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15 Ways to Make Substitutions for Common Baking Ingredients

By Edited Jun 18, 2016 3 4

Say you are all set to start baking, but oh no! You've forgotten an ingredient. Sure, you could risk going on without it. However, for anyone that knows anything about baking, one missing ingredient can mean a complete disaster. Baking is less of a hobby and more of a science, it is essentially chemistry. The chemical reactions between all the ingredients make the dishes fluffy, moist, and most of all delicious. So instead of just skipping the ingredient, why not make a substitution? With the proper substitution it can mimic the desired taste and chemical reaction that the original ingredient has. Though do be aware that some of the more common ingredients like milk or eggs really do not have any substitutions other than their various forms.

baking

Baking Powder

There is a strange common misconception that baking powder and baking soda are the same thing. Replacing one with the other can have disastrous results. However, if you do find yourself in need of baking powder, it can be replaced with baking soda as long as you add some cream of tartar in with it. For each teaspoon of baking powder you need, replace with on teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 a teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Brown Sugar

Did you know that all brown sugar is is white sugar that has been combined with molasses? Unsurprisingly, using granulated white sugar and molasses can be used as a substitute. Per cup of brown sugar needed, use 2 cups of white sugar and two tablespoons of molasses or dark corn syrup to replace it.

Buttermilk

Buttermilk is the liquid that is left over after making butter, essentially. It is used in baking more so to give goods moisture rather than flavor. To mimic the consistency of buttermilk you need to slightly curdle regular milk. For one cup of buttermilk, add a table spoon of lemon juice of vinegar and add enough milk to make a cup of liquid. Let this mixture stand for five minutes, then use. Alternatively, to replace a cup of buttermilk, use one cup of yogurt.

Chocolate

Making a substitution for chocolate is really quite obvious. Only chocolate can really mimic the taste of chocolate, however it is replacing certain kinds of chocolate that is the issue. If it is unsweetened chocolate that you need, for every one ounce, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa with one tablespoon of butter. For every ounce of semisweet baking chocolate, use 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate plus a tablespoon of sugar.

Heavy Cream

Making heavy cream is essentially just reversing what is make from heavy cream. For every cup of heavy cream that is needed, use 2/3 a cup of milk and 1/3rd a cup of butter.

Eggs

Forgetting eggs is absolutely disastrous. It is recommended that frequent bakers always have some egg product in the freezer in case you do forget them. 1/4th a cup of egg product is really the only thing that can be used to replace eggs in baking. If the yolk is all you need, only use 2 tablespoons.

Honey

You can replace one cup of honey with 3/4ths cup of sugar and 1/4 a cup of water. You won't get that unique honey flavor, but your will still get the same chemical reaction.

Milk

Like eggs, not having milk while baking is a recipe for a bad time. However, you can replace one cup of milk with 1/2 cup of evaporated milk with a 1/2 cup of water. Though if you are a frequent baker, be sure to keep some powdered milk in the pantry just in case of emergencies like this.

Sour Cream

Sour cream is essentially just yogurt with more acid. You can even make your own (lower fat) sour cream from plain yogurt with a squeeze of lemon. So naturally, if you lack sour cream while baking all you have to do to replace every cup of sour cream is to add one cup of plain yogurt.

Sugar

If you are and avid baker, you probably have many things laying around that can replace plain white sugar when needed. All you really need to know are the proper measurements. For every cup of white sugar, try instead using 3/4ths a cup of maple syrup with 1/4th a teaspoon of soda. Boil that and try to reduce the liquid as much as you can. Alternatively, you can use one cup of light brown sugar, packed down. If you are really in a pinch, try 2 cups of powdered sugar.

Butter

There are loads of substitutions for butter, most of them a baker would have on hand. However, if you are a health conscious baker, you may not have them. For one cup of butter, try replacing it with 1 cup of shortening, 7/8ths every cup of vegetable oil or 7/8ths cup of lard. If you keep lard around the house, I want to come over for dinner.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is essentially a chemical acid that we use in baking. So to replace an acid, you must use an acid. For one teaspoon of cream of tartar, substitute with two teaspoons of lemon juice of vinegar.

Cream Cheese

If you are making a cheesecake and forgot cream cheese, you definitely think you are in trouble. However, if you have plain yogurt in the fridge, strain it through cheese cloth over night and it would just the same. Though, because of the time it takes to strain it, it may be easier just to run to the store really quick.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil in baking is used for making a mixture moist. For every cup of vegetable oil that is needed, it can be replaced with 1 cup of applesauce or some other juicy non-citrus fruit puree, like pears for example. This can also be used as a healthy alternative.

Molasses

Like with making a substitution for brown sugar, it can also be done in reverse. If your recipe calls for one cup of molasses, replace with 3/4ths a cup of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar.

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Comments

Jul 10, 2013 6:29pm
robmileson
Great article. I have seen things like this in the past, but you wrote it up in an easy to read and fun manner.
Jul 12, 2013 11:46am
JestMe
Actually egg intolerant people know that eggs can be replaced with flax seed, chia seed or gelatin, depending on the recipe. Often milk can be replaced with plain water (skim milk is basically water anyway) and cheesecake was originally made with ricotta cheese. Just run it through the food processor if you want a smoother texture.
Jul 15, 2013 11:23am
cactusfruit
great stuff! i often run out of stuff. sometimes i replace eggs with flax and applesauce.
Oct 12, 2013 7:57pm
shar-On
Terrific and very helpful ideas for replacing products. I do this if short of eggs add 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarb with a dessertspoon of vinegar. Add this to the mixture last. (it will replace 2 eggs) works for me. will bookmark this.
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