Substitutions, Measurements & Everything You Need To Not Be Stuck In The Kitchen

Nothing is worse than being in the middle of cooking and realizing you need to make recipe modifications.

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Have you ever gotten in the kitchen ready to make whatever it is that you decided you were gonna make, only to find that you do not have one or some of the ingredients needed? Faced with the dilemma of running to the store or finding something that will “make do”.

This occasionally happens to me. And when it does I just want to yell loud, bad words. But often times I end up hitting up the google and seeing if there are any acceptable substitutions and checking the fridge and cabinets, praying to the man above that I have that something.

While it does not happen often, It has happened often enough that I decided to compile a list of some common and a few uncommon, known substitutions that are helpful in the kitchen.

Common Ingredient Substitutions

ingredient substitutions

In addition to substituting measurements, there are times when you need cut a recipe in half or even double a recipe.

In my case, for my family, it is normally doubling.  Particularly in times when I want to make a recipe last for more than a day.

Doubling a recipe is a little more involved than halving a recipe, so I will start with cutting a recipe in half.

How To Halve a Recipe

While cutting a recipe in half is pretty straightforward, doubling a recipe not so much.

There are online calculators that you can use in order to change the total serving size, and some sites (like mine) allow you to adjust the number of servings.

But listed below, I have some basic rules of thumb to double a recipe.

How To Double a Recipe

Fundamental ingredients

Meat.  You will double the meat in your recipe by diving the given amount by 2.  Keeping in mind that depending on the preparation method and size of meat pieces (chunks, slices, etc.) could impact cooking time with increase.

Eggs.  Simply double the amount of eggs or egg substitutes.

Flour.  Flour is increased by 2, although the amount of rising agent you will need will differ (discussed blow).

Fruits and vegetables.  Simply double the amount of fruits and veggies.


Basic spices.  Spices like salt, pepper, and cinnamon you multiple by 1.5 times the original recipe.  So if your recipe calls for 1 tsp, you will now need 1.5 teaspoons.

Spicy spices.  Spices that have a little heat like your red pepper, cajun seasoning, curry powders, etc. you multiple by 1.25.  So if your recipe calls for 2 teaspoons you will now need 2.5 teaspoons of that ingredient.


Water.  Simply double the amount the recipe calls for.

Stock/ Broth.  Simple double the amount the recipe calls for.

Oil and Butter.  Double the amount the recipe calls for with the exception of the amount hat is used for the skillet when sautéing/frying.  Always use the amount necessary to cover the bottom of the pan.

Sauces.  Category sauces like soy, condiments, etc. like seasonings.  Determine whether you consider them to be basic or spicy and adjust according to the recommendations given for those types of seasonings.

Alcohol.  Use 1.5 times the amount that the recipe calls for with things like sherry, wine, beer, etc.

Rising Agents

Baking soda.  This is your rising agent and typically you need 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of all-purpose flour.

The exception is when there is an acidic ingredient like buttermilk, lemon juice, yogurt, etc.   You will need more baking soda to neutralize the acid.  If those ingredients are present you can add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per cup of the acidic ingredient.

Baking powder.  1.25 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of all-purpose flour is what is needed to rise properly.  This is the ratio that should be used for flour to baking powder ratio.

So there you have it! Everything, or at least almost everything, you need to know to make you an expert recipe re-calculator. Any subs I missed or questions/comments, let me know below.

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  1. well be sure to save it for later. There are always modifications that can be made to suit your family size, taste preferences and accommodate what you already have in your pantry. 🙂

    1. well be sure to save it for later. There are always modifications that can be made to suit your family size, taste preferences and accommodate what you already have in your pantry. 🙂

  2. I am always struggling to find these things on google. I’m printing this out and putting it on my fridge!

    1. yay! so glad you found it helpful. My sentiments exactly, which is why I decided to go ahead and publish what I have found so far in my own times of getting stuck. LOL

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