Food Substitutions Chart

[Updated 1 June 2020]We’ve all been there before; you are in the middle of baking when you realize that you are out of a key ingredient. Or maybe you are looking for a way to make your favorite recipe a little healthier. No matter what the reason is, you will find what you are looking for here in this list of fantastic Food Substitutions. 

Table of Contents

What to Consider When Substituting

There is a reason why the item you are substituting is not the traditional ingredient for the dish. No matter how good of a substitute it is, it will probably impact the final product in some way. Before you substitute any ingredients, take these possible issues into consideration. 


Sometimes you substitute ingredients because of an allergy, but it may not cross your mind to check for allergies to your substitute. Make sure that everyone you are cooking for is ok with a substitute before you put it in your recipe. 

Liquid Versus Solid

LiquidSolidHoneySugar-1When replacing a solid with a liquid, like honey instead of sugar, for example, it increases the overall amount of liquid in the dish. To prevent your dish from being too wet, you will need to reduce the other liquids required for the dish. 


This may be the biggest consideration when substituting ingredients. An overwhelming majority of substitutions bring a flavor with them. Some of them have a light flavor, while others have an overwhelming flavor that will need to be covered up, or they will change the overall taste of your dish. 


Texture can change dramatically when you replace even one ingredient. What was once smooth can become grainy, or a thick sauce may run a little thinner; it is the price you may pay for being able to finish your dish without having to run to the store. 


The structure is the overall build of your dish. Replacing an ingredient may work, but your cake will not stick together as well, or your bread may not rise as much as you are accustomed. It is not uncommon for replacement ingredients to alter the structure, so don’t be upset if the dish doesn’t turn out perfect. 

Baking Powder

Baking powder is often confused with baking soda and for a good reason. Not only do they share a similar name, but baking powder is baking soda mixed with an acidic ingredient, often cream of tartar. It is usually used in dishes that don’t already have an acidic element to mix with baking soda. Luckily, there are plenty of substitutions if you find your cupboard lacking baking powder. 

BakingPowder_substitutesCream of Tartar

Despite its name, cream of tartar is not a cream, but a powder. This is a safe bet when looking for a baking powder substitute, but it does not have any leavening power. If you are baking something that needs to rise, mix 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar with ¼ teaspoon baking soda for best results. 


It may sound surprising, but yogurt is a fantastic substitute for baking powder. Make sure that you use plain yogurt to avoid flavoring your dish and keep the correct PH consistency. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with your dry ingredients before mixing the yogurt into the combination. 


It turns out that dairy is a great replacement for baking powder with this pasteurized milk full of lactic acid. The steps for substituting buttermilk are the same as yogurt above. One of the nice things about buttermilk is that you can freeze it to increase its shelf life, so it’s always available in a pinch. 

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is awesome for several reasons, but one of the many is its shelf life. For this reason, I always have lemon juice on hand. Lemon juice is the perfect substitute for baking powder because it is high in citric acid. The one downside is that lemon has a strong taste that will flavor your dish if you use too much, so this substitute is probably best when the recipe doesn’t call for much baking powder. ½ teaspoon of lemon juice mixed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda will equal 1 teaspoon baking powder. 


Almost everyone has vinegar in their pantry, which makes it a perfect substitute for baking powder. There are a few different types of vinegar, but plain white vinegar is the best choice in this situation because it doesn’t have as strong of a flavor as the others. For a one teaspoon substitute mix ½ teaspoon vinegar with ¼ teaspoon baking soda. 

Egg Whites

Eggs are an excellent substitute because almost every home in American has a dozen in their fridge right now. Egg whites happen to be a fantastic leavening agent, especially when they are whipped. When you whip the egg whites, it creates tiny air bubbles that create a leavening factor and force the bread to rise. The one downside to eggs is that there is no set conversion for each dish. Some dishes may use only one egg white, but others, like some cakes, will take a lot more to reach the same results. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a staple in baking thanks to its leavening properties. It is an alkaline crystal that, when mixed with an acid, creates carbon dioxide gas that causes baked goods to inflate for lack of a better term. It produces the same effect if it is exposed to temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit even when there is not an acid present. To replace baking soda, you need a compound that will mimic the effects of baking soda and cause your batter to rise while it cooks. 


Yeast is an all-natural replacement that comes with some vitamins and minerals as an added benefit. It has a distinct smell, but it doesn’t add any flavor to the dish and does the same job as baking soda. Yeast is an equal part substitute for baking soda. 

