Here’s a handy list of baking ingredient substitutions. You’ll need it when you’re elbow-deep into a recipe and suddenly realize you’re missing a key ingredient.

Please note that often the results will not be exactly the same if you make a substitution.

  • Buttermilk – To replace a cup of buttermilk, stir 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into a cup of whole milk. Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken. You can also use ¾ cup yogurt or sour cream thinned with a ¼ cup of milk or water.
  • Sour Cream – Yogurt and sour cream are generally interchangeable. Greek yogurt is closest in texture to sour cream and is the best substitute.
  • Baking powder – For each teaspoon of baking powder you can use ¼ teaspoon of baking soda plus ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.
  • Cake Flour – For each cup of cake flour you can substitute ¾ cup of all-purpose flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of corn starch.
  • Chocolate – To replace an ounce of unsweetened chocolate you can use 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of butter or shortening. For semi-sweet chocolate use 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of butter/shortening plus 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  • Brown Sugar – For each cup of brown sugar use a cup of white sugar plus 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of molasses. Use less to substitute light brown sugar and more to substitute dark-brown sugar.
  • Butter – Nothing compares to butter but…..vegetable shortening can generally be used 1:1 to replace butter to make a recipe vegan-friendly. Applesauce or Prune Puree can replace up to ½ the butter in quick bread recipes to make a lower fat version.
  • Cream/Milk – Unless the cream is to be whipped, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk and soy milk can be used to make a recipe non-dairy and vegan.
  • Whole Eggs – Unless you’re making a custard or sponge cake, commercial egg replacers can be used instead of whole eggs for many baked goods if the eggs are not a major component of the recipe.
  • Egg Whites – Aquafaba (the water from canned chickpeas) can substitute for egg whites.
  • White Flour – Whole Grain Flour can replace up to ½ the white flour in most bread recipes to create a heartier and more nutritious recipe.

Want to learn more baking basics? Check out these free Baking Classes:

How to Measure Baking Ingredients

The Science of Baking Ingredients

The Science of Cake Batter

How to Create a Balanced Cake Recipe

Baking Ingredients Weights & Measurement Conversion Chart

Baking Techniques Explained