The Best Baking Substitutions

We've all been there: you're baking a birthday cake or a batch of homemade cookies when you realize you're out of baking powder. Alternatively, chocolate chips. Or, perhaps most frustratingly, you open the egg carton to find only one egg left, despite the fact that the recipe calls for three. Whatever the case may be, the last thing you want to do is go grocery shopping (after all, the project is already underway! ), and you may be under a time constraint that prevents you from leaving the house.

Though we don't recommend making substitutions for too many ingredients a habit, some of these swaps may pleasantly surprise you. Have you always used honey in your signature breakfast granola? You might like it even more with maple syrup. Do you plan on bringing a dessert to book club this week? Vegans in the group will be overjoyed if you use the vegan egg substitute.

Eggs substitute

If you're making something vegan or simply don't have eggs, flaxseeds are a great substitute. To make a flax egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons water. Combine them and set aside for 15 minutes before using. Tip: While flax eggs provide the thickening power of eggs in vegan baked goods, they do not behave exactly like eggs and should not be used in baked goods that rely heavily on eggs. Flax eggs are team players, not solo performers!

Butter substitute

Don't worry if you're out of butter. There are several alternatives for it in baked goods:

Coconut oil: If you're cooking something on high heat. Because coconut oil lacks the water content of butter, your baked goods will be less moist and will likely taste coconutty.

Olive oil: For lower temperature items, use olive oil. As a general rule, if substituting olive oil, use 34% of the amount of butter called for in the recipe. Tip: Olive oil works best in recipes that call for melted butter, such as brownies, rather than in recipes that call for creaming sugar into butter, which olive oil cannot do as well as butter.

Chia seeds to thickens

Pectin is used as a thickener in some jam recipes. If you don't have it on hand, keep in mind that chia seeds "bloom" when exposed to liquid, so they work well as a binder in baked goods or a sauce thickener. By incorporating them into jams, you can achieve a thicker consistency while using less sugar. Tip: Chia seeds can take 1-2 hours in the fridge to completely gel, so factor that time into your game plan.

A buttermilk tip

Buttermilk is one of those niche ingredients that you either buy and never use or buy and never use because you are unsure what to use instead. Why buy a quart of buttermilk when you only need half a cup? You can get the tangy flavor by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk in a pinch. Tip: This substitution works best in recipes where the acidity of the buttermilk allows it to react with the baking soda. If the recipe calls for buttermilk, such as in a dip or the world-famous fried chicken brine, we recommend getting the real thing.