Learn About Baking Substitutes for Recipes

Copyright © 2000 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc. All rights reserved.
When you run out of something, what do you do? The solution is to substitute an ingredient called for in a recipe with another one. Here, you can find ingredient substitution charts and information for use in your recipes.  Making one thing into another is never 100 percent, but in a pinch, however, it's helpful to know how to come close to an orginal ingredient, although sometimes it doesn't work.  If you have any baking or recipe questions, please post them in our Forum, where they will be answered shortly.

I've compiled a quick list of possible baking ingredient substitutions that are commonly asked about. For more extensive information, click on the categories in the substitution menu to the left.





1 tablespoon (tbsp) =     3 teaspoons (tsp)
1/16 cup =    1 tablespoon
1/8 cup =    2 tablespoons
1/6 cup =    2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
1/4 cup =    4 tablespoons
1/3 cup =    5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
3/8 cup =    6 tablespoons
1/2 cup =    8 tablespoons
2/3 cup =    10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup =    12 tablespoons
1 cup =     48 teaspoons
1 cup =     16 tablespoons
8 fluid ounces (fl oz) =     1 cup
1 pint (pt) =    2 cups
1 quart (qt) =    2 pints
4 cups =    1 quart
1 gallon (gal) =    4 quarts
16 ounces (oz) =     1 pound (lb)
1 milliliter (ml) =    1 cubic centimeter (cc)
1 inch (in) =    2.54 centimeters (cm)
-Measure dry ingredients in dry measuring cups
-Measure liquid ingredients in liquid measuring cups
-Weigh ingredients using a kitchen scale

Allspice (1 tsp.)

= 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Blend thoroughly

Baking Powder (1 tsp.)

There is no substitution for DOUBLE-ACTING BAKING POWDER

SINGLE-ACTING baking powder: mix 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Single-acting means that it will create gas quickly when moistened, so the batter must be cooked quickly or it will go flat. For double-acting baking powder, the kind commonly used in recipes and sold in grocery stores, there isn't any easy home substitution.

SINGLE-ACTING Corn-free: For 1-2/3s cup, blend: 1/3 cup baking soda + 2/3 cup cream of tartar + 2/3 cup arrowroot starch. Thoroughly blend all ingredients together, and store in airtight container. Use in recipes to replace standard baking powder, 1 for 1.

Substitutes are NOT reliable.

Baking Soda

There is no good substitute.


Butter or Margarine2 cups (4 sticks) = 1 pound or 16 ounces
1 cup (2 sticks) = 1/2 pound or 8 ounces
1/2 cup (1 stick) = 1/4 pound = 8 tablespoons = 4 ounces = 113 grams
1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) = 4 tablespoons = 2 ounces
1/8 cup (1/4 stick) = 2 tablespoons = 1 ounce
1/8 stick = 1 tablespoon = 1/2 ounce

1 cup butter = 1 cup margarine = 1 cup regular or butter flavored shortening (packed)

1 pound unsalted butter = 1 pound salted butter (remove 1 teaspoon salt from the recipe)

Buttermilk (1 cup)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or distilled white vinegar (does not add flavor to baked good) in a glass measuring cup.  Add in milk to equal 1 cup. Stir. Let stand for 15 minutes until it looks like it is beginning to curdle or slightly curdled.
2/3 cup plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt plus 1/3 cup milk
Powdered buttermilk, follow directions on package

Place 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or distilled white wine vinegar (does not add flavor to baked good) in a glass measuring cup. Add in plain non-dairy milk (soy, nut, rice, oat, or mixed grain milk) to equal 1 cup. Stir. Let stand for 15 minutes until it looks like it is beginning to curdle or slightly curdled  
1/4 cup silken tofu + 3/4 cup water + 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar + pinch of salt (blended together)

Real fresh buttermilk works the best

Cake flour, bleached (1 cup)

1 cup (preferably) bleached all-purpose flour  minus 2 tablespoons, and then add in 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Combine.

Bleached cake flour works the best.

Chocolate Chips

1 package (12 ounces) chocolate chips = 2 cups

Can use chopped chocolate

Citrus PeelLemon: One lemon yields approximately 1 tablespoon of zest.

Lime: A yield of a lime is hard to predict because the thickness of the skin varies so much. Key limes, because of their thin skins, do not zest well. Use a regular lime, instead.

Orange: One large orange yields approximately 2 tablespoons of zest.

Tangerine: 2 - 3 tablespoons tangerine zest obtained from 12 - 13 tangerines
Cream of TartarIn general, for each 1 large egg white, use 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon distilled white vinegar.  
Up to 1 teaspoon cream of tartar per 1 cup egg whites
NOTE: Pasteurized egg whites NEED cream of tartar or lemon juice added so you can be able to beat to a stiff meringue. You will need double the amount. For example, for cream of tartar for pasteurized eggs: for 1 pasteurized egg white use 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar.  
Flour, Self-rising
For each cup of cake or all-purpose flour, add 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 
Salt1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt = roughly 1 1/4 teaspoons Morton's kosher salt = roughly 1 3/4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt 


-For 1 packed tablespoon cake yeast use 2 teaspoons instant yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry
-Use 1.25 times the weight; or, for 1 teaspoon instant yeast, use about 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
-Use 0.67 times the weight; or, for 1 teaspoons active dry yeast, use 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
-Use 0.32 times the weight; or, for 1 packed Tablespoon (21 grams) fresh yeast, use 2 teaspoons instant yeast