Quick Fixes When You're Missing An Ingredient

Quick Fixes When You’re Missing an Ingredient

Baking is an exact science, so if you're missing an ingredient, you can't simply leave it out; try these simple swaps instead.

Baking Powder

Don't be fooled into thinking that you can simply swap baking soda for baking powder — baking soda helps leaven baked goods when its mixed with an acid (like buttermilk or lemon juice), and baking powder (which isn't quite as strong as baking soda) already has an added acidic component. Instead of simply swapping one for the other, replace 1 teaspoon of baking powder with ½ of a teaspoon of cream of tartar and ¼ of a teaspoon of baking soda.


Some of the most moist and delicious baked good call for buttermilk, but if you don't use it regularly, you may not have any on hand. Rather than buying butter milk, replace it with an equal amount of unsweetened yogurt. Or, make your own by mixing 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice. Let the milk sit for a few minutes, until thickened. Then, measure your homemade buttermilk according to your recipe.


Run out of baking chocolate? No problem. For each 1-ounce square that your recipe calls for, use 3 tablespoons of baking cocoa and 1 tablespoon of shortening or vegetable oil.

Dark Corn Syrup

When you're out of dark corn syrup, it can be tempting to use light corn syrup instead (the two can easily be used interchangeably) but, if you do, you'll miss out on a lot of really wonderful, complex flavor. Make your own dark corn syrup by mixing light corn syrup and molasses instead. For every 1 cup of dark corn syrup your recipe calls for, use ¾ of a cup of light corn syrup and ¼ of a cup of molasses instead.


Though eggs play a fundamental role in a number of ingredients, there are a surprising number of ways to bake without them. When you're short on eggs, try replacing one whole egg with any one of the following ingredients: ¼ of a cup of unsweetened applesauce mixed with ½ of a teaspoon of baking powder, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water until fully absorbed, or ¼ of a cup of vegetable oil (though vegetable oil works best when you're only missing one egg total).

Half and Half

I never have seem to half and half on hand. My refrigerator is stocked full with whole milk, heavy cream, and buttermilk, but never with half and half. An easy solution? Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and then add enough whole milk to equal 1 cup. Combine the butter and the milk and you'll have a good substitute for 1 cup of half and half.

Lemon Juice

In a real pinch, you can replace 1 teaspoon of lemon juice with ¼ of a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This swap works great for baked goods that only call for a small amount of lemon juice (which is usually used to activate ingredients like baking soda) — obviously, don't swap vinegar for lemon juice in recipes that rely on it for flavoring.


Run out of margarine? Make your recipe healthier with this easy swap: use ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce for every 1 cup of margarine that your recipe calls for.

Self-Rising Flour

Don't bother investing in a special box of self-rising flour. Make your own as follows; mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder, ½ of a teaspoon of salt, and ¼ of a teaspoon of baking soda. Combine all of the ingredients and then use them in place of 1 cup of self-rising flour.