Quarantine Cooking: Making Substitutions for Popular Recipe Ingredients



Inevitably, people will find themselves in a situation where they are missing a seemingly essential ingredient in their dish, and there’s a chance the store won’t have it either. Here are some good substitutes.

Many people limit the amount of errands they do from once a week to once every 10 days. Many are using quarantine time to master new cooking skills.

But, inevitably, people will find themselves in a situation where they are missing a seemingly essential ingredient in their dish, and there’s a chance the store won’t have it either.

Fortunately, DC-based TV chef and host Bren Herrera has been in these situations before and knows some useful workarounds.

Pastry shop

“I noticed that in grocery stores, the pastry aisle is completely deserted. It’s all gone, ”Herrera said.

Here are his tips for making changes. “If you want to make cupcakes and you don’t have buttermilk: milk and vinegar are great substitutes,” she said.

For each cup of buttermilk needed, 1 cup of regular milk and a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar can be mixed to make a functional substitute. Let it sit for about five minutes and it’s good to go.

“If you don’t have eggs for your cake mix, applesauce is a great substitute,” Herrera said. “I think people forget that because they’re two completely different things.”

It takes about ¼ cup of applesauce to replace an egg.


“If you don’t have onions, but your recipe calls for onions, you can use garlic,” Herrera said. “I would use less garlic because the garlic tends to be a bit hotter.”

Likewise, if a recipe calls for garlic and there is none, an equal amount of onion may take its place.

“One thing that people always sort of forget is a really good mayonnaise substitute, yogurt,” she said. “Plus, I think yogurt is healthier anyway because it has probiotics and all those other attributes that you can benefit from.”

This same plain yogurt can also be a great substitute if you’re short on sour cream.

Running out of breadcrumbs? Use crackers or crushed nuts.

If the kids crave peanut butter and jelly and you run out of peanut butter, take some peanuts or whatever nuts you have in the pantry and toss them in the food processor along with some. of oil. Here !

When it comes to your spice rack, there are a lot of herbs that are close to the other and can be easily replaced in the blink of an eye.

“If you don’t have basil, you can use mint. They are in the same family. If you don’t have thyme, you can use rosemary and vice versa. Thyme would also work for oregano, ”she said. “If you don’t have cumin, maybe you can use smoked paprika.”

Her advice on this is to buy a few of your favorite herbs and keep them in or near the kitchen. So you will always have fresh herbs for your recipes.

Apple juice or white grape juice can replace white wine in cooking, and you can use cranberry or red grape juice in place of red wine.

Speaking of wine, if you’re up for a before or after dinner drink, don’t worry if you run out of a few ingredients.

“You can replace the vermouth with a sherry. Or you can boost your simple syrup if you don’t have a particular type of vermouth, ”she said. “If you have a recipe that calls for bitterness, you can use vanilla extract or orange extract – they have a similar type of potency and bitterness.”

Her final tip is instead of letting the recipe run your kitchen, let your pantry take the wheel. Take a look at the items you already have and come up with meals that make the most of what you have.

Popular food substitutions

  • Barbecue sauce: ¾ cup of ketchup, 2 tablespoons of mustard and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Basil: Equal amount of mint bitters – vanilla or orange extract
  • Breadcrumbs: Crackers or nuts that have been crushed
  • Buttermilk: 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and 1 cup of regular milk. Let stand 5 minutes before use
  • Cornstarch for thickening: 2 tablespoons of flour for each 1 tablespoon of cornstarch requested
  • Egg for cooking: ¼ cup of applesauce
  • Flour (self-rising): 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 ½ tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. salt
  • Fresh garlic clove: Equal amounts of fresh onions or 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • Cumin: Equal amount of smoked paprika
  • Fresh herbs: 1 C. dried leafy herbs or ½ teaspoon of ground herbs for each tablespoon of fresh herbs requested
  • Mayonnaise: Plain yogurt or sour cream
  • Fresh onion: Fresh garlic (a little less in quantity because the garlic is more spicy)
  • Oregano: Equal amount of thyme
  • Peanut Butter: Add the nuts you have in the house and a little oil in the food processor and mix until you have nut butter.
  • Rosemary: Equal amount of thyme
  • Sherry: Equal amount of vermouth
  • Sour cream: plain yogurt
  • Sugar, confectionery: 1 cup of granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon of cornstarch processed in a food processor until you get a powder. Equal to 1 cup of icing sugar.
  • Thyme: Equal amount of rosemary or oregano
  • Vermouth: Equal amount of sherry
  • Red wine: Equal amount of grape juice or cranberry juice
  • White wine : Equal amount of apple juice or white grape juice



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