Here’s a list of ingredient substitutions that I like to use, and that I’ve found useful since remaining at home.
If there’s one thing I loathe, it is going back to the grocery store after forgetting an ingredient. At least, I disliked this before social distancing measures. Now, I am excited for the future when it is safe to go back to grocery stores any time of the day, for any ingredient. I miss going to the grocery store!
In the past, I would do anything to find a substitution for a forgotten ingredient. Now, those substitution tricks are coming in handy, as I can’t always find or get what I need from the store. Here are the substitutions that I have been putting to use while practicing social distancing.
Brown Sugar: Did you know that if you have molasses and white sugar, you can make some homemade brown sugar? Just mix one cup of white sugar with a few Tablespoons of molasses, until your desired darkness of brown sugar is achieved. So easy!
Buttermilk: I don’t know about you, but I rarely have buttermilk on hand. When a recipe calls for it, I almost always make my own. Simply put a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in one cup measuring cup and fill the remaining space with milk. Let sit for about 5 minutes and use in place of store-bought buttermilk. (This amount is for 1 cup of buttermilk, adjust as necessary).
Cake Flour: Whenever I come across a recipe that calls for cake flour, I usually follow this recipe to make my own by using flour and cornstarch.
Eggs: If you can’t find any eggs, egg-less baked goods are becoming popular! Dessert for Two even has a whole recipe category dedicated to egg free desserts. If you need to use an egg for a baked treat and happen to have ground flax seeds, I’d suggest using this recipe for a flax egg from Minimalist Baker.
Garam Masala: If you have the key ingredients in this spice, you can mix up your own at home! Here’s a recipe that I like to follow when making this at home.
Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream: This is an easy substitution that works both ways, as both Greek yogurt and sour cream have a tangy flavor. Obviously, there’s a time and place for both, but if you need one of these but only have the other, it works well in a pinch.
Mascarpone Cheese: A random ingredient that I never thought I’d want so badly during quarantine, but this Baked Ziti from Pinch of Yum calls for it and it makes such a difference. If you look around the web, you’ll find that a common substitution for mascarpone is a block of softened cream cheese whipped with 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Whip this for a minute or two until it all comes together and voila, you have a decent substitute for mascarpone!
Mayonnaise: For some recipes, such as chicken salad, I occasionally use Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise to make it a little bit lighter. This does affect the flavor, however, since Greek yogurt has a bit of a tangy flavor. Alternatively, you can make your own mayonnaise if you are feeling creative and find extra time on your hands by using this recipe from Bake at 350.
Ricotta Cheese: All you need is some whole milk, lemon juice or vinegar, and cheesecloth! I like to use this recipe from The Kitchn.
Taco Seasoning: Another easy spice mix, assuming you have all of the ingredients in your cupboard. Gimme Some Oven has a simple and delicious recipe here.
What are some substitutions that you’ve had to come up with or have been using since quarantining (or before)?