RecipesTips & Tricks

Kitchen Hacks: Common Substitute Ingredients You Should Know

We’ve all had this happen to us…we’re in the middle of competing on an intense session of Chopped, err I mean whipping up the evening meal or desserts,  and crap on a cracker – we’re all out of baking powder.  Before you beg or bribe the hubby to run out for what you need, take a look around your might be able to use something else! Many items in the kitchen can be substituted for a combination of other ingredients to achieve the same results.

Did you know applesauce can be substituted for vegetable oil? Or perhaps that 3 tablespoons of mayo can achieve the same result as one egg?  Some of these swaps are even healthier for you than the original ingredients! If an ingredient offers more than one substitution, think about the way the ingredients will affect taste or texture and choose the best option. For instance, when swapping vinegar you may want to go with lemons in some instances or white wine in others.   

Here are some of common substitute ingredients. Have you tried any of these swaps before or do you have any you would like to share? We would love to hear them in the comments below! 

Common Substitute Ingredients You Should Know

Baking Powder (1 tsp)

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup

Brown Sugar (1 cup packed)

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • decrease the liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup

Buttermilk (1 cup)

  • 1 cup of yogurt


  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar
  • plus, enough milk to make 1 cup

Corn Syrup (1 cup)

  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar and
  • 1/3 cup water

Cream – Half & Half (1 cup)

  • 7/8 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Cream – Heavy (1 cup)

  • 1 cup evaporated milk 


  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1/3 cup butter

Allspice (1 tsp)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Cream Cheese (1 cup)

  • 1 cup plain yogurt, strained overnight in a cheesecloth

Cream of Tartar (1 tsp)

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Egg (1 whole)

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 


  • half a banana mashed with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Honey (1 cup)

  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup water


  • 1 cup corn syrup

Hot Pepper Sauce (Like Tabasco) (1 tsp)

  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

Ketchup (1 cup)

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Vegetable Oil – for baking (1 cup)

  • 1 cup applesauce

Vinegar (1 tsp)

  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice


  • 2 teaspoons white wine

Wine (1 cup)

  • 1 cup fruit juice mixed
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar

Mayonnaise (1 cup)

  • 1 cup sour cream 


  • 1 cup plain yogurt

Soy Sauce (1/2 cup)

  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauc
  • 1 tablespoon water
Jeana S

Jeana S

Research lab rat turned travel mom, Jeana S writes about gadgets, tech, entertainment, weddings and of course, travel. When she's not using her powers for social good, she enjoys photography, cooking and playing robots with her son. On occasion, you may also find her crocheting cute things to hide in Ben's underwear drawer.

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  1. luckylifepath22
    October 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm — Reply

    these are great, particularly the one for baking powder – i never knew there was a good substitute for that

  2. July 23, 2011 at 7:28 am — Reply

    Oh, these are great! Thanks for posting some of the more uncommon substitutions. I know I’ll use this list often – I’m copying it right now and sticking it into my recipe box!

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