top of page

Substitutions

There are many times where you might find yourself needing to substitute an ingredient. It may be because you have a dietary restriction or allergy, or it might be because you are in the middle of baking and suddenly realize there's an ingredient you're missing! A word of warning, many times, while substitutions can help get your dessert over the finish line, they won't quite have the same flavor, texture, or density as the final product you would have gotten using the recipe's ingredients. That's ok (and sometimes even more delicious!). But should be noted.

Also, for allergies and other dietary restrictions, these are suggestions, but make sure you read all labeling very carefully to make sure that you are not consuming anything that could harm you. 

We've broken down this page into dietary restriction substitutions and missing ingredient substitutions. 

Dietary Restriction Substitutions

  • Wheat flour

  • Nut flour

  • Gelatin

  • Milk

  • Heavy cream

  • Sweetened condensed milk

  • Buttermilk

  • Butter

  • Eggs

  • Nut spreads 

Missing Ingredient Substitutions

  • Flours + leaveners + stabilizers 

  • Sugars + sweeteners

  • Dairy

  • Chocolate + cocoa powder

  • Spices + salts + extracts

  • Eggs

dietary restriction subsititutions

Replacing wheat flour

If you are celiac or gluten intolerant there are

many great gluten free flour options now available. 


You can buy many of the 1-to-1 equivalents so that

you can even use the same amounts called for in the

recipe. Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour are two

reliable substitutes. 

You can also make your own flour blend from non-wheat flour. Here are a few different multi-flour formulas that different gluten free baking sites recommend that try to mimic the texture and consistency of different wheat flours:

Pastry flour:

  • First make this blend: 1/4 cup superfine brown rice flour + 1/4 cup superfine white rice flour + 2 1/3 tablespoons tapioca starch + 2 1/3 tablespoons potato starch + 1 3/4 teaspoons potato flour about 2 teaspoons xanthan gum + 1 1/2 teaspoons pure powdered pectin. Then take ¾ cup of that blend + ⅛ cup cornstarch + ⅛ cup superfine blanched almond flour.

 

All-purpose flour:

  • 1 cup cornstarch + 2 cups rice flour + 2 cups soy flour + 3 cups potato starch flour

  • 2 cups sweet rice flour + 2/3 cup potato flour + 1/3 cup tapioca flour (this combination often works very well)

  • 1 cup brown or sweet brown right flour + 1 cup sorghum flour + ⅔ cup cassava flour + ⅔ cup arrowroot powder

  • 1/4 cup superfine brown rice flour + 1/4 cup superfine white rice flour + 2 1/3 tablespoons tapioca starch + 2 1/3 tablespoons potato starch + 1 3/4 teaspoons potato flour about 2 teaspoons xanthan gum + 1 1/2 teaspoons pure powdered pectin 

  • You can also try using individual non-wheat flours. 

 

Rice Flours


There are different types of rice flours available, and there are different suitable uses for each.The texture of rice flour can vary and will affect the consistency of the finished product, ranging from very light and soft to somewhat gritty in texture.  You may need to make a few test recipes to determine what will give you the best results. Brown rice flour has a nuttier flavor. 

 

White Rice Flour


White rice flour is made from rice kernels with the hull and bran layers removed.  It is a refined flour with a mild flavor that works well in most recipes.  White rice flour can be used as a thickening agent for sauces and puddings. It can be used in some baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, and dumplings, although it can be gritty in large quantities, so it's best used in combination with other flours.


Brown Rice Flour


Brown rice flour is made from whole grain rice. It has a slightly more robust flavor than white rice flour, and when used in baked goods, such as cakes and cookies, brown rice flour provides a grainy texture with a fine, dry crumb.  Brown rice flour works well in bread recipes.


Sweet Rice Flour


Sweet glutinous rice flour, also known as Mochiko flour or mochi flour, is milled from mochi rice, a short-grained, glutinous rice common in Asia.  Although called "glutinous flour" it does not contain gluten.  It is often used to thicken sauces and food mixes, providing a strong bonding that can withstand refrigerator and freezer temperatures without separating.  It is often used for breading foods prior to frying and for making traditional foods that require flour, such as desserts and baked goods, or rice dumplings referred to as Japanese mochi.  Sweet rice flour can also be used as a 1:1 replacement for cake flour.


Almond Flour


Made from ground raw almonds, almond flour (or almond meal) provides high protein, fiber, moisture, and a nutty flavor to gluten-free baked goods. Almond flour is higher in fat than white flour. Since almond flour tends to absorb more moisture than all-purpose flour, you might need to use slightly more almond flour when using it as a flour substitute for baking.

Amaranth Flour


Ground amaranth, made with an ancient grain that contains many amino acids that are absent in most flours, contains no gluten and plenty of protein. It lends a slight earthiness to baked goods but because it's a dense grain, amaranth flour is generally included in recipes in a 50:50 ratio with another lighter flour (i.e. all-purpose or white whole-wheat flour) for the closest-to-classic structure.

Buckwheat Flour


Nutty in flavor, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins, this ancient grain flour is another great gluten-free swap. Since it can be chalky in large amounts, try a one-to-one ratio of buckwheat and another flour on this list (for example a ½ cup buckwheat and ½ cup almond flour when 1 cup is called for) when using it as an all-purpose flour substitute.

