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Best Substitutes For Baking

The Best Baking Substitutes

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If you’re in a pinch or want to try something clever and new, my handy guide to the Best Baking Substitutes is here to help!

Hi Bold Bakers!

Part of being a Bold Baker is knowing what to do in a pinch. Today, I am sharing with you my Best Baking Substitutes. Some of the tips and tricks I’ve shared have hopefully really helped already. Whether it be Salvaging Burnt Cookies or knowing How to Fill a Piping Bag like a pro, there is always a way to get around an obstacle in the kitchen!

Since I’m constantly baking, I often run out of ingredients and don’t have time to run out to buy some more. In baking, it is, of course, important to follow a recipe faithfully. That said, there are some basic swaps and baking substitutes I am excited to share with you!

Imagine this: it’s down to the last minute, and guests are due to arrive at any moment. You have dinner on the table and you’re ready to get going on dessert — your mother’s famous cookies! You get out all of your ingredients — butter, flour, sugar, chocolate chips — only to discover YOU ARE MISSING EGGS! At this point, most bakers in a bind reach full panic mode and quickly think, “Well I guess I won’t be making mom’s famous cookies then.” I’m here to tell you to think again!

Below are some of my Best Substitutes for Baking. Some sound odd, others make total sense, but they are all tried and true and they all get the job done. Some of these baking substitutes even help to lighten up your favorite baked goods. Next time you can’t run to the store, or your trusty neighbor isn’t home, I encourage you to give these tips a try.

Best Substitutes For Baking

Substituting Eggs

No eggs? One of my secret egg substitutes is ½ a ripe banana for each egg! I’m sure you’re wondering if this makes what you’re making taste like banana. Obviously, the more banana you add, the more flavor will come through, but if it’s just one or 2 eggs swapped for one banana you won’t even taste the difference. For more substitutes take a look at my Egg Substitute Chart.

Substituting Flavorless Oil

Run out of flavorless oil? Substitute applesauce using a 1:1 ratio! This is a great baking tip that not only tastes great and has the right texture, but even lightens up your baked goods without any additional thoughts or effort. You can use a store bought applesauce but it’s really easy to make too. Be sure to check out my recipe for Homemade Applesauce. This is a great one of to have on hand when out of oil, but also just for a quick snack or dessert.

Substituting Corn Syrup

A lot of people prefer not to bake or cook with corn-based syrups, and that’s why I created this Perfect Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute using only a few ingredients you most likely already have. This can be made and stored for up to three months, meaning you never have to worry about recipes that call for corn syrup again.

Substituting Buttermilk

Buttermilk is sometimes not only hard to find, but since it’s often sold in small quart-sized packages, I often find I’m all out when I thought I had more. When I run out of this and don’t have time to run down to the shop I simply make my own Buttermilk Substitute by using just regular milk and lemon juice. This looks and acts just like buttermilk and can be used to make everything from my Best-Ever Buttermilk Biscuits to Buttermilk Pancakes.

Substituting Brown Sugar

I personally am blown away by this trick each time I use it. Some of you might not know, but natural brown sugar has molasses, which is removed to produce white sugar. You can add it back! When the two are combined, an almost maple-like flavor is created and it is nothing short of heavenly. Next time you’re out of brown sugar, you don’t need to go out and spend extra bucks buying new, instead give my method for How to Make Brown Sugar a try!

Did you like these baking tips? I have lots more that will help you get baking confidently in the kitchen. Check out my Bold Baking Basics!

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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  1. Susan Ardoin on June 20, 2019 at 2:40 am

    Gemma, need help please. I have a Grandchild who will be celebrating her 1st Birthday in a week or so. She is allergic to eggs & milk. Her Mother asked me to bake her “smash” cake. Would you happen to have a recipe I can use??
    Thank you!!


    • Gemma Stafford on June 20, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Susan! I did some looking around on the Internets on what a smash cake is. It is simply a cake, created for smashing. Quite literally. While I do not encourage wastage of beautiful cake, you can try to make a smaller version of any cake recipe that you’d like your grandchild to smash. Really any cake recipe of choice would do Hope this helps. Gemma 😊

  2. Stephanie on May 21, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Hi Gemma. I have a baking recipe that calls for a cup of flour but I only have half a cup. Is there anything I can substitute or mix to get the same effect?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 22, 2019 at 2:54 am

      Hi Stephanie,
      you can make 1/2 the recipe. You can use another flour such as oat flour, almond flour too. ( but it then depends on the recipe you are using. Cookies, for instance, tolerate a lot of subs, sponge cakes less so, though almond flour can be a great addition to this mix.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Stephanie on May 22, 2019 at 3:22 am

        Thank you so much! I also wanted to ask you if you’re up for testing new recipes? I live in South Africa and we have 2 traditional easy recipes you should try and then post on YouTube if you like it.

        The one is called Koeksisters and the other is called Melktert. Should you want my recipes which is the traditional method you can just mail me if you want.

        I would love if you try them.


