Common Recipe Swaps and Substitutions

We’ve all done the screen dance swiping between our recipe and the Google search for substitutions. Sometimes it’s because of a dietary restriction or allergy concern. Sometimes you scroll past a recipe and your brain goes all me-want-now and there’s really no time for rational thinking or grocery shopping; you’re already mixing ingredients (lookin’ at you “oh no, this calls for buttermilk?!”). Oh and sorry, I guess there is no perfect swap for mushrooms. That’s just a friendship to work on. But maybe this or this would help?

Whatever the reason is, WE’VE GOT YOU. We’ve pulled together a collection of our most commonly asked about ingredient swaps/substitutions, conversions and general method tips and tricks for whichever situation you find yourself in. This includes:

Now get cooking!


Dietary Substitutions

Make a Recipe Gluten-Free

Replace ingredients containing wheat, rye, or barley.

Examples of gluten-free grains:

  • Quinoa
  • White rice
  • Brown rice, wild rice
  • Gluten-free flours (1:1 gluten-free flour blend, almond flour, coconut flour, etc.)
  • Oats
  • Gluten-free pasta
  • Corn

Make a Recipe Vegan

Replace ingredients containing products derived from an animal (meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey).

Examples of vegan proteins:

  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Edamame
  • Peanut butter
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Flax eggs

Examples of dairy-free options:

  • Nut milks
  • Olive oil
  • Vegan cheese
  • Non-dairy yogurt

Make a Recipe Vegetarian

Replace ingredients containing meat products.

Examples of vegetarian proteins:

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Edamame
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Make a Recipe without Refined Sugar

Replace any refined sugar ingredients (sugar, brown sugar, molasses, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, or corn syrup) in the recipe.

Examples of refined sugar free options:

  • Coconut sugar
  • Honey
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Dates
  • Agave nectar
  • Brown rice syrup

Make a Recipe Lower in Salt

Choose low-sodium options (low-sodium soy sauce, low-sodium beans, low-sodium tortillas, low-sodium broth) when available and limit added salt in a recipe.

Examples of ways to add flavor without salt:

  • Add in more fresh herbs, dried herbs, spices, citrus / citrus zest, vinegar

Make a recipe Whole30 compliant

Replace all dairy, soy, grains, added sugars, legumes, and alcohol a recipe.

Examples of Whole30 replacements:

  • Cauliflower rice instead of rice or quinoa
  • Zucchini noodles instead of pasta
  • Dried fruit or mashed banana instead of added sugars
  • Coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
  • Green beans or split peas instead of lentils
  • Ghee or coconut oil instead of butter

Make a Recipe Low FODMAP

Replace all beans, lentils, wheat, dairy with lactose, artificial sweeteners, and some fruits and vegetables in a recipe.

Examples of low FODMAP replacements:

  • Rice or quinoa instead of wheat ingredients
  • Ginger instead of garlic (when appropriate)
  • Berries or citrus fruits instead of pears or apples
  • Carrots, kale, or eggplant instead of Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, or asparagus
  • Tofu or eggs instead of beans and lentils
  • Pure maple syrup instead of artificial sweeteners or honey
  • Lactose-free dairy instead of dairy with lactose

Make a Recipe Keto

Replace carb and sugar-rich ingredients in a recipe with high-fat options

Examples of keto-friendly replacements:

  • Cauliflower rice instead of rice
  • Broccoli or bell peppers instead of potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini noodles instead of pasta
  • Add in meat, poultry, cheese, eggs, butter, oils, and avocado

Common Allergy Substitutions

Dairy

  • Nut milks instead of cow’s milk
  • Vegan cheese or goat cheese instead of cow’s cheese
  • Non-dairy yogurt instead of dairy yogurt
  • Olive oil instead of butter

Wheat

  • Quinoa or rice instead of couscous
  • Gluten-free / wheat-free pasta instead of regular pasta
  • Coconut aminos or tamari instead of soy sauce
  • Almond flour or coconut flour instead of all purpose flour
  • Crushed nuts instead of breadcrumbs

Soy

  • Tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
  • Peas or lima beans instead of edamame
  • Almond milk or coconut milk instead of soy milk
  • Pea protein-based meat alternatives instead of tofu

Peanuts

  • Almond butter or tahini instead of peanut butter
  • Almonds instead of peanuts
  • Sesame oil instead of peanut oil

Eggs

Tree Nuts

  • Roasted chickpeas instead of roasted nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead of nuts
  • Butter instead of coconut oil
  • Cream instead of canned coconut milk

Corn

  • Maple syrup or honey instead of high fructose corn syrup
  • Tapioca starch or arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch
  • Canned beans instead of canned corn

Instant Pot / Slow Cooker / Stovetop Conversions

Convert Recipe from Instant Pot to Slow Cooker

Generally recipes will need 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. 

Convert Recipe from Instant Pot to Stovetop

Simmer dish on stove for 3-4 hours (or less) or until dish is cooked and tender.

Convert Recipe from Slow Cooker to Instant Pot

  • Make sure you have at least one cup of liquid and put all liquid-like ingredients in the Instant Pot first.
  • Generally meat dishes will take 10-20 minutes in the Instant Pot depending on size and vegetarian dishes will take 4-10 minutes in the Instant Pot.
  • Use quick release for any delicate foods that might fall apart if they’re left in the Instant Pot too long and use natural release for meals like soups and stews where it’s better to let the flavors blend together a bit.
  • Add any dairy products after the dish has finished cooking in the Instant Pot. 

