When preparing to bake a cake or cookies, we have likely all experienced getting excited about a recipe, only to find we are low on (or completely missing) one of the called-for ingredients, such as eggs, milk, self-rising flour, or certain spices. Or, in some cases, a specific piece of kitchen tool or equipment to make the whole thing come together. But, with these go-to substitution guides for some of the most common ingredients and tools on hand, you'll be able to whip up that chocolate cake or batch of cookies without making that last minute run to the grocery store.
Alphabetical list of common dairy items and their substitutes.
The combination of milk and a bit of acid (vinegar, lemon juice) is a surefire buttermilk replacement.
Cream cheese can be replaced with strained yogurt, blended cottage cheese, or neufchatel cheese.
For baking projects that call for eggs, you can replace with egg substitute, mashed banana, applesauce, or silken tofu.
Half and Half
A combination of whole milk and heavy cream, whole milk and butter, or milk and heavy cream will all yield fantastic half and half replacements in recipes.
A comprehensive guide to baking even when you are out of milk, including how to use vegan milk alternatives or replacing milk with yogurt, sour cream, or evaporated milk in baking.
The tang and creaminess of sour cream can be duplicated with a combination of yogurt and baking soda when called for in a baking recipe.
Baking Pantry Substitutes
Alphabetical list of common baking ingredients and their substitutes.
Extracts such as vanilla and almond, or some juices, can do the trick in place of alcohol.
A combination of molasses and white sugar will give you a homemade brown sugar substitute.
Depending upon the need, corn starch's benefits can be replicated with AP Flour, instant tapioca, or arrowroot.
Cream of Tartar
Depending on the use of the cream of tartar in your baking project, it can be substituted with an acid or with baking powder.
Don't let the lack of demerara keep you from baking a recipe, as most other sugars are an equal swap.
All purpose flour can be substituted in equal measure for bread flour in any recipe, when in a pinch, but anticipate that the end result will not be as chewy as that made with the higher-protein bread flour.
Cake flour is a simple combination of AP flour and cornstarch to produce a more tender flour for perfect cakes and cupcakes.
Self Rising Flour
A combination of AP Flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt will produce a homemade self-rising flour that can be used in any recipe, cup for cup.
If key limes are not available, regular Persian limes can be used, by following this equivalents chart.
Alternatives to the zest of a lemon include lemon extract, lemon peel, bottled lemon juice, or the zest of an alternative citrus like grapefruit or lime.
The sweetness and depth of flavor that molasses imparts can be achieved through any swap out of sugar, brown sugar, dark corn or maple syrups, or honey.
Those with nut allergies (or even those of us who are simply out of nuts for that banana nut loaf) can impart crunch and flavor with alternatives such as granola, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or a variety of dried fruits.
The fat and tenderizing property that shortening has in baking creates a variety of alternatives such as coconut oil, margarine, or butter, depending upon the needs of the recipe.
Any fan of baked goods knows the value added by vanilla extract, but maple syrup, almond extract, spirits such as rum and brandy, and even vanilla flavored non-dairy milk can help you achieve similar flavor in your next batch of cookies.
Some pie crust recipes calls for vinegar to help tenderize, but lemon juice in equal measure or a slight adjustment in ratio with rice wine, red wine, apple cider or sherry vinegar will also do the trick.
Baking Spices Substitutes
Alphabetical list of common baking spices and their substitutes.
A similar flavor profile can be achieved with a blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
A combination of ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon will echo hints of this otherwise unique spice.
Ground from whole cloves or replaced with allspice in equal measure.
Baking Equipment Substutes
Alphabetical list of common baking equipment and their substitutes.
Don't let lack of cookie cutters stop you, an inverted drinking glass or a cleaned out tin can are all quick substitutions for the fancy cutters.
While parchment is a versatile tool in the kitchen, for most baking projects, a bit of grease in the pan or the use of a silicon mat will do the trick nicely.
Pie weights can be replaced easily with any dried bean-- save the beans to use again for baking (but don't try to cook them for consumption).
A cheesecake is possible even without a fancy springform pan, especially if you opt for a disposable foil pan that can be trimmed down when the cheesecake is ready for serving.