Potassium Bicarbonate

This is a great baking soda substitute that is lower in sodium. It is a 1 to 1 substitution for baking soda, so there is no need to mess with measurements. The one problem with potassium bicarbonate is that it doesn’t mix well with acids like sour cream, vinegar, and citrus, so if those are in your dish, you will need to choose another baking soda substitute or substitute the acid for a base. 

Baking Powder

The two are often confused for the same thing, but they are a little different. Baking powder is baking soda with an acid, usually cream of tartar already mixed in. Baking powder is often used in dishes that don’t already have an acid to interact with baking soda, so it is the perfect substitution in a pinch. Add 3 teaspoons of baking powder for every teaspoon of baking soda. 

Club Soda

Club soda can be used in a pinch if you run out of baking soda. It is not the perfect substitute and will not get your food to rise as much as you would like in most situations, but it is better than nothing. Most bakers will tell you that club soda is not an acceptable substitute if the recipe calls for milk. 


Although traditional buttermilk is not sold in the United States anymore, a form of the liquid is still popular in baking recipes. Traditional buttermilk was the byproduct of creating butter through milk, but today buttermilk is made through a fermentation process. Bakers love buttermilk because of its high acidity level and consistency that lands it somewhere between milk and Cream. Buttermilk is a dairy product, and by nature, it has a shorter shelf life than other products, so if you find that you have forgotten it on your last grocery run, don’t worry because there are plenty of suitable substitutions. 


Yogurt is becoming a popular replacement for a lot of items because of its acidity level and sour but subdued flavor. To replace buttermilk with yogurt, you only need to water it down to the same consistency of buttermilk. This can be done with either water or milk, but most people recommend milk for good consistency. While some say, ¾ cup yogurt and ¼ cup milk will do the trick; it all depends on what the recipe calls for and the consistency you want. 

Acidified Milk

It may sound intimidating, but making this milk is as easy as it can be. Place a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup then fill the cup with milk. Stir the mixture then let it sit for five minutes before using it. The best part about this substitute is that it can be done with non-dairy kinds of milk as well. 


Kefir is a part for part substitute for buttermilk. Make sure that you use plain, unflavored kefir so you do not alter the final product. 

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a popular all-purpose product that is a powder, not a cream. To replace buttermilk mix 1 ¾ teaspoons cream of tartar into 2 tablespoons milk. Add the mixture into another cup of milk to create a perfectly textured buttermilk substitute. 

Sour Cream

Just like yogurt, all you have to do is water down sour cream to the same consistency as buttermilk to make it a suitable substitute. 

Powdered Buttermilk

Since buttermilk is a dairy product, it doesn’t last long at all, which makes it hard for the casual baker to have some on hand. If you have a favorite recipe that you only use every once in a while that requires buttermilk, you can keep powdered buttermilk on hand instead. This dry version lasts a lot longer and looks and tastes just like the real thing after you add a little water. 


Also known as corn flour, this white powdery substance is an extract from the endosperm of corn. It is mostly used as a thickening agent for things like soups, casseroles, and pies. 

Cornstarch_substitutesAlmond Flour

Almond flour is blanched and ground-up almond with the oil removed. It is a popular substitute for traditional flour because it is low-carb and keto-friendly. Almond flour is a 1 for 1 substitute for cornstarch, which makes it an easy alternative. 

Arrowroot Flour

Arrowroot flour is a powder made from the rootstock of a few different plants from the arrowroot family. It is a great substitute because it is a 1 for 1 substitute but is higher in fiber in calcium. The one issue with arrowroot is that it does not mix well with dairy, which limits the dishes you can use it in. 

Wheat Flour

The great thing about wheat flour is that it is in almost every pantry in America. Wheat flour is surprisingly healthier than cornstarch, but it is not as starchy, which means that it takes more to replace cornstarch. There is no perfect substitution for wheat flour, so you will need to add a little at a time to come up with the right consistency. 


Tapioca is a derivative of the cassava root. It can be sold in pearls, flakes, or powder, but the powder is what makes the best cornstarch substitute. Tapioca is not as dense as cornstarch, so you’ll need twice as much per tablespoon. 


