Food Substitutes

The Ultimate Guide to Ingredients Substitution When Cooking Your Foods

Are you out of baking powder or flour in the middle of baking? Or maybe missing garam masala or curry powder while trying out an Indian recipe?

Even worse you forgot to pick an item from the store. You’re tight on time and going back to the store isn’t an option.

Some ingredients, especially the exotic ones, are not always readily available in the store. As with many other people, you think twice about buying these ingredients since you think you won’t use them frequently.

We all have been there. Whether missing an ingredient or for other personal reasons (such as allergies, following certain diets, searching for healthier options), there are times when we need to look for alternatives for ingredients when cooking.

The good news is you can secure the substitutions of most ingredients from whatever available in your kitchen. Although the final results can be different in terms of flavor, texture, taste, or color, as long as you (and your family) are happy with the results, nothing else counts.

Some items can be equally substituted with other ingredients, while some others can be tricky to handle. In this article we talk about the factors to take into account when choosing substitutions of an ingredient. Next to that, we have lists of substitutions to pick for many common ingredients.

The Principles To Follow When Choosing Alternative Ingredients

Whether for enhancing the flavor, adding a nice bright color, or creating a thick consistency, each ingredient has its own function in a recipe. You need to figure it out before looking for a suitable replacement.

Keep in mind that replacing one or more ingredients from a recipe may alter the characters of the final result. After all, a recipe is flexible. You can adjust to your condition and preference. Who knows, you may come up with a new favorite dish?

The following are some factors you should consider when looking for alternatives for certain ingredients.


This has to do mostly with liquid. The substitute should have a similar consistency to what’s replaced. In general, water, broth, stock, wine, and beer can be used to replace each other (irrespective of flavor).

For creamy liquid, in most cases you can either use dairy or non-dairy cream (coconut milk, coconut cream) interchangeably. If you need to thin out the liquid, add some water. To thicken the liquid, simply add a small amount of flour or cornstarch.

Texture and Structure

Texture and structure are very important to make your dish appealing and appetizing. The rule of thumb is to replace an ingredient that creates similar results. Otherwise, you probably need to adjust the cooking time.

If a recipe calls for breadcrumbs, replace it with other crunchy bits. For vegetables, try to find those from the same family or group. For example, exchange carrots with parsnip, or potatoes with sweet potatoes (technically these two are not closely related, but they have similar characteristics).


The rule is to start small and adjust as you go. Flavors of a dish are primarily attributed to spices, herbs, and sauces.

Choose ingredients that have the closest flavor to what you need to replace. Consider items that are made from similar ingredients. For example, oyster sauce can be substituted by Worcestershire since both are made of oysters.

Likewise if the original ingredient is acidic, add lemon juice or vinegar to the substitute. For example, you can easily swap buttermilk with regular milk added with some drops of lemon juice.

Some ingredients are very special and distinctive in flavor and taste. Thus, they might be very difficult to replace. Think about saffron or cilantro. You can replace saffron with turmeric, both create a similar color but the flavor is different.

Likewise, cilantro can be substituted with parsley, but its aromatic flavor is hard to replace by other ingredients.

Diet Restriction

If you are cooking for yourself or someone who follows certain diets or have health conditions, you may need to modify the recipe to comply with the requirements.

Here is a brief guideline about different dietary restrictions from various considerations.

Type of diets

Vegan – a fully plant-based diet without any animal products. No meat, fish, eggs, dairy products

Ovo-vegetarian – a plant-based diet which allows eggs, but no meat, fish, and dairy products

Lacto-vegetarian – a plant-based diet which allows dairy products, but no meat, fish, and eggs

Lacto-ovo vegetarian – a plant-based which allows dairy products and eggs, but no meat and fish

Pescatarians – a vegetarian diet which adds fish, but no meat. Some pescatarians may consume dairy products and eggs

Paleo diet – a diet that mimics what hunter-gatherers humans ate which includes whole and unprocessed foods, such as meat, vegetables, fruits, potatoes, nuts, and healthy fats. Consult your dietitian to know which ingredients are paleo-approved.

