Baking in a pinch? Remember these 5 popular baking substitutes to get you by between trips to the supermarket!

Whether you are baking for a small group or for a party, you need to know some essential baking substitutes.

There are several types of baking ingredients that you should always have at home. Some of them include flour, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, yeast, salt, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. If you don’t have these items at home, you can easily substitute them with other ingredients such as cornstarch, powdered sugar, margarine, applesauce, yogurt, etc.

When you bake, you want to ensure that your baked goods taste delicious and look beautiful. The secret lies in knowing the difference between various baking ingredients. This article will give you a brief overview of the basic baking ingredients and their uses.


Ever start baking a new recipe you are craving, only to learn you do not have all of the ingredients at home? You panic because the recipe calls for 3 eggs and you only have 1. Or maybe you are lactose intolerant but still want to make that vanilla cake recipe.


While many consider baking to be an exact science, it is much more forgiving than many claim. Home baking can be versatile thanks to the many baking substitutes out there! Stop worrying about the ingredients you have and just focus on having fun in the kitchen.

There are several types of baking ingredients that you should always have at home. Some of them include flour, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, yeast, salt, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. If you don’t have these items at home, you can easily substitute them with other ingredients such as cornstarch, powdered sugar, margarine, applesauce, yogurt, etc.

Here are 5 popular baking substitutes to keep in mind for your next baking session!

It’s really easy to forget how many eggs you have left in the carton. Perhaps you forgot about that massive quiche you made over the weekend and you are fresh out of eggs. Of course, you only notice this mid-way through a brownie recipe.
! The first egg substitute is made by mixing 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds plus 3 tablespoons water per 1 egg. Mix in a small bowl and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. The result is a sticky, goopy mixture that closely resembles egg whites. Add this directly to your batter!

the next egg substitute is 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise per 1 egg. Since mayonnaise is made mostly from eggs, it is a fine baking swap. Almost all of us have a jar of mayo in the fridge!

Lastly, a nice vegan egg substitute is ¼ cup applesauce per 1 egg. Applesauce binds batter recipes together with its unique texture, leading to a moist result. Those applesauce snack packs are perfect for keeping in the cupboard for just this reason!

Running out of baking powder is super common. Not only that, but you may start to notice your older packages of baking powder have less lift to them than they used to. This is because baking powder loses its rise after its expiration date. You might be in the middle of making baked goods when you notice this stuff is well-passed its use-by date.


Baking Powder Substitutes

No worries here! There are plenty of swaps for baking powder that will still give rise to your cakes, muffins, and other baked goods.

The first of many substitutes for baking powder utilize baking soda and an acidic component. This is what creates the chemical reaction that causes foods to rise while baking. ¼ teaspoon of baking soda plus ½ teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice is a great swap. You might notice this mixture start to bubble immediately before adding to your batter, and that’s okay!

The same amount of baking soda plus ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar also works. If you have cream of tartar on hand, it is worth it! Baking soda plus buttermilk also works well. Buttermilk is very acidic and thick, so it causes the chemical reaction we need in baking. One teaspoon of baking powder equals about ¼ teaspoon of baking soda mixed with ½ cup buttermilk. Cut down on liquids in the recipe if using buttermilk!

Liquid Swaps Some substitutes for baking powder happen to be liquid swaps. By replacing all of the liquid in your recipe for equal amounts of club soda, you will produce a rise in your batter. This is because one of the main ingredients in club soda is sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda!

Lastly, just like a good, old-fashioned angel food cake , consider folding whipped egg whites into your batter. The air from the whipping process causes a rise in the oven just as a chemical component would, like a classic souffle. If your recipe calls for eggs already, whip the whites and incorporate the yolks into the wet ingredients for maximum lift.

Baking Soda Swaps Similar to swapping baking powder for baking soda, you can also swap soda for powder! You will need about 2 to 3 times as much baking powder as you would baking soda. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon baking soda, use 2-3 teaspoons of baking powder to substitute. Using too much baking powder will have a funky taste, so be careful with this swap!

Swapping the flour in your recipe to self-raising flour will also work if you do not have baking soda. Self-raising flour contains leavening ingredients from the get-go, so this will eliminate the need for more ingredients.

Just as in the baking powder swap, egg whites can also add the lift you need. Follow the same steps as above by beating the whites and adding the yolks to the wet ingredients.


Substitute for Butter

Either you’re out of butter, or you’re cutting animal products from your diet. Either way, there are plenty of substitutes for butter in baking. Butter is essentially fat, and there are plenty of fat sources suitable for baking.

Vegetable oil is the most common swap for butter in baking. Many boxed cakes and brownies call for a neutral oil rather than butter, so it is a tried and true method. Swap for equal amounts in most recipes. Just be sure your neutral oil does not have a strong flavor, otherwise the taste will come through the final product.

Greek yogurt is also a fat that eliminates the need for butter. Use slightly less than equal amounts, and try to find full-fat yogurt for maximum flavor and texture.

Lastly, equal amounts of pureed avocado, applesauce, and pumpkin puree can all be used as a butter substitute. Avocado contains tons of healthy fats, so using it or baked goods makes a lot of sense. Applesauce and pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!) also add small amounts of fat and moisture and are perfect in a pinch.

Milk Substitutes

All batters need liquid for moisture when baking. The most obvious milk substitute is water, which we all have flowing from the tap. However, milk contains some fats while water does not. Try to add another fat component if swapping for water in a baking recipe.

Try swapping for plant milk, if you have it. Oat milk is creamy and luxurious in baking, soy milk adds a nice flavor, and almond milk is also amazing. All plant milks are created equal when it comes to baking!

Heavy cream plus water or diluted yogurt creates a milky liquid, perfect for baking. Use equal amounts in your recipe.

Finally, try some preserved milk products if you have them in the cupboard. Powdered milk and evaporated milk are two milk derivatives that work like a charm. Try to avoid using sweetened condensed milk, as it is thick and has a lot of added sugar. Your recipe will certainly come out too sweet if using condensed milk!

Swap for Swap

We have learned a lot today when it comes to baking substitutes. These 5 popular baking substitutes will hopefully inspire you to get in the kitchen. The bottom line is to not let your pantry ingredients ruin your urge to bake! Use what you have to create new recipes. It is all in good fun, and baking is more forgiving than you think!


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Baking is one of the most important things you’ll ever learn how to do. And baking substitutes? That’s just icing on the cake!

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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