Mason County News
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Family Times
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 • Posted December 16, 2009

Basic Ingredient Substitutions

Doing some holiday baking or cooking and don’t have all of the ingredients? Try a substitution- you should still get a very similar product!

Your final product made with the substituted ingredient may differ slightly from the original food, but still be acceptable in flavor, texture and appearance.


Amount: 1 teaspoon

Substitute: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Apple Pie Spice

Amount: 1 teaspoon

Substitute: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg plus 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Baking Powder, Double-Acting

Amount: 1 teaspoon

Substitute: 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Baking Soda

There is NO substitute for baking soda


Amount: 1 cup


- 1 cup regular margarine

- 1 cup vegetable shortening (for baking)

- An equal amount of oil can be substituted for a similar portion of MELTED butter if the recipe specifies using MELTED butter.

TIP 1: According to the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers, you can tell "if the product is regular margarine by checking the Nutrition Facts: a one tablespoon serving will have 100 calories." Products that contain less than 80 percent fat often give the fat percentage on the front of the package.

If the margarine is labeled "light," "lower fat," "reduced fat," "reduced calorie/diet" or "fat-free" or is called a "vegetable oil spread," you may be less successful substituting it for butter OR for regular margarine in baking and in some cooking procedures. These products are higher in water and lower in fat content and won’t perform in the same way as regular butter or margarine.

TIP 2: There is no standard procedure to substitute liquid oil for solid shortening in cooking. Oil is 100 percent fat, while butter, margarine and other solid shortenings are lower in fat on a volume-for-volume basis.

Also, for some recipes, solid shortening helps incorporate air into the batter when it is whipped with other ingredients such as sugar and eggs. If you try to whip these ingredients with oil, your baked product is likely to be more compact and oily in texture. Your most successful substitution occurs if your recipe calls for MELTED butter, in which case you can usually substitute an equal amount of oil.


Amount: 1 cup

Substitute: 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough regular milk to make 1 cup (allow to stand 5 minutes)

Chili Sauce

Amount: 1 cup

Substitute: 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, dash of ground cloves and dash of allspice

Chocolate, Unsweetened

Amount: 1 ounce

Substitute: 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or regular margarine or vegetable oil

Cornstarch (for thickening)

Amount: 1 tablespoon

Substitute: 2 tablespoons flour

TIP: Liquids thickened with cornstarch will be somewhat translucent while flour gives a more opaque appearance. Cornstarch will thicken a liquid almost immediately. A flour-based sauce or gravy must be cooked longer to thicken and will have a floury taste if undercooked. When using flour as a substitution for cornstarch in sauces and gravies, that you simmer it for about 3 minutes AFTER it has thickened to help avoid a raw taste of flour.

Cornstarch-thickened liquids are more likely to thin if overheated or cooked too long. Regardless of whether you use cornstarch or flour, mix it with a little cold water or other cold liquid, about two parts liquid to one part thickener, before adding it to the rest of the liquid . (Note: when you mix flour with fat to make a roux for use as a thickener, you would not dissolve it in liquid first.)

Cream, Whipping

Amount: 1 cup unwhipped

Substitute: If you wish to use a commercial pre-whipped whipped cream or whipped cream substitute rather than whip your own cream, use the guideline that 1 cup UNWHIPPED whipping cream expands to 2 cups when WHIPPED. For example, if your recipe called for 1 cup of cream to make whipped cream, you could substitute 2 cups of an already whipped product.


Amount: 1 whole egg


- 1/4 cup egg substitute (examples include: Egg Beaters, Second Nature, Scramblers); check label for specific directions

- Reconstituted powdered eggs; follow package directions

- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (suitable for use in cake batter). NOTE: If you type "mayonnaise cake recipe" into your favorite Internet search engine, you’ll find several recipes for cakes made with mayonnaise and NO eggs. This may help you decide if this substitution will work for your cake.

- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder plus 1 tablespoon vinegar plus 1 tablespoon liquid (for baking use only)

TIP: If you don’t use eggs very often, you may find it helpful to keep some powdered eggs on hand.

Flour, All-Purpose White Flour

Amount: 1 cup

Substitute: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.

TIP: It’s generally recommended that you replace no more than half the all-purpose white flour with whole wheat flour. Too much whole wheat flour in a recipe calling for all-purpose flour might result in a reduced volume and a heavier product.

Flour, Cake

Amount: 1 cup

Substitute: 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Flour, Self-Rising

Amount: 1 cup

Substitute: 1 cup minus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt


Amount: 1 small clove

Substitute: 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Herbs, Fresh

Amount: 1 tablespoon, finely cut


- 1 teaspoon dried leaf herbs

- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried herbs

Lemon Zest (fresh grated lemon peel)

Amount: 1 teaspoon

Substitute: 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Marshmallows, Miniature

Amount: 1 cup

Substitute: 10 large marshmallows

Mayonnaise (for use in salads and salad dressings)

Amount: 1 cup


- 1 cup sour cream

- 1 cup yogurt

- 1 cup cottage cheese pureed in a blender

- Or use any of the above for part of the mayonnaise

Mustard, Dry (in cooked mixtures)

Amount: 1 teaspoon

Substitute: 1 tablespoon prepared mustard


Amount: 1 small or 1/4 cup chopped, fresh onion

Substitute: 1 tablespoon instant minced onion

TIP: Dried onion may be added directly to moist foods such as soups, gravies, sauces and salad dressings. You may need to rehydrate it with a little water before adding it to drier foods. Check package directions — one brand advises adding an equal amount of water and letting the dried onion stand 5 to 10 minutes.

Pasta (substituting one for another)

Amount: 4 cups COOKED

- 8 ounces of UNCOOKED elbow macaroni, medium shells, rotini, twists, spirals, wagon wheels, bow ties, mostaccioli, penne, radiatore, rigatoni, spaghetti, angel hair, linguine, vermicelli and fettuccine all produce about 4 cups COOKED pasta

- Use about twice as much UNCOOKED egg noodles to provide 4 cups COOKED pasta. Approximately 8 ounces UNCOOKED egg noodles equal 2 1/2 cups COOKED noodles.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Amount: 1 teaspoon

Substitute: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/4 ground teaspoon ginger plus 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice plus 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Amount: Any amount

Substitute: Most rice products will substitute for each other on a fairly equal basis in recipes; however, their cooking times and the amount of liquid needed may vary. If possible, choose a rice with a comparable grain length for the closest match.


Amount: any amount

Substitute: 1 part rum extract plus 3 parts water. For example: for 1/4 cup rum, substitute 1 tablespoon rum extract plus 3 tablespoons water.

Sugar, Confectioners’ or Powdered

Amount: 1 cup

Substitute: 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch; process in a food processor using the metal blade attachment until it’s well blended and powdery.

Tomato Juice

Amount: 1 cup

Substitute: 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water

Tomato Soup

Amount: 10 3/4 ounce can

Substitute: 1 cup tomato sauce plus 1/4 cup water

Wine, Red

Amount: Any

Substitute: The same amount of grape juice or cranberry juice

Wine, White

Amount: Any

Substitute: The same amount of apple juice or white grape juice

Yeast, Compressed

Amount: 1 cake (3/5 ounce)


- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

- Scant 2 1/2 teaspoons loose active dry yeast

The next time you’re missing an ingredient for a recipe, here’s a final tip on how to:


S eek out this article

U se a similar ingredient

B e experimental

S earch the Internet

T ry another recipe

I nvestigate your cookbooks

T ry calling your neighbor

U se this as a learning experience

T ake time to go to the store

E at out!

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