Keto diet – a diet that is low in carbs and high in fat. Consult your dietitian to know which ingredients are keto-approved.

Food allergies and sensitivities

Common food allergies – milk, peanut and tree nuts, egg, gluten, soybean, fish, shellfish (crustaceans and mollusks), mustard, sesame, celery, lupin, sulfites, and sulfur dioxide

Common food intolerance – lactose (from dairy products), gluten, caffeine, histamine (in mushrooms, pickled and cured foods, fish and seafood), salicylates, food additives (sweetener, flavoring, MSG, coloring agent).

Religious restrictions

Halal – an Islamic dietary law that restricts several food items, mainly alcohol, pork, and their derivatives, including gelatins from animals that are not halal. Meat should be slaughtered and treated in Islamic rites. Halal certified meat and products are usually available in Halal shops. Some supermarkets also dedicate a special shelf for Halal products.

Kosher – a Jewish dietary law which restricts several food items and sets rules on how they should be prepared. Kosher rules are complex, hence certification takes place to assure the compliance to such requirements.

Healthy alternatives

Due to certain health conditions or considerations for a healthier lifestyle, some people stick to foods that are low in carbs, sugar, fat, or dairy-free.

Common Ingredients Substitutions You Can Follow

In this section, we’ve made lists for alternatives you can consider when missing an ingredient. The lists are categorized for each food category and are written in alphabetical order. Links are provided to the articles of specific ingredients available on our website.

Please note that not all substitutes work similarly in every case. You need to figure out the role of the ingredient to replace it with the right one. Use the tips above as a general guideline.

Spices and Herbs Substitutes

There are myriad spices and herbs to use in different types of cuisines. Not all of them are always available on hand. Instead of getting a new pack that you don’t really use regularly, consider finding the right substitutes with whatever available in your pantry.

Remember that some spices are a blend of several different spices. Simply use the ingredients that make up the spices and you’re good to go!

Each spice or herb is unique with aromatic flavors. Replacing one or two may impact the final result. Thus, finding the right alternatives can be tricky, especially if you are less familiar with them or you have no idea how the original recipe should taste.

You may need to adjust the amount or combination. But, as long as you’re happy with the result, that counts the most right?

