If your pantry is running low on a few staple items, don't let that stop you from baking or cooking your favorite dishes before your next grocery store run.
If you look at a recipe and notice you're out of a key ingredient, like butter or baking powder, there are easy substitutes you can make. And here's another little secret: Even if you're down to your last little bit of wine and you have to decide between drinking it and using it in the recipe, just drink it! Then use another alcohol to deglaze or enhance the flavor in a savory reduction.
Use my simple swaps and don't be afraid to try something new.
- Milk: Add a cup of water to half a cup heavy cream or half a cup of half-and-half to create a substitute for milk. It won't taste like milk but it will work for baking.
- Heavy cream: Whisk a little melted butter into regular milk and the added fat will give it a nice consistency.
- Eggs: If you wan't scrambled eggs, you're in trouble. But if you're using eggs for any kind of baking, just use 1/4 cup plain yogurt per one egg.
- Butter: When sautéing, use olive oil, vegetable oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil instead of butter (some coconut oils can add a slightly sweet, nutty taste while other oils are more neutral).
- Yeast: If you're baking homemade bread and don't have yeast, substitute equal parts baking soda and lemon juice and skip the rise time in the recipe.
- Vegetable oil: Substitute 1 cup of oil for 1 cup of applesauce (this only works when making sweet baked goods and is not suitable for frying or making dressings).
- Butter: For baked goods, substitute coconut oil instead of butter.
- Baking powder: Use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar per every 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
- Fresh Herbs: You can always substitute dried herbs for fresh, just remember dried herbs are three times stronger. When herbs are dried the water is removed and the flavor is concentrated. Be extra careful when substituting powdered garlic or garlic salt for fresh: A little goes a long way.
- Garlic: If you need fresh garlic, you can substitute an onion.
- Shallots: Red onion is a great substitute for shallots.
- White wine: Try using chicken broth or white wine vinegar.
- Red wine: Use beef broth or red wine vinegar.