Emergency Ingredient Substitutions
No sour cream? No apple pie spice? No problem! Use these substitutes for popular baking ingredients.
Whether you're making an emergency substitution or experimenting with a new flavor, follow these suggestions for dry herb and spice alternatives. As a general rule, start with half of the amount the recipe calls for (unless directed otherwise), and add the spice until it suits your taste.
For baked goods, such as cookies, it is best to test the flavor by baking off a miniature portion, tasting it, and adjusting the flavor accordingly.
If you want to substitute dry herbs for fresh herbs, the general rule is to use 3 times as much. For example, 1 teaspoon dried tarragon is equal to 1 tablespoon (or 3 teaspoons) fresh tarragon.
Allspice: cinnamon; dash nutmeg; or dash cloves
Aniseed: fennel seed or a few drops anise extract
Apple pie spice: for 1 teaspoon, substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, and dash ground cloves or ginger
Basil: oregano or thyme
Chervil: tarragon or parsley
Chili powder: dash bottled hot pepper sauce plus a combination of oregano and cumin
Chives: green onions; onion; or leek
Cinnamon: nutmeg or allspice (use only 1/4 of the amount)
Cloves: allspice; cinnamon; or nutmeg
Cumin: chili powder
Ginger: allspice; cinnamon; mace; or nutmeg
Italian seasoning: blend of any of these: basil, oregano, rosemary, and ground red pepper
Mace: allspice; cinnamon; ginger; or nutmeg
Marjoram: basil; thyme; or savory
Mint: basil; marjoram; or rosemary
Nutmeg: cinnamon; ginger; or mace
Oregano: thyme or basil
Parsley: chervil or cilantro
Poultry seasoning: for 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning, substitute 3/4 teaspoon sage plus a 1/4 teaspoon blend of any of these: thyme, marjoram, savory, black pepper, and rosemary
Pumpkin pie spice: for 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Red pepper: dash bottled hot pepper sauce or black pepper
Rosemary: thyme; tarragon; or savory
Saffron: dash turmeric (for color)
Sage: poultry seasoning; savory; marjoram; or rosemary
Savory: thyme; marjoram; or sage
Tarragon: chervil; dash fennel seed; or dash aniseed
Thyme: basil; marjoram; oregano; or savory
For best results, use the ingredient called for in the recipe. In a pinch, these substitutes will produce acceptable results.
Baking powder: for 1 teaspoon, substitute 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Bread crumbs, fine, dry: for 1/4 cup, substitute 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs, or 1/4 cup cracker crumbs, or 1/4 cup cornflake crumbs, or 2/3 cup rolled oats
Buttermilk: for 1 cup, substitute sour milk: 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup (let stand 5 minutes before using); or 1 cup plain yogurt
Chocolate, semisweet: for 1 ounce, substitute 3 tablespoons semisweet chocolate pieces; or 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 1 tablespoon sugar
Chocolate, sweet baking (such as German's Sweet chocolate): for 4 ounces, substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1/3 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons shortening
Chocolate, unsweetened: for 1 ounce, substitute 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon cooking oil or shortening, melted
Cornstarch (for thickening): for 1 tablespoon, substitute 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Corn syrup: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water.
Egg: for 1 whole egg, substitute 2 egg whites, or 2 egg yolks, or 1/4 cup frozen egg product, thawed
Flour, cake: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Flour, self-rising: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Fruit liqueur: for 1 tablespoon, substitute 1 tablespoon fruit juice
Gingerroot, grated: for 1 teaspoon, substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Half-and-half or light cream: for 1 cup, substitute 1 tablespoon melted butter plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup
Heavy cream, whipped: for 1 cup, substitute 2 cups whipped dessert topping
Honey: for 1 cup, substitute 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water.
Margarine: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup butter or 1 cup shortening plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
Mascarpone cheese: for 8 ounces, substitute 8 ounces regular cream cheese
Milk: for 1 cup, substitute 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water, or 1 cup water plus 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
Molasses: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup honey
Sour cream, dairy: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup plain yogurt
Sugar, granulated: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup packed brown sugar or 2 cups stirred powdered sugar
Whipping cream See Heavy cream, above
Yeast: for 1.06-ounce compressed cake, substitute 1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast