Ingredient Substitutions 101


ingredient substitutionsCooking is all about you – what you like, what you want to eat, how you like it prepared. However, many of us turn to cook books and recipes. And, while recipes are great for the not so experience cook, they often require a trip to the store or a number of changes to adhere to your personal tastes and preferences.  And suddenly, without the right ingredients, you are back at square one. However, whether you have allergies to work around or a less than stocked kitchen, there are a few simple ingredient substitutions you can make to stay on track. So, instead of abandoning your next recipe, try some of these easy ingredient substitutions and make it work for you.

Ingredient Substitutions For Baking

Baking is an art and one that is perfected over time. However, if you’re cooking up something quick for a party, you have to put on your baking cap and hope for the best. Unfortunately, many dessert recipes call for large amount of high fat-content ingredients. If you’re trying to keep your dessert delicious and nutritious consider some of these easy swaps.

  • 1 cup butter  = 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream = 1 tbsp flour mixed into 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup wheat flour = 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup sugar = 24 packets of Equal/maple syrup/honey

Ingredient Substitutions For Cooking Dinner

If you’re making dinner every night of the week, you need to switch it up every once in a while. Instead of calling for takeout, take matters into your own hands. Whether you’re reaching for a cook book, or want to try some new ingredients, there are a number of substitutions you can make for various parts of your dinner.

Herbs and veggies to use as ingredient substitutions


  • Bok choy = Kale
  • Lotus root  = water chestnuts
  • Mashed potatoes = mashed cauliflower
  • Winter squash = sweet potatoes
  • Leeks = green onions/shallots
  • Broccoli = green beans/asparagus
  • Sesame oil = 1 tbs sesame seeds fried in oil
  • Oil for basting  = stock or fruit juice
  • Stock = bouillon cube
  • Tomato paste = tomato sauce reduced


  • Lemongrass = lemon zest
  • Cloves = Allspice or cinnamon
  • Poultry seasoning = sage, thyme, pepper

When cooking a new meal, don’t be deterred by ingredients you don’t like or ones you can’t eat. Make every recipe work with some basic substitutions. And, with the holidays just on the horizon, lighten up some of your ingredients for a healthier holiday feast.

About the Author: Jessica Sanders is a professional blogger and  writing for a variety of publications about women’s health and lifestyle. She helps families stay healthy and shares her health knowledge across the web including her own blog, Will Run For Food.

    • SMD @ Life According to Steph
    • October 24, 2012

    I was unaware of the heavy cream substitution. Thanks!

      • Jessica Sanders
      • October 25, 2012

      I’m glad it was helpful! I love having options when I’m cooking, so these are definitely key. Especially if you’re trying to get fancy for holiday cooking! 🙂

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