20 Last-Minute Ingredient Substitutions You Already Have on Hand

Everyone's been there. You've been working through a recipe and you get to one direction when you realize you are missing an ingredient. It's a moment that can make or break a recipe. And who wants to run to the grocery store in the middle of cooking dinner?

If you know what these common food substitutions, you can avoid last minute trips to the grocery store. You can also use food substitutes to cut down on things like fats and sugar in a recipe to make it healthier. Knowing food substitutions will come in handy time and time again in the kitchen.

To help you out, we've compiled the ultimate list of food substitutions.

20 Genuis Ingredient Substitutions

1. Sour Cream to Greek Yogurt


Greek yogurt offers the perfect alternative to sour cream. It's lower in fat and full of protein and tastes great where you would usually use sour cream. Plain yogurt works in a pinch as well.

2. Cream to Butter and Milk

If you're out of heavy cream, whipping cream, or half and half, you can replace 1 cup of cream with 1 cup of whole milk and a tablespoon of butter.

3. Baking Powder to Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar

Baking powder is key in many recipes, and it can be replaced with ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar.

4. Mustard to Dried Mustard and Vinegar

If you need mustard and don't want to go to the store, you can achieve the same flavor by mixing ½ teaspoon of dried mustard with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Add some vegetable oil and you've got yourself a salad dressing.

5. Applesauce Instead of Sugar or Oils

Applesauce is a great ingredient because it is really versatile. It can be used in recipes instead of sugar, or instead of the oil or fats. It can even be used as an egg substitute! Its mild flavor and few calories make it a great tool in healthy baking.

6. Corn Syrup to Sugar and Water

One cup of corn syrup can be replaced with 1 ¼ cups of white sugar and 1/3 cup water.

7. Eggs to Bananas

Out of eggs? Half of a banana is a great substitute for one egg.

8. Lemon Juice to Vinegar

If you need an acid in a recipe and don't have a lemon, vinegar will do the trick.

For every teaspoon of lemon, replace it with ½ teaspoon of vinegar.

9. Pasta to Zucchini Noodles

This is a fun way to eat fewer carbs or get more vegetables in your diet. Zucchini noodles replace traditional pasta for a lighter option.

10. Rice to Cauliflower


Here's another healthy substitution. Instead of serving rice, cook up a cauliflower and then grate it.

The result is something with the consistency of rice that's healthier for you.

11. Mayonnaise to Avocado


The creaminess of avocado makes for a perfect mash. It can be used in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches, or in salads or dips.

12. Cottage Cheese to Silken Tofu

Silken tofu has a similar consistency to cottage cheese and a mild flavor, making it a great alternative.

13. Oatmeal to Quinoa

Quinoa is great because it is versatile and loaded with protein. Instead of the usual oatmeal for breakfast, try cooking up some quinoa with milk and brown sugar.

14. Buttermilk to Yogurt, or Milk and Vinegar


A cup of buttermilk can be replaced with a cup of yogurt, or a cup of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

15. Unsweetened Chocolate to Cocoa Powder and Shortening

If a recipe calls for chocolate and you're out, mix up 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of oil or shortening for every ounce of chocolate you need.

16. Molasses to Brown Sugar and Cream of Tartar

It turns out that ¾ cup of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar make a great substitute for molasses in a recipe.

17. Chicken Broth to Beer

Beer makes a great replacement for chicken broth in recipes where you'd like to add a tangy, tartness. Choose your beer wisely!

18. Breadcrumbs to Cracker Crumbs

If you need breadcrumbs but don't have any, don't fret. Crumbled crackers will achieve the same crunchy coating, with a slightly saltier taste.

19. Flour to Mashed Black Beans

A cup of rinsed and mashed black beans makes an excellent substitute for flour in baked goods like cookies or brownies.

20. Eggs to Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are little pieces of magic. 1 tablespoon mixed with 1 tablespoon of water and allowed to sit for 15 minutes results in the equivalent of 1 egg.

Did we miss any ingredient substitutions you swear by? Let us know!

Read More: 10 Vegetables You Can Spiralize and Noodle for Dinner