These Baking Substitutions Could Save You a Trip to the Store
Make it to the middle of a recipe only to realize you don't have apple pie spice, milk, or sour cream? Use these Test-Kitchen approved substitutes for popular baking ingredients.
If you're in the mood for fluffy buttermilk biscuits but have no buttermilk on hand, you can still make them. Maybe the new cake recipe you want to try calls for cake flour but you only have all-purpose flour. We'll show you how you can still conquer that cookie recipe or pumpkin pie without a trip to the store. Take a look at our extensive list of handy substitutions to meet all your baking needs. Whether you're making an emergency substitution or experimenting with a new flavor, follow these suggestions for dairy, herb, and spice alternatives.
Spice and Herb Substitutions
When changing up spices and herbs, start with half of the amount the recipe calls for (unless directed otherwise), and add the spice until it suits your taste. So if you're looking for a quick cinnamon substitute, you should only use ½ tsp. of allspice or nutmeg in place of 1 tsp. to start since they are stronger in flavor. If you want to substitute fresh herbs for dry herbs, the general rule is to use 3 times as much. For example, 1 tsp. dried tarragon is equal to 1 Tbsp. (or 3 tsp.) fresh tarragon.
Allspice: cinnamon; dash nutmeg; or dash cloves
Aniseed: fennel seed or a few drops anise extract
Apple pie spice: for 1 tsp., substitute ½ tsp. ground cinnamon plus ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, ⅛ tsp. ground allspice, and dash ground cloves or ginger
Basil: oregano or thyme
Cajun Seasoning: for 1 tsp., substitute ½ tsp. white pepper plus ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. onion powder, ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, ½ tsp. paprika, and ½ tsp. black pepper
Cardamom: ground ginger
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 ¼ of the amount)
Cloves: allspice; cinnamon; or nutmeg
Cream of Tartar: For ½ tsp. of cream of tartar, substitute 1 tsp. lemon juice or white vinegar.
Cumin: chili powder
Fajita Seasoning: for 1 tsp. fajita seasoning, substitute 1½ tsp. ground cumin plus ½ tsp. dried oregano, crushed; ¼ tsp. salt; ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper; ¼ tsp. black pepper; ⅛ tsp. garlic powder; and ⅛ tsp. onion powder
Garlic: for 1 clove, substitute ½ tsp. bottled minced garlic or ⅛ tsp. garlic 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
Mustard (dry): for 1 tsp., substitute 1 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard (for use in cooked mixtures)
Mustard (yellow): for 1 Tbsp., substitute ½ tsp. dry mustard plus 2 tsp. vinegar
Nutmeg: cinnamon; ginger; or mace
Onion, chopped: for ½ cup, substitute 2 Tbsp. dried minced onion or ½ tsp. onion powder
Oregano: thyme or basil
Parsley: chervil or cilantro
Poultry seasoning: for 1 tsp. poultry seasoning, substitute ¾ tsp. sage plus a ¼ tsp. blend of any of these: thyme, marjoram, savory, black pepper, and rosemary
Pumpkin pie spice: for 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, substitute ½ tsp. ground cinnamon plus ¼ tsp. ground ginger, ¼ tsp. ground allspice, and ⅛ tsp. 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 tsp., substitute ½ tsp. cream of tartar plus ¼ tsp. baking soda
Bread crumbs, fine, dry: for ¼ cup, substitute ¾ cup soft bread crumbs, or ¼ cup cracker crumbs, or ¼ cup cornflake crumbs, or ⅔ cup rolled oats
Butter: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup shortening plus, if desired, ¼ tsp. salt
Buttermilk: for 1 cup, substitute sour milk: 1 Tbsp. 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 Tbsp. semisweet chocolate pieces; or 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
Chocolate, sweet baking (such as German's Sweet chocolate): for 4 ounces, substitute ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus ⅓ cup sugar and 3 Tbsp. shortening
Chocolate, unsweetened: for 1 ounce, substitute 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 Tbsp. cooking oil or shortening, melted
Cooking oil: For 1 Tbsp., substitute 1 Tbsp. olive oil, canola oil, or coconut oil, or replace half the amount of oil for mashed bananas in baking and adjust as needed.
Cornstarch (for thickening): for 1 Tbsp., substitute 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Corn syrup: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup water
Egg: for 1 whole egg, substitute 2 egg whites, or 2 egg yolks, or ¼ cup frozen egg product, thawed. Another option is to combine 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed plus 3 Tbsp. water per egg.
Evaporated milk: For 1 cup, substitute 2¼ cups whole milk, simmered until reduced to 1 cup, or 1 cup whole milk
Flour, cake: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Flour, gluten-free mix: For 1 cup all-purpose flour, substitute 1 cup gluten-free flour mix in cookies, bars, and cakes (avoid using this gluten-free flour mix for yeast bread). To make our gluten-free flour mix, whisk together 3 cups white rice flour, 3 cups potato starch, 2 cups sorghum flour, and 4 tsp. xanthan gum (makes 8 cups).
Flour, self-rising: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. baking soda
Fruit liqueur: for 1 Tbsp., substitute 1 Tbsp. fruit juice
Ginger, grated fresh: for 1 tsp., substitute ¼ tsp. ground ginger
Half-and-half or light cream: for 1 cup, substitute 1 Tbsp. 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 1¼ cups granulated sugar plus ¼ cup water.
Margarine: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup butter or 1 cup shortening plus ¼ tsp. salt
Mascarpone cheese: for 8 ounces, substitute 8 ounces regular cream cheese
Milk: for 1 cup, substitute ½ cup evaporated milk plus ½ cup water, or 1 cup water plus ⅓ 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, brown: for 1 cup, packed, substitute 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tbsp. molasses
Sugar, granulated: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup packed brown sugar or 2 cups stirred powdered sugar
Vanilla Bean: for 1 whole, substitute 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Vinegar, balsamic: For 1 Tbsp., substitute 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar or red wine vinegar plus ½ tsp. sugar
Vinegar, white: For 1 tsp., substitute 1 tsp. lemon/lime juice or 2 tsp. white wine
Whipping cream: See Heavy cream, above
Yeast: for 1.06-ounce compressed cake, substitute ¼-ounce envelope active dry yeast