Simple ingredient substitutions are a great way to make a favorite recipe a little healthier. You can also swipe out ingredients because of a food allergy or, if you are like me, substitute something else because you don’t have what you need on hand. As you can see there are many reasons to need to substitute an ingredient.
Have you ever come across a recipe that called for a cup of beer and thought why? Some people are really turned off by the taste of beer. They don’t want to drink it and they sure as heck don’t want to eat it. No worries. Beer is an easy ingredient to replace in any recipe. I like to use chicken broth in place of beer.
2. Bread Crumbs
I hardly ever have bread crumbs available when I need them. What I do seem to have on hand is crackers. Sometimes it’s just cracker crumbs from the very bottom of the bag of my daughter’s favorite cheese crackers. Whatever the case is, those crackers make the perfect ingredient substitution for breadcrumbs.
I never have buttermilk. It’s just not something I think to buy at the grocery store unless I have a particular recipe in mind that calls for it. Even when I do buy it I feel so wasteful buying an entire container of buttermilk when all I need is a cup. What’s my solution? A regular cup of milk can easily replace buttermilk by simply adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.
4. Corn Syrup
If you ever need a simple ingredient substitution for corn syrup try honey. You can substitute cup for cup.
5. Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is similar to buttermilk for me. I don’t keep in on hand and I hate to buy an entire container when all I need is a little bit. Luckily heavy cream can also be substituted with a little milk. To create heavy cream substitute add 1/3 cup melted butter to a 3/4 cup of milk.
Eggs can be tricky. Some people are seriously allergic to eggs. I have an aunt that is like that. She usually replaces eggs in her baking with mashed bananas and baking powder. A half banana and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder equal one egg.
Many baking recipes call for oil. If you are trying to eat healthy or make better food choices you can omit cooking oil and use applesauce. I have done this with oatmeal cookies and even brownie mix. My family has no idea they are getting a little extra serving of fruit. One cup applesauce is an ingredient substitute for one cup oil.
8. Clove of Garlic
I laugh every time I come across a recipe asking for a clove of garlic. It’s very rarely I have whole garlic in my kitchen. I know a real chef would, but I’m just a mom chef. For all you other mom chefs, know that 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder is equal to one clove of garlic.
I am hardly without ketchup, nor do I come across too many recipes that need ketchup, but in case you ever need an ingredient substitution for ketchup, here you go. To make one cup of ketchup you will need to mix one cup of tomato paste with one teaspoon vinegar and one tablespoon sugar.
10. Lemon Juice
My lemons seem to shrivel up and dry out before I get a chance to use them. I have learned that in most cases a half teaspoon of vinegar is the perfect substitute for one teaspoon of lemon juice. I think it should be fine in small amounts like that just to add a little tang or keep foods from oxidizing, but I wouldn’t replace a lemony flavored meal with vinegar.
I do not like mayonnaise. I don’t use it on my sandwiches and I won’t eat most potato salads because the mayonnaise taste is too strong. Whenever I have a recipe that requires mayonnaise I substitute one cup of sour cream. I have used sour cream in casseroles and potato salads. I think the results are awesome.
Need a simple ingredient substitution for molasses? Mix 3/4 cup brown sugar with one teaspoon cream of tartar to create one cup of molasses.
13. Ricotta Cheese
A simple ingredient substitution for ricotta cheese is cottage cheese. I know tons of people that use cottage cheese instead of ricotta in their lasagna. I can never tell a difference. Have you ever used cottage cheese as an ingredient substitution?
14. Soy Sauce
Worcestershire sauce with water is an easy filler for soy sauce. To replace a half cup of soy sauce mix 4 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce with one tablespoon of water. The flavor might be slightly different, but in a pinch this will work.
15. White Sugar
Cup for cup white and brown sugar are interchangeable. You can also use 1 1/4 cup of powder sugar for one cup white sugar. If you are looking for a healthier more natural alternative try 3/4 honey for one cup sugar.
Lots of recipes call for wine. Some people don’t like to use alcohol in their cooking, they just don’t like the flavor in their food. While others have downed the whole bottle before they could even cook with it! Fortunately wine can be substituted with chicken or beef broth. You can also use a cup of fruit juice with 2 teaspoons of vinegar.
I tend to only keep flavored yogurt in the fridge, which means I never have any plain yogurt available for cooking with. Luckily sour cream, butter milk or sour milk are simple ingredient substitutions. Have you ever tried one of these instead of yogurt in your cooking?
Yum chocolate! As much as I love chocolate desserts I rarely have cocoa on hand. Instead I use a one ounce square of unsweetened chocolate in place of a 1/4 cup of cocoa. The results are divine.
Do you think this list of simple ingredient substitutions will help you in the kitchen? Which switches have you already tried? How did it work out for you? I often make simple ingredient substitutions when I cook because I don’t have the right stuff available at the moment. More times than not I thought the ingredient substitution tasted better.