CarolCooks2…Friday Food Review…10 common food substitutes plus 2 …


Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Common Food Substitutes…

I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to make a recipe or one of the grandchildren asked if they can make something and you realised you have either run out of something or realised that it’s something you can’t eat or wouldn’t use again…that’s when you start to think of a substitute something which will give you the same taste or texture….or you just might wish to make that recipe a little healthier…

Cinnamon or Allspice…

Cinnamon is easy to get here not so Allspice and it comes in the smallest of quantities and considering the size the cost is high…

I love Cinnamon it adds such a distinctive kick to many of our favourite foods, think bread pudding, apple pies… it’s a common ingredient in many dessert recipes be it biscuits(cookies), cakes, pies… plus it’s also one that’s easy to replace, which is good news if you’ve run out, or if you’re cooking for someone who has a cinnamon allergy…

However, if you run out of cinnamon then the most common substitute for cinnamon is allspice… also known as Jamaica pepper or pimento, allspice is a common ingredient in many desserts and Jamaican dishes.

Allspice has a taste similar to cinnamon with the addition of cloves and nutmeg. In fact, the best substitute for allspice is cinnamon with …you guessed it …cloves and nutmeg.

If you’re out of cinnamon and don’t have any allspice handy, try using cardamom (a spice closely related to ginger). Of course, cloves and nutmeg also work well.


And guess who got some Easter eggs? For the first time ever here…I snapped them up and they are sitting in the back of the fridge ready for Easter Day or Good Friday…Not everyone can eat chocolate…or doesn’t want to sooooo what is the alternative???

Carob powder is the most popular alternative, and from a health standpoint, it’s pretty similar to the real thing…When substituting carob powder for chocolate in recipes, replace one square of unsweetened baking chocolate with 3 tablespoons each of carob powder and water.

It’s made from dried, roasted carob tree pods and looks a lot like cocoa powder. Carob powder is often used as a natural sweetener in baked goods.


There is nothing like lovely grass-fed butter on freshly baked bread…Sometimes butter is the way to go, but it’s not always the best choice and it’s good to know the alternatives.

For those times, there are good alternatives that work well in baking and cooking. Margarine is the most common butter substitute and will work in a pinch, but there are better fill-ins if you’re looking for a healthier choice, especially when you’re baking cakes, muffins, cookies, brownies and quick breads.

You can use unsweetened applesauce to replace part of or all the butter in a recipe. You can swap it in equal amounts, (so if your recipe calls for 2 cups of butter, you can use 2 cups of applesauce instead) or just replace part of the butter. Mashed avocado also works well as a replacement for butter in baking.

Like applesauce, it can be used in equal amounts for softened butter, and its flavour works particularly well with chocolate. Of course, you can always use one of the latest vegan butter substitutes, too. Just be sure they’re marked as suitable for baking.

No Wine!

When a recipe calls for wine or maybe you are cutting down and just want the taste but not the calories…or you realize you drank it all!

Depending on how the dish calls for the wine, you could use white wine vinegar, although apple cider, apple juice or even chicken stock could work, especially if the wine is for deglazing your pan.

If the wine is for adding acidity to the dish, a squeeze of lemon or lime — or even a tablespoon or two of tomato paste — will do the trick.

When substituting an ingredient like wine, it’s important to consider the taste you’re going for. If you’d prefer more of a bitter taste, use a substitute such as vinegar. If you’re aiming for sweetness, go for something like apple cider…


Salt has its place in both cooking and baking. But too much is never good, so if boosting flavour is your goal, try adding tons of fresh garlic…

Two of the most common and effective salt substitutions are citrus and garlic…all of the taste without the sodium.

The strong taste of garlic also helps make bland foods more appealing…we love garlic if a recipe says 2 cloves I would put 4-6 cloves… Garlic and citrus juices go well with just about anything, especially meats, potatoes and vegetables.

