Show of hands, how many of you have been in the kitchen, ready to make a meal, only to realize you are out of one of your staple foods? I’ve been there. Many times. There are some foods that I always assume we have plenty of in the pantry or refrigerator and am shocked when we are low.
I try to make sure to add these to the grocery list on our Amazon Echo when I notice, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.
Sometimes a recipe calls for a lot more of a staple food than I was planning, which also becomes a problem. I may have a decent amount of flour in the pantry, then try to make something with 3 cups of flour to find out I only have 2 cups. Or I need some chopped onion but the onion has gone bad.
No matter which situation you find yourself in, it’s always helpful to have a list of emergency substitutions that you can make while cooking. Changing out recipe ingredients can alter the flavor or texture slightly, but usually, it works well enough.
Other times you may find you like the food better after the substitution is made and change your recipe. This happened with my recipe for Alice Springs Chicken. Originally, I was using honey, but when we were low one night I subbed in maple syrup and we liked the taste so much we changed my recipe.
Download a copy of the Ingredients Substitution list to have handy in the kitchen when you need it:
|If you don’t have:||Substitute with:|
|Baking Powder (1 tsp)||1/2 tsp cream of tartar plus 1/4 tsp baking soda|
|Bread Crumbs (1/4 cup)||1/4 cup cracker crumbs|
|Broth, beef or chicken (1 cup)||1 tsp of instant beef or chicken bouillon plus 1 cup hot water|
|Buttermilk (1 cup)||1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup & let it stand 5 minutes before using OR 1 cup of plain yogurt|
|Cornstarch (1 tbsp)||2 tbsp all-purpose flour|
|Corn Syrup (1 cup)||1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water|
|Egg (1 whole)||2 egg white OR 2 egg yolks OR 1/4 cup frozen egg product, thawed|
|Flour, self-rising (1 cup)||1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking soda|
|Garlic (1 clove)||1/2 tsp bottled minced garlic OR 1/8 tsp garlic powder|
|Half-and-half (1 cup)||1 tbsp melted butter or margarine plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup|
|Herbs, fresh (1 tbsp)||1/2-1 tsp dried herb, crushed|
|Honey (1 cup)||1 1/4 cups granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water OR 1 cup of pure maple syrup|
|Lemon Juice (1 tsp)||1/2 tsp vinegar|
|Milk, whole (1 cup)||1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water OR 1 cup water plus 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder|
|Onion, chopped (1 small)||1 tsp onion powder OR 1 tbsp dried minced onion|
|Pumpkin Pie Spice (1 tsp)||1/2 tsp ground cinnamon plus 1/4 tsp ground ginger plus 1/4 tsp ground allspice plus 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg|
|Sour Cream (1 cup)||1 cup plain yogurt|
|Sugar, granulated (1 cup)||1 cup packed brown sugar OR 2 cups sifted powdered sugar|
|Tomato Juice (1 cup)||1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water|
|Tomato Sauce (2 cups)||3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water|
Next time you are working on a recipe, and find you are out of an ingredient, see if there is a substitute you can make. This saves you from having to call a neighbor, run to the store (or send your husband to the store, as I usually do!), or scrap the recipe altogether and call in a pizza. Been there, done that on every one of these.
But, as I mentioned, sometimes it’s fun to make substitutions and find a new way to make a recipe. It may just become your favorite once you tweak one or two little things!
Continue the Conversation
- What emergency substitutions have you made that have worked?
- Have you made any substitutions that have failed?
- What do you do when you are out of an ingredient for a meal?
- Which one of these substitutions surprises you the most?