Baking Basics: Common Ingredient Substitutions - If you're baking, be sure to consult this list if you need to make any substitutions!

Baking Basics is back!

A few weeks ago I asked for feedback on what you would like to see featured in future Baking Basics installments, and the response was overwhelming – you wanted substitutions! While I am always a staunch advocate of cooking or baking a recipe exactly as written the first time through before attempting substitutions, I know that sometimes life can throw you a curveball. Maybe your grocery store is already closed and you need to make something for the next morning, or you’re stuck at home in a snowstorm and are just dying to bake something. Life happens!

SO, today I’m sharing with you some of the most common and helpful baking substitutions. Please note that while these will work most of the time, it’s totally possible (likely, even) that using any of these could result in slightly altered taste/texture of your baked goods. If there are substitutions not listed here that you are interested in, leave a comment below and I’ll add them!

Happy Baking! xo

Common Baking Substitutions

Baking Powder
1 teaspoon baking powder = ¼ teaspoon baking soda + ½ teaspoon cream of tartar + ¼ teaspoon cornstarch

Baking Soda
½ teaspoon baking soda = 2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup salted butter = 1 cup margarine
1 cup salted butter = 1 cup vegetable shortening + ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup salted butter = 7/8 cup lard + ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter = 1 cup salted butter = 1 cup vegetable shortening = 1 cup lard *minus* ½ teaspoon salt from recipe

1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes
1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt

Cake Flour
1 cup cake flour =  ¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, vegetable oil or shortening

Cocoa Powder
3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder = 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate + reduce fat in recipe by 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder = 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder + ⅛ teaspoon baking soda

1 egg = ¼ cup applesauce
1 egg = 1 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
1 egg = ¼ cup silken tofu pureed
1 egg = 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg = ½ banana mashed with ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup half-and-half = ½ cup whole milk + ½ cup heavy cream

Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup = 1 cup light molasses
1 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup = 1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup whole milk = ½ cup evaporated milk + ½ cup water
1 cup whole milk = 1 cup skim milk + 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice = ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon ground ginger + 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Sour Cream
1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain yogurt

Vanilla Beans
1 vanilla bean = 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Vegetable Oil
1 cup vegetable oil = 1 cup applesauce = 1 cup fruit puree

Vegetable Shortening
1 cup vegetable shortening = 1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable shortening = 1 cup margarine

1 envelope (¼-ounce) active dry yeast = 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 envelope (¼-ounce) active dry yeast = 2¼ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 envelope (¼-ounce) active dry yeast = ⅓ of a 2-ounce cake yeast

Additional Requests?

If there are other substitution questions you have not listed above, leave them in a comment below and I’ll update this page as I answer them!


Check out more posts in the Baking Basics series:

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing a Recipe

High Altitude Baking Tips

Flour 101: The Definitive Guide to the Different Types of Baking Flours

Cocoa Powder 101: Natural Unsweetened vs Dutch-Process

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder: Everything You Need to Know!

Why You Should ALWAYS Weigh Your Ingredients

Chocolate 101

My Must-Have Ingredients