Common baking substitutions that really work

We’ve all been there. You’re cooking some late-night banana bread, when disaster strikes. You realize you’re missing one of the ingredients. What do you do? Call a neighbor? Improvise? Abandon the mission entirely? Luckily, most baking ingredients have substitutes that work just as well, and you likely already have them in your pantry. So take a deep breath, pick that whisk back up, and mix things up with these common baking substitutions.

  1. What you’re missing: Baking Soda

What you can use: Baking soda is used to make baking powder, so you can use 3 teaspoons of baking powder to replace 1 teaspoon of baking soda. You may want to cut any additional salt from the recipe, because baking powder already has salt in it. 

  1. What you’re missing: Butter

What you can use: If you have margarine or other non-dairy buttery spreads, you can use those direct replacements.  Vegetable oil also works as a 1:1 substitution. You can also use half a cup of applesauce for every 1 cup of butter. 

  1. What you’re missing: Eggs 

What you can use: If you happen to have ground flaxseeds, mix one tablespoon with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes, until it becomes a paste. This replaces one large egg. You can also use a ¼ cup of applesauce, a ¼ cup of unflavored seltzer water, or 1 mashed banana for every large egg the recipe calls for.

  1. What you’re missing: Heavy Cream

What you can use: Make your own heavy cream by adding one tablespoon of melted butter to a cup of whole milk. Half and half also works as a direct replacement. You can also combine equal parts greek yogurt and whole milk for a slightly healthier option. 

  1. What you’re missing: Molasses

What you can use: For every 1 cup of molasses, you can use 1 cup of honey, or 1 cup of maple syrup. You can also ¾ of a cup of brown sugar to replace 1 cup of molasses. Molasses does have a strong flavor, so these subs only work if it isn’t the star of the show. 

  1. What you’re missing: Cake Flour 

What you can use: Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to ¾ of a cup of all-purpose flour. If you don’t have cornstarch, ⅔ of a cup of all-purpose flour can replace 1 cup of cake flour, but you might not get that same cake-like consistency. 

  1. What you’re missing: Buttermilk

What you can use: To replace 1 cup of buttermilk, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk, and let it sit for a few minutes. You can also use 1 cup of plain yogurt as a direct replacement. 

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