A Guide To Common Cooking Substitutions

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Are you trying to cook a recipe, but don’t have one of the ingredients? You’re in luck!

Nothing is worse than being in the middle of cooking a delicious recipe you found online, and realizing that you’re missing an ingredient, or it requires an ingredient that you can’t eat. 

Ingredient substitution is easier than you thought and can help save time in the kitchen if you have an allergy, want to avoid certain ingredients, or simply forgot to buy something at the store. 

We have compiled some common cooking substitutions you can use to save your diet, your allergies, or to save yourself a trip to the grocery store:

Answers to 9 Common Ingredient Substitution Questions

1. Can You Substitute Butter For Oil?

A very common cooking substitution that many home cooks use is substituting butter for oil. If you’re cooking a recipe and run out of butter, you can substitute butter for oil at a ratio of 1cup butter to ⅞ cups oil. 

This recipe substitution works for both salted, and unsalted butter. Margarine and shortening can also be substituted at the same ratio. To make measuring butter easier, just remember that 1 stick of butter is equal to ½ US cup. 

2. Can You Substitute Heavy Cream For Milk?

If you are cooking a recipe that requires milk, but you used the last of it in your cereal this morning, you may ask yourself, can you substitute heavy cream for milk? In order to make this recipe substitution, you simply need to use ½ cup of water mixed with ½ cup of heavy cream for every 1 cup of milk required in the recipe. Heavy cream is essentially just milk with the water removed, so this ingredient substitution works perfectly. 

3. Can You Substitute Flour For Cornstarch?

If you’re making a soup and need to thicken it, but don’t have any cornstarch, a common cooking substitution is to use flour. You can substitute flour for cornstarch by using twice the amount of flout that the recipe calls for cornstarch. For example, if the recipe requires 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of flour will be an excellent recipe substitution.

4. Can You Substitute Curry Powder For Curry Paste?

Curry powder is made of a complex mix of herbs and spices that can be used to add incredible depth and flavor to a dish. Fortunately, if a recipe calls for curry powder, but you only have curry paste, this cooking substitution works perfectly. To substitute curry powder for curry paste, simply use a 1:1 ratio. So, if the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of curry powder, use 1 tablespoon of curry paste for an identical recipe substitution.

5. Can You Substitute Butter For Shortening?

Ingredient substitution when it comes to fats is pretty straightforward. You can substitute butter for shortening by using a 1:1 ratio. Additionally, you can use this cooking substitution the other way around, by substituting shortening for butter. Because of the properties of both of these fats, it is very easy to use one or the other, with minimal differences in flavor to the finished recipe. 

This is especially helpful if you want to make a vegan recipe that requires butter. Using vegetable-based shortening is a great recipe substitution to avoid using animal products.

6. Can You Substitute Half and Half For Milk?

Like heavy cream, you can substitute half and half for milk with the addition of a little bit of water. If you are out of milk, and only have half and half, use ¾ cup of half and half with ¼ cup of water for every 1 cup of milk in the recipe. 

If the recipe calls for half and half, but you don’t have any, you can mix ½ cup of milk with ½ cup of heavy cream to create half and half (get it? Half and half?)

7. Can You Substitute Evaporated Milk For Milk?

If a recipe calls for milk, but your milk is past its expiration date you can substitute evaporated milk for milk. Evaporated milk is just milk with most of the water removed, and evaporated milk has a much longer shelf life, so it can be stored for longer periods of time. 

In order to substitute evaporated milk for milk, simply mix ½ cup of water with ½ cup of evaporated milk for every 1 cup of milk required in the recipe.

8. Can You Substitute Applesauce for Oil?

If you are baking and don’t have enough oil for your cake, a recipe substitution you can try out is applesauce for oil. You can substitute applesauce for oil in a 1:1 ratio, meaning if the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil or fats for baking, the ingredient substitution is 1 cup of applesauce. This recipe substitution is more common than you thought and works for fats other than oil. If you want to make vegan cookies, for instance, you can substitute applesauce for butter as well. And the best part is, you won’t even be able to taste the difference!

9. Can You Substitute Greek Yogurt For Sour Cream?

Due to their similar consistencies and tangy flavors, you can absolutely substitute greek yogurt for sour cream. If you are making a dip, sauce, or baking, and don’t have sour cream, greek yogurt works as the perfect recipe substitution. Just use a 1:1 ratio and continue making the recipe according to the original instructions. 

If you are baking, be sure to use whole-fat yogurt in order to match the consistency, and keep the original fat content. This ingredient substitution also works the other way around if you want to use dairy-free yogurt in place of sour cream.

What To Use Instead of Cooking Substitutions

Want to be sure that you always have the right ingredients to prepare gourmet-inspired meals that are ready in 15 minutes or less? Gobble will deliver everything you need to cook fantastic meals, with no ingredient substitution necessary. Our classic plan is full of sous-chef-prepared meals, sure to delight your taste buds. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, check out our lean & clean plan to help you lose those extra holiday pounds, no recipe substitution needed!

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