Cassava Flour


Cassava flour is made from ground yuca root. It tends to absorb liquid more than other flours. If using as an all-purpose flour substitute, start by using a little less than the amount called for and gradually work in the full amount if your batter seems a little too wet.


Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Flour


Made with ground chickpeas, this gluten-free flour is higher in fiber, protein, and iron than white flour. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are generally milled raw, but they can be roasted first. The dense texture of chickpea flour makes it work great as a thickener or binder in items like pasta sauces, fritters, or meatballs. 

Coconut Flour


Coconut flour is high in fiber and low in carbs, but it has more saturated fat content than white flour. Coconut flour has a high moisture content, and it also has incredible absorbency, which can result in a drier, denser finished product. Using coconut flour in recipes might require adding additional liquid or fat. Try it in a combination of flours like this tropical bread recipe to achieve the perfect mix of heartiness and lightness.


Oat Flour


This flour alternative is made with ground oats. High in fiber and slightly sweet in flavor, oat flour will most often be seen as a flour replacement for a portion of the white or wheat flour in homemade bread, pancakes, and other baked goods. It can easily be made at home by just mixing some whole grain oats in a blender.


Sorghum Flour


Sorghum is an ancient 100 percent whole grain kernel that is ground into a fine flour. Sorghum flour is usually beige or white in color and is considered to be “sweet,” softly textured (smoother than rice flour) and mild-tasting. For healthier baked goods look for 100 percent sorghum flour that hasn’t been bleached, enriched or refined.

General Tips for Wheat-Free Cooking

  • One of the down sides of wheat-free baking is that the recipes don't rise as much.  Wheat-free flours often work best if the recipe is cooked for a longer period of time at a lower temperature than usual.  Reduce your oven temperature by about 25 degrees, and you will find the finished product will be a little less flat. If you are not avoiding eggs, adding an extra egg to a gluten-free recipe will help the product rise a little more.

  • Refrigerating dough for half an hour before baking may help improve the texture and flavor.

  • Since many wheat-free foods will crumble, you may want to experiment with making foods with smaller surface areas, such as cupcakes instead of cakes.

 

Replacing nut flour

If you are allergic to nuts, you can use sunflower seed flour 1:1 in the place of almond flour. 

 

Replacing gelatin

If you are vegetarian, vegan, or kosher, or if you just don’t like gelatin, you can substitute agar agar or pectin depending on the recipe. A warning that substituting gelatin with either product will likely yield a different, more firm, and less light texture. 

Agar agar is a mix of carbohydrates extracted from Red Sea algae. When using agar agar in place of  gelatin you can use a 1:1 ratio. However, there are a few differences between agar-agar and gelatin. Agar sets more firmly than gelatin so recipes will be less jiggly and less creamy.  Additionally, foods that are highly acidic may require more agar-agar than the recipe calls for and some foods, such as pineapples, figs, papayas, mangos, and peaches, have enzymes which prevent the gelling from happening. Chocolate and spinach also seem to do this. The way to get around this is to cook these ingredients first which will neutralize those enzymes and allow the setting to happen. Read the packaging carefully on how to bloom the agar agar before using.

 

Pectin is a fiber that’s found in the cell walls of many fruits. When pectin is heated and mixed with acids and sugars, it forms a thick gel-like substance. Replacing gelatin with pectin may not yield the desired texture in the end product. Compared to gelatin, pectin is more gummy and syrup-like. Read the packaging carefully on how to bloom the pectin before using.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Replacing milk

If you are lactose intolerant or are just avoiding dairy in general, there are non-dairy or lactose free alternatives to milk, all of which can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio in recipes. These milks add different and sometimes strong flavors, so choose which flavor you prefer. Cow’s milk alternatives include: soy, oat, coconut, almond, flax, macadamia, hazelnut, cashew, hemp, flax, sunflower, and potato. Many of these also come in different flavors, such as regular, vanilla, chocolate. 


 

Replacing heavy cream

If you are lactose intolerant or are just avoiding dairy in general, there are non-dairy or lactose free alternatives to heavy cream. Canned, full fat coconut milk can be substituted for heavy cream and works well as whipped cream, though it does add a slightly coconutty flavor.

 

Replacing sweetened condensed milk

If you are lactose intolerant or are just avoiding dairy in general, there are non-dairy or lactose free alternatives to sweetened condensed milk. 


You can make your own sweetened condensed milk substitute by making a "safe" evaporated milk and adding sugar. Evaporated milk is milk that has water content reduced by 60%. Simmer any quantity of soy or rice milk in a pan until it reduced by 60% to get evaporated milk. Approximately 3 cups of rice or soy milk will leave 1 cup of evaporated milk left at the end. Be careful not to scald it. For sweetened condensed milk, mix one cup of evaporated milk with 1-1/4 cups of sugar. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool. It will yield 1-1/2 cups of evaporated milk substitute. It will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Another alternative for evaporated milk is to substitute coconut milk 1:1 in the recipe. This will impart a coconut flavor to the recipe, so it works in some recipes but not all.

