Baking Ingredients to Subsitute

There are occasions when you will find you don’t have exactly the right ingredients suggested by a recipe. Here are some suggestions for substitute ingredients which you may find useful:

Flour, Baking Powder and Dry Ingredients

Self-raising flour – substitute plain flour and 1tsp baking powder per 100g. Baking powder – try two parts cream of tartar, one part bicarbonate of soda. Bicarbonate of soda – use double the amount of baking powder. Espresso powder – instant coffee powder (double the amount) will work just as well. Yeast – try mixing flour and water to create a sourdough starter. Oat flour – use oats ground in a food processor. Rice flour – substitute plain flour. Breadcrumbs – oats ground in a processor will work as will ground crackers or biscuits (depending on whether your dish is sweet or savoury). Allspice – substitute 1 part ground ginger, 1 part cloves, 2 parts cinnamon. Hazelnuts – try macadamia nuts instead.


Corn oil – try vegetable or sunflower oil. Sunflower oil – Any vegetable oil should do. Olive oil – use sunflower oil, but note that olive oil has a distinctive taste, so you’ll have to use your judgement on this.

Bear in mind if you’re frying, that sunflower/vegetable oil will heat to a higher temperature than olive oil, so are better for crispiness.

Fats, Egg and Dairy Products

Lard – white vegetable fat will work perfectly well. Butter – use butter spread or margarine. Margarine will work for baking cakes/pastry etc but where the butter flavour is crucial as in buttercream icing, you will need to avoid it. If you are using butter spread, bear in mind the extra oil will affect the consistency too. Single cream – Mix half double cream and half milk. Crème fraiche – substitute plain yoghurt (or possibly sour cream). Buttermilk – Some Milk, soured with a squeeze of lemon juice and left to stand for 15 mins, will do nicely instead. Milk (for vegans) – try soya milk or almond milk. Eggs – use 3tbsp mayonnaise per egg. Egg (for vegans) – try ¼ cup mashed banana + ½ tsp baking powder. Sour cream – substitute plain yoghurt. Cream (for vegans) – use coconut cream.

Sweet Ingredients and Fruits

Raisins – sultanas or currants should work just as well. Chopped dates – try sultanas instead. Sultanas – use chopped dates. Molasses – try mixing half treacle and half golden syrup. Corn syrup – liquid glucose in the same quantities should be fine. Gelatin – try 2tsp of agar agar for every 1tbsp of gelatin. Vanilla pod – vanilla extract or essence comes in a bottle and is easily obtainable from the supermarket. Use 1tbsp of extract per vanilla pod required. Grated carrot – use grated courgette (drained) or beetroot. Cooking apple – an eating apple with a squeeze of lemon juice will do. Caster sugar – whizz some granulated sugar in the food processor. Soft brown sugar – use half dark brown, half caster sugar. Lime juice – lemon juice will do, but will not have quite the same zingy taste.

Do You Know of Any More?

So next time you really want to try a certain recipe, don’t be put off…experiment with substitutes and flavourings. Do you know of any other substitutes that work well? We’d love to hear from you.

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