When flaxseed is ground up, it is extra absorbent, which makes it a fantastic thickening agent. Flaxseed is also an excellent source of fiber, which makes it a healthier option than cornstarch. The only problem is that flaxseed is grainy, so the textures don’t quite match up.  1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed combined with 4 tablespoons of water is the equivalent of 2 tablespoons cornstarch. 


This one is unique because instead of adding something, you take something out. This works in soups, stews, and sauces, anything with a liquid base. Instead of adding cornstarch, leave your dish on simmer for a while, allowing extra water to evaporate and naturally thicken the dish. 


The cream is the top layer of fat from milk, and it has several uses in cooking and baking. While it is a staple in a lot of houses for a few different reasons, it is a dairy product and goes bad quickly. If you find yourself in a situation where you need cream for a recipe and yours has expired, there are other options you probably have around. 

Cream_substitutesMilk and Butter

Milk and butter combined make a nearly identical substitution for cream because the butter adds more fat to the milk. The only downside to this combination is that it doesn’t whip the same way that cream does. Combine ¼ cup melted butter with 1 cup milk to create your substitute. If you are using low-fat milk, you will want to mix a tablespoon of flour into the mix to thicken it. 

Soy Milk and Olive Oil

If you are looking for a cream substitution to make your recipe vegan, this is an excellent option with ingredients that you most likely already have in your house. To replace 1 cup of cream, combine 2/3 cup soy milk and 1/3 cup olive oil. While the consistency is the same, this combination cannot be whipped like regular cream. 

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is a shelf-stable dairy product, which means that it is in the back of pantries all over the country. It works as a part for part substitution that is just as thick but not as fatty as heavy cream. 

Milk and Cornstarch

These two common ingredients can combine to make a concoction that is surprisingly similar to cream. Mix two tablespoons of cornstarch into a cup of milk to thicken the milk and give it a more cream-like texture. 

Greek Yogurt and Milk

Many households have these two ingredients on hand, and they combine to make a substance similar to cream. The only problem with this mixture is that Greek yogurt is sour and can add an unwanted flavor to some dishes, so this mixture is better in dishes where the flavor will be hidden like soups and sauces. Creating the mixture is easy; it is a 50/50 split to match the amount of cream you need. 

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a suitable substitute that mimics the thickness of heavy cream. It works as a 1 to 1 substitute for cream in creams or sauces but does not work well for recipes that require whipping, unfortunately. For best results, blend the cream cheese before adding it to the recipe to smooth it out. 


Everyone knows what eggs are, but some people may not know how important they are to the baking process of many goods. As eggs bake, they help create the structure of the food. Eggs are the glue of the baking world. 

Eggs_substitutes-1Apple Sauce

How apple sauce came to be known as an egg substitute beats me, but a lot of people swear by it. Some experience bakers suggest that you mix your apple sauce with baking powder for the best results. If your apple sauce is sweetened, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. 

If you don’t have any applesauce in your cupboard, you can make it yourself: Peel, core, and chop four apples. Combine the apples with ¾ cup water, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ cup sugar. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until the apples soften. Use a potato masher to mash the concoction to the right consistency.


A smashed up banana has a great consistency for an egg substitute. The only issue is that banana has a strong flavor, and the more you use, the more your dish will taste like banana. 

Powdered Egg Substitute

This one requires some planning, but if you know you won’t have an egg replacement, egg replacement powder is readily available in stores and online. Mix this powder with water, and you are all set. 

Flax Seeds

Ground flax seeds mixed with a little bit of water is one of the more popular egg replacements. It creates a thick paste and works surprisingly well to bind and shape the dish without adding any flavor or texture. 


Yogurt is another viscous substance that is commonly used to replace eggs. If the yogurt is flavored, you run the risk of flavoring your dish. Many bakers suggest plain Greek yogurt for the best texture.

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is exactly what it sounds like. It is milk that is slowly warmed to evaporate the water out of it, then canned and heated again to kill bacteria. It is popular because the process makes it last a long time without the need for refrigeration. Also, it is thicker than regular milk, so it is used to thicken creams and sauces as well as add texture to dishes. 

EvaporatedMilk_substitutesDIY Evaporated Milk

Most people have milk in their fridge, and if you have a little time, you can make your own evaporated milk. To make 1 cup of evaporated milk, heat 2 ¼ cup milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a gentle boil and stir continuously until the milk is reduced by half. 

