Food

This Definitive List of Baking Substitutes For Common Ingredients Is a Huge Lifesaver


Baking ingredients on white concrete background. Flat lay composition of ingredients for making a cake, pastry or cookies

As satisfying as the first bite (or two, or three) of a freshly baked cookie can be, almost all of the joy I get from sinking my teeth into a delicious baked good actually comes from collecting all of the necessary ingredients. Besides filling my home with the mouthwatering smell of homemade treats, the act of baking tried-and-true recipes, as well as challenging myself to try new ones, increases my level of confidence as a baker. However, there have been times when I may have forgotten an ingredient or two, leading me to frantically try to improvise something so I can get the job done.

To help you avoid the panic that comes with baking a dessert only to realize you’re out of milk or eggs, I’ve compiled a list of a variety of baking substitutes. From cake-flour and yogurt substitutes to baking powder and buttermilk alternatives, you’ll definitely want to bookmark this list for any future baking ordeals (I know I will). To make this list all the more sweeter, I even included exact measurements and ratios to make sure your treat comes out perfectly.

Cake-Flour Substitute

  • Cornstarch: For 1 cup cake flour, scoop 1 level cup all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons, and replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch. Make sure the flour and cornstarch are well-combined before using.

Bread-Flour Substitute

  • All-purpose flour: For 1 cup bread flour, use 1 cup AP flour.

Baking-Soda Substitute

  • Baking powder: For 1 teaspoon baking soda, use 3 teaspoons baking powder.
  • Potassium bicarbonate: For 1 teaspoon baking soda, use 1 teaspoon potassium bicarbonate plus 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Baking-Powder Substitute

  • Cream of tartar: For 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Vinegar: For 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/2 teaspoon vinegar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Lemon juice: For 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Buttermilk: For 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/2 cup buttermilk plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. When using buttermilk in place of baking powder, make sure to reduce the amount of other liquid used in the recipe by the same amount (for example, for every 1/2 cup buttermilk used, reduce the total amount of other liquids added by 1/2 cup).
  • Plain yogurt: For 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/2 cup plain yogurt plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. When using yogurt in place of baking powder, it is important to reduce the amount of other liquid in the recipe by the same amount, just like the buttermilk substitute.
  • Molasses: For 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/4 cup molasses plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. In addition to reducing the amount of other liquid added to the recipe by the same amount, it is also important to reduce the amount of sugar or sweet ingredients as well, given molasses’s high sugar content.

Brown-Sugar Substitute

  • White sugar: For 1 cup brown sugar, use 1 cup granulated white sugar.
  • Coconut sugar: For 1 cup brown sugar, use 1 cup coconut sugar.
  • DIY brown sugar: For 1 cup brown sugar, combine 1 cup granulated white sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses.

Powdered-Sugar Substitute

  • DIY powdered sugar: For 1 cup powdered sugar, blend together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

Honey Substitute

  • Maple syrup: For 1 tablespoon honey, use 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
  • Sugar: For 1 tablespoon honey, use 1 tablespoon any sugar.

Butter Substitute

  • Ghee: For 1 tablespoon butter, use 1 tablespoon ghee
  • Coconut oil: For 1 tablespoon butter, use 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
  • Applesauce: For 1 tablespoon butter, use 1 tablespoon applesauce.
  • Greek yogurt: For 1 tablespoon butter, use 1 tablespoon full-fat plain Greek yogurt.
  • Pumpkin purée: For 1 tablespoon butter, use 3/4 tablespoon pumpkin purée.
  • Mashed bananas: For 1 tablespoon butter, use 1 tablespoon mashed bananas.
  • Avocado: For 1 tablespoon butter, use 1 tablespoon mashed avocado.

Vegetable-Oil Substitute

  • Any cooking oil: For 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, use 1 tablespoon any neutral oil (canola, sunflower) or 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
  • Butter: For 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, use 1 tablespoon melted butter.
  • Applesauce: For 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, use 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce.

Milk Substitute

  • Half-and-half: For 1 cup milk, use 1 cup half-and-half.
  • Sour cream: For 1 cup milk, use 1 cup sour cream
  • Plain yogurt: For 1 cup milk, use 1 cup plain yogurt.
  • Nondairy milk: For 1 cup dairy milk, use 1 cup nondairy milk.
  • Nondairy yogurt: For 1 cup dairy milk, use 1 cup nondairy yogurt.

Heavy-Cream Substitute

  • Milk and butter: For 1 cup heavy cream, combine 3/4 cup milk with 1/4 cup melted butter.
  • Soy milk and olive oil: For 1 cup heavy cream, combine 2/3 cup soy milk with 1/3 cup olive oil.
  • Half-and-half and butter: For 1 cup heavy cream, combine 7/8 cup half-and-half with 1/8 cup melted butter.
  • Evaporated milk: For 1 cup heavy cream, use 1 cup evaporated milk.
  • Coconut cream: For 1 cup heavy cream, use 1 cup coconut cream.

Buttermilk Substitute

  • Milk and vinegar: For 1 cup buttermilk, combine 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar with just under 1 cup dairy or nondairy milk.
  • Milk and lemon juice: For 1 cup buttermilk, combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice with just under 1 cup dairy or nondairy milk.
  • Milk and cream of tartar: For 1 cup buttermilk, use 1 cup milk plus 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar.
  • Sour cream: For 1 cup buttermilk, combine 3/4 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup water or your choice of milk.
  • Plain yogurt: For 1 cup buttermilk, combine 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup water or your choice of milk.

Sour-Cream Substitute

  • Greek yogurt: For 1 cup sour cream, use 1 cup Greek yogurt.
  • Cream cheese: For 1 cup sour cream, combine 3/4 cup cream cheese with 2 tablespoons water or milk.
  • Buttermilk: For 1 cup sour cream, use 3/4 cup mayonnaise.
  • Coconut milk: For 1 cup sour cream, use 1 cup full-fat coconut milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Unsweetened-Chocolate Substitute

  • Cocoa powder: For 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, combine 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, butter, or shortening.

Yogurt Substitute

  • Sour cream: For 1 cup yogurt, use 1 cup sour cream.
  • Buttermilk: For 1 cup yogurt, use 1/6 cup buttermilk.
  • Avocado: For 1 cup yogurt, use 1 cup mashed avocados.
  • Mayonnaise: For 1 cup yogurt, use 1 cup mayonnaise.
  • Silken tofu: For 1 cup yogurt, use just under 1 cup blended silken tofu plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Condensed-Milk Substitute

  • Heavy cream and sugar: For 1 cup condensed milk, use 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Whole milk and sugar: For 1 cup condensed milk, boil 2 cups milk, then add 2/3 cups sugar and simmer until thickened.
  • Coconut milk and sugar: For 1 cup condensed milk, boil 2 cups coconut milk, then add 2/3 cups sugar and simmer until thickened.
  • Coconut cream: For 1 cup condensed milk, use 1 cup full-fat coconut cream.

Egg Substitute

  • Flaxseed and water: For 1 egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water.
  • Applesauce: For 1 egg, use 1/4 cup applesauce.
  • Mashed banana: For 1 egg, use 1/2 medium-size banana.
  • Silken tofu: For 1 egg, use 1/4 cup silken tofu.
  • Yogurt: For 1 egg, use 1/4 cup yogurt.
  • Buttermilk: For 1 egg, use 1/4 cup buttermilk.





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