Replacing butter

There are several dairy free alternatives to butter,

most notably oils and margarines, including coconut

oil, avocado oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, milk-free

margarine and soy butter. 

 


Replacing buttermilk


You can make your own buttermilk substitute by mixing one tablespoon vinegar plus 1 cup milk alternative such as rice milk or soy milk.

 

Replacing eggs

In a typical recipe for baked goods, eggs generally play one of two roles: binder (to hold the recipe together) or leavening agent (to help it rise). Sometimes eggs play both roles at once. When a recipe calls for more than 3 eggs it can be very challenging to substitute without losing the texture and changing the density. However, if you are avoiding eggs, here are a few methods that you can try. 

Substitute one egg for:

  • Use a full 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per 1 large egg. Use 2 tablespoons of aquafaba per 1 large egg white.

  • One-quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce with one-half teaspoon of baking powder 

  • One-quarter cup of mashed banana (there may be a slight banana flavor) 

  • One tablespoon of ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of water; mix until water is fully absorbed 

  • Two tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of oil (vegetable or corn oil works best) and two teaspoons of baking powder 

  • 3-1/2 tablespoons gelatin blend (mix 1 cup boiling water and 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, and then use 3-1/2 tablespoons of that mixture per egg)

  • For egg wash, use melted margarine in place of the beaten egg whites.

 


Replacing peanut or almond butter 

Sunflower seed butter, soy butter, pea butter, and tahini (made from sesame) are common substitutes. Tree nut butters, such as almond or cashew butter, can be used by individuals who do not have a tree nut allergy. Note that tree nut butters can be produced on equipment shared with other tree nuts and, in some cases, peanuts. Contact the manufacturer before eating these products.

shutterstock_1069963475.jpg
shutterstock_1069963475.jpg
shutterstock_1069963475.jpg
Dietary

Missing ingredient substitutions

Flours + leaveners + stabilizers 

  • Baking Powder (double-acting): 1 teaspoon = 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • Baking Soda: 1/4 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon baking powder (any acidic ingredients in the recipe will have a more assertive, tangier flavor)

  • Bread crumbs: Ground rolled oats or crushed cereal

  • Bread flour: All-purpose flour

  • Cake Flour: 1 cup = 1 cup - 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Self-Rising Flour: 1 cup = 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch: 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • Cream of Tartar: large pinch to 1/4 teaspoon = 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


Sugars and sweeteners

  • 1 cup brown sugar: 1 scant cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses

  • Honey: Corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or agave nectar

  • ½ cup powdered sugar: Grind ½ cup granulated sugar in a blender until fine. Multiply as needed to reach the amount called for in the recipe.

  • Dark Brown Sugar: 1 cup = 1 cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons molasses or 1 cup light brown sugar

  • Light Brown Sugar: 1 cup = 1 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses or 1 cup dark brown sugar

 

Dairy

 

  • Butter: Coconut oil, margarine, or lard can replace butter

  • Buttermilk: 1 cup = 1 cup yogurt (not Greek) or 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice; let the mixture sit until curdled before using, about 10 minutes

  • Evaporated milk: Half and half

  • Half-and-Half: 1 cup = 1/2 cup whole milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Heavy Cream: 1 cup = 1 cup whole milk + 1 tablespoon melted butter

  • Whole Milk: 1 cup = 1 cup skim or low-fat milk + 2 tablespoons melted butter

  • Yogurt: 1 cup = 1 cup sour cream

  • Sour Cream: 1 cup = 1 cup plain yogurt

 
Chocolate + cocoa powder
 

  • Dutch Process Cocoa Powder: 1/2 cup = 1/2 cup natural cocoa + replace the baking powder in the recipe with half the amount of baking soda

  • Natural Cocoa Powder: 1/2 cup = 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa + replace the baking soda in the recipe with twice the amount of baking powder

  • Semisweet Chocolate: 1 ounce = 3 tablespoons cocoa powder + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon oil or melted butter


Spices + Salts + Extracts 

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: 1 teaspoon = 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/8 teaspoon ground clove + 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • Iodized Salt: 1/2 teaspoon = 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Kosher Salt: 1/2 teaspoon = 1/4 teaspoon iodized salt

  • Lemon Juice: 1 teaspoon = 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon bourbon or rum


Eggs

 

Substitute one egg for:

  • Use a full 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per 1 large egg. Use 2 tablespoons of aquafaba per 1 large egg white.

  • One-quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce with one-half teaspoon of baking powder 

  • One-quarter cup of mashed banana (there may be a slight banana flavor) 

  • One tablespoon of ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of water; mix until water is fully absorbed 

  • Two tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of oil (vegetable or corn oil works best) and two teaspoons of baking powder 

  • 3-1/2 tablespoons gelatin blend (mix 1 cup boiling water and 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, and then use 3-1/2 tablespoons of that mixture per egg)

  • For egg wash, use melted margarine in place of the beaten egg whites.

The information on this page was sourced from:

www.kidswithfoodallergies.org

https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com

www.godairyfree.org

https://healthytasteoflife.com/

www.foodnetwork.com

Missig Ing
bottom of page