Frugal and Easy Cooking Substitution Solutions
Why is it that a few hundred years ago, women could turn a kitchen with one cupboard and a counter top into a home-style gourmet kitchen? Obviously they didn’t have loads of gadgets to work with and they couldn’t run to the nearest store to get a missing ingredient. Despite these challenges, these women created many of the recipes that we build on today.
How did they do it?
For one thing, they were masters when it came to substitution! Frugal kitchen substitutes are still vital to today’s kitchen and can help you create the meal you are trying to make without having to make an extra trip to the store. You’ll be amazed at what’s already in your kitchen!
Here are some basics to try:
Easy Cooking Substitution Solutions (for foods)
Sometimes you just need that one ingredient. Is it really worth running to the store for it? If you live a ways from town like I do, it’s not! Try some of the substitutes listed below instead of making a special purchase and burning extra gas for a store run.
- Sour Cream: If you have a recipe that calls for sour cream, use plain yogurt instead.
- Buttermilk: Make your own buttermilk by putting one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Fill the cup the rest of the way to the one cup line with whole milk and allow it to sit for a few minutes. This makes one cup of buttermilk. Learn How to Make Buttermilk here.
- Baking Powder: For a teaspoon of baking powder, mix a ½ teaspoon baking soda with a ½ teaspoon cream of tartar. See Homemade Baking Powder here.
- Light Corn Syrup: If you need light corn syrup for a recipe or you need some syrup for pancakes or french toast, mix 1 cup of sugar with ¼ cup of water. This mixes best if heated on the stove while constantly stirring. You can also add a bit of vanilla or maple syrup for flavoring depending on what you are using it for.
- French Vanilla Creamer: Mix one can of sweetened condensed milk with a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Fill the can with milk and add to the mixture.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: Mix 1½ cups whole milk, ½ cup sugar, 2 Tbsp salted butter on the stove top and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract after you remove from heat.
- Cracker Crumbs: Use 1 cup of oats instead of 1 cup of cracker crumbs depending on the recipe.
- Heavy or Light Cream: In many recipes, you can substitute 1 cup of evaporated milk for 1 cup of cream.
- Cream Cheese: No cream cheese in the fridge? Puree the same amount of cottage cheese needed! Learn How to Make Cream Cheese here.
- Egg: Instead of using an egg in a recipe you can sub in a half of a mashed banana or a 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
- Honey: Instead of using 1 cup of honey you can mix together 1 1/4 cups of sugar plus 1/3 cup of water.
- Ketchup: Rarely are we out of ketchup since I like to can it but if you are you can use 1 cup of tomato sauce plus 1 teaspoon of vinegar in the place of 1 cup of ketchup. See my Homemade Ketchup Recipe here.
- Lemon Juice: Replace 1 teaspoon of lemon juice with 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar or the same amount of lime juice.
- Soy Sauce: To replace 1/2 cup of soy sauce in a recipe, mix together 4 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce plus 1 tablespoon of water. Homemade Soy Sauce recipe coming soon!
- Vinegar: Replace with equal amounts of lemon or lime juice.
Other Frugal and Easy Cooking Substitution Solutions
You have even more frugal kitchen substitutes lurking in your cabinets! Use some of the tips below instead of buying new gadgets.
- Don’t have a meat tenderizer? No problem. Hold a small plate so that it is perpendicular with the meat. Roll the edge of plate on the meat. Repeat until one side is tenderized. Flip the meat over and repeat. You can also stab it multiple times with a fork for the same effect. Place in marinade, cook, and serve.
- Speaking of marinade, you can make your own. Use one part vinegar to three parts water. Add other seasonings to taste. Allow to soak for at least a half hour. This is a great way to get a tender juicy steak. You can also use leftover fruit juice from canned fruits to marinate chicken and pork.
- Out of aluminum foil or need a lid? Use a pizza pan instead. Just set it on top of the pot or pan you needed a lid for. Remember to use a potholder or glove when you touch it as it will be hot!
Before you let someone convince you that you need a new gadget, take a look around the house to see what kind of frugal kitchen substitutes you already have. You’ll see that you can save time, space, and money by using what’s already in your kitchen! Saving money is really about imagination in the kitchen!
Love tips like this? My book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Simple, Frugal, and Self Sufficient Life has a large section of great cooking substitutions plus over 130 fun DIY recipes! Get your copy here.
Of course you can also make your own versions of so many different foods and we have all kinds of recipes on my Make Your Own recipe page such as this Seasoning Salt Recipe, Homemade Mayonnaise, How to Make Peanut Butter, and even Homemade Velveeta!
Share your favorite useful, frugal kitchen substitution solutions that you use in the comments section!