Cooking & baking: How to make emergency food substitutions 

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It happens all the time — you’re in the middle of making a special dish, when you realize you’re missing one important ingredient.

Before you make a quick store run, check this chart — a substitution solution may already be in your kitchen.

Cooking baking How to make emergency food substitutions 

Emergency food substitutions
Ingredient Possible replacement
Allspice, ground (1 teaspoon) 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Baking powder (1 teaspoon) 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Buttermilk (1 cup) 1 tbs lemon juice or vinegar plus enough fresh sweet milk to make 1 cup
Chocolate, unsweetened (1 oz. square) 3 tbsp cocoa plus 1/2 cup shortening
Corn Syrup (1 cup) 1-1/4 cup light brown sugar plus 1/3 cup water
Cornstarch (1 tbsp) 2 tbsp flour or 2 tbsp granular tapioca
Cream, light (1 cup) 2 tbsp butter, 1 cup minus 2 tbsp milk
Egg (1 whole) 2 egg yolks plus 1 tbsp water (in cookies, etc.) or 2 egg yolks (in custards and such mixtures)
Flour, cake (1 cup) 1 cup less 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
Flour, self-rising (1 cup) 1 cup minus 2 tsp all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 tsp baking powder plus 1/2 tsp salt
Garlic, 1 clove 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Half-and-half (1 cup) 7/8 cup milk, plus 3 tablespoons butter
Honey (1 cup) 3/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid
Lemon juice (1 teaspoon) 1/2 tsp vinegar
Lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon) 2-1/2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
Milk, fresh (1 cup) 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water or powered milk plus water (see directions on package); or 1 cup sour milk/buttermilk plus 1/2 tsp soda (decrease baking powder by 2 tsp if using sour milk)
Milk, sour (1 cup) 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar plus enough fresh sweet milk to make 1 cup
Milk, sweetened condensed (1 cup) 1 cup plus 2 tbsp dry milk to 1/2 cup warm water, mix thoroughly. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar and 3 tbsp melted butter or margarine.
Mustard, dry (1 teaspoon) 1 tbsp prepared mustard
Pumpkin Pie Spice (1 teaspoon) 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Ricotta cheese Cottage cheese, in same amount
Sour cream Plain yogurt, in same amount
Sugar, brown (1 cup) 1 cup minus 1 tbsp white sugar, plus 1-1/2 tbsp molasses
Sugar, powdered (1 cup) 1 cup sugar and 1 cup cornstarch, processed on high in food processor
Tapioca (1 tablespoon) 1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Tomatoes, canned (1 cup) About 1-1/3 cups cut-up fresh tomatoes, simmered 10 minutes
Vanilla Bean, 1 inch 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Yogurt, plain (1 cup) 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup cottage cheese (processed until smooth)
Nancy J Price & Betsy Bailey

Nancy J Price & Betsy Bailey

We're Nancy and Betsy, and we've been adventuring in the digital world since the mid-90s -- truly making us that type of entrepreneurial internet pioneer Gen X is known for! We started back in 1998 and later launched -- among various other online and print projects. Our partnership has spanned decades and crossed state lines (multiple times!). Nancy currently resides Arizona, and Betsy's newest home base is Minnesota. It's been an incredible journey of collaboration and innovation. You can read more about our story here!

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