People Are Sharing The Ingredient Swaps They Make All The Time

People Are Sharing The Ingredient Swaps They Make All The Time

You know how it goes: You’re cooking dinner only to realize you’re missing an ingredient. It happens to the best of us. Well, luckily, there are plenty of tasty and creative recipe swaps and substitutions that work just as well — if not better.

So Redditor u/jnwiggs1 asked, “What ingredient do you normally replace in your recipes?” And lots of home cooks chimed in with their advice.


“I use canned tomatoes all the time unless I can get good, fresh ones that are local and in-season.”


“Depending on what I’m making, I will often replace liquids with other liquids. For example, instead of water, I will use stock. Or instead of stock I might use wine (or vice versa). If all I have it water, I’ll use that then and then I’ll up the flavor elsewhere.”


“I live in Singapore where it’s almost impossible to get all those pepper — serranos, pimentos, anaheim, banana — you just can’t find them. I always just use generic green chili peppers or jalapeños.”


“I find Guanciale (pork jowl) is impossible to procure for a reasonable price, so I just use bacon or pancetta in its place.”


“I use green onions instead of chives. They’re cheaper and I can’t really tell the difference. Plus, I usually have a jar of them growing in my kitchen.”


“I always swap out Italian breadcrumbs for panko. IMO, panko is superior in almost every way.”


“I replace unsalted butter with salted butter, even when I’m baking. I like the extra salt, especially in desserts because it balances out the sweetness.”


“Oils and vinegars. I already have five kinds of vinegar on hand and I’ll be damned if I’m going out to get yet another just for this one recipe.”


“I replace water with black coffee for pretty much any chocolate baked goods I’m making from boxed mix.”


“99% of the time I replace shallots with onions. Shallots are so expensive! And sure, they do elevate a dish, but I don’t bother with them unless I’m making something ✨fancy✨.”


“I use coconut milk in any recipe that calls for heavy cream. I find that coconut milk imparts the perfect creaminess without altering the flavor too much.”


“I often replace sour cream or mayonnaise with Greek yogurt in things like tuna or chicken salad. It’s not for health reasons or anything. I just love the tanginess that Greek yogurt adds to a dish.”


“I use Worcestershire sauce in dishes that call for fish sauce and vice versa. For example. use fish sauce in tomato-based pasta sauces and Worcestershire sauce in southeast Asian dishes.”


“I never buy brown sugar. Instead, I just add molasses to white sugar. This allows me to easily control the darkness of the sugar.”


“Celery is the real devil’s lettuce. I always replace it with diced green bell pepper whenever a recipe calls for it.”


“I usually use croutons, soup crackers, or crushed up Ritz crackers instead of breadcrumbs. Recently, I used croutons to bread Parmesan chicken and the result was amazing.”


“I never keep buttermilk in my fridge, but I almost always have heavy cream. I just mix a cup of heavy cream with one teaspoon of vinegar then I wait 15 minutes and violà: A perfect buttermilk substitute.


“I use sunflower seeds as a cheaper alternative to pine nuts when making homemade pesto. They’re about 1/4 of the cost but a similar texture.”


“When baking, I’ll sometimes replace an egg with a mashed banana. The final product is more moist and has a subtle, natural sweetness. Plus, you can eat as much of the raw dough/batter as you want!”


“I use creamy Italian dressing instead of mayo. Try it when you’re making a BLT sandwich. It’s next level.”


“If I’m making a meal like chicken piccata or pasta puttanesca that calls for capers in the ingredients but I don’t have them on hand, I’ll finely chop up green olives (like castelvetrano or manzanilla. Or I’ll substitute finely chopped dill or cornichon pickles. All three give the same salty, flavor-packed punch to a dish.”


“When a recipe calls for tahini but I don’t have any in my kitchen, I often use peanut butter in its place. While peanut butter is common in Thai and Asian cooking, you’ll often see tahini in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes. Both taste nutty and creamy, and can be used more or less interchangeably if you only have one to make sauces, marinades, curries, and even soups.”


“I personally hate green bell peppers so I replace them with poblanos. They taste a lot better and don’t have any noticeable heat.”


“Try using coconut milk instead of water or broth when cooking rice. It makes the rice taste amazing, especially when you’re using it for stir-fries and other rice-based dishes.”


“A lot of Japanese recipes tend to call for both mirin and sugar, but I don’t like too much sweetness in my savory dishes. I usually just substitute the two for sake and call it a day.”


“I use half and half and skim milk for pretty much any dairy product that a recipe might call for. Keeping a half dozen different liquid dairy products is annoying. Between half and half and skim milk, the two options pretty much cover my needs.”

What’s an ingredient substitution or recipe swap you use all the time in your home cooking? Tell us in the comments!