milk, eggs and flour on the counter

Baking Substitutions

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You’re in the middle of mixing up a batch of delicious Copy Cat Cinnabons when you notice you’re short on butter! Oh no! The kids were looking forward to these, and it’s so difficult to stop in the middle to run to the store. What to do? Simple! Check out some of these common baking substitutions and keep on going!

Baking Mix: If you are ever short on pancake, baking, or biscuit mix, know that they are completely interchangeable. Most of these mixes contain almost the exact same ingredients as the other. You can also easily mix up your own with 5 cups of flour, ¼ cup of baking powder, 2 tablespoons of sugar, a splash of salt, and 1 stick of butter or margarine. You can seal this mixture up and keep it for about 6 weeks if the container is airtight.

Baking Powder: Hate it when you grab for the baking powder, to find you only have baking soda? Not a problem; with baking soda and cream of tartar, you can make your own! Just mix 2 parts tartar to the 1 part of soda, and you’ll be good as gold.

Brown sugar: Brown sugar, white sugar, and confectioners sugar may all look different, but they taste almost identical in most places. You can easily substitute brown and white sugar one-to-one, but add an additional ¼ cup of confectioner’s sugar to the 1 cup of the other two.

Butter:  This one can be tricky depending on the recipe.  Margarine (not the soft tub type) can often be used in baking.  Cooking oils, like vegetable oil, will substitute one-to-one with butter in most baking.

Butter Milk:  Place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup.  Fill to 1 cup with milk and let sit 5 minutes.  Works perfectly every time!

Cake Flour:  Does your recipe call for cake flour?  While the type of flour called for in the recipe is best, in a pinch for each cup of cake flour, use 1 cup of all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons.

Half & Half Cream:  To make 1 cup of half & half, place 1 tablespoon melted butter in a 1 cup measuring up and top up with whole milk.

Heavy Cream:  Need some heavy cream but only have milk?  Combine 3/4 milk with 1/4 melted butter to replace 1 cup of heavy cream.

Eggs: Always seem to run out of eggs? No sweat! In baking, you can substitute one egg for half of a banana, or ⅓ cup of applesauce. This will also help if you are trying your hand at vegan baking! The fruit can add a little bit of a different flavor to your light breads and cakes, but you may like it!

Honey: Corn syrup and honey are interchangeable, one-to-one. You can also use white sugar mixed with a little water, one-to-one as well!

Mayo: If you don’t like the fat content of mayonnaise, or if you just ran out, you can substitute real, plain greek yogurt. Also, if you need mayo in small amounts in your recipe, you can exchange it for sour cream.

Sour Cream:  Substitute sour cream in recipes for yogurt…  same measurements.

Unsweetened Chocolate:  Need some unsweetened chocolate?  Substitute 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon shortening for each ounce needed.

Cream of Tartar: Did you know you can exchange the cream of tartar for lemon juice or vinegar? The exchange rate is doubled, so if you need 1 teaspoon of tartar, added 2 teaspoons of lemon or vinegar.

Allspice: Make you own! Just mix two parts cinnamon to one part ginger, and one part cloves. Super simple!

1 Package of Active Dry Yeast:  1 Package of Active dry yeast is equivalent to 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast.



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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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  1. If you are baking vegan, You can use coconut milk (not lite) for cream and vegan margarine for butter. I make a vegan caramel with these substitutes. It tastes the same. My daughter is vegan and hates coconut. She could not taste the difference in the caramel.

  2. I don’t understand the active dry yeast? There is no substitution listed? It reads, “1 Package of Active dry yeast is equivalent to 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast.”
    All it’s saying is active dry yeast is equal to active dry yeast? What’s the substitute? Please explain

    1. Often recipes will require “1 package” of Active dry yeast without giving measurements. If you don’t have a package, you can just substitute 2 ¼ teaspoons from a jar of active dry yeast. :)

  3. Wanted to print off this page about baking substitutions, but there’s no ‘print’ button.

      1. Will be up in a couple of days. :) I will repost on Facebook once I’ve added it in.

      2. Right below the photo there is a black button that says “FREE Printable Copy Here”. If you click it the printable will open up. :)