsp

  • 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon and 1⁄2 tsp ground cloves

Apple pie spice

1 tsp

  • 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon, 1⁄4 tsp nutmeg, and 1⁄8 tsp cardamom

Arrowroot starch

1 1⁄2 tsp

  • 1 Tbsp flour

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp cornstarch

Baking powder

1 tsp

  • 1⁄3 tsp baking soda and 1⁄2 tsp cream of tartar

  • 1⁄4 tsp baking soda and 1⁄2 cup sour milk or buttermilk (decrease liquid called for in recipe by 1⁄2 cup)

  • 1⁄4 tsp baking soda and 1⁄2 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice used with sweet milk to make 1⁄2 cup (decrease liquid called for in recipe by 1⁄2 cup)

Bay leaf

1 whole

  • 1⁄4 tsp crushed

Beau monde seasoning

1 tsp

  • 1 tsp seasoning or seasoned salt

  • 1⁄2 tsp table salt

  • 1⁄2 tsp Mei Yen seasoning

Broth

1 cup

  • 1 bouillon cube (beef or chicken) dissolved in 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 envelope powdered broth base dissolved in 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 tsp powdered broth base dissolved in 1 cup boiling water

Butter

1 cup

  • 7⁄8–1 cup hydrogenated fat and 1⁄2 tsp salt

  • 7⁄8 cup lard plus 1⁄2 tsp salt

  • 1 cup margarine

Catsup

1 cup

  • 1 cup tomato sauce

  • 1⁄2 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp vinegar (for use in cooking)

Chicken stock

1 1⁄2 tsp

  • 1 cube instant chicken bouillon base

Chicken stock

1 Tbsp dissolved in 1 cup water and the second part

  • 1 cup canned or homemade chicken broth or chicken stock.

Chili sauce

1 cup

  • 1 cup tomato sauce, 1⁄4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon, dash of ground cloves, and dash of allspice

Chives

2 tsp

  • 2 tsp green onion tops, finely chopped

Chocolate chips

1 oz

  • 1 oz sweet or semisweet cooking chocolate

Chocolate, semisweet

1 2⁄3 oz

  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate and 4 tsp sugar

Chocolate, semisweet chips, melted

6-oz package

  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate, 2 Tbsp shortening, and 1⁄2 cup sugar

Chocolate, unsweetened

1 oz or
1 square

  • 3 Tbsp cocoa and 1 Tbsp fat

Cocoa

1⁄4 cup

  • 1 oz (or 1 square) chocolate; for every 4 Tbsp fat called for in recipe, decrease by 1⁄2 Tbsp

Coconut

1 Tbsp grated, dry

  • 1 1⁄2 Tbsp fresh coconut, grated

Coconut cream

1 cup

  • 1 cup whipping cream

Coconut milk

1 cup

  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk

Corn syrup

1 cup

  • 1 cup sugar and 1⁄4 cup liquid (use whatever liquid is called for in the recipe)
  • 1 cup honey

Cornstarch
(for thickening)

1 Tbsp

  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp granular tapioca

Cracker crumbs

3⁄4 cup

  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs

Cream, half-and-half

1 cup

  • 7⁄8 cup milk and 1⁄2 Tbsp butter or margarine

  • 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted

Cream, heavy (36–40% fat)

1 cup

  • 3⁄4 cup milk and 1⁄3 cup butter or margarine (for use in cooking and baking)

Cream, light
(18–20% fat)

1 cup

  • 3⁄4 cup milk and 3 Tbsp butter or margarine (for use in cooking and baking)

  • 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted

Cream, whipped

  • Chill a 13-oz can of evaporated milk for 12 hours. Add 1 tsp lemon juice. Whip until stiff.

Dill plant, fresh or dried

3 heads

  • 1 Tbsp dill seed

Egg

1 whole
(3 Tbsp)

  • 3 Tbsp and 1 tsp thawed frozen egg

  • 2 1⁄2 Tbsp sifted, dry whole egg powder and 2 1⁄2 Tbsp lukewarm water

  • 2 yolks and 1 Tbsp water (in cookies)

  • 2 yolks (in custards, cream fillings, and similar mixtures)

Egg white

1 white

(2 Tbsp)

  • 2 Tbsp thawed frozen egg white

  • 2 tsp sifted, dry egg white powder and 2 Tbsp lukewarm water

Egg yolk

1 yolk

(1 1⁄2 Tbsp)

  • 2 Tbsp sifted, dry egg yolk powder and 2 tsp water

  • 1 1⁄3 Tbsp thawed frozen egg yolk

Flour, all-purpose (for thickening)

1 Tbsp

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp cornstarch, arrowroot starch, potato starch, or rice starch

  • 1 Tbsp granular tapioca

  • 1 Tbsp waxy rice flour

  • 1 Tbsp waxy corn flour

  • 2 Tbsp browned flour

  • 1 1⁄2 Tbsp whole wheat flour

  • 1⁄2 Tbsp whole wheat flour and 1⁄2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Flour, all-purpose

Note: Specialty flours added to yeast bread recipes will result in a reduced volume and a heavier product.

