When I think of cooking techniques that help me in the kitchen, knowing what I can substitute for what is my biggest tip. I love to try new recipes and I think that is a great way to get your family to try new things. But when I try a new recipe there is usually some ingredient I don’t have. If I have to run to the store I will just keep making the same thing. So here is my substitution list. I have this written in one of my cookbooks and I just keep adding to it. Once you learn to substitute you can take recipes and make them more like something your family will eat. No one in my family likes rosemary so I substitute oregano or Basil (same quantity). If you have someone who has food allergies you also need to be good at substituting ingredients for ones that your family my not tolerate. As a general rule I try to not substitute more than one ingredient at a time. That way if you love it or don't like it you know why.
Step 1: Substitutions for Liquids and Dairy
When substituting liquids it is a good idea to substitute the same amount of liquid. You want to try and keep the same consistency but with a different liquid. Here are some of the one's I have tried.
Beer or Wine A good substitution is chicken broth. Since the alcohol cooks out you are really trying to add additional flavor. You can substitute 1 cup for 1 cup
Butter (salted) 1 cup - 1 cup margarine or 1 cup shortening plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
Buttermilk I use this all the time because I do not keep buttermilk. For 1 cup of buttermilk substitute 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup. Make sure you stir the two together before using in your recipe.
Cream (light) Substitute 1 cup evaporated milk OR 3/4 cup milk plus 3 tablespoons butter for 1 cup cream
Corn syrup You can substitute sugar and water but I always heat the sugar and water and then measure to make sure it is a cup. (1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/3 cup water) You can also substitute 1 cup honey.
Egg 1 whole - 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon - 1/2 teaspoon vinegar or 1 teaspoon white wine or 1 teaspoon lime juice or 1/2 tsp of lemon Kool-aid. (I did this late one night making a lemon pound cake. Worked great)
Mayonnaise 1 cup - 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup plain yogurt
Milk 1 cup - 1 cup of almond milk or soy milk
Shortening 1 cup - 1 cup butter, i cup of coconut oil, or 1 cup margarine minus 1/2 teaspoon salt from recipe
Sour cream 1 cup - 1 cup plain yogurt
Sweetened condensed milk 1 (14-ounce) can - 3/4 cup white sugar mixed with 3/4 cup milk Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 20 minutes
Vegetable oil–for baking 1 cup - 1 cup applesauce or 3/4 cup flax seed meal and 1/2 water
Vinegar 1 teaspoon- 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice or 2 teaspoons white wine
Yogurt 1 cup - 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup buttermilk
Step 2: Substitutions for Dry Ingredients
Dry ingredients are a little bit easier because it is easy to keep the consistency. I never keep self rising flour but always have all-purpose.
Bread crumbs 1 cup - 1 cup cracker crumbs or 1 cup ground oats. You can also take day old bread and put it in the blender and make your own bread crumbs. The end pieces of a load of bread work great.
Brown Sugar 1 cup, packed - 1 cup white sugar or 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Flour–Bread 1 cup - 1 cup all-purpose flour
Flour–Cake 1 cup - 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons (sifted twice)
Flour–Self-Rising 1 cup - 1 cup all-purpose flour (minus 2 tsp) plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup - 1 cup chocolate candies or 1 cup peanut butter or other flavored chips or 1 cup chopped nuts or 1 cup chopped dried fruit ( This varies depending on the recipe) If you are using the chocolate to melt, the nuts or fruit would not work. But works great when adding to cookies.
White sugar 1 cup - 1 cup brown sugar or 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar or 3/4 cup honey or 3/4 cup corn syrup
Step 3: Substitutions for Spices
Herbs (fresh) 1 tablespoon chopped fresh equals 1 teaspoon (chopped or whole leaf) dried herbs
Chives substitute equal amounts of chopped onions
Italian Seasoning - Mix equal parts of basil, oregano, rosemary, and ground red pepper
Red pepper flakes - a dash of hot sauce or just use black pepper if you do not want the heat
Rosemary 1 tsp - 1 tsp Oregano or Basil
Step 4: Substitution for Fruits, Vegetables and Starches
Fruits are really easy to swap in a recipe. You can usually swap apples, pears, peaches, and bananas in most recipes. Be careful if you use a fruit that is really juicy in your recipe. You may need to remove some of the other liquids in your recipe.
Vegetables are also easy to swap or you can add additional ones to a lot of casseroles. I add mushrooms to most casseroles because we all love mushrooms. I also substitute mushrooms in sauces that call for hamburger.
You can swap onions and mushrooms in most recipes. Chopped broccoli and green beans can be swapped.
Starches are easy to swap. Just be careful if you are using uncooked starches like rice. You can not swap minute rice and long grain rice if you are adding them dry to other ingredients. You can swap them if you are adding them cooked. You can also swap rice for pasta if they are cooked first. For fruits, vegetables and starches you need to just try to add things that you like and learn what works for your family. You can also start by just swapping out half of an ingredient and your family may learn to love new vegetables a little at a time. For example if your family does not like broccoli then just add a little chopped broccoli to something that calls for green beans or asparagus. They may not know they are eating broccoli,
I hope you learned something and will try to use this in your cooking. If you have other ways to substitute let me know your secrets.
Runner Up in the
Cooking Basics Challenge