3 Substitutes for Ingredients in Cooking

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If you’re cooking and you realize you don’t have one of the ingredients, don’t fear! Many substitutes are available for common cooking ingredients. Let’s examine three of these common substitutions.

Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a tangy, slightly sour dairy product that is often used in baking to add moisture and richness to cakes, cookies and other baked goods. Since buttermilk is often not readily available in grocery stores, this is one of the most common substitutes in cooking. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily substitute it with one of the following:

  • 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar: Mix the milk and lemon juice or vinegar together and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it thickens and curdles slightly. This creates a buttermilk-like consistency that can be used in place of buttermilk in most recipes.
  • 1 cup plain yogurt: Plain yogurt has a similar tanginess and thickness as buttermilk, making it a great substitute in most recipes. Simply measure out 1 cup of plain yogurt.
  • 1 cup sour cream: Like yogurt, sour cream has a tangy flavor and thick consistency that makes it a good substitute for buttermilk in many recipes. Simply measure out 1 cup of sour cream.

Baking Powder

Baking powder is a leavening agent that is used in baking to help dough and batter rise and become light and fluffy. If you don’t have baking powder on hand, you can substitute it with one of the following:

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar: Baking soda and cream of tartar, when combined, create a leavening effect that is similar to baking powder. To substitute, mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar and use this mixture in place of the baking powder.
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon vinegar: Like baking soda and cream of tartar, baking soda and vinegar create a leavening effect when combined. To substitute, mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a type of sugar that has a slightly molasses-like flavor and a soft, moist texture. It is often used in baking to add sweetness and depth of flavor to cookies, cakes, and other treats. If you don’t have brown sugar on hand, you can substitute it with one of the following:

  • 1 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses: Mixing white sugar with a little bit of molasses will create a brown sugar-like consistency and flavor. To substitute, mix 1 cup of white sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses and use this mixture in place of the brown sugar.
  • 1 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon honey: Like molasses, honey has a slightly rich, molasses-like flavor that can be used to add depth and complexity to baked goods. To substitute, mix 1 cup of white sugar with 1 tablespoon of honey.

The substitutions can come in handy if you find yourself missing ingredients in the middle of preparing a recipe.

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