Spices / HerbsSubstitutions
AllspiceCinnamon + cloves + nutmeg
BasilOregano, parsley, mint, arugula/ rocket, Thai basil, Holy basil
Bay leafOregano, thyme
Black pepperWhite pepper, peppercorns
Cajun spiceBlack and white pepper + garlic powder + onion powder + cayenne/ paprika powder
CapersDill pickles, green olives, thyme, pickled artichoke heart, nasturtium seeds, mustard green
CardamomCloves + cinnamon, cinnamon + ginger, cinnamon + nutmeg, allspice, cumin + coriander
Caraway SeedsFennel seeds, cumin
Cayenne pepperRed chili flakes, jalapeno powder, Spanish paprika, Thai peppers, chili powder, gochugaru
Celery SaltPink salt, onion salt
ChivesScallions/ spring onion, leeks
CinnamonNutmegs, allspice
ClovesAllspices, cinnamon, cardamom, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, mace
Coriander leaves/ cilantroParsley, Dill, Spring Onions/ Scallion
Coriander seedsCaraway seeds, cumin, fennel seed
CuminCaraway seeds, garam masala, curry powder
Curry powderCumin + coriander seeds + turmeric + ginger
Dill weedBasil, tarragon, parsley, fennel
Fennel seedAniseeds, caraway seeds
Fenugreek leaves and seedsMaple syrup, curry powder, mustard seeds, Chinese celery leaves, spinach (or combination of them)
File powderOkra, roux, cornstarch, eggplant, arrowroot powder
Garam masalaCurry powder, chaat masala, cumin, allspices, coriander
GarlicGarlic powder, jarred minced garlic, garlic salt, garlic flakes
GingerGround ginger, allspice
Hot peppersHot peppers such as Habanero, Jalapeno, Serrano, Thai Chili, etc. can replace each other
Italian seasoningBasil + oregano + marjoram + rosemary + sage + thyme
Kaffir lime leavesLemon verbena/ lemon thyme zest + lime zest
Kosher saltTable salt, sea salt, pickling salt, Himalayan salt
LemongrassDried lemongrass, Preserved lemon, lemon verbena, lemon balm, fresh ginger + coriander stalks
MaceNutmeg, allspice, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon
MarjoramBasil, thyme, savory
MintBasil, marjoram, rosemary
MustardPrepared mustard, wasabi powder, horseradish powder
NutmegMace, allspice, cinnamon, ginger
OnionCelery, scallions, garlic, fennel, cabbage, ginger, carrots, bell peppers, onion powder
Paprika powderAncho chili powder, chili powder, tomatoes, tomato juice + chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, chipotle powder, bell peppers
ParsleyCelery leaves, coriander leaves/ cilantro
Pepper flakesCayenne pepper, paprika powder
Poultry seasoningThyme + sage + marjoram + rosemary + black pepper
Pumpkin pie spiceCinnamon + ginger + allspice + nutmeg
OreganoThyme, basil, marjoram
Red pepperHot sauce, cayenne pepper, pepper flakes
RosemaryThyme, tarragon, savory
SaffronTurmeric, annatto powder
SageSavory, marjoram, rosemary
SavoryThyme, marjoram, sage
ShallotsRed onion, scallions, leeks, garlic, chives
Star aniseChinese five-spice powder, cumin seeds + tarragon, cloves, fennel seeds, allspices
Tamarind juiceLemon/ lime juice + brown sugar, pomegranate molasses, rice vinegar, white wine
TarragonFennel seed, dill, basil, marjoram
ThymeItalian seasoning, oregano, tarragon, herbs de Provence, dill, savory
TurmericSaffron, annatto powder, dry mustard
White pepperBlack pepper, peppercorns

Vegetables and Beans Substitutes

Choose substitutes that are closely related or have a similar texture.

Vegetable NamesSubstitutions
AsparagusLeeks, broccoli, cactus strips
Bamboo shootAsparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, water chestnuts
BroccoliCauliflower, cabbage, broccolini, brussels sprouts
CarrotParsnips, squash, beet, zucchini, cucumber
CauliflowerBroccoli, cabbage, zucchini
CornCorn starch, frozen corn, potato starch, tapioca
CucumbersZucchini, radish, iceberg lettuce, jicama, squash
Eggplant/ aubergineUse other variety of eggplants, zucchini, yellow squash, portobello mushrooms
EscaroleArugula, spinach, chard
Green beansCactus strips, asparagus, long bean
Mango (underripe, green)Green apple
KaleSpinach (English spinach, baby spinach), Collard green, broccoli rabe, mustard green, Swiss chard (rainbow chard/ silverbeet), beet greens, Cassava leaves
LettuceAny green leafy vegetables will do, such as watercress, cabbage, spinach, arugula, etc.
MushroomsDried mushrooms, Zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant, garbanzo beans, tofu
ParsnipsCarrots, turnips, salsify, sweet potatoes, celery roots
PotatoSweet potato, cassava, turnips, yam, rutabaga
RadishKohlrabi, turnips, parsnips, jicama,
SoybeanGreen peas, fava bean, lima bean, garbanzo/ chickpeas
SpinachWatercress, arugula, lettuce, kale
TomatoRed peppers, sun-dried tomato, canned tomatoes
WatercressArugula, spinach, radish sprouts, kale, dandelion flower
Zucchini/ courgetteCucumber, eggplant, yellow squash

Sauces and Condiments Substitutes

Whether looking for healthier swaps or allergic to some ingredients, this list helps you to find the right replacement for your favorite sauce and condiments.

