Emergency Kitchen Substitutions

by Deborah Taylor-Hough


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Do you ever find yourself all geared up and ready to make a favorite recipe, but then discover you're staring at an empty container of a needed ingredient? Ugh. You don't want to run out to the store right now. So what do you do?

Well, that's when emergency kitchen substitutions come in handy. I've printed out the following list and keep a copy taped to the inside of my pantry door at all times.

Although these recipe ingredient substitutions will work in a pinch, I don't recommend always substituting ingredients in your recipes. The recipes will technically work with substitutions, but often the finished product won't be exactly the same as when you use the original ingredients called for in the recipe.

Also, be sure you don't make more than one substitution in a particular recipe at once. The more ingredients you substitute, the more "off" your product will be when you're finished.

Emergency Substitutions:

For: 1 Tbsp. fresh herb
Use: 1/3 to 1/2 tsp. dried herb (of the same kind)

For: 1 clove garlic
Use: 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

For: 1 egg in baking
Use: 1 tsp. cornstarch plus 1/4 cup water

For: 1 whole egg
Use: 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbsp. water

For: 1 cup whole fresh milk
Use: 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water, or 1/3 cup dry milk plus 1 cup water

For: 1 cup buttermilk
Use: 1 cup plain yogurt or 1 cup sour milk (4 tsp. White vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to make 1 cup -- let it sit for five minutes before using)

For: 1 cup sour cream (in baking)
Use: 7/8 cup buttermilk or sour milk plus 3 Tbsp. of butter

For: 1 cup sour cream (in salad dressings, casseroles)
Use: 1 cup plain yogurt or 3/4 cup sour milk plus 1/3 cup butter

For: 1 cup cream
Use: 1/3 cup butter plus 3/4 cup milk

For: 1 cup corn syrup
Use: 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup water

For: 1 cup brown sugar
Use: 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tbsp. molasses

For: 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
Use: 1 cup granulated sugar, packed

For: 1 cup margarine or butter (in baking or cooking)
Use: 1 cup hard shortening or 7/8 cup vegetable oil

For: 1 square unsweetened chocolate
Use: 3 Tbsp. cocoa plus 1 Tbsp. oil

For: 1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate
Use: 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 4 tsp. sugar

For: 3/4 cup cracker crumbs
Use: 1 cup bread crumbs

For: 1 cup cake flour, sifted
Use: 7/8 cup all purpose flour, sifted (1 cup minus 2 Tbsp.)

For: 1 tsp. baking powder
Use: 1/3 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter, or 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 1/3 cup sour milk

For: 1 Tbsp. cornstarch for thickening
Use: 2 Tbsp. flour

For: 1 Tbsp. flour for thickening
Use: 1 1/2 tsp. corn flour, arrowroot, potato flour, or rice flour; or 2 tsp. tapioca

For: 2 Tbsp. tapioca for thickening
Use: 3 Tbsp. flour


Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: a practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity. She also edits the Simple Times email newsletter. To subscribe, visit Debi online at: thesimplemom.wordpress.com

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