Baking Substitutes

Substitute Baking Ingredients You Need

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Having a hard time finding all the ingredients you need for those everyday meals or special treats? Times are tough, but thankfully, there are substitute baking ingredients you can use when you can’t find what you need! People have been using these substitutes for years, but not everyone knows about them. I had a PRINTABLE made, it’s at the bottom of the post!

Related Topic: 13 Surprising Uses for Flour

What are Substitute Baking Ingredients?

Substitute baking ingredients are ingredients that you can use if you don’t have the ingredient you need as listed in the recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for baking powder and all you have is baking soda, you can still make the recipe. 

How Do Substitute Baking Ingredients Work?

Basically, substitutes work by providing your recipe with the same type of texture or flavor needed to finish the recipe. 

Some substitutes are actually what makes the original ingredient anyway. For example, self-rising flour is just regular flour, baking powder, and salt. 

So, these substitutes work by having you make the actual ingredient with what you have, or by substituting the same texture, flavor, or appearance to make the recipe work. 

Will The Recipe Taste the Same?

Substitute Baking Ingredients You Need

Most substitutions work well when baking. The basic substituted ingredients may make the recipe differ slightly from the original. However, it will still be acceptable in flavor, texture, and appearance. Bottom line, it may be a little different, but will taste pretty close to the original recipe. 

Related: How to Make a Sourdough Starter

Substitute Baking Ingredients

Not only are these substitutes great for when you can’t find what you need on the pantry shelves, but they are great for those days that you start to make a cake only to realize you only have 1 egg or you don’t have baking powder for your bread.

No matter what a recipe calls for, you can usually find a substitute of some kind. Here is our ultimate list of substitute baking ingredients for you to try:

#1 Flour Substitutes

Flour is a staple ingredient in most baked goods. Obviously, you will need to find some kind of flour for baking, but you can substitute different flour varieties. If you have all-purpose flour, you can make any other kind of specialty flour, including self-rising flour, pastry, or bread flour. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Cake flour: 1 cup = remove 2 tablespoons of the all-purpose flour to make 1 cup of cake flour. 
  • Cake flour: (#2 option) 1 cup= for every cup of flour you need to remove 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and add 2 tablespoons cornstarch and sift 5 or 6 times.
  • Pastry flour: 1 cup = 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup cake flour.
  • Self-rising flour: 1 cup = 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 
  • Bread flour: You can substitute bread flour 1:1 with all-purpose flour. 
  • Gluten-free flour: You can use this instead of all-purpose flour in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Whole wheat flour: 1 cup = 7/8 cup of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons of wheat germ. 
Read More of My Articles  How To Make Freezer Jam

#2 Sugar

Like flour, recipes may require certain types of sugar. If you have regular granulated sugar, you can adjust it to make other variations. Here’s how:

  • Superfine sugar: 1 cup = 1 cup and 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar ground up in a food processor. 
  • Powdered sugar: 1 cup = 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch ground up in a food processor.
  • Powdered sugar: (#2 option) = 1 cup granulated sugar grind it up in a food processor.
  • Light Brown sugar: 1 cup = 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses. 
  • Dark brown sugar: 1 cup = 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses. 
  • Molasses: 1 cup = 3/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup of water. 

#3 Leaveners: Baking Soda and Baking Powder

Baking powder and baking soda sound so similar that I can’t tell you how many times I have actually mixed them up and messed up my whole recipe. These two ingredients just don’t act in the same way. But there are ways to swap them in a pinch. 

  • Baking Powder: 1 teaspoon = 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. 
  • Baking Soda: 1 tablespoon = 3 tablespoons of baking powder. 

Baking soda is a tricky swap, so make sure the recipe has some kind of acidic ingredient as well, such as sour cream, buttermilk, or cocoa powder before doing the swap.

#4 Milk Substitutes

Some recipes require different kinds of milk, such as whole milk, half and half, or buttermilk. If you don’t have any, don’t fret, you can substitute. Here are some milk substitutes:

  • Milk: If a recipe calls for milk and you have absolutely no milk whatsoever, you can sometimes substitute water, but it may change the flavor and texture. Adding butter could help with the missing milk fat. Here is what you can do:  1 cup = 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of butter. 
  • Whole milk: 1 cup = 3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of skim milk and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. 
  • Half and Half: 1 cup = 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream. 
  • Buttermilk: 1 cup = 1 cup whole milk and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Combine it and let it curdle about 10-minutes. 
  • Buttermilk: 1 cup = 1 cup plain yogurt

Related: How to Never Run Out of Milk Ever Again

#5 Eggs

Eggs are in a category by themselves because there are so many different ways you can substitute your missing eggs. We have lots of options for those who prefer not to eat or use eggs. Here is what you can do if you don’t have any eggs:

  • 1 egg = 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg = 1 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg = 1/4 cup silken tofu pureed
  • 1 egg = 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 egg = 1/2 banana mashed with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Read More of My Articles  10 Cooking from Scratch Tips

For more information on egg substitutes, check out my post: “What Can You Use as an Egg Substitute.”

