I am creating this document because it is something I wish I had. A comprehensive, though still a work in progress, list of substitutions. Some substitutions can simply be swapped, and some can be made. I would love any additions you may find helpful and hopefully we all can save a trip to the grocery store.


Acid ~ Souring Agents

Amchur/amchoor: See Mango Powder

Anardana: See Pomegranate Seed/Dried

Eno fruit salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice equals 1 teaspoon of Eno fruit salt

Lemon juice

  • 1 lemon = 3 Tbsp. juice = 1 Tbsp. zest
  • Equal amount lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon amchoor/mango powder to 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • An equal amount of dried pomegranate seeds
  • An equal amount of tamarind paste

Lime juice

  • 1 lime = 2 Tbsp. juice = 2 tsp. zest
  • Equal amount lemon juice

Mango powder (amchur/amchoor)

  • Equal amounts pomegranate (anardana) powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice equals 1 teaspoon of Amchur/mango powder
  • Half the amount of sumac

Pomegranate Seeds/Dried (anardana)

  • An equal amount of tamarind paste
  • An equal amount of mango powder (amchur/amchoor)
  • Half the amount of sumac
  • An equal amount of lemon juice


  • An equal amount of pomegranate molasses
  • An equal amount of lemon or lime juice + a bit of sugar

White balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of honey

Asian Sauces and Condiments

If you would like more information of using chilies, see my post Indian Kitchen Fundamentals.

Chili oil, Sichuan

Chili Garlic Paste 

Chinese (Chinkiang) black vinegar

  • Use a slightly smaller amount of balsamic or red wine vinegar

Fish sauce

  • One tablespoon soy sauce with one anchovy fillet finely-minced or mashed. Scale up or down as needed.

Gochujang (Korean chili paste)

  • 1 tablespoon white miso, 1 teaspoon Sriracha, and 1/2 teaspoon molasses or honey

Harissa (North African chili paste)

  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder


  • Maggie of Omnivore’s Cookbook has an easy homemade hoisin sauce.
  • Or make a quick substitute yourself: 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons tahini (or any seed or nut butter or purée), 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar.

Hot paprika

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Indonesian sambal olek

Red miso

  • 2 1/2 teaspoon white miso, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1/8 teaspoon cocoa powder


Sichuan/Szechuan sauce

Soy Sauce, Dark:

Sweet chili paste


Also see Eggs, Sweeteners, and Oils below.

Baking powder

  • Using cream of tartar:  1 tablespoon (14 g) baking soda, 2 tablespoons (10 g) cream of tartar, and 1 teaspoon (3 g) cornstarch (optional)
  • Using lemon juice: 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice

Baking soda

  • Triple the amount of baking powder. Eg. 1 teaspoon of baking soda = 1 tablespoon baking powder

Cake flour (low protein flour that produces light, tender baked goods)

  • For one cup of flour: measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons, and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift twice to mix and aerate. Ideally, you have a scale and should weigh out 130 grams of this mixture. Alternatively, measure out with a cup measure.


  • All-purpose flour: 2 tablespoons of flour for every tablespoon of cornstarch called for
  • Rice flour: 2 tablespoons of rice flour for every tablespoon of cornstarch called for
  • For more options and how to use them, go to Food52’s deep dive into all things cornstarch.

Cream of tartar

  • For every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar, substitute with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

Rice Flour

  • Rice flour: 2 tablespoons of rice flour for every tablespoon of cornstarch called for

Self-rising flour

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour and 11/2 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt


  • An equal measure of rum, bourbon, or skip altogether

Butter, Fat, and Oil

Nut Butter


  • Use an equal amount of mashed avocado
  • Hummus also makes a good mayo substitute
  • Thick yogurt is my favorite replacement though

Shortening and oils

Chilies, Pepper, and Hot Sauces

See Asian Sauces and Condiments above or Spices and Flavorings below.


(See Coconut Facts for more information.)

Coconut feni (a liqueur made from toddy)   

  • Substitute equal amounts of cider vinegar

Coconut milk

  • To make coconut milk see a well-explained recipe and video from Rose of Nish Kitchen.

Coconut whipped cream

  • See below under Whipped Cream

Dried coconut subbed for fresh 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of dried coconut equals 1 tablespoon of fresh coconut. To rehydrate desiccated or flaked coconut, pour warm water to cover the coconut generously and rub the coconut with your fingers for half a minute or so to the hurry the absorption along. Cover the bowl and let sit for an hour. Drain and place on paper towels. Squeeze out the excess moisture and use it as you wish.

Coconut Measurement Equivalents

  • 4 ounces shredded, flaked coconut = 1 1/3 cups
  • 3 1/2 oz can = 1 1/4 cups
  • 7oz pkg = 2 1/2 cups
  • 1 tbsp. dried coconut = 1 1/2 tbsp fresh coconut
  • 1 cup of fresh, grated, flaked coconut = 80 grams
  • 1 cup shredded, desiccated coconut = 95 grams


Butter (makhan)

  • Ruchi of Ruchi’s kitchen has a quick and simple recipe for homemade butter.


