< Southern Basics

Simple Baking Substitutions

Recipes are useful guides, but don’t panic if you want to bake something only to realize you don’t have every ingredient on hand. Often a simple substitution is all it takes to save the day. Here’s a cheat sheet to some of the most common baking ingredients and their easiest swaps. Keep it on hand and you’ll never get caught unprepared!

All Purpose Flour: For every 1 cup of all purpose flour, you can substitute an equal amount of bread flour or a blend of ½ cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup bread flour.


Cake Flour: To make 1 cup of cake flour, measure 1 cup of all purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir together.


Self-Rising Flour: To make 1 cup of self-rising flour, substitute a combination of 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 ½ tsp of baking powder and ¼ tsp of salt.


Baking Powder: For 1 teaspoon of baking powder, combine ¼ teaspoon baking soda with ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon cornstarch.


Butter: Substitute an equal amount of lard or shortening.


Vegetable Oil: Substitute an equal amount of melted butter or other oil (such as olive oil or sunflower oil).


Heavy Cream: For 1 cup of heavy cream, substitute ¼ cup cooled melted butter and ¾ cup whole milk.


Buttermilk: For one cup of buttermilk, stir 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup milk.


Yogurt: Substitute an equal amount of sour cream or creme fraiche.


Brown Sugar: For every 1 cup of brown sugar, add 2 tablespoons of molasses or maple syrup to 1 cup of granulated sugar.


Confectioners’ Sugar: To make 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, measure 1 cup of granulated sugar. Remove 1 teaspoon of sugar and replace with 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Pulse mixture in blender or food processor until finely ground.


Chocolate Chips: Substitute an equal amount of chopped chocolate bars, M&Ms, or other chocolate candies. Or, for a different flavor but similar texture, you can use chopped nuts or raisins in their place.