#6 Butter

Butter is another big one that has a variety of substitutes. Here are all the ways you can make butter when you don’t have any. 

  • 1 cup salted butter = 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup salted butter = 1 cup vegetable shortening + 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted butter = 7/8 cup lard + 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter = 1 cup salted butter = 1 cup vegetable shortening = 1 cup lard *minus* 1/2 teaspoon salt from recipe

#7 Cornstarch Substitute Baking Ingredients

Cornstarch is typically used as a thickening agent. Therefore, you can use other methods without using cornstarch. However, if you are baking it’s a little trickier. Here are some options:

  • Cornstarch for baking: 1 tablespoon = 1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour. 
  • Cornstarch for thickening: sour cream or greek yogurt. 

#8 Yeast

I get so many asking “What can I use if I don’t have yeast?” Yeast is hard to come by right now, but we do have options. Here are just a few:

  • Yeast substitute #1: 1 teaspoon = 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Yeast Substitute #2: 1 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon double acting baking powder.
  • Yeast substitute #3: Check out my post for Sourdough starter

#9 Other Ingredients

Some ingredients only have 1 substitute, so instead of writing a paragraph for each one, I will list them below! 

  • Bread crumbs: 1 cup = 1 cup of cracker crumbs, cornflake crumbs, crushed pork rinds, or rolled oats.
  • Chocolate chips: 1 ounce = 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  • Cream of tartar: 1 teaspoon = 2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Cream cheese: 1 cup = 1/2 cup of plain yogurt and 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese.
  • Honey: 1 cup = 1 cup of corn syrup, or 1-1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water.
  • Lemon juice: 1 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon of white wine or 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar.
  • Mayonnaise: 1 cup = 1 cup of plain yogurt, 1 cup of sour cream, or 1 cup of pureed cottage cheese.
  • Ricotta cheese: 1 cup = 1 cup of cottage cheese.
  • Sour cream: 1 cup = 1 cup of plain yogurt, or 1 cup of whole milk mixed with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Tomato sauce: 1 cup = 1/2 cup of tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Vegetable oil for baking: 1 cup = 1 cup of applesauce
  • Vegetable oil for frying: 1 cup = 1 cup of shortening (for frying).
  • Vinegar: 1/2 cup = 1/2 cup of white wine or 2/3 cup of lemon juice.
  • Plain yogurt: 1 cup = 1 cup of sour cream or buttermilk.


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Substitute Baking List

Final Word

The great thing about struggling to find what we need is that we can experiment with substitute baking ingredients that we may just like better than the original ingredients. I hope you find these substitutes useful. 

Do you know any other substitutes not on this list? Please let me know. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Baking Ingredients Deposit photos_65753321_s-2019, Baking Ingredients Deposit photos_58078179_s-2019

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  1. I was shocked at the baking goods shelves being empty during the start of this pandemic. We had our stuff and I’ve put back LTS baking stuff so I wasn’t hurting. It just caught me off guard how fast it disappeared.

    1. Hi Matt, I was shocked as well. You cannot get yeast where I live. I have plenty but I could see people needed to learn how to make sourdough bread, so that’s why I wrote that one article. I saw a few bags of flour yesterday at Walmart. I don’t need any but I was glad to see a few bags for those who need it. The canned goods are really low. The baking supplies are almost totally depleted. It was a Saturday, I was not shopping for anything. I just needed pictures for my blog. But if I go I want to scope out the supplies. I’m glad you and I were ahead of the game. Linda

      1. Well hang in there cause we’ve got all kinds of flour now. I can’t tell ya bout yeast but I’ll look next time I’m out. Things are looking up except for fresh meat. Thats hit till bout June with the processors out of commission. Cattlemen are stuck with feeder steers and chickens are being destroyed by the tens of thousands.

        1. Hi Matt, it’s crazy, I totally agree about the meat. I’ve been talking with Janet about lentils. She has a lot of recipes I will make and post to help others. They are a great substitute for meat because they are high in protein similar to beans. But it will give us choices to make more meals without meat. Or less meat I guess. Let’s hope people are ready for the next quarantine. I believe there will be another one. I hope I’m wrong. Of course, we’re still in the middle of one right now. Linda

        2. The killing of chickens and the destroying of milk and meat is terrible. The producers need to send their items to food banks and not destroy it. We raise our own chicken for eggs and meat. When a hen is retired we kill and dfess the meat and it goes into the freezer or bottle it. I can then make it into groud chicken or into anyother thing I want to make . There is always a way to get rid of the food without destroying it, being meat m veggies or fruit. Too many need the fod at this time.

