Baking Substitutions

Knowing a few main baking substitutions can be very useful. A time might come when you have to bake for someone with specific allergies, or you might be out of a key ingredient. You might also want to make a few healthier substitutions or maybe you just enjoy doing things a little differently now and then.

Whatever your reasons are, having a few tricks up your sleeve is never a bad idea. Here are some excellent baking substitutions you can try in your own kitchen. Unless otherwise noted use the same amount of the substitute as the ingredient you're replacing.

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Healthy Substitutions

With trying to improve on our healthy eating, I've been making healthy substitutions a lot in the last 6 months. My favorite is substituting oil for applesauce. This works great in recipes such as pancakes or waffles. You can substitute all or half of what is called for in the recipe. Here are some more substituting ideas.
  1. Replace sweet potatoes for pumpkin
  2. Replace shortening for butter
  3. Replace butter with canola or olive oil
  4. Replace white flour for wheat flour. 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white works the best but you can experiment different ratios to your preference.
  5. Use carob for chocolate.
  6. Add pureed baby pears in place of oil.
  7. Add pureed beans in place of oil.
  8. Use cocoa instead of chocolate chips.
  9. Use plain yogurt in place of sour cream.
  10. Replace nut butters for butter or spreads.
  11. For buttermilk use 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and add milk to equal 1 cup.
  12. Substitute cottage cheese with plain yogurt or sour cream.

What to Substitute

As baking can sometimes be a very finicky operation, not all recipes will come out the exact same texture when you make certain substitutions.

You may need to practice and perfect your favorite recipes with these. Also consider moving towards weighing ingredients over using measuring cups. Think in terms of flavors, texture, and how each ingredient affects it when you make substitutions.

Please note: When making substitutions in baking start with small changes and work up to bigger substitutes. (Some of these substitutes may not result in a perfectly baked product!)

  baking substitutions infographic


Per egg: Choose a substitute based on the flavors you are trying to create:
  • 1/4 Cup Silken Tofu
  • 1 TBSP Ground Flax Seed plus 3 Tablespoons Water
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons Gelatin Mix (1 Cup Boiling Water + 2 Teaspoons Gelatin)
  • 1/2 Cup Mashed Banana
egg substitutions
Many people have allergies to eggs, wheat, nuts or other ingredients so they need to substitute or use recipes that don't have certain ingredients. Here is one excellent recipe submitted by a reader, perfect for those with an egg allergy.

Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets. Mix the shortening, peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar and buttermilk until smooth and fully combined. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the peanut butter mixture and mix until well blended. Drop cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork that has been dipped in flour. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes.


(per cup): What you use will depend on if your dish is sweet or savory
  • Fruit Puree
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt
  • Banana
  • Melted Butter
  • Coconut Oil
vegetable oil substitutions


(per cup):
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt + 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda + 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Milk + 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice + 3 Tablespoons Butter
buttermilk substitions


  • Vegetable Shortening
  • Earth Balance Spread
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado
butter substitions

White Flour

(per cup): When substituting something for white flour the rule is to mix different types of substitutes together to get the right flavor and texture, at least two but three sometimes is better. Also use Grams instead of Cups. 140 Grams of any mixture below will equal 1 Cup of Flour.
  • Coconut Flour
  • Almond Flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Rice Flour
  • Oat Flour
  • Rolled Oats
  • Soy Flour
flour substitions

White Sugar

(per cup):
  • 2/3 Cup Agave Nectar*
  • 3/4 Cup Honey*
  • 1 Cup Chopped Dates (puree with 1 Cup of liquid after soaking for 1 hour)
  • 1 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana
  • 1 Teaspoon Stevia
*You will need to reduce the liquid in the overall recipe for both of these substitutions.
sugar substitions

Baking Powder

baking soda


(per teaspoon):
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • Dulse Seaweed Flakes (to taste)
  • Dried Celery Flakes or Powder
salt substitions


  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Rice Milk
milk substitutions


  • Double Acting Baking Powder
  • Equal Parts Baking Soda + Lemon Juice, Vinegar or Buttermilk
 yeast substitions

Sour Cream

(per cup):
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt + 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Silken Yogurt + 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice Blended
sour cream substitions

Cocoa Powder

  • Carob Powder

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