Sauces & CondimentsSubstitutions
AioliMayonnaise, yogurt, avocado, pesto
Anchovy PasteWorcestershire sauce, fish sauce
Apple sauceYogurt, sour cream, fruit puree (apricot, prune, banana, pineapple), melted butter, oil
Barbeque sauceKetchup + mustard + brown sugar, ketchup + brown sugar + vinegar/lemon juice, chimichurri, ponzu
Chimichurri sauceGarlic + cayenne pepper + olive oil + vinegar + black pepper
Coconut aminosLiquid aminos, soy sauce, tamari, dried mushrooms, fish sauce, oyster sauce
Dijon mustardYellow mustard, honey mustard, wasabi, dry mustard + water + vinegar
Fish sauceSoy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, coconut aminos
Hoisin sauceSoy sauce, garlic + teriyaki sauce, miso paste, barbeque sauce + molasses, soy sauce + peanut butter, Worcestershire sauce (not for every dish)
HummusGreek yogurt, tahini + yogurt, mayonnaise
KetchupTomato sauce, tomato sauce + sugar + vinegar, salsa
Liquid SmokeChipotle powder, smoked paprika
MayonnaiseLow fat plain yogurt, hummus, avocado, pesto, mustard, olive oil
Oyster sauceHoisin sauce, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce
Peanut saucePeanut butter, cashew nut butter + tahini
PestoBasil oil, tomato sauce (for red pesto)
Ponzu sauceCitrus juice + konbu (seaweed), bonito flakes (katsuobushi), rice vinegar + mirin
SalsaTomato sauce, hot sauce
Sesame oilAvocado oil, peanut oil, canola oil, olive oil, walnut oil
Shrimp pasteAnchovy paste, fish sauce
Soy sauceTamari, liquid aminos, coconut aminos, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, miso paste
Sriracha sauceOther hot sauces such as tabasco, harissa, sambal oelek, chili paste, peri-peri, crushed chilis
Steak sauceTomato ketchup + Worcestershire sauce
Sweet soy sauceSoy sauce + brown sugar/ molasses
Tabasco sauceLouisiana hot sauce, Cholula, cayenne pepper
TahiniPeanut butter, sunflower seeds butter, almond butter, sesame seeds, Greek yogurt, soy butter
TamariSoy sauce, fish sauce, coconut aminos, miso paste
Tartar sauceMayonnaise/ yogurt + pickle relish + lemon juice + yellow mustard, aioli
Teriyaki sauceSoy sauce + brown sugar + honey + ginger + water
Tomato sauceTomato paste, canned tomatoes, ketchup, tomato soup
Worcestershire sauceSoy sauce, steak sauce, fish sauce, miso paste, oyster sauce, tamarind paste + white vinegar + soy sauce, sugar + tabasco sauce

Cooking Oil Substitutes

Oil has a different flavor and smoke point (or burning point). Some oils are very specific in flavor while some others are neutral.

This list helps you to find the right substitutes for each type of oil.

Cooking Oil TypesSubstitutions
Avocado oilOlive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil
Canola oil/rapeseedSunflower oil, olive oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, coconut oil
Coconut oilAvocado oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil
Grapeseed oilAvocado oil, safflower oil, almond oil, canola oil, sunflower oil
Olive oilSunflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, walnut oil, ghee, butter
Rice bran oilGrapeseed oil, olive oil, canola oil
Safflower oilCanola oil, peanut oil, corn oil, sunflower oil
Sesame oilPerilla oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, roasted sesame seeds, tahini or sesame paste
Soybean oilCanola oil, corn oil, olive oil, safflower oil
Sunflower  oilGrapeseed oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, corn oil
Vegetable OilAvocado oil, coconut oil, lard

Grains, Seeds, Nuts Substitutes

This food category is known for their nutrients and health benefits. But if you can’t find one in your supply, don’t get discouraged and look for the swaps in this list.