1 cup sifted

  • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp cake flour

  • 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp unsifted all-purpose flour

  • 1 1⁄2 cup bread crumbs

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 1⁄3 cup cornmeal or soybean flour and 2⁄3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1⁄2 cup cornmeal, bran, or rice, rye, or whole wheat flour and 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3⁄4 cup whole wheat flour or bran flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup rye or rice flour

  • 1⁄4 cup soybean flour and 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

Flour, cake

1 cup sifted

  • 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp sifted all-purpose flour

Flour, self-rising

1 cup

  • 1 cup minus 2 tsp all-purpose flour and 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder and
    1⁄2 tsp salt

Flour, whole wheat

  • substitute whole wheat flour for
    1⁄4–1⁄2 of white flour called for in recipe

Garlic

1 clove, small

  • 1⁄8 tsp garlic powder

Gelatin

3-oz package

  • 1 Tbsp plain gelatin and 2 cups flavored fruit juice

Ginger, powdered

1⁄8 tsp

  • 1 Tbsp candied ginger rinsed in water to remove sugar, and finely cut

  • 1 Tbsp raw ginger

Herbs, fresh and finely cut

1 Tbsp

  • 1 tsp dried herbs

Honey

1 cup

  • 1 1⁄4 cups sugar and 1⁄4 cup liquid (use liquid called for in recipe)

Horseradish

1 Tbsp, fresh

  • 2 Tbsp bottled

Lemon

1 tsp juice

  • 1⁄2 tsp vinegar

Lemon

1 medium

  • 2–3 Tbsp juice and 1–2 tsp rind

Lemon peel, dried

1 tsp

  • 1–2 tsp grated fresh lemon peel

  • grated peel of 1 medium lemon

  • 1⁄2 tsp lemon extract

Macaroni (4 cups cooked)

2 cups, uncooked

• 2 cups spaghetti, uncooked

• 4 cups noodles, uncooked

Maple sugar

1⁄2 cup

• 1 cup maple syrup

Maple sugar

1 Tbsp

• 1 Tbsp white, granulated sugar

Marshmallows, miniature

1 cup

• 10 large marshmallows

Mayonnaise (for use in salads and salad dressings)

1 cup

  • 1⁄2 cup yogurt and 1⁄2 mayonnaise

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 cup cottage cheese puréed in a blender

Mei Yen seasoning

1 tsp

  • 1 tsp Beau Monde seasoning

  • 1⁄2 tsp table salt

Milk, buttermilk

1 cup

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp milk and 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar (allow to stand 5–10 minutes)

  • 1 cup milk and 1 3⁄4 tsp cream of tartar

Milk, evaporated (whole or skim)

1⁄2 cup, plus 1⁄2 cup water

  • 1 cup liquid whole milk

Milk, skim

1 cup

  • 4–5 Tbsp non-fat dry milk powder and enough water to make one cup, or follow manufacturer’s directions

Milk, skim

1/4 cup

  • 4 tsp non-fat dry milk powder plus enough water to make 1⁄4 cup, or follow manufacturer’s directions

  • 2 Tbsp evaporated skim milk and 2 Tbsp water

Milk, sweetened

1 can (about
1 1⁄3 cup)

1 cup

  • Heat the following ingredients until sugar and butter are dissolved: 1⁄3 cup plus 2 Tbsp evaporated milk, 1 cup sugar, 3 Tbsp butter or margarine

  • Heat the following ingredients until sugar and butter are dissolved: 1⁄3 cup evaporated milk, 3⁄4 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp butter or margarine

  • Add 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp dry milk to 1⁄2 cup warm water. Mix well. Add
    3⁄4 cup sugar and stir until smooth.