Half and Half

A lot of people keep half and a half in their fridge for coffee, and if you are one of them, you have a quick replacement for evaporated milk. It is a little thicker and higher in calories than evaporated milk, but a lot less than cream, so it makes for a suitable substitute. 

Milk with Flour and Sugar

If you don’t have time to evaporate your milk, you can add to it to achieve a similar texture. Mix in flour and sugar one teaspoon at a time until the milk begins to thicken to the right consistency. While you will be able to find the right consistency, the taste won’t match up, so this is a better substitute to thicken up soups and sauces. 

Vanilla Almond Milk

Sometimes a substitution is not because you are out of something, but rather that the ingredient doesn’t agree with you. If that is the case with evaporated milk, your best bet is almond milk, which has the sweetness of evaporated milk. It is a little thinner than evaporated milk but should still work in most instances. 

Condensed Milk

Some people don’t know the difference between these two, and that is fair since they are similar. Condensed milk is reduced like evaporated milk, but instead of being canned and reheated, there is a sweetener added before it is canned, which prevents the growth of bacteria. These two are similar in consistency so it is a 1 for 1 substitution. 

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is probably not in everyone’s pantry, but a lot of bakers keep it on hand. Just add water, and you have a dairy substitute. For evaporated milk, you will want to add a little less water than for what the container calls to keep the consistency. 


Flour is the base of almost every baked good, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t run out of it every once in a while. There is also the possibility that you are trying to skip gluten, which means you’ll need a suitable substitute for your favorite dishes. Flour is a staple and not the easiest part of a recipe to substitute, but there are a few options out there. 

Flour_substitutesPancake Batter

If you are in a real pinch, instant pancake batter might work. Pancake batter is a mixture of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, among other things depending on the mix. If you choose to try pancake batter, skip the salt and baking powder or soda called for in the recipe and reduce the amount of sugar you are using. If you follow those rules it should be a 1 for 1 substitution. 

Other Wheat Flours

If you are worried that you have run out of all-purpose flour, but you have other wheat flours, then you have no worry at all. Though they may change the flavor of your food slightly, all wheat flours are fairly interchangeable. Whole wheat, cake, self-rising, and bread flours are all acceptable 1 for 1 substitution. 

Almond Flour

Almond flour is one of the most popular flour substitutes for people who are on gluten-free or keto diets. The funny thing is that almond flour is not flour at all, but blanched and ground almonds with the oil removed. Almond flour is an equal substitute to all-purpose flour, but it is important to note that it has a higher fat content and will add a nutty flavor to your dish if there are no other strong flavors to mask it. 

Rye Flour

This particular flour substitute comes in a variety of forms and not just the dark Rye to which most of us are accustomed. Rye flour will give your dish a slightly fruity flavor, so it is best in dishes that will match that flavor profile. 

Cassava Flour

Cassava flour is not as common as other flours, but it is a multi-purpose replacement for several baking ingredients. Unlike other flour substitutes, this one has no nuts, gluten, or grain, so it is a wonderful substitute for those with food allergies. 

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is a go-to for people on keto diets because it is low carb, but it is far from a perfect substitute. It is higher in fat and has an unmistakable flavor that is hard to cover up. 


Honey is a great substitute for a lot of things, but sometimes it is the one that needs to be replaced. True honey is not cheap to come by, and since it is not an everyday item, it is easy to see how it could be left off the grocery list. If you need a quick replacement for honey, try any of these options. 

Honey_substitutesAgave Nectar

This syrup derived from the agave plant is a sweet, all-natural alternative to honey. If you are a fan of margaritas, you might have some of this stuff lying around. Agave nectar is not as thick as honey, but it is twice as sweet, so you will only need half of how much the recipe asks.


Molasses is your best bet for replacing the consistency and sweetness of honey, which means that it can be substituted on a 1 to 1 ratio. The only downside about molasses is that it has a distinct taste that will come through in the final product. 

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a common food item and a nearly perfect 1 for 1 replacement for honey. It has close to the same consistency as honey, especially when chilled, and a similar level of sweetness. Maple syrup is also a viable option for vegans choosing to skip the honey. 

Brown Sugar

It is obvious that brown sugar is not the same consistency as honey, but that doesn’t mean that it is not a viable option. Because of the differences in brown sugar and honey, you will want to use slightly more sugar than what the recipe says. This substitution is also a vegan option since it comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. 