Grains/ Seeds/ NutsSubstitutions
AlmondsHazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, pistachios
Arborio riceCarnavoli rice, vialone rice, sushi  rice, jasmine rice
Brazil nutsMacadamia nuts, almonds, pecans
BulgurQuinoa, couscous
CandlenutsBrazil nuts, cashews, almonds
CashewsPeanuts, pine nuts, water chestnut, pecan
Chestnuts / marronJackfruit seeds, pecan, hazelnut
Chia seedsFlax seeds, linseeds, hemp seeds
CouscousQuinoa, brown rice
Flax seedsChia seeds, hemp seeds
HazelnutsMacadamia, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts
Macadamia nutsAlmonds, hazelnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans
Oat branWheat bran, oatmeal, flaxseed, rice bran, corn bran
PeanutsCashew, almonds
Pine nutsAlmonds, macadamia nuts, pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
PistachiosPine nuts, blanched almonds
Poppy seedsSesame seeds
Pumpkin seedsSunflower seeds, pine nuts
QuinoaBrown rice, couscous, chickpeas, roast cauliflower
RiceIf you are not a regular rice eater and less sensitive to different fragrance and texture of rice, basically, any rice can substitute other types of rice. You will need to adjust the amount of water and cooking time.
Other options are multigrain rice (mix of rice and grains), riced cauliflower, quinoa, couscous
Sesame seedsPoppy seeds
Sunflower seeds/ pepitasPumpkin seeds, pine nuts
WalnutsPine nuts, pecans, hazelnuts
WheatAmaranth, arrowroot, cornmeal, rye, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, chickpea flour, coconut flour, almond flour, etc.

Baking Ingredients Substitutes

Nothing can stop you from baking your favorite cookies even when one or two ingredients are not in your hand. Check this list for a little help.

Baking ingredientsSubstitutions
Almond flourCoconut flour, cassava/ tapioca flour, sunflower seed flour, plantain flour
Arrowroot starchCornstarch, flour
Baking powderCream of tartar, vinegar or lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, molasses
Baking sodaBaking powder, potassium bicarbonate + salt, self-rising flour, baker’s ammonia, egg white
Bread crumbsPanko, wheat germ, bran/oats, crushed crackers, saltines or pretzels, shredded coconut, riced cauliflower, cornstarch
Brown sugarMolasses, molasses + sugar
ButterVegetable shortening, vegetable oils, margarine, lard, applesauce (for baking)
Cacao powderUnsweetened chocolate
Cake flourAll-purpose flour + cornstarch
CornstarchFlour, potato starch, arrowroot flour
CornmealCorn flour, wheat flour, rice flour
Corn syrupGranulated sugar + water
Cracker crumbsBread crumbs, ground oats
Cream of tartarBaking powder, lemon juice, white vinegar
Custard powderVanilla pudding mix, cornstarch + vanilla extract + salt
Flour (self-rising)All-purpose flour + baking powder + salt
HoneySugar + water, corn syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses
MargarineVegetable shortening, butter, vegetable oil
MolassesBrown sugar, maple syrup, honey, granulated sugar + water, applesauce
Palm sugarBrown sugar
Powdered sugarDIY powdered sugar by blending granulated sugar and cornstarch until a fine powder. Other options are stevia powder
RaisinOther dried fruits, such as cranberries, goji berries, dried currants, prunes
ShorteningButter, coconut oil, applesauce, olive oil, lard
Xanthan GumCornstarch, guar gum, chia seeds
Tapioca flourCornstarch, rice flour, potato starch, arrowroot flour, wheat flour
Vanilla beanVanilla extract, vanilla powder, vanilla sugar
Vanilla extractAlmond extract, maple syrup, bourbon, brandy, rum extract
Wheat FlourChickpea flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour

Also, check other baking equipment substitutions such as parchment paper.

Sugar and Sweeteners Substitutes

There are plenty of sources for a sweetener for you to pick up from this list when you’re out of sugar.

