Have you ever discovered you’re all out of a certain ingredient just when you’re in the middle of preparing a recipe? I hate when that happens. And I know myself well enough that I don’t want to run to the store.

For me, an unscheduled trip like that could easily cost $40, maybe more. That’s just how impulsive I can be. I’ve learned that when I’m in a pinch— I need a pinch-hitter!




Here is my list of cooking and baking substitutes that I refer to often:

Need an egg

Combine two tablespoons of water, two tablespoons of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.

Thicken gravy

If you’re out of flour, you can substitute pancake mix up to three tablespoons. It works well, just don’t go over three tablespoons or your guests will be looking for the maple syrup.


Crumble 1/2 slice of bread and mix 1/4 cup broken crackers to substitute.

Baking powder

For each teaspoon of baking powder, substitute: 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

Baking soda

You need to use 2 to 3 times more double-acting baking powder than baking soda. Replace acidic liquid ingredient in the recipe with non-acidic liquid, i.e. water instead of vinegar or lemon juice, etc.


Combine one cup of fresh milk and one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice.


For one teaspoon: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves,

Apple pie spice

For one teaspoon: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice and either 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, ginger or cloves.


You can make the equivalent of 1 cup heavy cream by whisking together 3/4 cup milk and 1/3 cup soft butter or margarine (for use in cooking or baking, not for making whipped cream).


Mix 1 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup liquid (use the same type of liquid called for in the recipe).

Plain yogurt

Cottage cheese blended until smooth makes an excellent cup-for-cup substitute for plain yogurt.

Sweetened condensed milk

To make the equivalent of a 14-ounce can pour 1/2 cup of boiling water into a blender; add 1 cup nonfat dry milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and a few drops of vanilla extract. Cover and blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until smooth. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in a covered container for two days.

MORE: You Can Use This for That in the Kitchen

Chocolate chips

Semi-sweet chocolate chips can be substituted with nine tablespoons cocoa, seven tablespoons of sugar and three tablespoons of butter (this makes the equivalent of six ounces chocolate chips.

Brown sugar

Brown sugar can be replaced with one cup of white sugar and one to two tablespoons of molasses, mixed well with a fork.  Hint: This is so much better than commercial brown sugar, you’ll be tempted to make a permanent switch.

Chocolate mousse

I don’t know how often, if ever, you’ve discovered you are fresh out of chocolate mousse. But you can never be too careful about this kind of thing. So that you are prepared for an unscheduled chocolate fix, learn this substitute: Stir sifted cocoa powder into any a tub of any variety Cool Whip. Now taste. Unbelievable, huh?

RELATED: When All Else Fails, Cover It With Chocolate

White cooking wine

1/3 cup white grape juice plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar*

Red cooking wine

1 cup grape juice, 1 tablespoon strong tea, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar*

*Not rice wine vinegar

First published: 7-3-15; Expanded  & Updated 5-13-19

Do you have a favorite cooking or baking substitute you find works well in a pinch? Please share in the commentss below!

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