Cherchies Blog

Cooking Tip: Cooking Substitutions

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
Cooking Tip!  Cooking Substitutions

Cooking Tip!  Cooking Substitutions

There's nothing worse than realizing you don't have an ingredient after you've started a recipe.  I know, "mise en place", which is fancy for everything in place, but there are times when I am simply caught off guard.

I'm usually prepared with everything I need before I begin cooking, but there are occasions when a container or box is left in the refrigerator or the pantry...and it's EMPTY (my crazy teenagers left it empty...I guess they believe it will magically refill itself)!  

Have no fear, below are some emergency ingredient substitutions that may help save the day (and your recipe).  We'd love to hear your favorite substitution!

If a Recipe asks for: 


  • 1 cup of self-rising flour---substitute with 1 cup of flour and 1 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon (tsp) salt.
  • 1 cup of biscuit mix---substitute with 1 cup of flour, 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) of shortening, and 1 1/2 teaspoons (tsp) baking powder.
  • 1 cup of sifted cake flour---for every cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) of flour and substitute with cornstarch and sift together.
  • 1 cup bread flour---substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour.

Thickening agents

  • 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) flour---substitute 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, or 3 1/2 whole eggs, or 7 egg yolks, or 3/4 oz. bread crumbs.

Leavening agents

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder---substitute with 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) cream of tartar, or 2 egg whites, or 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) and 1/2 cup yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream.
  • 1 package active (2T) dry yeast--- substitute 1 cake compressed yeast, or instant yeast.

Dairy- Milk and Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream---substitute with 1/3 cup of room temperature butter and 3/4 cup of milk.
  • 1 cup light cream--7/8 cup milk plus 3 Tablespoons (Tbsp) butter.
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)---substitute with 1 cup of milk and 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) of either vinegar or lemon juice.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir.  Or,  substitute 1 3/4 teaspoons (tsp) cream of tartar and 1 cup sweet milk.
  • 1 cup sour cream---substitute 1/3 cup butter and 2/3 cup sour milk recipe.


  • 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) fresh herbs---substitute 1 teaspoon (tsp) dried herbs
  • 1 Medium onion---substitute 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) allspice---substitute with 1 teaspoon (tsp) of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves
  • 1 clove garlic---substitute 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice---substitute 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp. ground allspice.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) nutmeg---substitute 1 tsp. mace
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) dry mustard---substitute with 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) prepared mustard.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) basil---substitute fresh basil (a couple of leave) or 1 tsp oregano.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) fennel---substitute 1 (tsp) anise or tarragon.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) sage---substitute 1 (tsp) thyme.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) onion powder---substitute 1 small fresh onion.

Sugar and Sweeteners

  • 1 cup brown sugar---substitute with 1 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup of molasses.
  • 1 cup sugar---substitute 1 cup molasses plus 1/2 teaspoon (tsp.) baking soda, or 1/2 cup honey plus 1/2 teaspoon (tsp.) baking soda, or 1 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup corn syrup, or 1 cup maple syrup and 1/4 tsp. baking soda.
  • 1 cup corn syrup---substitute 1 cup sugar plus additional 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe, or 1 cup brown rice syrup.
  • 1 cup honey---substitute 1 1/4 cup sugar plus additional 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe, or 1 cup molasses, or 1 cup light agave nectar.
  • 1 oz. (1 square) unsweetened chocolate---substitute with 1/2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) butter and 2 Tablespoons cocoa.

Happy Cooking!

Thank you for visiting.