        • Gemma Stafford on May 23, 2019 at 3:24 am

          Hi Stephanie,
          I am always looking for inspiration, and I get a lot of this from the bold bakers, in fact, it is where most of it comes from. I will be delighted to have your recipes. I will email you right now, thank you,
          Gemma 🙂

  3. Mandy on May 14, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Hello Gemma,
    I love your YouTube videos and I have tried few of your receipts.Everyone have loved it.i have question regarding your lemon curd receipe.The one on stove mentions corn flour and the one in microwave does not mention cornflour.Is it ok to substitute cornflour with all purpose flour or arrowroot powder or potato starch or it has to be corn flour.
    Please help me as I am planning to make two lemon meringue from your receipe one for my pregnant sister and other one for my graduating sister.
    Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on May 15, 2019 at 8:40 am

      Hi Mandy,
      Cornflour behaves very differently to wheat flour. It is easily substituted in this recipe. I am not too clear which one you intend to use.
      Generally, curd does not need any thickener, eggs do all of the work. We use it on a stove top version, to be sure of a nice set. Arrowroot is the best alternative to cornflour/cornstarch.
      I hope this is of help and that you are having such a lovely family celebration, congratulations to all,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Hikari on May 10, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Hello Gemma, thank you for your work. But is there milk substitute?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 11, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      You can sub milk for any dairy free milk like soya, nut or even coconut.

      Hope this helps,

  5. Melanie Coren on May 8, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Love your tips so good thankyou

    • Gemma Stafford on May 8, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks so much, Melanie! I’m delighted to hear that.


  6. Barbara Jones on May 7, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    I love your channel I so enjoy baking and my husband loves to eat my baking, Squee!!! But he is diabetic how can I substitute Splenda for sugar and brown sugar what is the ratio.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 9, 2019 at 2:30 am

      Hi Barbara,
      This is a big subject!
      You are coming to this at a time when there are a number of great alternative sugars available. Here we use one called Lakanto, but there is Truvia, and Swerve, really all much the same thing, using either monk fruit or stevia for the sweetness, and an alcohol sugar such as Manitol, sorbitol, erythritol and xylitol, which will caramelize to a point, and behave much like real sugar in a bake. Alcohol sugars are derived from plant sources such as corn, fruits and berries. The carbs in these plants are altered through a chemical process to produce sugar.
      Stevia and Monk fruit will not caramelize on their own, but will be great in drinks and some puddings/custards etc. Do a little research into these natural sugar alternatives. They are low or zero on the glycemic index, and zero carbs in most cases. If your need is a health one then really do research this in order to satisfy yourself that these are right for you.
      Can you substitute sugar with Splenda? (From Splenda website)
      Adjusting Recipes
      Splenda recommends using a one-to-one ratio of Splenda Granulated to sugar when the amount of sugar is 1 1/4 cups or less, or the amount of flour used in the recipe is at least two times the amount of sugar. However, when using more than 1 1/4 cups of Splenda or the amount of flour used is less than two times the amount of sugar, you should replace only half of the sugar with Splenda to help preserve the best consistency and baking yield.

      Splenda Granulated works best with quick bread and cakes. When you are using baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent, subbing in Splenda is simple. Unfortunately, this is not the case when making yeast bread. When sucralose mixes with the yeast, it does not have the same rise as it would with sugar. This is because yeast ferments the sugar which contributes to the leavening. Thus, yeast breads are not a good candidate for using Splenda.

      Replacing Sugar
      Splenda Granulated is a substitute for white table sugar. If you are looking to reduce the amount of brown sugar in a recipe, it is best to use a brown sugar blend like Splenda Brown Sugar Blend. It is also difficult to replace all of the brown sugar in a recipe as artificial sweeteners will not provide the same functional properties as brown sugar. If you do use Splenda Brown Sugar Blend as a replacement, remember you only need half the amount of the Splenda blend as brown sugar.
      I hope this is of help to you. Do a little research around Stevia too, I think you wil find that interesting,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Annette Thivierge on May 7, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    To sub in a banana instead of an egg, does the banana have to be ripe or “over” ripe (like for banana bread)? I confess that the only way I like bananas is on the “green” side; once it gets brown spots I’m done. I think it’s the texture 😊. Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on May 8, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      Hi Annette,

      It can be a green banana either, that will work well. It doesn’t have to have any black on it.


  8. Appu chef on May 7, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for the substitutes. So glad for saying that I am appu who talk with u at ense you also wish me happy birthday. I trya substitute for white velvet cake.can we replace egg in frying chrro and whipping egg white????

    • Gemma Stafford on May 9, 2019 at 2:35 am

      Hi Appu,
      good to have you here with us.
      The substitute for egg in a sponge cake is always going to be either a fruit puree or flax egg.
      Get to know aquafaba, this works reasonably well as a substitute for egg white in baking, google this one!
      Churros were often made without egg, just like a pancake type batter really, and you can use a little natural yogurt in this if you wish, or just leave it out.
      Thank you for being in touch here, and also on Ense!
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Gabby on May 7, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    These are some nice tips and protocols that I suppose everyone should know about so that they could make the ideal dish as per expectations. Good blog article, please write more like this.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 9, 2019 at 2:36 am

      Hi Gabby,
      thank you, I certainly will. Thank you for being in touch, I appreciate it,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Appu chef on May 7, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks for the substitutes so glad for saying that I am appu how speak with u on ense

    • Gemma Stafford on May 8, 2019 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Appu!

      Of course I remember you from Ense. I’ll be posting there more often I promise.

      Hope you are well :).

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