Inside: The 28 MOST COMMON baking ingredients and ingredient substitutions to save the dessert day. Not a mile-long list of obscure ingredients, but the ones you really need to know + a free printable! ➡
It never fails. You’re in the middle of making oatmeal cookies. Or the dessert for today’s potluck. Or your mother-in-law’s specialty cake—and she’s coming to dinner.
And suddenly your heart drops. You could have sworn you had butter. You ALWAYS have butter. But not today.
And baking is an exact science. Unlike other kinds of cooking, you have to follow the rules of ratios. And ingredients. And amounts.
It seems to be either those ingredients you always have on hand like butter, or the ones you never use like buttermilk, that are always missing at the worst time.
But before you throw in the kitchen towel or make a grocery store run, you may already have a good swap right under your nose!
The 28 most common baking ingredients and substitution options to save the dessert day.
This isn’t the endless list of every unusual and unlikely baking substitution ever for you to wade through. These are the most common and most likely ingredients we cook with.
Most of the ones you really need to know.
Remember—because baking is a precise art, changing any of the specific ingredients may change the end result. The outcome may be slightly different in flavor or texture, but you will still have an edible dessert!
Don’t forget to grab your free printable of all of these in the subscriber-only library to keep handy with your baking supplies.
Not a subscriber yet? Sign up below for updates to keep in touch…I have lots of fun and useful freebies you may be interested in in my subscriber-only library like this AND my cheat sheet for emergency spice and seasoning substitutions!
And here are all 28 baking swaps . . .
|Apple cider vinegar||1 teaspoon||1 teaspoon white vinegar|
|Baking powder||1 teaspoon||1/4 teaspoon baking soda OR 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar|
|Baking soda||1 teaspoon||4 teaspoons baking powder|
|Brown sugar||1 cup||1 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses OR just the white sugar|
|Butter, salted||1 cup||1 cup margarine OR 7/8 cup vegetable oil + 1/2 teaspoon salt OR 1 cup shortening + 1/2 teaspoon salt|
|Butter, unsalted||1 cup||1 cup shortening OR 7/8 cup vegetable oil OR 1 cup margarine|
|Buttermilk||1 cup||Mix 1 cup of milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar or tablespoon of lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes at room temperature OR 1 cup plain yogurt|
|Cake flour||1 cup||1 cup all-purpose white flour minus 2 tablespoons|
|Chocolate, semi-sweet||1 ounce||Combine 1 (1-ounce) square of melted unsweetened chocolate + 4 teaspoons sugar|
|Chocolate, unsweet||1 ounce||Combine 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or unsalted melted butter|
|Cocoa powder||3 tablespoons||2 (1-ounce) squares melted unsweetened chocolate OR 6 tablespoons hot cocoa mix|
|Corn syrup (Karo syrup)||1 cup||1 1/4 cup white sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water|
|Cornstarch (for thickening)||1 tablespoon||2 tablespoons flour|
|Cream of tartar||1 teaspoon||2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice|
|Eggs||1 whole egg||3 tablespoons oil + 1 tablespoon water OR 3 tablespoons mayonnaise OR half a banana mashed with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder|
|Evaporated milk||1 cup||1 cup light cream|
|Granulated (white) sugar||1 cup||1 cup brown sugar OR 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar OR 3/4 cup honey OR 3/4 cup corn syrup|
|Heavy cream||1 cup||1 cup evaporated milk OR 3/4 cup milk + 1/3 cup butter (can’t be whipped)|
|Honey||1 cup||1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/2 cup water or oil OR 1 cup corn or maple syrup|
|Milk||1 cup||1 cup yogurt or sour cream OR 1 cup unflavored nut or soy milk OR half and half|
|Molasses||1 cup||3/4 cup brown sugar + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar|
|Self rising flour||1 cup||7/8 cup all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon of salt|
|Shortening||1 cup||1 cup butter OR 1 cup margarine less 1/2 teaspoon salt from recipe|
|Sour cream||1 cup||1 cup plain yogurt OR 1 cup mayonnaise OR 1 cup buttermilk|
|Sweetened condensed milk||14 ounce can||Whisk ½ cup milk and 1/3 cup sugar together and heat in the microwave 1-2 minutes at a time in intervals until bubbly and frothy, and cool in fridge to thicken|
|Vanilla extract||1 teaspooon||1 teaspoon almond extract OR 1 teaspoon bourbon or rum OR 1 teaspoon maple syrup|
|Vegetable oil (or other cooking oil)||1 cup||1 cup of applesauce OR 1 cup mashed banana OR 1 cup melted butter OR 1 cup mayonnaise|
|Vinegar||1 teaspoon||1 teaspoon lemon juice or lime juice OR 2 teaspoons white wine|
In a baking mood now? Try one of these easy and delicious recipes:
These subs may not be up to snuff with your mother-in-law’s dessert. But they will save you, and a whole lotta stress in a pinch when you’re mid-bake and missing a key ingredient.
And who knows, everyone may think that great substitute with the slightly different flavor they detect was intentional, and praise your culinary skills.👩🍳
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