Baking Substitutions to Use When You Run Out

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Find yourself baking and run out of a key ingredient? No problem. There are a number of baking substitutions that you can choose from and avoid an extra trip to the store.

baking ingredients measured out in various dishes

You run to the store with your carefully crafted grocery list. But, distractions draw you away from checking to see that you have all that you need. A day or two later, when you set out to prepare a certain recipe, you find that you are missing an important element.

What do you do? Go back to the store? Meh. It’s busy and you risk buying more than you need and spending more than you should.

Go without? Yeah, that works. But, what if you were really counting on that dish?

Find a substitution? Ding.ding.ding. We have a winner, folks!

Sometimes you just can’t think of everything. Thankfully, there are a number of substitutions that you can use if you’re missing something. Whether you’re doing a Pantry Challenge or just can’t or won’t make another trip out, use these baking substitutions for those times you run out of something.

baking ingredients butter sticks and mixer

Baking Substitutions for When You Run Out

If your recipe calls for…

  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder, use 3/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup buttermilk, use 1/2 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup milk. Alternatively, you can mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with enough milk to equal 1 cup, allow to set for 5 minutes before using. If you have time, learn to culture your own buttermilk.
  • half and half, mix together equal parts of cream and milk. Alternatively, you can use canned evaporated milk.
  • 1 cup corn syrup or honey, use 1 1/4 cup granulated or packed brown sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, if in a baked good, use 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar. If for frosting, blend 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a high power blender until powdery.
  • 1 cup brown sugar, work 1 tablespoon molasses into 1 cup of granulated sugar with a fork until well blended
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour, sift together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and enough all-purpose flour to make 1 cup.
  • 1 cup self-rising flour, sift together 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt + enough all-purpose flour to make 1 cup.
  • 1 egg, for baking, mix together 1 tablespoon flax seed meal with 3 tablespoons water. Allow to set for 2 minutes before adding to your recipe. This is a great way to bake without eggs. Alternatively you can use 1/4 cup applesauce, though results may vary.
  • oil, use an equal part melted butter or applesauce
  • vinegar, use an equal part lemon juice
  • sour cream, use an equal part plain yogurt. If you have time, you can even culture yogurt at home.
  • bread crumbs, use crackers, oats, or dry toast run through the blender. See the breadcrumb tutorial here.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Suz says

    I’ve used “pancake syrup” in place of corn syrup before. Ok if the recipe goes well with the maple flavoring since most of the “syrups” are corn syrup to begin with.

  2. Lori says

    Very helpful…I didn’t know the one about powdered sugar! That’s going in my recipe files for sure. 🙂 Thank you!

  3. ~M says

    Apple cider vinegar in milk or milk sub makes a buttermilk sub too!

  4. MamaFeelgood says

    I’m not quite sure what this means. Can you help me out?

    1 cup sifted cake flour, use 1 cup minue 2 Tablespoons sifter all-purpose flour

  5. FishMama says

    Sorry for the confusion….

    Measure one cup of regular flour that you have sifted, then remove 2 Tablespoons of it. That will give you 1 cup cake flour.

Share Your Thoughts