Easy Ingredient Substitutions

Easy Ingredient Substitutions

  • 26 February 2020
Have you started a recipe and halfway through realised you’re missing an ingredient? Or you find a recipe you want to make but it has an ingredient or two you don't want to eat? When this happens it is far more convenient to use something you already have in your kitchen instead of going out and buying all the ingredients in a recipe. Here are some easy substitutions for common cooking and baking ingredients


You can easily substitute butter with an equal quantity of coconut oil if you want to make a recipe vegan or you just don't have any butter on hand. The final result will obviously lack the “buttery” flavour but it will have a hint of coconut flavour. If you don't like the taste of coconut use can use odourless coconut oil.

Self raising flour

There’s no need to stock both self raising and cake flour. For every 1 cup self-raising flour the recipe requires, use 1 cup cake flour + 1.5 teaspoon baking powder + half a teaspoon of salt.

Cream of tartar

For every one teaspoon cream of tartar the recipe calls for, substitute with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar.

Icing sugar

Icing sugar is simply granulated sugar that has been ground to a fine powder, and has some cornflour added to prevent it from clumping together. To make 1 cup icing sugar mix 1 cup white sugar and 1 tablespoon cornflour in a blender, food processor or even a clean coffee grinder and blend until fine.

Buttermilk or sour cream

Substitute buttermilk or sour cream with an equal quantity of plain or greek yoghurt. Or, to substitute 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream, use 1 tablespoon lemon or vinegar and fill up with enough milk to have a final volume 1 cup.


Cornflour is often used in a recipe to thicken sauces or stews. But you can use regular cake flour instead. Use double the amount of cornflour in the recipe, so if it calls for 1 tablespoon cornflour, use 2 tablespoons cake flour.


There are so many ingredients you can use to substitute bread crumbs. There are no specific quantities here, just play around with what you have available and what you like. Make breadcrumbs from bread that’s about to go stale, dry them in the oven for a bit and then add crushed cornflakes, oats, crisps, crackers, sunflower seeds or flaxseeds.