Friday, February 3, 2012


We've all had a recipe we were dying to try, but didn't want to buy something just for one dish, or you ran out of something. You could also have my dilemma where all these new dishes use coffee and or alcohol, I don't use either one (or tea for that matter). So do we just not make something, and stick with the same old recipes? Of course not, that's what substitutions are for. Some work better than others, and the dish itself may change what gets used, play with flavors a bit and see what you think. I have gathered a few lists (and have The Food Substitution Bible in the kitchen at all times). Some make sense, others (chicken broth for beer just doesn't seem right) well maybe we'll find something eventually. so here's the list, and no it's not a complete list, just highlights of stuff I run across, and alcohol (I have a copy of that substitution list saved to my computer). Feel free to comment and add your own substitutes.

Amaretto   Almond extract (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for 2 tablespoons of Amaretto) or Italian soda syrup, marzipan.

Applejack or Apple Brandy   Apple juice, unsweetened apple juice concentrate, apple cider, or apple butter.

Apricot Brandy   Syrup from a can of apricots in heavy syrup, or apricot preserves

Beer or Ale A strong chicken, beef or mushroom broth

Beer or Ale (Light) Chicken broth, white grape juice or ginger ale

Bourbon  Vanilla extract (1 to 2 teaspoons for 2 tablespoons bourbon), sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, or sparkling grape juice.

Brandy   Brandy or rum extract (1/2 to 1 teaspoon for 2 tablespoons of Brandy). Raspberry extract. For recipes calling for exact amounts substitute water

Champagne  Ginger ale, sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, sparkling white grape juice, soda water, or champagne extract.

Cherry Liqueur or Cherry Brandy  Syrup from a can of cherries in heavy syrup, or cherry Italian soda syrup, or cherry preserves. 

Cognac  Apricot, peach or pear juice.

Crème de menthe  non-alcoholic mint extract, mint Italian soda syrup, spearmint extract, or spearmint oil with a little water added. If green color is needed, add a drop of green food coloring.

Kahlua  Chocolate extract (1 teaspoon per 2 tablespoons Kahlua)

Red Wine, sweet or dry  non-alcoholic wine with a tablespoon of vinegar added to cut the sweetness, grape juice, cranberry juice, grape jelly, tomato juice, beef broth, liquid drained from vegetables, or water. Use equal amounts of liquid as called for in the recipe.

Riesling White grape juice with a pinch of powdered sugar added.

Rum White grape juice, pineapple juice, or apple juice in equal liquid amounts as called for in the recipe. Can also use these juices with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of non-alcoholic rum, almond or vanilla extract added.

Sherry Apple juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, non-alcoholic vanilla extract (1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract for 2 tablespoons sherry).  To substitute sherry in a marinade use ¼ cup vinegar plus ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon sugar, or 1 tablespoon vinegar plus chicken stock or water to make up the ½ cup.

Vodka White grape juice or apple cider combined with lime juice or water.

Whiskey If a small amount is called for, it can be eliminated.

White Burgundy Non-alcoholic wine, white grape juice combined with white wine vinegar.

Wine, White, Sweet< Non-alcoholic wine with a tablespoon of vinegar added to cut the sweetness, white grape juice, apple juice, apple cider, tomato juice, chicken broth, vegetable broth, ginger ale, or water. Use equal amounts of liquid as called for in the recipe.  
Wine, White, Dry Water, chicken broth, bullion , ginger ale, white grape juice, diluted cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Wine, Red Add water, white grape juice, apple juice or broth to match the amount of wine in the recipe.  Or grape juice, vegetable stock, cranberry juice, tomato juice or concord grape jelly

Wine, Heavy Equal amounts of unsweetened orange juice or apple juice plus 1 teaspoon of corresponding flavored extract or non-alcoholic vanilla extract.