          1. Hi Cheryl, I totally agree. Why are they destroying food that can be given to those in need? Is it the regulations or what? I didn’t read anything about it being contaminated. I could be wrong, I just don’t understand it. It’s terrible. I love hearing you raise your own eggs and chickens. Linda

  2. Oh Linda, this is great information!!! I agree that if it was a list that I could put in my recipe binder and have it handy when I don’t have an ingredient. Easy reference!!! And I think it is very relevant as this might become a way of life for us. It is good to see some of the supplies coming back on the shelves and there are opportunities to educate people looking for supplies to make bread for instance. More than once I have encountered a young mother looking for flour to make bread and didn’t know about yeast or what to do if it wasn’t available. I ordered the SAF yeast from Amazon and it took a while to get here but it did come in a few weeks. I always have some yeast in my freezer but no knowing when it might be available again, I ordered another package. And the good news is that I have had more than one person say that they will be buying “an extra can of beans/fruit/vegs” now when they go to the market. They are ready for the message of preparing for the unexpected now with this situation going on in the world. I am happy for those ready and willing to do their part so that they have what they need for the future. . . . and I don’t concentrate on those that still haven’t heard/prepared or rebel at the thought.

    1. Hi Carol, I love your comment. I’m going to see if this one girl can make the list into a PDF printable for me. So stay tuned. I keep sharing my sourdough recipe FREE instructions on social media. I’m hooked on it right now. I knew I needed to show people how to make it in case yeast did not become available again. All bread making will become a necessity to fill the belly sooner than later. Keep prepping we know we must, Linda

  3. Thanks Linda ~
    This will go into the front of my cooking folder!!!

    Just an FYI – making powdered sugar does not require corn starch. The corn starch is in commercial powdered sugar to prevent clumping. If you are making a good sized batch of powdered sugar and will be storing some, then by all means, add the corn starch. But, if you are just making enough for what you are making in the moment (i.e., enough for frosting) you do not need it as it will be used up before any clumping or moisture affects it.

    One other item that one can use for thickening is Xanthan gum – it only takes a tiny tiny amount otherwise the food becomes a slimy mess!! Also, I have made gravy thickened by simply cooking pan juices/seasoning down to my desired thickness.

    I have also made really good fruit sauce and jam with no pectin by mashing the fruit and cooking it down to my desired thickness. I know that is not truly on the realm of baking substitutes but it works well.

    1. Hi Leanne, I will add a #2 option on the powdered sugar. Thank you!! I’ve used Xantham gum it can get messy. I love making fruit sauces by cooking the fruit down. I love it!!! Linda

      1. Thanks, Linda ~
        I often create my own printables by copy and paste into my word processing software – I always copy and paste the web site address at the bottom of my pages – that way I know where the information came from. BUT, it is really nice to have this on your logo!!

        Love what you do. Oh by the way, last night for dinner I had lettuce and herbs from my grow boxes for a salad. I had made croutons from some bread I made that was getting a bit dried out and stale. YUM! My little balcony garden seems to be doing quite well this year! I did raise the boxes up so they get more sunlight but so far so good!

  4. One more substitute for bread crumbs. Crushed pork rinds (also called chicharones)! I now use them in meatloaf, since there’s no carb in them; haven’t happened to try in anything else (yet). Watch how it affects salt use, since they are normally salted. Some are spicy-hot as well, which would *definitely* affect the taste.

  5. Thanks Linda for your daily great information. You are very well informed and I appreciate all your posts. This substitute foods was a very useful post. Bless you for all the work you put into this. I know it has to take a lot of time and I appreciate it.

  6. I would also be interested in a printable chart of this wonderful information. Thanks Linda for all you are doing to help educate us on the basics. I look forward to reading each post.

    1. Hi Debbie, this post is just for regular ingredients that I use often. I don’t have a lot of knowledge of Keto flours or sugars. I may in the future but not right now. Great idea, Linda

  7. Thank you so much for this. I found your site due to Covid-19 so I’ve learned so much.
    I’ve found flour at restaurant supply stores. It’s 50 lbs for 19.99. Foodsaver bags for a few hours + 4 of my 5 gallon buckets and some bay leaves and I won’t worry about flour for awhile. Plus, I have some to share with neighbors (we live in a 50+ community)
    I found yeast on eBay for 26.00 …
    Ordered some wheat berries and found a hand grinder.
    I’m enjoying what I’m finding here. I’m spending so much time organizing my kitchen and just feeling like we’ll be okay food wise.
    Thank you for sharing what you share!

  8. Hi Linda, as always I love your web site. I sent it on to my friends and family too. Thank you so much for all this information. I have printed this and will have it as a handy reference in my cookbook. I hope the folks at Cook’n will add it to their newsletter.
    I made a PDF of this as well and it prints in regular font, so my old eyes can read it. If you want mine,
    just send a message to me. God bless you and all your family and friends.

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