Milk, whole

1 cup

  • 1 cup reconstituted non-fat dry milk and 2 tsp butter or margarine

  • 3⁄4 cup evaporated milk and 3⁄4 cup water

  • 4 Tbsp whole dry milk and 1 cup water, or follow manufacturer’s directions

  • 1 cup fruit juice or 1 cup potato water (for use in baking)

  • 1⁄4 cup non-fat dry milk and 2 tsp butter or margarine and 7⁄8 cup water

Mushrooms

1 pound, fresh

  • 3 oz dried mushrooms

  • 1 10-oz can (8 oz drained weight)

Mushrooms, powdered

1 Tbsp

  • 3 Tbsp whole, dried mushrooms

  • 4 oz fresh

  • 2 oz canned

Mustard, dry

1 tsp

  • 1 Tbsp prepared mustard

Onion, fresh

1 small

  • Rehydrate 1 Tbsp instant minced onion

Onion, instant minced

1 Tbsp

  • 2 Tbsp fresh onion, chopped

Onion powder

1 Tbsp

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 4 Tbsp fresh chopped onion

Orange

1 medium

  • 6–8 Tbsp juice

Orange peel, dried

1 Tbsp

  • 2–3 Tbsp grated fresh orange peel

  • grated peel of 1 medium orange

Orange peel, dried

2 tsp

  • 1 tsp orange extract

Parsley, dried

1 tsp

  • 3 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

Peppermint, dried

1 Tbsp

  • 1⁄4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Peppers, green bell

1 Tbsp, dried

  • 3 Tbsp fresh green pepper, chopped

Peppers, red bell

1 Tbsp, dried

  • 3 Tbsp fresh red pepper, chopped

  • 2 Tbsp chopped pimento

Pimento

2 Tbsp

  • Rehydrate 1 Tbsp dried red bell peppers

  • 3 Tbsp fresh red bell pepper, chopped

Pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp

  • 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon, 1⁄4 tsp ginger, 1⁄8 tsp allspice, and 1⁄8 tsp nutmeg

Rennet

1 tablet

  • 1 Tbsp liquid rennet

Rice (3 cups cooked)

1 cup regular, uncooked

  • 1 cup uncooked converted rice

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice

  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice

Shortening, melted

1 cup

  • 1 cup cooking oil (cooking oil should not be substituted if recipe does not call for melted shortening)

Shortening, solid (used in baking)

1 cup

  • 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp lard

  • 1 1⁄8 cups butter or margarine (decrease salt called for in recipe by 1⁄2 tsp)

Sour cream

1 cup

  • 3⁄4 cup sour milk and 1⁄3 cup butter or margarine

  • 3⁄4 cup buttermilk and 1⁄3 cup butter or margarine

  • Blend until smooth: 1⁄3 cup buttermilk, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and cup cottage cheese

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 3⁄4 cup milk, 3⁄4 tsp lemon juice, and 1⁄3 cup butter or margarine

Spearmint, dried

1 Tbsp

  • 1⁄4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Sugar, brown

1 cup firmly packed

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Sugar, white

1 tsp

  • 1⁄8 tsp noncaloric sweetener solution, or follow manufacturer’s directions

Sugar, white

1 cup

  • 1 cup corn syrup (decrease liquid called for in recipe by 1⁄4 cup)

  • 1 1⁄3 cup molasses (decrease liquid called for in recipe by 1⁄3 cup)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1 cup honey (decrease liquid called for in recipe by 1⁄4 cup)

  • 1 3⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar, packed

Tapioca, granular

1 Tbsp

  • 2 Tbsp pearl tapioca

Tomato juice

1 cup

  • 1⁄2 cup tomato sauce and 1⁄2 cup water

Tomatoes, fresh

2 cups

  • 1 16-oz can (may need to drain)

Worcestershire

1 tsp

  • 1 tsp bottled steak sauce

Yeast, active dry

1 Tbsp

  • 1 cake yeast, compressed

  • 1 package (1⁄4 oz) active dry yeast

Yogurt, plain

1 cup

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup cottage cheese, blended until smooth

  • 1 cup sour cream

For Further Reading

E-132: In a Pinch Food Yields
http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/E132/welcome.html

E-118: Storing Food Safely
http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/E118/welcome.html

E-215: High-Altitude Cooking
http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/E215/welcome.html

All Food And Nutrition Publication Listing
http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/

Original authors: Barbara Willenberg, Extension Assistant; and Karla Vollmar Hughes, State Specialist, University of Missouri. Adapted (with permission) by Alice Jane Hendley, Diet and Health Specialist. Subsequently reviewed by Martha Archuleta, Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist.

Photo of Cassanadra Vanderpool

Cassandra Vanderpool is the Extension Diabetes Coordinator in the Department of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences at NMSU. She earned her first B.S. at NMSU and her M.S. at the University of New Mexico. She is dedicated to making effective nutrition programs available to the New Mexicans who need them.


To find more resources for your business, home, or family, visit the College of Agriculture and Home Economics on the World Wide Web at aces.nmsu.edu

Contents of publications may be freely reproduced for educational purposes. All other rights reserved. For permission to use publications for other purposes, contact pubs@nmsu.edu or the authors listed on the publication.

New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

Revised May 2016