Are you missing the type of milk or cheese a recipe calls for or looking for a vegan option? Here are some substitutions for commonly used baking ingredients (scroll doll for vegan options).
Dairy Substitutes for Milk Products
- Buttermilk (1 cup) = 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar combined with enough milk to make 1 cup = 1 cup yogurt or sour cream (some sources recommend mixing 3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream with milk; others say yogurt or sour cream are fine as substitutes on their own)
- Crème fraiche (1 cup) = 1 cup heavy cream + 1 tablespoon plain yogurt (let the mixture stand for 6 hours at room temperature before using) = 1 cup sour cream = 1/2 cup whipping cream + 1/2 cup sour cream = 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- Evaporated milk (1 cup) = 1 cup light cream
- Half and half cream (1 cup) = 7/8 cup milk + 1 tablespoon butter
- Heavy cream (1 cup) = 1 cup evaporated milk = 3/4 cup milk + 1/3 cup butter
- Light cream (1 cup) = 1 cup evaporated milk = 3/4 cup milk + 3 tablespoons butter
- Milk – skim (1 cup) = 1/4 cup skim milk powder + 7/8 cup water = 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk + 1/2 cup water
- Milk – sweetened condensed (1 14-ounce can) = 3/4 cup white sugar + 1/2 cup water + 1 1/8 cups dry powdered milk (bring the mixture to a boil and stir frequently for about 20 minutes until it has thickened) = 1 cup nonfat dry powdered milk + 2/3 cup granulated white sugar + 1/2 cup boiling water + 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (process the mixture in a blender until it is smooth)
- Milk – whole (1 cup) = 1/4 cup dry milk powder + 1 cup water = 2/3 cup evaporated milk + 1/3 cup water
- Sour cream (1 cup) = 1 cup plain yogurt = 3/4 cup buttermilk + 1/3 cup butter = 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice + enough cream to make up 1 cup = 1 cup crème fraiche
- Whipped cream (1 cup) = 1 cup thawed frozen whipped topping
- Yogurt (1 cup) = 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup crème fraiche = 1 cup heavy whipping cream + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Vegetarian/Vegan Substitutes for Dairy Products
- Buttermilk (1 cup)= 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar + 1 cup soy milk (let stand for 30 minutes before using)
- Cream (1 cup) = 1 cup coconut milk = 1/2 cup ground cashews mixed with 1/2 cup water
- Milk (1 cup) = 1 cup soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk
- Sour cream (1 cup) = 1 cup soy yogurt = 1 cup vegan sour cream product (there are brands such as Tofutti available in supermarkets) or homemade vegan sour cream (try this recipe from Kozmic Blues)
- Whipping cream – try this vegan coconut whipping cream recipe from Kristen Eppich)
- Yogurt (1 cup) = 1 cup soy yogurt = 1 cup vegan sour cream product or homemade vegan sour cream (see vegan sour cream recipe above)
Dairy Substitutes for Cheese Products
- Asiago cheese (1 cup, grated) = 1 cup grated parmesan
- Cream cheese (1 cup) = 1 cup pureed cottage cheese + 1/4 cup butter or firm margarine = 1 cup pureed cottage cheese on its own (for a lower fat option) = 1 cup plain yogurt
- Mascarpone cheese (1 cup) = 1 cup creme fraiche = 3/4 cup cream cheese mixed with 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup, grated) = 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese = 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
- Ricotta cheese (1 cup) = 1 cup cottage cheese
Vegan Substitutes for Cheese Products
- Cream cheese = heavy coconut cream mixed with a dash of lemon juice or try this recipe for vegan, soy-free cream cheese posted by Leanne Vogel.
- Parmesan cheese = vegan substitute products such as Parma
- Ricotta or cottage cheese = silken or crumbled tofu
- Yogurt = soy yogurt or coconut yogurt
Low-Fat, Fat-Free, and Vegan Butter Substitutes
There are a number of butter substitutes, some of which are better for particular recipes than others. For the closest approximation, use firm margarine (be sure to choose one that is free of trans fats, and if you’re using it to replace unsalted butter, reduce the overall salt in your recipe by 1/2 teaspoon per cup). Note: Margarine products that are low-fat or fat-free are more watery and may not work as substitutes in some recipes.
You can also substitute 7/8 cup vegetable shortening or lard for a cup of butter (mix in 1/2 teaspoon of salt if replacing salted butter).
Solid coconut oil makes a great vegan butter substitute in baking as well (use liquid coconut oil if you’re using the butter for stir frying rather than baking). Or try this recipe for vegan butter with a coconut oil base, courtesy of Mattie.
If you want to cut back on fat and add more health-promoting antioxidants and fiber to your baked goods, replace some or all of the butter in a recipe with applesauce or another fruit or vegetable puree such as banana, pumpkin, or sweet potato (you may need to reduce the sugar a bit to make up for the added sweetness). In some recipes you can even use pureed beans or chickpeas or nut butters, which add plenty of extra protein.
For more baking substitution options, see the main Cooking and Baking Ingredient Substitutions page.
- Alden, L. (2005). “The Cook’s Thesaurus.” http://www.foodsubs.com
- Allrecipes.ca. (2014). “Common Ingredient Substitutions.” http://allrecipes.com/howto/common-ingredient-substitutions/
- Hein, C. (2012). “Veganize and Healthify Your Baking with These 6 Steps.” NoMeatAthlete.com. http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegan-baking-substitutions/
- Henneman, A. (2013). “Ingredient Substitutions.” University of Nebraska-Lincoln. http://food.unl.edu/web/fnh/ingredient-substitutions
- JoyofBaking.com. (2014). “Baking Ingredient Substitution Table.” http://www.joyofbaking.com/IngredientSubstitution.html
- Savvy Vegetarian. (n.d.). “Vegan Baking Substitutes.” www.SavvyVegetarian.com. http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/articles/vegan-baking-substitutions.php
- The Canadian Living Test Kitchen. (2013). “Baking and Cooking Substitutions at a Glance.” Canadian Living. http://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking_and_desserts/baking_and_cooking_substitutions_at_a_glance.php
- Wikibooks. (2014). “Cookbook: Vegan Substitutions.” http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Vegan_Substitution