Sugar and sweetenersSubstitutions
Brown sugarMolasses, molasses + sugar
Caster sugarBrown sugar, honey, muscovado sugar, powdered sugar, molasses, corn syrup
Corn syrupGranulated sugar + water
Golden syrupCorn syrup, honey, molasses, maple syrup
Granulated sugarBrown sugar, agave syrup, honey, molasses, stevia, sucralose, erythritol
HoneySugar + water, corn syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses
MolassesBrown sugar, maple syrup, honey, granulated sugar + water, applesauce
Palm sugarBrown sugar
Powdered sugarDIY powdered sugar by blending granulated sugar and cornstarch until a fine powder. Other options are stevia powder

Dairy Products and Plant-based Milk Substitutes

If you are trying to reduce dairy from your diet or prefer low-in-fat ingredients, you will find more alternatives for dairy products in this list.

Dairy productsSubstitutions
Almond milkIn principle, other kinds of plant-based milk can replace each other. You just need to find one which satisfies your palate. The options are endless. Soy milk, oat milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk, cashew milk, quinoa milk, coconut milk, etc.
ButterMargarine, ghee (clarified butter), nut butter, coconut oil, olive oil, for baking (applesauce, avocado, Greek yogurt)
Brie cheeseCamembert cheese, Reblochon cheese
ButtermilkRegular milk + lemon juice/ vinegar
Camembert cheeseBrie, Reblochon cheese
Cheddar cheeseColby cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese
Crème FraicheSour cream, mascarpone, unflavored full-fat Greek yogurt, crema Mexicana, sour cream + heavy cream
Coconut milkRice milk, almond milk, creamy evaporated milk, natural yogurt
Coconut creamLight cream + coconut extract, heavy cream, Greek yogurt + coconut extract/flakes + honey
Cottage cheeseRicotta cheese, Greek yogurt, Fromage Blanc, Tofu, Egg white
Cream (half-and-half)Milk + butter, milk + cream, non-dairy creamer
Cream (heavy)Whole milk or half-and-half + butter, whipping cream, coconut milk, coconut cream
Cream cheeseNeufchatel cheese, mascarpone, coconut cream cheese, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, quark
Dulce de lecheCaramels, sweetened condensed milk
Edam cheeseGouda cheese, Cheddar cheese, Gruyere cheese, Emmental cheese
Emmental cheeseGruyere cheese, Provolone cheese, Swiss cheese
Evaporated milkMilk, cream, soy milk, coconut milk, powdered milk, nut milk (almond/cashew/hazelnut milk)
Farmer’s CheeseRicotta, paneer, goat cheese
Feta cheeseGoat cheese, Queso Fresco cheese, Tofu, Ricotta, Halloumi, Mozzarella
Gouda cheeseEdam cheese, cheddar cheese, Gruyere cheese
GheeButter, olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil
Gruyere cheeseEmmental cheese, Appenzeller cheese, Jarlsberg cheese, Beaufort cheese, Raclette cheese
Halloumi cheeseQueso Fresco/ Queso Blanco cheese, Tofu, Feta cheese
MascarponeCream cheese, Ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, Cottage cheese, Clotted cream
Monterey Jack CheeseGouda cheese, Edam cheese, Parmesan cheese, Colby cheese, Cheddar Cheese
MozzarellaProvolone cheese, Queso Oaxaca cheese, young Cheddar/ Gouda cheese
Parmesan cheeseGrana Padano cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, Asiago cheese
Ricotta cheeseCottage cheese, mozzarella, goat cheese, mascarpone, cream cheese, tofu, Fromage blanc
Sour creamYogurt, cottage cheese, kefir cream, fresh cream, buttermilk, cashew nuts, soy milk, coconut milk
Sweetened condensed milkEvaporated milk + sugar, powdered milk + sugar + water
Swiss cheeseEmmental cheese, Gruyere cheese, Jarlsberg cheese
Heavy whipping creamHeavy cream
Whole milkCoconut milk, plain yogurt, almond milk, soy milk, oat milk
YogurtButtermilk, sour cream, soured milk

Alcoholic Products and Vinegar Substitutes

Whether looking for non-alcoholic alternatives or running low on what you need, in this list you’ll find options for the most common alcoholic and vinegar used for cooking or making beverages.

