If you live where ingredients are hard to find (like me, here in the Philippines) or if you simply don’t want to run to the store, you can often make substitute ingredients instead. Here’s a pretty thorough list of substitutes I’ve compiled from various sources over the years.
ALLSPICE: Use equal amount ground cloves.
ABBORIO RICE: Used mainly in preparing risotto; replace with another short- or medium rice.
APPLE PIE SPICE: 4 parts cinnamon, 1 part nutmeg and 1 part ginger.
ARUGULA: Use equal amount watercress.
BACON: Use equal amount ham.
BAKING POWDER: For 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.
BALSAMIC VINEGAR (1 tbsp): 1 Tbsp cider vinegar.
BOUQUET GARNI: Equal measures of thyme, parsley and crushed bay leaf; OR Equal measures of thyme, chervil and crushed bay leaf; OR Equal measures of basil, marjoram, and summer savory.
BREAD CRUMBS (1/4 cup): 1/4 cup finely crushed cracker crumbs, corn flakes or quick-cooking oats.
BROWN SUGAR: For 1 cup brown sugar, use 1 cup granulated white sugar plus 2
BUTTER (1 lb): 7/8 Cup solid shortening plus 1/2 tsp. salt
BUTTERMILK (1 cup): 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand 5 minutes before using. Or use 1 cup plain yogurt.
CANDIED FRUIT: Use equal amount dried fruit. For 1 cup candied peel, use 1 teaspoon grated fresh citrus peel plus 1 cup golden raisins.
CAPERS (1 tbsp): 1 Tbsp chopped green olives.
CHILI SEASONING: 2 parts chili powder & 1 part paprika.
CHIVES: Use equal amount green onion tops.
CHOCOLATE: Semisweet (1 square) = 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate plus 1 Tbsp sugar.
Unsweetened (1 square) = 3 Tbsp baking cocoa plus 1 Tbsp shortening or margarine.
CHORIZO SAUSAGE: Use equal amount spicy kielbasa.
CORNSTARCH (1 tbsp): 2 Tbsp flour or 4 tsp quick-cooking tapioca.
CORN SYRUP: Light (1 cup) = 1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup water. Dark (1 cup) = 3/4 cup light corn syrup plus 1/4 cup molasses; or 1 cup maple-flavored syrup.
CREAM, HEAVY (1 cup): 2/3 cup milk and 1/3 cup butter.
CRÈME FRAICHE: Combine 1 cup heavy cream with 3 tablespoons buttermilk; cover and let stand at room temperature 12 hours. (If using ultra-pasteurized cream, let stand 24 hours.) Refrigerate up to 1 week.
CUMIN: There is no real equivalent; in Southwestern and Mexican dishes, use equal amount chili powder.
CURRANTS: Use equal amount chopped raisins.
CURRY POWDER: Combine equal parts coriander, cumin, pepper, turmeric, and ginger. Alternatively; 4 parts coriander, 2 parts tumeric, 2 parts cumin & 1 part ginger.
DAIKON RADISH: Use equal amount red radish.
DIJON MUSTARD: For 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, use 1 tablespoon dry mustard mixed with 1 teaspoon water, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and a pinch of sugar.
DRIED BEANS: For 3/4 cup dried beans use 1 (16 ounce) can of beans, drained and rinsed.
EGGS (1 large): 2 egg whites; 1/4 cup store-bought egg whites; 2 egg yolks (for custard or puddings); or 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbsp water (for cookies or bars); 1 tsp. cornstarch;. or 4 extra tbs. of whatever liquid was used in the recipe.
ESCAROLE: Use equal amount chicory, kale or spinach.
EVAPORATED MILK: Use equal amount regular milk or cream.
FENNEL (ANISE): Use 2 cups chopped celery plus 1 teaspoon Sambuca or anisette liqueur.
FLOUNDER: Use another flat fish such as sole, or a white fish such as cod or halibut.
FLOUR: For 1 cup cake flour: 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. of regular all-purpose flour and 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch. For thickening: Replace 1 tablespoon flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or 2 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca. For 1 cup of self-rising flour: add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of all-purpose flour. For 1 cup all-purpose flour: add 2 Tbsp cake flour to 1 cup of plain or unbleached flour.
GALANGAL: A member of the ginger family used frequently in Thai cooking; use equal amount fresh ginger.
GARLIC: For 1 medium garlic clove, use 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder.
GINGER: There is no real equivalent; for 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, use 1 teaspoon dried.
HEARTS OF PALM: Use cooked white or green asparagus.
HERBS: For 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the dried herb plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.
HERBES DE PROVENCE: 4 parts thyme, 4 parts savory, 2 parts lavender & 1 part rosemary.
HONEY (1 cup): 1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup water or liquid used in recipe.
ITALIAN SEASONING: Combine 1 teaspoon basil, 1 tablespoon fresh or dried
parsley and 1/2 teaspoon oregano.
JALAPENO CHILE: For 1 fresh chile, use another variety, such as serrano, or 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
JICAMA: Use equal amount peeled, seeded cucumber.
KALE: Use equal amount collard or mustard greens.
KASHA: Use equal amount bulgur or cracked wheat.
KETCHUP: 1 cup of tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, 2 tbs. vinegar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, pinch of ground cloves and allspice.
KOHLRABI: Use a small turnip.
LADYFINGERS: Use equal amount sponge cake or pound cake.
LEEKS: Use equal amount onions.