Brown Rice Syrup

This is another option that fits in the vegan-friendly category. Brown rice syrup is similar to maple syrup in several ways, but it is much less expensive, which makes it a popular replacement for both maple syrup and honey. This product is also called rice malt or rice syrup and is often marketed as all-natural syrup. 

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup has fallen out of favor, but it is still a staple in some households. If you happen to have some in the cupboard, it is a suitable replacement in a pinch. One of the main benefits of substituting with corn syrup is that it keeps your food fresher for longer periods. Corn syrup is much sweeter than honey and slightly less viscous, you can cut the required amount by a ¼, and it won’t affect the dish at all. 


Milk is a staple in most refrigerators, but a short shelf life means that you can run out at the most inopportune moment. Someone who will be enjoying your food could also have a dairy allergy; either way, you are in a position that needs a quick milk replacement. Most of these items you will probably have on hand and make surprisingly good replacements for a kitchen staple. 

Milk_substitutesWater and Butter

This may sound surprising, but when you think about how much water is in milk, it makes sense. Even if you don’t have butter, you can still use water to replace milk; the butter helps to keep the dish moist. Mix 1 ½ teaspoons melted butter in a cup of water for each cup of milk replaced, and you won’t be able to tell the difference in your dish. 

Evaporated Milk

Growing up, there was always a can of evaporated milk in the back of the pantry, and I always wondered what it was for; now I know. It turns out that you can add water back into evaporated milk to make it regular milk again. Add ½ cup water to ½ cup evaporated milk to replace 1 cup milk. 


It makes sense that you would be able to replace one dairy product with another. The only issue with replacing milk with yogurt is that yogurt has a tangy taste that will flavor your dish even if you use the plain kind. If you are in a pinch, though, it works great and is a 1 to 1 substitute for milk. 

Half and Half

Many people keep half and a half for their coffee, so there is a chance that you have some in your fridge right now. Half and half is another dairy substitute that is a 1 for one replacement for milk. Know that half and half will change the texture of baked goods slightly, but they will taste the same. 

Soy Milk

As an overall baking and cooking replacement, there is not better non-dairy alternative than soy milk. Unlike other non-dairy milk substitutes, soy milk stands up to high temperatures making it the perfect substitute for soups and sauces. Soy milk does not have an overwhelming taste like other non-dairy milk either, which is one more reason it is a great substitute for milk. 


Molasses has a surprising number of uses, but it is most commonly used in baking. This byproduct of sugar production has a unique taste that is hard to replace, but there are a few suitable substitutes that you will probably have on hand. 


Honey is a great place to start because it is a part for part substitution for Molasses, but does not have as strong as a taste as some other replacements. Also, honey has a great consistency and is all-natural; however, this is not a suitable replacement for vegans. 

Sugar and Water

It’s a simple solution that works like a charm in most scenarios. To replace a cup of molasses mix ¾ cup sugar and ¼ cup water, it will create something similar to syrup. Since this mixture is rather bland, you will want to add more spices to replace the flavor that is lost from replacing molasses. 

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is regular sugar mixed with some molasses, so it makes sense that it would be a good substitute. Since it is mostly sugar, ¾ cup brown sugar is a suitable replacement for 1 cup molasses. Again, because there are fewer molasses in this blend, you will want to add more of other spices to make up for the absence. 

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup has a similar makeup and taste profile as molasses, which makes it an even substitute, especially in cookies. It is a little sweeter, so you will need to add a little more spice to balance out the sugar. 

Dark Corn Syrup

Corn syrup and molasses are made the same way, so it makes sense that they would have a similar taste and texture. While it is a good replacement, it is not as sweet as molasses, and corn syrup has a questionable reputation and is not as sweet as molasses, so you may need to add some extra sweetener. 


Applesauce is a surprisingly good replacement for molasses that saves a lot of calories and adds some vitamins into the mix. It is sweet, so you may want to counteract it with a few spices like cinnamon. There is also the strong possibility that your dish will have a slight apple taste to it. 

If you don’t have any applesauce in your cupboard, you can make it yourself: Peel, core, and chop 4 apples. Combine the apples with ¾ cup water, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ cup sugar. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until the apples soften. Use a potato masher to mash the concoction to the right consistency. 


Whether we like it or not, sugar is the main ingredient in almost every baking dish. People are always looking for ways to cut down on how much sugar they eat, so it wouldn’t be shocking if the sugar you have in the pantry needs to be replaced. The good news is that sugar is surprisingly easy to substitute for an ingredient that is so important, and you will most likely have a few of these substitutions on hand. 


