Cheapskate Ingredient Substitutions

I love to cook, if you haven't figured that out already. Nothing pleases me more than whipping up a delicious meal and having it fill my loved ones belly. I experiment a lot in the kitchen, always looking for new and different recipes to add to our family's menu.
Along my quest I have come across upon many recipes that look very tasty, only they call for ingredients that I refuse to buy on principle as they are extraneous and expensive. Other times the instructions may call for an ingredient I have no issue buying, only that item is currently out of stock in my pantry (I don't go shopping on non scheduled shopping day, as each trip to the grocery ends up costing you more money).

When recipes call for ingredients I don't have, I am very glad to know these cheapskate ingredient substitutions to use in their stead. Trust me, no one can tell the difference. But my wallet can.

Cheapskate Ingredient Substitutions

(I have a non-conventional view on healthy foods; I personally would not use some of these substitutions only because of health reasons. I am sharing all these substitutions, including those I would not use so that others with differing takes on nutrition can avail themselves to these ideas.)
Baking Ingredients
Baking powder: Use 1 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar for each teaspoon of baking powder.
Cake flour: Use 2 tablespoons less than 1 cup of regular flour for each cup of cake flour
Self rising flour: Use 7/8 cup regular flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Arrowroot starch can be used interchangeably with Corn starch or Potato starch.
Eggs: Use 2 tablespoons cornstarch for every egg. (This works only for recipes that are not egg based, like crepes, or that call for whipping, like meringues.)
Baking chocolate: Replace each ounce of chocolate with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon oil
Cocoa powder can be used interchangeably with Carob powder.*

Corn syrup can be used interchangeably with Honey, Maple syrup and Sugar syrup made from 1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/3 cup water replaces 1 cup of  the other syrups. For things that require a syrupy texture, boil the sugar water before use. Otherwise, just use as is.*
Brown Sugar can be used interchangeably with White Sugar.*

Buttermilk can be used interchangeably with spoiled milk or milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice/vinegar
Cream: replace with whole milk, unless the recipe calls for whipping. It'll be a drop less creamy, but still work fine. If you really want the extra creamy, melt in a tablespoon of butter.*
Cream cheese: replace with homemade yogurt strained in a cheesecloth.*
Sour cream: can easily be replace with yogurt*
Margarine and Butter can be used interchangeably. Usually they can also be replaced with an equal amount shortening, animal fat, or liquid oil (when using liquid oil in place of these solid fats, use slightly less oil in the recipe than called for).
Milk: can be replaced with homemade soy milk or 1/4 cup dry milk powder plus 1 cup water for each cup of milk, or can even be replaced with water in some recipes (like cakes and breads). *

Juices and  Sauces
Orange juice: depending on the recipe, can either be exchanged with water or homemade lemonade*
Tomato juice- For each cup, dilute 1/3 cup tomato paste with water.
Lime juice: can be replaced with lemon juice.*
Lemon juice: can be replaced with vinegar, or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid plus 1/4 cup water for each 1/4 cup lemon juice*
Wine vinegar, Apple cider vinegar, Rice vinegar, Balsamic vinegar can be replaced with Plain vinegar.*
Worcestershire sauce: can be replaced with soy sauce*
Wine and Sake can usually be replaced with chicken or veggie broth.*
Meat and Poultry 
Chicken broth and Beef broth can be replaced with vegetable scrap broth or 1 tbsp soy sauce diluted with water for each cup.*
Ground meat or poultry can be replaced with TVP (textured vegetable protein) or ground seitan when it isn't a recipe that needs to stick together in clumps, like meatloaf, meatballs or burgers. (This works in wontons, beefaroni, stuffed peppers, etc.)*
Ground chicken and ground turkey and ground beef and ground pork can be used interchangeably in recipes.*

What ingredient substitutions do you use to make your recipes more frugal?

* This exchange will change the taste slightly, but your food should still taste delicious.
Part of WFMW Penny Pinching Party, Food on Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Food and Frugal Friday.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. One of my favorite substitutions is for mascarpone cheese: 16 oz cream cheese, 1/2 c heavy cream & 5 T sour cream is the equivalent of 1 lb of mascarpone cheese (a sweet and rich Italian cheese).

  2. Yikes! Use spoiled milk for buttermilk? Can you add in some explanation for some of this information, which would be interesting and reassuring.

    1. Buttermilk IS spoiled milk. By adding vinegar, it curdles it. I do this with soymilk to make a vegan buttermilk. :) Works great!

  3. I make my own evaporated milk and use this as a cream substitute

  4. I rarely have buttermilk, so I use the lemon juice/milk combo (learned it from my mom).

    This winter, I started a perpetual stock pot, where I use bones, peels, cores and parings from meal preparation to have a continuous supply of homemade stock. This makes my soup-loving boys very happy.

    1. I just completely enjoyed your awesome website! Thanks! I also shared the link to the "Praying for An Angel" with my dear neighbor gal, a lonely grandma. Thanks.

  5. i use silan- date syrup for honey in recipes that call for a honey garlic sauce that is home made (1/3 cup silan, 1/3 cup soy sauce, tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 tsp of ginger- great on chicken)

Previous Post Next Post