Kitchen Tip of the Week – Common Ingredient Substitutions

20 10 2008

Even cooks with well stocked pantries occasionally find themselves missing a key ingredient.  This usually occurs when you’re in the middle of making dinner, with guests on the way and no time to run to the store to get what you need!  This week I’m making a list of common substitutions that you can use if you ever find yourself in such a situation.

Of course, using a substitute isn’t going to yield exactly the same results as using the original ingredients. Use common sense (and your eyes and tastebuds!) – you may have to adjust moisture content or seasonings so everything will work together properly.  

Common Ingredient Substitutions

  • For 1 cup Buttermilk SUBSTITUTE: 1 Tablespoon lemon juice OR white vinegar + milk to make 1 cup.  Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before using.


  • For 1 teaspoon Baking Powder SUBSTITUTE: 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar + 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch


  • For 1 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate SUBSTITUTE: 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch processed) + 1 Tablespoon shortening OR unsalted butter OR vegetable oil


  • For 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch, for thickening sauces SUBSTITUTE: 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour


  • For 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar SUBSTITUTE: 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar OR lemon juice


  • For 1 cup Half-and-Half SUBSTITUTE: 1/2 partially skimmed milk (1% or 2%) + 1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)


  • For 1 cup Sour Cream SUBSTITUTE: 1 cup plain yogurt OR 1 Tablespoon lemon juice + whole milk to fill 1 cup.  Let stand 10 minutes before using.


  • For 1 cup Mascarpone Cheese SUBSTITUTE: 3/4 cup cream cheese + 1/4 cup whipping cream beaten together.


  • For 1 teaspoon Allspice SUBSTITUTE: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


  • For 1 Tablespoon chopped Fresh Herbs SUBSTITUTE: 1 teaspoon dried herbs OR 1/2 teaspoon ground herbs.


  • For 1/2 cup Maple Sugar SUBSTITUTE: 1 cup maple syrup


  • For 1 cup Brown Sugar SUBSTITUTE: 1 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup molasses


  • For 2 cups Fresh Chopped Tomatoes SUBSTITUTE: One 16 oz. can tomatoes







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