Clotted Cream (Devonshire cream)

  • Make your own substitute with 1 part heavy cream and 2 parts mascarpone cheese. Mix well until smooth and it looks like whipped cream at the soft peak stage,
  • Or make clotted cream from scratch, using a recipe by Stef Pollack of the Cupcake Project.
  • Or use The Pioneer Woman’s cream cheese as described by The Pioneer Woman’s blog.

Condensed milk

Cottage cheese

  • Or silken tofu might be a good fit depending on what you are using cottage cheese for.

Cream cheese

Creme fraiche

Devonshire cream

See Clotted Cream Above

Dulce de leche

I am offering up two ways to make dulce de leche:


Homemade ghee is easy to make.

Half and half

  • Take 1 cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon of melted butter

Heavy Cream (Also see Whipped Cream)

If making a sauce, these substitutions will probably work, depending on what you are making:

If making a frosting:

  • Instead of heavy cream, use yogurt for a tangier, more nuanced frosting. Here is a recipe from Stef Pollack’s Cupcake Project. (If you are into baking, this is a must visit blog!)


Khoya is made from milk that is cooked until thick or dried milk.

  • A good substitute is taking ricotta cheese and simmering it over low heat until much of the moisture has evaporated.
  • To make khoya from scratch go to Ruchis Kitchen were Ruchi walks you through the steps.
  • Or make an instant version of mawa using Samira’s of Samira’s Recipe Diary.


  • Malai is made with skin that forms on top of boiled milk. Use clotted cream or cream cheese as a subsitute.


  • Mascarpone is another fresh cheese that is easy to make at home. Here is Food52’s 10 minute mascarpone.

Mishi doi


Ricotta cheese

  • Goat cheese or cottage cheese make reasonably good substitutes for ricotta cheese.
  • If you would like to make your own, the food radio show I love, Splendid Table, has a good ricotta cheese recipe on their website.
  • Or try the Instant Pot recipe from Food52.

Sour cream

  • Use thick yogurt OR make your own. Here is a recipe from one of my favorite Indian food bloggers, Neha of Whisk Affair.

Whipped cream (see Heavy Cream)

Amul milk

  • Amul milk is a popular brand of milk made from a mix of cow and buffalo milks that is pastuerized and sold in shelf stable tetra packs. Here is how to make whipped cream using the lower fat Amul cream from the great vlogger Yaman Agarwal of Cooking Shooking.

Cashew cream

  • Here is a recipe from Gena of The Full Helping for vanilla cashew cream. You can switch up the flavorings and sweetener to your taste.

Coconut whipped cream

Yogurt whipped cream


  • Depending on how you are using it, these ingredients may be a fit:
  • Sour cream
  • Silken tofu
  • Cottage cheese (whipped)
  • Buttermilk
  • If you would like to make your own, here is a link to my yogurt recipe.


There are good commercial egg replacers on the market, but if you want to make your of substitutions, here are some suggestions:

Egg yolk in baking

  • 1 tablespoon of thick yogurt

Whole egg substitutes

  • 1 egg = 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg = 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 egg = 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 egg = 1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 egg = 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1 egg = 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg = 1/4 silken tofu, stirred until smooth

More egg ideas



Bay leaves (tej patta)

  • Indian bay leaves are not the same as European laurel bay leaves and shouldn’t be substituted by them. Use a piece of cinnamon instead.


  • Parsley

Curry leaves (my article)

  • Substitute the zest of one lime for each 8 curry leaves called for.

Spices and Flavorings

(See also Acids – Souring agents)

Aleppo pepper

  • One tablespoon sweet paprika and 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Anchovy paste

  • Substitute mashed anchovies for anchovy paste, though mashed anchovies will be stronger so be conservative. One mashed anchovy will yield between 1/2 a teaspoon and 1 teaspoon, depending on the size.

Anise seed

  • Use 1/2 as much ground star anise

Asafetida/Asafoetida (hing)

  • Use an equal amount of onion or garlic powder
  • Alternatively, if the recipe you use doesn’t contain garlic or onion, a tablespoon or so of onion or garlic be a good stand-in.

Caraway Seeds

  • Substitute an equal amount of roasted cumin seeds


  • Equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg (or ginger). For example, if 1 teaspoon of cardamom is called for, use 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg (or ginger).
  • One-half teaspoon of ground cardamom equals 10 whole cardamom pods.
  • One tablespoon of cardamom pods equals approximately 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom.
  • 12 dehusked cardamom pods yield 1 teaspoon ground cardamom.
  • One teaspoon of cardamon seeds equals 2 teaspoons whole cardamom pods.

