Ingredient Substitutes to Use When You’re in a Pinch
Whether cooking for a swanky party, a class in your culinary arts program (such as these) or simply for friends, you might run out of that crucial ingredient for you signature dish and not have enough time to run to the store. Here are a few quick and easy tips for recipe revision to suit your busy schedule and your dinner guests.
Sugar and Honey (keep in mind that honey is a wet ingredient and acts as a binding agent)
- Honey – Use 1 1/4 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of water for every 1 cup of honey.
- Granulated Sugar – Use 1/2 to 3/4 cups of honey for every 1 cup of sugar, but remove about a 1/4 cup of other wet ingredients in the recipe (such as water, milk or butter) or add an additional 1/4 cup of flour to balance out the extra wet ingredients.
- Brown Sugar – Most recipes can use granulated sugar and brown sugar interchangeably, but if a recipe specifically requires dark brown sugar, substitute granulated sugar cup for cup and add 2 tablespoons of molasses.
Buttermilk (often required in recipes, not as often found in homes)
- Measure milk needed at a 1-to-1 ratio, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to curdle the milk. Let stand for a few minutes before mixing.
Flour and Oatmeal
- Flour – Substitute rolled oats cup for cup for up to half of the required flour. Soaking the oats can help in some cases, but will weigh down the dough/batter and prevent rising.
Substitute Ingredients for Dietary Reasons
- For Vegetarians – Mushrooms instead of meats (requires less cook time and they shrink more).
- For the Lactose Intolerant – Soy/rice/almond milk for dairy milk; shortening, vegetable oil or vegetable-oil-based spread for butter.
- For Vegans – Applesauce for eggs (an often missed binding agent, but very effective for baking); canned pumpkin puree, occasionally as a baking binding agent but also as a base for stew and chili.
A recipe substitution book is a great way to find more home remedies to missing ingredients.
For more opportunities to expand your culinary skills, consider enrolling in courses at online cooking schools.