15 Easy Baking Substitutions In An Emergency

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April 4, 2014

Has this ever happened to you? You are right in the middle of a recipe, you open a cupboard (or refrigerator) to grab the next ingredient and it’s not there. You know it was there yesterday but since then, it has magically disappeared. Maybe the kids ate it. Maybe your husband tossed it because he didn’t know you needed it. Maybe you already used it up and forgot to buy more.  Either way, you are in the middle of a recipe and need that ingredient now.

Easy Food Substitutions In An Emergency

In some cases, there are easy food substitutions in an emergency you should know about.  While there aren’t always going to be substitutions, these work for me in a pinch when I just cannot run to the store.


  1. 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour = 1 cup sifted cake flour
  2. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  3. 1 cup sifted self-rising flour = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour plus 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt


  1. 1 cup whole milk = 1/2 cup unsweetened evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water
  2. 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain yogurt
  3. 1 cup sour milk = 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt


  1. 4 extra-large eggs = 5 large eggs or 6 small eggs


  1. 1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup white sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
  2. 1 teaspoon allspice = 1 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  4. 1 square semisweet chocolate = 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh herbs = 3/4 to 1 teaspoon dried herbs
  6. 1 cup granulated sugar = 1 cup light brown sugar (packed) or 2 cups powdered sugar
  7. Poultry seasoning = Equal parts sage, thyme, oregano and marjoram
  8. Herbes de Provence = 4 parts thyme, 4 parts savory, 2 parts lavender and 1 part rosemary

So, the next time you are in the middle of a recipe and you find that you’re out of something you really need, see if there is an easy food substitution that you can use until the next time you go shopping.

Are there any emergency food substitutions you use that I missed?

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