In quarantine so you decide to do a little cooking – you’re in the groove but dammit there is something missing…sigh! What can you substitute? Yup, I totally understand & have been in this situation a few times too. Some substitutions take a little more thinking than a simple sultana for raisin swap out.
Truthfully, I also find these substitutes pretty useful when adapting recipes (dairy free, egg free, gluten free). Here are some of my favs plus I’ve provided some extra info for some.
High fat substitutes work the best, as they retain moisture & help with binding. Use a ratio of 1:1, unless stated.
👨🍳 Coconut oil / coconut butter / coconut yoghurt
👨🍳 Avocado, mashed
👨🍳 Olive oil
Note: use half the amount of olive oil for whatever recipe indicates for butter
👨🍳 Nut butter – whatever type you have on hand, I find them pretty interchangeable
👉 Eggs (1 egg)
Eggs do a few things when cooking, so I have tried to group similar processes together. FYI: This section has a lot of extra notes.
👨🍳 Chia seeds
What: 1 tbspn chia seeds + 2½ tbspn water
How: Add chia seeds to a small dish & add water. Stir & let rest for 5 minutes to thicken. It should be gel-like & thick.
Notes: not an exact 1:1 substitution in every recipe. Why? because it doesn’t bind + stiffen during baking quite like an egg.
Good for: pancakes, muffins, biscuits & generally a lot of baked recipes.
👨🍳 Flaxseed meal
What: 1 tbspn flaxseed meal + 3 tbspn water
How: Add flaxseed meal with water to a dish. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes to thicken.
Notes: A good 1:1 substitution, although similar to a chia egg it doesn’t bind + stiffen during baking.
Good for: pancakes, muffins, biscuits & baked recipes
Binding & whipping
👨🍳 Aquafaba AKA chickpea brine
This is a relatively new thing & I’ve experimented a little but not heaps. This one takes a bit of patience (& I suspect practice). I know people who have had loads of success with this, honestly my results have been a bit meh.
What: 3 tbspn aquafaba (chickpea brine) + pinch of cream of tartar = approx. 2 cups whipped
How: Using a mixer it takes approx. 3-6 minutes to get soft peaks (depending how thick the aquafaba was initially). Bottom line – it takes time to get soft peaks, so you need patience. Adding a pinch of cream of tartar in, will help mixture to whip up a little quicker & make peaks firmer.
Notes: The trick for success seems to be the use of a hand mixer or stand mixer, don’t bother trying to do this by hand. Besides taking forever, the results aren’t as good. This option is great if you need a rising quality, plus it will provide a lighter, fluffier texture.
Good for: Unwhipped – use as an egg binder; semi-stiff peaks – whipped egg substitute THINK: lighter cakes; stiff peaks THINK: meringues & macaroons.
Moisture & sweetness
👨🍳 Fruit or vegetables
What: ½ banana, mashed; ¼ cup fruit puree (apple, pear, pumpkin, etc)
Notes: This is my favourite option. Why? it is usually readily available & I can sneak in some extra fruit or vege.
Good for: pancakes, muffins, biscuits, & baked recipes
Creaminess & sweetness
👨🍳 Peanut paste
What: 3 tbspn peanut paste
Notes: OK, I know not everyone likes peanut paste & that is OK, just sub in another nut or seed butter. I use them interchangeably with no problems.
Good for: biscuits & baked recipes
👨🍳 Soft tofu
What: ¼ cup soft tofu
How: Mash it up & sub it in.
Good for: Ideal for custards & tarts
👉 Flour (1 cup)
I have based my list on plain flour, which is also known as all-purpose flour.
👨🍳 ¾ cup coarse cornmeal
👨🍳 ¾ cup rice flour
👨🍳 1 cup rolled oats
Note: I tend to blitz them a little in the food processor
👨🍳 1 ½ cup oat flour
👉 Milk (1:1)
👨🍳 Dairy milk
👨🍳 Soy milk
👨🍳 Oat milk
Note: very creamy option
👨🍳 Almond milk
👨🍳 Coconut milk
Note: will give a slight coconut flavour
👨🍳 Rice milk
Note: great nut & soy free option
👉 Plus, some randoms I find useful
Almond meal (1:1)
👨🍳 Sunflower seed meal
Note: great substitute for nut allergies or nut free school lunchbox recipes
Rolled oats (1:1)
👨🍳 Quinoa flakes
Good for: baking recipes.
👨🍳 Coconut cream
Note: It will impart a coconut flavour
Good for: great for baking, cooking, whipping or puddings.
Sour cream (1 cup)
👨🍳 Plain Greek yoghurt
👨🍳 1 cup whole milk + 1 tbspn lemon juice OR vinegar
Baking powder (1 tsp.)
👨🍳 1½ tsp. cream of tartar + ½ tsp. baking soda
👨🍳 1/4 tsp. baking soda + ½ tsp. cream of tartar
Cream of tartar (1 tsp.)
👨🍳 2 tsp white vinegar
👨🍳 2 tsp lemon juice
Breadcrumbs (1 cup)
👨🍳 1 cup cracker crumbs
👨🍳 1 cup corn flake crumbs
👨🍳 1 cup rolled oats.
Cream cheese (1 cup)
👨🍳 1/2 cup plain yogurt + ½ cup ricotta cheese
Lemon juice (1 tsp.)
👨🍳 1 tsp. white wine
👨🍳 1 tsp. vinegar
👨🍳 Brown rice
Soy sauce (½ cup)
👨🍳 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce + 1 tbspn water
Vinegar (½ cup)
👨🍳 ½ cup white wine
👨🍳 2/3 cup lemon juice
There are loads of other substitutes out there, so you may have a few more which you use successfully. Happy cooking Peeps.
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