Alcoholic ProductsSubstitutions
AmarettoAlmond extract
Apple cider vinegarLemon/ lime juice, rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar
Balsamic vinegarApple cider vinegar + brown sugar, red wine vinegar + sugar/ honey
BeerGinger ale, white grape juice, chicken/ beef broth, mushroom stock, coke
BourbonVanilla extract + water
BrandyBrandy extract + water, apple juice, white grape juice
ChampagneGinger ale, sparkling white grape juice
Coffee liqueurEspresso, instant coffee, coffee extract
KirschCognac, cherry juice, fruit brandy, vodka + cherries, white wine, applesauce
MirinDry sherry, sweet marsala wine, dry white wine, rice vinegar, Japanese sake (add sugar)
Marsala wineDry sherry, Madeira, White wine + brandy, White grape juice, Pinot Noir
Port wineGrape juice, apple juice
Red wine vinegarRed wine, sherry vinegar, red wine + white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lime or lemon juice
Rice wineDry sherry, Japanese sake, Gin, White wine, white grape juice, Shaoxing wine
Rice wine vinegarApple cider vinegar + sugar
RumRum extract + water/ pineapple juice, bourbon
SakeDry sherry, Chinese rice wine
Shaoxing WineSake, dry sherry, mirin
SherryMarsala wine, port wine
Sherry vinegarRed/ white wine
White vinegarLemon juice, white wine
White WineRed wine, rice wine, white wine vinegar
White wine vinegarRice wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar
WineBroth (chicken, beef, vegetable), fruit juice + water/ vinegar


Easily swap a missing ingredient for your beverage without compromising the final taste with the help of this list.

Grenadine syrupPomegranate molasses, raspberry syrup, cherry juice, crème de cassis, strawberry daiquiri, syrup, cranberry juice cocktail concentrate
Lemon juiceLime juice, vinegar, white wine
Lemon zestLemon extract, lemon juice
Lime juiceLemon juice, vinegar, white wine
Orange juiceOther citrus juice (grapefruit, lemon juice), orange concentrate/ extract + water,
Orange zestOrange extract, orange juice
Soda waterSparkling water, coconut water, water + lemon juice, fruit-infused water

Meat, Poultry, and Fish

The alternatives for this category include animal-based and plant-based ingredients. Some are out of your regular food item, such as jackfruit and breadfruit. But, these are worth trying to expand your plant-based alternatives.

BaconTurkey bacon, vegetarian bacon, mushroom, tofu, tempeh
Beef broth/ chicken brothChicken broth, bouillon cubes, vegetable broth, beer or wine, soy sauce, liquid aminos
EggPowdered egg substitute + water, flaxseed soaked in water, banana + baking powder
Ground meatGround meat can be used interchangeably, such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey.Sausage (remove the case)
HamSmoked bacon, smoked sausage, turkey ham, seitan
HerringSardines, mackerel
MeatSoy-based substitutes (tempeh, tofu), mushrooms, fruit-based substitutes (jackfruit, breadfruit), eggplants, seitan
SalmonTuna, mahi-mahi, swordfish


Whether out of what you need or due to personal reasons, there are times when we need to find alternative ingredients for cooking. Bear in mind that each ingredient has specific functions in a recipe. Look for alternatives that resemble or have similar properties to create the closest final result.

Hopefully, this article and other articles on our Fitibility website help you to decide which substitutes to use for a recipe. Missing an ingredient is no more an excuse to stop cooking. With substituted items, who knows you might come up with a new family favorite?

Up Next: Food Shelf Life and Storage Guide

ingredient substitutions

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