LEMON JUICE, FRESH (1 tbsp): 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice or white vinegar.
LEMONGRASS: Use equal amount fresh lemon peel.
LIGHT CREAM: Use equal amount half-and-half cream.
MACE: Use equal amount nutmeg.
MANGO: Use equal amount peach.
MARSALA WINE: Use equal amount Madeira wine.
MASCARPONE CHEESE: For 1 pound, use 12 ounces cream cheese mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream.
MAYONNAISE: In salad dressing or dips, use equal amount sour cream or yogurt.
MILK (1 cup): 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water; or nonfat dry milk prepared as directed on package with 2 1/2 tsp melted butter added.
MOLASSES (1 cup): 1/2 cup honey (flavor will be milder).
MUSHROOMS (1/2 pound): 4 oz. canned mushroom caps or 1 1/2 oz dried mushrooms.
MUSTARD (1 Tbsp): 1 tsp ground mustard (dry).
NAAN: A bread served with Indian food; use warmed pita bread brushed with melted butter.
NEUFCHATEL CHEESE: Use equal amount cream cheese.
NOODLES: For Chinese egg noodles, use equal amount fresh or dried angel-hair
pasta or vermicelli.
OLIVE OIL: Use equal amount vegetable oil. (Calorie for calorie all oils are the same.)
ONION: For 1 small onion, use 1/3 cup chopped fresh onion or 1 tablespoon minced dried onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder.
OREGANO (1 tsp): 1 tsp. marjoram.
ORZO: Use equal amount small-shape pasta such as ditalini or tubettini.
PANCETTA: Italian salt-cured bacon; use amount bacon.
PHYLLO PASTRY: Use strudel leaves.
PORCINI MUSHROOMS: For fresh porcini, use equal amount domestic fresh mushrooms plus 1/2 ounce dried porcini.
POTATOES: For new potatoes, use large potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces.
POULTRY SEASONING: Equal parts sage, thyme, oregano and marjoram.
PROSCIUTTO HAM: Use equal amount very thinly slice Black Forest or Westphalian ham.
PUMPKIN PIE SPICE: 4 parts cinnamon, 2 parts ginger, 1 part nutmeg, 1 part allspice and dash of cloves.
QUAIL: For 1 quail, use half a Cornish hen.
QUINCE: Use equal amount pears or apples, but cook only until fruit is tender.
QUINOA: Use equal amount couscous.
RABBIT: Use equal amount chicken.
RADICCHIO: Use equal amount red cabbage.
RED PEPPER SAUCE: 1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne).
RICOTTA: Use equal amount cottage cheese pureed in blender
RUTABAGA: Use equal amount turnips or butternut squash.
SAFFRON: Use a pinch of turmeric.
SCALLOPS: Use monkfish or skate.
SEASONING SALT: 1 cup salt, 2 1/4 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
SESAME SEEDS (1 tbsp): 1 Tbsp finely chopped blanched almonds.
SHALLOTS: Use equal amount chopped sweet onions.
SHORTENING, MELTED (1 cup): 1 cup salad oil (cannot be substituted for 1 cup solid shortening)
SORREL: For 1 pound or sorrel, use 1 pound spinach and 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice.
SOUR CREAM (1 cup): 1 cup plain yogurt.
SUGAR, BROWN, PACKED (1 cup): 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tbsp molasses or dark corn syrup.
SUGAR, GRANULATED (1 cup): 1 cup light brown sugar (packed) or 2 cups powdered sugar.
SUGAR, SUPERFINE: Blend regular granulated sugar in the blender.
SWEET POTATO: Use equal amount butternut squash.
TAHINI: Use equal amount peanut butter.
THAI FISH SAUCE: Use equal amount anchovy paste.
TOMATOES: For 1 pound fresh tomatoes, use 2 cups drained canned tomatoes.
TOMATO JUICE (1 cup): Use 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Or use 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 cup of water.
TOMATO PASTE (1/2 cup): 1 cup tomato sauce cooked uncovered till reduced to l/2 cup.
TOMATO SAUCE (2 cups): 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water.
TOMATOES, CANNED (1 cup): About 1 1/3 cups cut-up fresh tomatoes, simmered 10 min.
UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE: For 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, use 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening.
VANILLA BEAN: For half a vanilla bean, use 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
VANILLA EXTRACT: Grated lemon rind, orange rind, cinnamon or nutmeg combined with a small amount of the liquid called for in the recipe to make up the amount of vanilla extract specified in the recipe.
VEAL CUTLETS: Use turkey, chicken or pork cutlets.
VERMOUTH: Use equal amount dry white wine.
VINEGAR: Use equal amount lemon juice.
WALNUTS: Use equal amount pecans.
WASABE: Japanese horseradish: use equal amount horseradish.
WHIPPING CREAM (1 cup): 1 cup frozen (thawed) whipped topping or 1 cup prepared whipped topping mix.
WINE, RED (1 cup): 1 cup apple cider or beef broth.
WINE, WHITE (1 cup): 1 cup apple juice, apple cider or chicken broth.WONTON: Use meat-filled ravioli or tortellini.
XERES VINEGAR: Another name for sherry vinegar; use equal amount red wine
YAM: Use equal amount butternut squash.
YOGURT: Use equal amount buttermilk or sour cream.
ZITI: Use another tubular pasta such as penne.
ZUCCHINI: Use equal amount eggplant.
ZWIEBACK: Crumbs often used as a crust for cheesecake; use equal amount plain graham crackers.