This page is dedicated to those moments when you’re halfway through a recipe you THOUGHT you had all the ingredients for…When you realize that the sugar you THOUGHT you had, was just used by a child for a glass of some artificially flavored drink mix.

I hope the list of substitutions below prove helpful and in some small way save SOMEONE’S meal! I will continue to add to it as I think of things or find new and crazy ways of saving a dish…The needed ingredients will be listed first, followed by possible substitutions :)

Apple Pie Spice

  • For 1 teaspoon, combine 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Baking Powder

  • Mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar for each teaspoon needed

Balsamic Vinegar

  • Use equal amounts of either sherry vinegar or cider vinegar

Brown Sugar

  • To make 1 cup (firmly packed), combine 1 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 cup of molasses


  • To make one cup, pour 1 tablespoon lemon juice into a 1 cup measure then fill with milk to make 1 cup. Let stand at least five minutes.
  • 1 cup plain yogurt

Cajun Seasoning

  • For 1 tablespoon, combine 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cake Flour

  • For 1 cup, use 1 cup MINUS 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

Cornstarch (for thickening)

  • For one tablespoon, substitute 2 tablespoons of flour

Corn Syrup

  • To make 1 cup, mix 1 1/4 white sugar with 1/3 cup of water
  • Substitute equal amount of honey
  • Substitute equal amounts of maple-flavored syrup

Dry Mustard

  • Substitute 1 tablespoon prepared mustard for 1 teaspoon of dry mustard

Fresh Herbs

  • A general rule is 1 teaspoon of dried herbs equals 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs

Garlic (fresh)

  • 1 clove of garlic is equal to about 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

Granulated Sugar

  • To use powdered sugar, multiply the amount of granulated sugar you need by 1.75

Italian Seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon oregano

Ketchup (for cooking purposes)

  • To make 1 cup, blend together 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons of vinegar

Marshmallows (mini)

  • 1 cup of mini marshmallows is equal to 10 large marshmallows

Mascarpone Cheese

  • Equal amounts of sour cream can be substituted

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • For 1 teaspoon, combine 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


  • Substitute equal amounts of turmeric

Self-Rising Flour

  • To make 1 cup, blend 1 cup (minus 2 teaspoons) of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Sour Cream

  •  Combine 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a blender.
  • 1 cup yogurt plus 1 teaspoon baking soda (for baking)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mix and let stand for 5 min. (for cooked sauces)

Soy Sauce

  • For each 1/2 cup of soy sauce needed, blend together 4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon water


  • Substitute equal amounts of peanut butter

Tomato Juice

  • For 1 cup, blend together 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water

Tomato Sauce

  • For 1 cup, mix together 1/2 cup tomato paste and 1/2 cup water

Tomato Soup

  • In a pinch, make the equivalent of a 10 3/4 oz. can of soup by combining 1 cup tomato sauce and 1/4 cup water

Wine (for cooking ONLY :) )

  • For each cup needed, mix 13 tablespoons of water, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Subtitute equal amounts of chicken or beef broth

Worcestershire Sauce

  • Substitute steak sauce in equal amounts


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14 Responses to PINCH HITTERS

  1. Laura

    This is great! Who hasn’t had one of those “oh no!” moments when checking the pantry! :) I will be printing this out to keep with my recipes. Thanks!

  2. I’ve used some of these in the past, but some of them I didn’t know about! Thanks…this will come in very handy!

  3. I’ve used a ripe banana in place of eggs before when I was making muffins. Worked quite nicely!

  4. Thank you for posting this, I will definitely keep it bookmarked. I know I will be referring to it (often.)

  5. Nancy Hartwick

    Pumpkin pie spice…good to know! Thanks!

  6. I have never bought pumpkin pie spice so thank you for this one but the one that really caught my eye was the substitute for Tahini paste. Every time I look at that jar and the price of over $8.00, it just had me walking away!

  7. Amy Burns

    I like the heads up on the Tumeric substitution for Saffron. I love saffron, but it is so expensive.

  8. I love it too Amy, I have been using it for years when I make yellow rice and it works great.

  9. I use a 1/4 cup of mayonnaise for each egg I need when I find myself out of eggs in the middle of a recipe.

    • modernmrscleaver

      Thanks Alice! I’ve used the mayo sub as well, jut never with cookies :) I believe I’ll be making a trip to the corner store haha

  10. OneTiredMama

    Great tips!

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