Carom Seeds (Ajwain)

  • Equal amount of dried thyme
  • Or equal amount of roasted cumin seeds

Chaat/chat masala

  • Simple substitution: Equal amount of dried mango powder, or lemon juice,
  • Or an equal amount of ground cumin and coriander. If you have dried mango powder (amchoor), ground black pepper, asafetida, or ground ginger, add a small pinch of them as well.
  • Or an equal amount of sumac
  • Or try my chaat masala recipe


  • Allspice (use only 1/4 of the amount called for)
  • Or nutmeg (use only 1/2 of the amount called for)


  • Use an equal amount of nutmeg
  • Depending on your recipe, cinnamon or a small amount of allspice might be a good fit.

Coriander ~ Ground and whole

Coriander powder

Cubeb pepper/piper cubeba

  • 3/4 amount black pepper and 1/4 amount allspice


Curry leaves 

  • Not a great match, but lime zest is a reasonable substitute. The zest of one lime is about 2 teaspoons but you may start with 1 teaspoon and add more to your taste; this will equal 8 curry leaves. Or kaffir lime leaves might work (see my article about curry leaves).

Curry powder

Fennel Seeds

  • An equal amount of anise seeds

Fenugreek Seeds

  • An equal amount of mustard seeds
  • An equal amount of maple syrup at the end of cooking, depending on the dish you are cooking

Garam masala

  • Make my garam masala
  • An equal amount of curry powder
  • One part ground cumin and 1/4 part ground allspice
  • If you don’t have the spices to make up garam masala, use equal parts of any of the following: ground black pepper, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground cardamom, and a small number of ground cloves.

Ginger, Fresh

  • Use 1/8 teaspoon of dried ground ginger to every tablespoon of fresh ginger
  • Or use 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice for every tablespoon of fresh ginger called for

Ginger, dried, ground

  • An equal amount of ground allspice
  • Or an equal amount of mace

Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

  • Depending on what you are cooking, try an equal amount of maple syrup at the end of the cooking might do the trick.
  • Otherwise, simply omit.


  • Use twice the amount of nutmeg than the amount of mace called for
  • Or use 1/4 the amount of allspice of the amount of mace called for

Mustard Powder

  • Use 1/2 the amount of mustard seed, ground in a spice grinder
  • Or use 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard for each teaspoon of ground mustard seed

Mustard Seeds (black or brown)

  • Use black or brown mustard seeds interchangeably
  • Use twice the amount of yellow/white mustard seeds for the amount of black or brown mustard seeds called for
  • Or an equal amount of nigella seeds (black cumin/kalonji)

Mustard seed paste

  • Start with half the Dijon mustard to the mustard seed paste called for, and add more as needed.


  • Use 1/2 the amount of mace
  • Or an equal amount of garam masala

Star Anise

  • Use Chinese five-spice powder: 1 1/2 teaspoons of five-spice powder to 2 teaspoons of ground star anise
  • Use twice the amount of anise seed to substitute for star anise.


  • Use 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon minced dried cranberries

Tandoori masala


  • Consider simply skipping
  • Ginger or cumin, if not used in the recipe, might be a good substitute

White poppy seeds

  • If used by grinding into a thickening agent, almond flour or ground almonds are a good substitute
  • If whole seeds are called for, use toasted sesame seeds

Worcestershire sauce

  • An equal amount of soy sauce
  • In a cooked dish, use an equal amount of fish sauce

Za’atar (Middle Eastern spice blend)

  • Use a mix of 1 1/2 dried thyme, 3/4 teaspoon sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, and 1/8 teaspoon salt


Brown sugar

Caster sugar

  • Called for in many dessert recipes in the U.K., this grain-sized sugar lands between white granulated sugar and powdered or confectioner’s sugar. To make your own, place granulated sugar in a blender or food processor and blend until the sugar has broken down to a slightly smaller size. For more, hop on over to Food52 and read about caster sugar.

Confectioner’s sugar/powdered sugar

Corn syrup

  • For 1 cup of corn syrup use 1 cup of sugar and a 1/4 cup of water


  • The best 1 for 1 match for honey is light corn syrup
  • Dark corn syrup would also work
  • Other substitutes include: maple syrup (real maple syrup, not pancake syrup); brown rice syrup, which is not as sweet could work with 1 1/4 cup to a 1 cup honey called for.
  • Agave nectar can be a good 1 for 1 substitute
  • Light molasses too can also be a good 1 for 1 substitute


  • Substitute 1 for 1 with palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon each: dark brown sugar, white granulated white sugar, and maple sugar

Maple syrup (1 for 1)

  • Honey, molasses, agave nectar, and corn syrup. They all will contribute a different taste, however.


  • Use honey or maple syrup at a 1 for 1 substitution
  • Or 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Pomegranate molasses

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon honey, and 1/4 teaspoon molasses