Convert Recipe from Stovetop to Instant Pot

  • Make sure you have at least one cup of liquid and put all liquid-like ingredients in the Instant Pot first.
  • Generally meat dishes will take 10-20 minutes (depending on size) in the Instant Pot and vegetarian dishes will take 4-10 minutes in the Instant Pot.
  • Use quick release for any delicate foods that might fall apart if they’re left in the Instant Pot too long and use natural release for meals like soups and stews where it’s better to let the flavors blend together a bit.
  • Add any dairy products after the dish has finished cooking in the Instant Pot. 

Convert Recipe from Slow Cooker to Stovetop

Simmer dish on the stove for 3-4 hours (or less), or until dish is cooked and tender. 

Convert Recipe from Stovetop to Slow Cooker

Generally recipes will need 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. 

Cooking from Frozen in Instant Pot

  • Chicken: 15-20 minutes
  • Beef: 20-60 minutes (larger, thicker cuts of beef will be closer to 60 minutes)
  • Pork: 20-60 minutes (larger, thicker cuts of pork will be closer to 60 minutes)
  • Soups: 10-15 minutes
  • Beans / Lentils: 15 minutes

PRO TIP: For any recipe you’d like to convert to a different method, look up similar recipes using that tool to use the cook time. For example if you want to make and Instant Pot Minestrone Soup but in a slow cooker, look up “Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup” and use that cook time for the recipe.

Common Ingredient Substitutions

Baking powder (1 teaspoon) —> Use ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Baking soda (1 teaspoon) —> Use 4 teaspoons baking powder

Bread crumbs (1 cup) —> Use 1 cup crushed crackers, 1 cup ground oats, or 1 cup crushed nuts

Broth (1 cup) —> Use 1 cup water or 1 tablespoon soy sauce with enough water to make 1 cup

Butter (1 cup) —> Use ½ cup applesauce (when baking), ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (when baking), 1 cup olive oil, or 1 cup coconut oil 

Buttermilk (1 cup) —> Use 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar with enough milk to make 1 cup

Egg (1 whole) —> Use 1 tablespoon flax seed soaked in 3 tablespoons water, ¼ cup applesauce, ¼ cup mashed banana, or ¼ cup pureed tofu

Fresh Garlic (1 clove) —> Use ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder

Fresh Ginger (1 teaspoon) —> Use ½ teaspoon ground ginger

Lemon juice (1 teaspoon) —> Use ½ teaspoon vinegar

Mayonnaise (1 cup) —> Use 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup plain yogurt

Milk (1 cup) —> Use 1 cup non-dairy milk

Oil (1 cup) —> Use ½ cup applesauce (when baking), ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (when baking), ½ cup mashed banana (when baking), or 1 cup butter

Onion (1 cup) —> Use 1 cup green onions, 1 cup shallots, 1 cup leeks, or ¼ cup onion powder

Soy sauce (1 cup) —> Use 1 cup tamari, 1 cup coconut aminos, or ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce with 1 tablespoon water

Vinegar (1 teaspoon) —> Use 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

Wine (1 cup) —> Use 1 cup broth

Yeast (Active Dry) (1 package) —> Use 1 package instant yeast

Imperial / Metric Measurements

By Volume

  • 1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters
  • 1 tablespoon = 15 milliliters = ½ fluid ounce
  • ¼ cup = 60 milliliters = 2 fluid ounces
  • ⅓ cup = 80 milliliters = 2.6 fluid ounces
  • ½ cup = 120 milliliters = 4 fluid ounces
  • ¾ cup = 180 milliliters = 6 fluid ounces
  • 1 cup = 240 milliliters = 8 fluid ounces

By Weight

  • 1 ounce = 30 grams
  • ¼ pound = 120 grams
  • ½ pound = 240 grams
  • ¾ pound = 360 grams
  • 1 pound = 480 grams

By Temperature

  • 325 degrees F = 160 degrees C
  • 350 degrees F = 180 degrees C
  • 375 degrees F = 190 degrees C
  • 400 degrees F = 200 degrees C
  • 425 degrees F = 220 degrees C
  • 450 degrees F = 230 degrees C

Other Equivalents

  • ¼ cup = 35 grams flour = 38 grams rice = 48 grams sugar = 50 grams butter
  • ⅓ cup = 47 grams flour = 50 grams rice = 63 grams sugar = 67 grams butter
  • ½ cup = 70 grams flour = 75 grams rice = 95 grams sugar = 100 grams butter
  • ¾ cup = 105 grams flour = 113 grams rice = 143 grams sugar = 150 grams butter
  • 1 cup = 140 grams flour = 150 grams rice = 190 grams sugar = 200 grams butter
  • 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
  • 4 tablespoons = ¼ cup
  • 8 tablespoons = ½ cup
  • 16 tablespoons = 1 cup
  • 2 cups = 1 pint
  • 4 cups = 1 quart
  • 4 quarts = 1 gallon

High Altitude Baking Tips

  • Grease baking pans and sheets well with non-stick cooking spray or oil
  • Fill pans ½ full of batter
  • Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F
  • May need to decrease baking powder and sugar in recipe (depending on altitude level)
  • May need to increase liquid in recipe (depending on altitude level)