If you cook regularly, there’s a good chance you’ve realized halfway through a recipe that you’re missing an ingredient. Or maybe you’ve seen a recipe you really want to try, but it calls for dairy or something else you have an allergy to. In both scenarios, an alternative ingredient is exactly what the chef ordered! We’re all about flexibility and saving you time and money, whether you’re on the road or trying to get dinner together. So, to prevent you from running back to the store or sacrificing flavor, here’s a list of ingredient substitutions you can use.
Just remember, before you choose an alternative option, run a search to find the best replacement for your precise purposes and to find the new measurement. Just because something is a substitute doesn’t mean it will have the same measurement.
Dairy Ingredient Substitutions
Dairy products are a staple in many people’s diets. However, some people need to steer clear due to medical conditions like a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. Others, like those who are vegan, have made a personal choice to avoid dairy products. No matter your reason for staying away from milk, cheese, or butter, there are options out there for you. Below are some of the most popular substitutes, according to Healthline.
People tend to describe cheeses as hard or soft. Fortunately, for non-dairy dieters, the flavor and texture of soft cheeses can be recreated with non-dairy substances. The options are often soy-based or nut-based. For example, cashew cheese is a very popular substitute. Healthline notes hard cheeses are more difficult to recreate, but the process is made possible by using different substances to help mimic the flavor, texture, and melting properties. Your local store (or a healthier grocery option nearby) should have several brands for you to try until you find one you like. If you’re searching for a cheesy (particularly parmesan) flavor to add to dishes, try sprinkling nutritional yeast on top.
Not drinking milk? No problem! There are plenty of other options out there for you to choose from, including:
- Soy Milk
- Rice Milk
- Oat Milk
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
Whether you’re baking cookies or want a piece of toast, butter is an important household staple and is used in many recipes. Healthline suggests vegetable oil blends, coconut butter, vegan butter, or nut butter as potential substitutes.
Seasoning & Spice Alternatives
Some spices are subtle, and some are quite potent. So, remember, to double-check replacement amounts before you start measuring or sprinkling. Here are some commonly used spices and alternatives to try, according to Better Homes & Gardens.
- Allspice > Try using ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves
- Anise seed > Use fennel seed or anise extract instead
- Cardamom > Ground ginger can serve as a fill-in
- Chili powder > Make a mixture of hot sauce, dried oregano, and cumin
- Cream of tartar > Lemon juice or white vinegar can save the day
- Cumin > Use chili powder instead if you’re in a pinch
- Garlic powder > Substitute fresh garlic or jarred minced garlic
- Italian seasoning > Create a blend with basil, oregano, rosemary, and ground red pepper
- Oregano > Grab basil or thyme
- Rosemary > Try tarragon, thyme, or savory
- Thyme > Recreate the flavor with basil, marjoram, oregano, or savory
Before you call your friend to borrow baking soda or baking powder, try Food Network’s best baking substitutions. Once again, be sure to search for the correct substitution amount based on your recipe.
- Baking powder > Use a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar
- Baking soda > Add extra baking powder but be warned there won’t be baking soda to cut down the acidity
- Cake flour > Combine cornstarch and all-purpose flour
- Self-rising flour > Mix all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt
- Heavy cream > Combine melted butter and whole milk
- Half-and-half > Mix equal parts whole milk and heavy cream
- Whole milk > Combine low-fat or skim milk with melted butter
- Brown sugar > Mix regular sugar and molasses
- Nuts > Most nuts can be substituted for each other in baking
- Vanilla extract > Use an equal measurement of rum or bourbon
- Salt > Kosher and iodized salt can be used as substitutes for each other in slightly different amounts
- Lemon juice > Use ½ as much apple cider vinegar
Miscellaneous Ingredient Alternatives
Here are a few other substitutions you might find handy.
- Breadcrumbs > Make your own by crunching up crackers, pretzels, or chips, or use a food processor to grind up slices of bread
- Broth > Vegetable, beef, and chicken broth can substitute for each other, but the flavor will be different
- Tomato paste > You can simmer tomato sauce or tomato puree until it thickens
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