From Soup to Nuts, Substitute Ingredients for Recipes

What to Use Instead of the Listed Ingredient

Various colorful spices on wooden spoons
••• Getty Images/Yagi Studio

It happens to the best of chefs. You are preparing a recipe that calls for an ingredient that you don't have on-hand. Or, perhaps you are looking for a cost-saving alternative, you have a food sensitivity, or you need to eliminate gluten, dairy or animal products from your diet. Below you'll find a whole batch of acceptable substitutes that won't compromise your lifestyle, your dietary needs, or the final outcome: your dishes. 

Alcohol Substitutions

  • Alcohol: If you're avoiding alcohol due to cultural restrictions or to eliminate it from your diet for another reason, here are substitutes you can use whether you are using alcohol for flavor or for its acidic/meat tenderizing qualities.
  • Beer: Use these substitutes for recipes calling for light or dark beers.
  • Red Wine: If you are looking for color, try any of these.
  • White Wine: Depending on the recipe, try these eight different substitutes.
  • Wine: Here's what to use for savory and sweet dishes.

Herbs, Spices and Flavoring Substitutes

Herbs and spices always heighten the flavor and taste of a dish. However, it's impossible to keep every spice on-hand. In a pinch, you can try these herbs, spice, and flooring substitutes.

Baking Ingredients Substitutions

It can be tricky to use substitutions when you are baking. Baking is a science and it takes just the right chemistry to get a good result. Before you venture out on your own, try these wise substitutes.

Sugar and Sweetener Substitutions

Sometimes your recipe calls for a specific type of sugar or sweetener. Here is how to make a substitution when you don't have the requested ingredient.

Chocolate and Cocoa Substitutions

Don't panic, these substitutes don't mean you're eliminating chocolate. There are ways to substitute one type of chocolate for another in a recipe when necessary.

Dairy Product Substitutions

You may need these substitutions because you are on a dairy-free diet, you have a vegan recipe, you wish to reduce the amount of fat in your diet, or you ran out of the preferred ingredient. You'll find alternatives for most of these cases with these substitutions.

Vegetable Substitutions

Miscellaneous Substitutions from Soup to Nuts