Now some other substitutions

Allspice          1 teaspoon     * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon
                                   ground cloves

Baking powder     1 teaspoon     * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 5/8
                                   teaspoon cream of tartar
                                 * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup
                                   sour milk or buttermilk or yogurt
                                   (decrease liquid called for in recipe
                                   by 1/2 cup)
                                 * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2
                                   tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice used
                                   with sweet milk to make 1/2 cup
                                   (decrease liquid called for in recipe
                                   by 1/2 cup)
                                 * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/4 to
                                   1/2 cup molasses (decrease liquid in
                                   recipe by 1 to 2 tablespoons)
                                 * 1/3 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2
                                   teaspoon cream of tartar

Cocoa             1/4 cup or     * 1 ounce (square) chocolate (decrease
                  4 tablespoons    fat called for in recipe by 1/2

Coconut Milk      1 cup          * 1 cup milk

Corn Syrup        1 cup          * 1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid (use
                                   whatever liquid is called for in the
                                 * 1 cup honey

Cornstarch        1 tablespoon   * 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
(for thickening)                 * 4 to 6 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca

Cream cheese                     * Part skim milk ricotta cheese or lowfat
                                   cottage cheese beaten until smooth

Cream,            1 cup          * 7/8 cup whole milk plus 1/2 tablespoon
half-and-half                      butter or margarine
                                 * 3 tablespoons oil plus milk to equal
                                   1 cup
                                 * 1 cup evaporated milk

Cream, heavy      1 cup          * 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup butter or 
(36 to 40% fat)                          margarine (for use in cooking and baking)
                                             * 2/3 cup buttermilk plus 1/3 cup oil
                                            * Evaporated skim milk or equal parts of  part-skim milk ricotta cheese and    nonfat yogurt beaten until smooth
                                   (this mixture cannot be heated because
                                   of separation)

Cream, light      1 cup          * 1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
(18 to 20% fat)                  * 14 tablespoons milk plus 3 tablespoons  butter or margarine

Cream, sour       1 cup          * 3 tablespoons butter plus 7/8 cup sour  milk
                                               * 7/8 cup buttermilk plus 3 tablespoons butter

Cream, whipped                   * Chill a 13 oz. can of evaporated milk
                                   for 12 hours. Add 1 teaspoon lemon
                                   juice. Whip until stiff.
                                 * Beat until stiff: 1/2 cup ice-cold
                                   water and 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk. Add
                                   1/2 cup sugar, slowly, while beating.
                                   Then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and
                                   beat until mixed well.

Cream, whipping   1 cup          * 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2
                                   tablespoons sugar, 1 cup evaporated
                                 * 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup butter (for cooking only)

Cream of tartar   1/2 teaspoon   * 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

Flour, cake       1 cup sifted   * 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted
                                   all-purpose flour

Flour, pastry     1 cup          * 7/8 cup all-purpose flour

Flour,            1 cup          * 1 cup minus 2 teaspoons all-purpose
self-rising                        flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking
                                   powder and ½ teaspoon salt

Herbs, fresh      1 tablespoon,  * 1 teaspoon dried herbs
                  finely cut     * 1/2 teaspoon ground herbs

Milk, buttermilk  1 cup          * 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon sweet milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice or
                                   vinegar (allow to stand 5 to 10

Milk, evaporated  1 can (about   * Whip until smooth:
                  12 ounces)         1 cup nonfat dry milk
                                     1 3/4 cups warm water
                                     Keep refrigerated

Milk, sweetened   1 can (about   * Heat the following ingredients until
condensed         1-1/3 cup)       sugar and butter are dissolved:
                                     1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons
                                     evaporated milk
                                     1 cup sugar
                                     3 tablespoons butter or margarine
                  1 cup          * Heat the following ingredients until
                                   sugar and butter are dissolved:
                                     1/3 cup evaporated milk
                                     3/4 cup sugar
                                     2 tablespoons butter or margarine
                                 * Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry milk
                                   powder to 1/2 cup warm water. Mix
                                   well. Add 3/4 cup sugar and stir until

Molasses          1 cup          * 3/4 cup sugar plus 2 teaspoons baking
                                   powder (increase liquid called for in
                                   recipe by 5 tablespoons and decrease
                                   baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon)
                                 * 3/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/4 teaspoons
                                   cream of tartar (increase liquid
                                   called for in recipe by 5 tablespoons)

Mustard, dry      1 teaspoon     * 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
                                 * 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Sugar, brown      1 cup, firmly         * 1 cup granular sugar
                                   packed         * 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses

Sugar,                        1 cup          * 3/4 cup granulated sugar
or powdered

This is not an entire list of course, but hits the high points. Don't be afraid to experiment, and make sure and taste before serving especially if substituting. I haven't come up with a good coffee substitute yet, but eventually I hope to find something.

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