Honey is all-natural and a popular substitution for sugar, but it has its flaws. It is not a vegan replacement for sugar and requires to you reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees. ¾ cup honey is a suitable replacement for 1 cup of sugar. 

Agave Nectar

Like honey, agave is an all-natural sweetener that many people keep on hand. Also, like honey, you will need to reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees and the amount of liquid in the dish by about 4 tablespoons. 2/3 cup agave is equal to a full cup of sugar. 

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is just regular sugar mixed with molasses, so it is a pretty easy substitute. It will make your dish a little darker, and it is much denser, so you will want to use just a little less brown sugar than the recipe says. 

Maple Syrup 

If you don’t happen to have agave or honey at your disposal, don’t worry because you probably have this one. Just like the other two, this is a natural liquid sweetener; you will need to reduce the amount of liquid by about 4 tablespoons and the temperature by 25 degrees. Like the other liquids, ¾ of a cup of maple syrup equals 1 cup of sugar. 


If you are looking for a healthier alternative to sugar, Stevia continues to gain popularity because it is a plant derivative with zero calories. Stevia is much more potent than sugar and only takes about 1 teaspoon to sweeten a dish the same way that a whole cup of sugar would. 

Note: There is still a lot of research out on the potential benefits, and side effects of this and other plant-based sweeteners so do your research before deciding on a plant-based sweetener. 

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup has gotten some bad press in the past decade, but a lot of people still keep some around. It isn’t recommended that you replace more than ½ sugar with corn syrup because of its potential health risks. Since corn syrup is a liquid, you will need to reduce the other liquids in the recipe by 4 tablespoons. 

Vegetable Oil

A lot of baked goods call for vegetable oil because it is a cheap and tasteless ingredient that helps to keep your baked goods moist. Vegetable oil is seen as bad fat and has fallen out of favor in a lot of recipes, but it is still prevalent in classic baked goods. If you choose not to use vegetable oil or just found that you don’t have any on hand, there are plenty of viable options. 

VegetableOil_substitutesOlive Oil

It is not uncommon for a household to have more than one kind of oil for different purposes. Many people use olive oil as a healthier option to cook foods in a pan. Olive oil makes an easy 1 for 1 substitute, but it has a strong taste to it that may show in your final product. 


Butter is such a fantastic replacement for oil that some people use it even if they have vegetable oil. It adds a rich texture to baked goods as well as a slightly stronger structure. To make sure that you have the perfect substitution, melt the butter before measuring it. 


Yogurt is a jack of all trades when it comes to substitutions. It is a wonderful substitution for vegetable oil because it does everything that oil does, but it is a much healthier option. Yogurt is a part for part replacement for vegetable oil, but it will add more water to your dish, so you’ll want to slightly reduce the other liquids in the recipe. 

Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is a healthy alternative to vegetable oil that you can even make yourself if necessary. It is a great way to reduce the calories in your dish, but it does have its downsides. You will want to reduce the amount of sugar you are using. Your dish will also bake quicker, so you will need to reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees and your cooking time by 5 to 10 minutes. ¾ cup apple sauce counts for 1 cup vegetable oil. 

If you don’t have any applesauce in your cupboard, you can make it yourself: Peel, core, and chop four apples. Combine the apples with ¾ cup water, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ cup sugar. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until the apples soften. Use a potato masher to mash the concoction to the right consistency.


Tofu is kind of like a Swiss army knife for vegans; it can be used in so many ways. In this instance, silken tofu works the best; and you will need to puree it to make it as smooth as possible. Replace every ½ cup oil with 1/3 cup tofu. 

Corn Starch

A corn starch solution is a surprisingly good replacement for vegetable oil, but it does change the consistency of the dish in high doses, so this substitute shouldn’t be used in recipes that call for a lot of oil. Dissolve 4 tablespoons of cornstarch into a cup of water for each cup of oil being replaced. 

Look For Opportunity

Just because you are missing an ingredient doesn’t mean that the dish is ruined. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to get creative; you may learn something, or you may even create something new entirely. After all, baking is a science and all science is based on experimentation.

The great thing about cooking is that even though these ingredients have been around since the dawn of time, people are still finding new ways to use them.

If you have a great substitution that you want to share or if you are looking for a substitution that isn’t listed please let us know in the comments.

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