Easy Substitutions

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

white flour

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
tapioca flour
potato flour
rice flour
oat flour
use up to 1/4 cup of any of these per cup of flour to vary the flavor

margarine

butter equal amounts
1/2 butter blended with 1/2 canola oil equal amounts

shortening

expeller pressed oils 2/3 cup for one cup
butter equal

cornstarch

arrowroot 1/2–1 tsp per cup of cool liquid; heat slowly
kudzu powder 1/2–3/4 tsp per cup of liquid

eggs



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;
leavening
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

milk

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.
soymilk equal
nut milks equal
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.

gelatin

agar agar 1 tsp powder per cup of cool liquid; heat slowly, stirring until thickened. Strain and add to recipe.

refined salt

sea salt 3/4 to 1

refined sugar

Sucanat equal
malted barley equal
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
FruitSource equal

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

Hungry for more? Look no further than our Dairy-Free Recipe Pages and Shopping Tips and browse our Gluten-Free Recipe Pages and Shopping Tips.