26 Ingredient Swaps to Make With Foods You Already Have in Your Kitchen

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Ran out of eggs, oil, sugar or another ingredient? Turn to our comprehensive list of food substitutions to follow through with your recipe.
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We've all been caught in the middle of making a recipe only to realize we're missing a key ingredient — and in no mood to run to the grocery store.

But there's no need to give up on your homecooked dinner or baked dessert. Learning which ingredients you can swap for others can help you put a meal (or snack) on the table all while boosting your kitchen skills and offering you more flexibility and confidence when cooking and baking.

We've pulled together a comprehensive list of both wet and dry ingredient substitutions — from eggs, oil, milk and wine to flour, yeast and brown sugar — all with a focus on using ingredients you probably already have at home.

Wet Ingredients

Ingredient

Amount

How to Swap

Egg

1 egg

Combine 1 tablespoon of ground chia or flax seeds plus 3 tablespoons of water. Let sit for 5 minutes.

1 egg

Use ½ banana or ¼ cup mashed banana instead. Add 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon baking powder per egg in recipes where leavening is important.

Vegetable oil

3/4 cup

Replace with ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt.

Any amount

Replace with avocado in a one-to-one ratio.

Corn syrup

Any amount

Replace with honey with a one-to-one ratio.

1 cup

Replace with 1 cup of granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water or other liquid called for in the recipe.

Butter

Any amount

Replace with avocado in a one-to-one ratio.

Any amount

Replace with coconut oil in a one-to-one ratio.

Coconut oil

Any amount

Replace with butter in a one-to-one ratio.

Sour cream

Any amount

Replace with Greek yogurt using a one-to-one ratio.

Milk

Any amount

Replace with ¼ cup plain yogurt.

Buttermilk

1 cup

Replace with 1 cup whole milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes until it begins to curdle.

Red wine

Any amount

Replace with grape juice or cranberry juice in a one-to-one ratio.

White wine

Any amount

Replace with apple juice or white grape juice in a one-to-one ratio.

Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Food and Agriculture; Colorado State University Extension

Tips for Using Wet Ingredients

  • When using ground chia or flax seeds in place of eggs, make sure it's a very fine powder. This vegan swap performs better in baked goods like muffins, bread and even doughnuts because of the seeds' earthy flavor.
  • Avocados have a mild flavor, which is why they work well as a butter substitute in baked good likes cookies and brownies. Try whipping the avocado first for a creamy, consistent texture.
  • The great thing about subbing Greek yogurt for sour cream is that it works well in baked goods and as a topping for foods like a Mexican-inspired dish or even a baked potato.

Dry Ingredients

Ingredient

Amount

How to Swap

All-purpose flour

1 cup

Replace with 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs.

1 cup

Replace with 7/8 to 1 cup cornmeal.

1 cup

Replace with 1 1/8 cups cake flour.

Self-rising flour

1 cup

Replace with 1 cup minus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour plus 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.

Cake flour

1 cup

Replace with 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

Pastry flour

1 cup

Replace with 7/8 cup all-purpose flour.

Baking powder

1 teaspoon

Replace with ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ½ cup acidic liquid (such as sour milk, plain yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream or plain kefir)

Yeast

1 packet

When making bread, use 1 teaspoon of baking powder for 1 cup of flour. If using whole-wheat flour, use 1 ¼ teaspoon per cup of flour. If out of baking powder, try baking soda but add some lemon juice to the dough.

Cornstarch (for thickening)

1 tablespoon

Replace with 2 tablespoons flour.

Any amount

Replace with arrowroot with a one-to-one ratio.

Brown sugar

1 cup

Replace with 1 cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup molasses.

Powdered sugar

1 cup

Replace with 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Process in a food processor until powdery.

Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Food and Agriculture; Colorado State University Extension

Tips for Using Dry Ingredients

  • Swapping granulated or coconut sugar for powdered sugar works well in sweet baked goods. The key is to grind the sugar into a super-fine powder. Sifting the sugar before using will help, too.
  • If you're out of brown sugar and are going the molasses and granulated sugar route, try combining them together first; a food processor works great for this.
  • Cornstarch is great for thickening sauces and gravies but if you've run out, flour is an easy alternative to use. You may need to cook the sauce a little longer to soften the clumps and help reduce the flavor of the flour. You can also use a whisk to achieve a smoother texture.

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