Try different herbs and spices ...think onion powder (not onion salt!), smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, sage or freshly ground black pepper… to see what you like best…I have still to try nutritional yeast but know many people who do and it seems quite popular…


There are so many different flours on the market now and all different .. how you use them and how much liquid or how little liquid to use…plus many of them are interchangeable…I mix my flours especially when I am making bread…

But what if your recipe calls for self-raising flour, and you only have all-purpose? You can make self-raising in a pinch. Just add 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp table salt to 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Now you have self-raising…I lived here for quite a few years before I worked that one out..

Soy Sauce…

Tamari is the closest thing you can get to soy sauce. The only difference between the two is soy sauce contains wheat and tamari doesn’t. That also makes tamari an ideal replacement for those looking for gluten-free options. You could also try liquid aminos; they’re also gluten-free and full of umami flavour. But they’re slightly sweeter than soy sauce.

Granulated Sugar…


Honey is one of the best substitutes for white refined sugar. It’s sweet, healthier and works well in baking and cooking.

Maple syrup and molasses are two other options, as is unsweetened applesauce. Even replacing half of the sugar in your recipe with applesauce can cut out a ton of empty calories. There are also sugar substitutes, you can use, like Stevia. You can swap many of these products for equal parts of sugar in most recipes. Just check the packaging.


Many Thai /Asian recipes call for Galangal…You can substitute 1 tbsp young fresh ginger plus 1/8-1/4 tsp of lemon juice..or check with your local Asian stores to see if they have galangal paste you may be able to buy galangal paste at Asian stores or online…

Green Papaya…

Green Papaya is used in Som tam which is a spicy Thai Salad…but it is not always easy to obtain green Papaya outside of Asia…I haven’t tried this but the Thai girls use Swede shredded if they can’t get green Papayas although so many Asian stores now do stock fresh Thai fruit and vegetables so it is always worth googling Asian stores in your area to see what they stock…

Thank you for joining me today.. it has been very windy here which is unusual and rainy…As always I look forward to your comments..See you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets …Have an enjoyable evening xx

43 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…Friday Food Review…10 common food substitutes plus 2 …

  1. D. Wallace Peach

    I saw this post on substitutions and jumped right over, Carol. I can’t tell you how many times I don’t have what I need. My favorites were the applesauce for butter (who would have thought?) and even better the wine vinegar or cider vinegar as a wine replacement. My husband and I rarely drink much so that’s not something we keep around on a regular basis. Thanks for the cooking advice, as always. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 20th -26th March 2022-Monday Musings, Health, A-Z World Cuisine,The Bahamas , Food Substitutes and Saturday Snippets where “Mother” is my prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  3. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Friday Food Review…10 common food substitutes plus 2 … – MobsterTiger

  4. LaShelle

    Oh my goodness the other day I was working on a recipe where I needed some butter and I had run out and I wish I would have known that I could’ve used applesauce! I really appreciate the tip and I will definitely be using it in the future

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beetleypete

    When a recipe calls for red wine, I usually drink the rest of the bottle while I am cooking the meal! I like salt and garlic equally, but would happily increase the amount of garlic to replace salt if I had to.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Same here, Pete we rarely have leftover wine…and we love garlic too..I don’t hold back on the salt as with heat we need a certain amount of salt although I don’t add salt at the table …I hope you have a great weekend, Pete 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Darlene

    Here in Spain, they use olive oil instead of butter for many things, even on toast which I love. So I often use it in baking instead of butter and it turns out well. It is so much better for you. I was surprised to learn that allspice is a plant of its own. I always thought it was just a mix of spices. You learn something new every day. It is a pod or dried berry similar to nutmeg and can be grated. We get it whole here. Thanks for explaining how to turn regular flour into self-raising as I tend to not use recipes that ask for self-raising flour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I have not tried olive oil on toast although I use olive oil instead of solid fat(butter) in baking quite often…I will try it though do you use extra virgin or regular olive oil?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. pfiddlergal

    Thank you Carole. I am actually jotted some of these ideas down. Had no idea. Question: any ideas on subs for kaffir lime leaves. Have no idea what they are and live 40 min from the nearest Asian food store.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Hi…You can use the zest of a lime instead of the kaffir lime leaves…They are an ever green leaf a little like a bay leaf but they are double leaves…



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