Tweak your holidays with baking substitutions, stress-free solutions, and treats for special diets.
Substitutions for Baking
From flours to fats, discover healthier whole food alternatives to common ingredients without sacrificing flavor or texture.
|Reduce or Replace||Substitute||Conversion Ratio|
|unbleached white flour||equal amounts|
|whole wheat flour||equal or 1/8 less|
|whole wheat pastry flour||use more liquid or less flour|
|spelt flour||use less liquid or more flour|
|use up to 1/4 cup of any of these per cup of flour to vary the flavor|
|1/2 butter blended with 1/2 canola oil||equal amounts|
|expeller pressed oils||2/3 cup for one cup|
|arrowroot||1/2–1 tsp per cup of cool liquid; heat slowly|
|kudzu powder||1/2–3/4 tsp per cup of liquid|
Used in recipes to bind or leaven. Not all substitutions will work equally well for both purposes.
|Egg Replacer; binds and leavens||11/2 tsp + 2 TB water = 1 egg|
|baking powder; leavening||in cake and cookie recipes that require 1 egg, substitute 2 TB water and 1/2 tsp baking powder|
|Buttermilk and diluted yogurt;
|replaces the liquid in the recipe
replace baking powder with equivalent amount of baking soda to a maximum of 1 tsp per cup of flour
|tofu; binds||1/4 cup mashed tofu (firm or regular)|
|applesauce, fruit puree, cooked starchy vegetable puree||3 TB equals 1 egg|
|1/4 cup warm water, 1 tsp arrowroot powder, 1 tsp soy flour, pinch of lecithin||equals 1 egg|
|Kefir; cultured milk drink||7/8 to 1; reduce sweetener|
|diluted yogurt||7/8 to 1: reduce sweetener|
|Amazake||equal: reduce sweetener|
|Amazake is a cultured rice-based liquid that varies in viscosity from thick, malt-like to the consistency of skim milk, depending on the brand and intended use.|
|Nut milks are available ready-made or you can make your own. For home-made, mix 2–3 TB nuts with 2 cups water and blend until water turns white; strain. Use plain or add a sweetener of your choice, and a dash of flavor extract.|
|agar agar||1 tsp powder per cup of cool liquid; heat slowly, stirring until thickened. Strain and add to recipe.|
|sea salt||3/4 to 1|
|honey||2/3 to 1|
|rice syrup||2/3 to 1|
|maple syrup||2/3 to 1|
|date sugar||2/3 to 1|
|molasses||1/2 to 1|
|fructose||1/2 to 1|
|fruit juice concentrate||1/2 to 1|
Experiment with sweeteners to suit your taste. To increase sweetness with powdered or granulated sweeteners, add the sweetener and reduce the flour proportionally. Reverse to decrease sweetness.
If substituting a liquid for a dry sweetener, either decrease other liquids by ¼ cup per cup of sweetener, or add one quarter cup of flour. Add one half tsp of baking soda per cup of liquid to counteract the increased acidity; decrease baking powder by 2 tsp or eliminate it altogether.
Stress-Free Solutions for Special Diets
Dairy-free? Gluten-free? Make traditional meals with modern twists for friends and family with dietary preferences.
- Recipes. Search by special-diet category in our recipe database.
- Shopping. Buy clearly labeled—dairy free, gluten free, etc.—packaged (vs. bulk) dry goods.
- Baking. Replace butter with extra-virgin olive oil, non-hydrogenated buttery spread or margarine, or coconut oil. Baking with one of the many popular non-dairy beverages, available sweetened or unsweetened, can work well. Arrowroot or cornstarch are perfect for pie fillings.
- Desserts. Some recipes use tofu in place of milk, cream cheese or sour cream.
- Serving. Label dishes prepared for special diets—or which ones contain “avoid” ingredients. Be sure to have a non-dairy option for whipped cream too. Check our dairy and freezer cases for alternate options.
“Alternative” Holiday Treats
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Gluten and Dairy-free Cranberry Banana Quinoa Bread
- Gluten-free Spiced Baked Apples
- Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie