Have you ever wanted to cook something that requires a specific ingredient that you don’t have handy in your kitchen? It can be pretty frustrating. Luckily, there are substitutions for almost anything!
If you’re out of allspice, you can make your own similar spice blend. If you don’t have all those spices on hand, you can use other spices such as cloves, nutmeg or cinnamon to add a somewhat similar flavour to your dish.
Almond Meal Substitute
Also called almond flour, almond meal is just ground almonds with a consistency similar to breadcrumbs. If you don’t have any, you can use other ground nuts or seeds, fresh breadcrumbs, rolled oats, or regular flour- or you could make your own almond meal, if you have a decent food processor.
Apple Cider Vinegar Substitute
To match the acidity of apple cider vinegar with a slightly different flavour, you can use lime or lemon juice. Other fruity substitutes that are less acidic include orange juice, apple juice, rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar. You could also use white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, or beer for a less fruity flavour.
If you have apples but not applesauce, it’s relatively simple to make homemade applesauce, also known as pureed apples. This also gives you the opportunity to adjust the sugar level and the flavour depending on which type of apple you choose.
If you don’t have apples, you can get similar results by using other pureed fruits or pureed pumpkin, mashed bananas, mashed sweet potatoes, coconut oil, silken tofu, plain yoghurt, or smooth peanut butter.
Asafoetida, a spice often used in Indian recipes, is usually used as a substitute for onions or garlic since it has a similar taste. It is also used to mimic the flavours of egg and meat. So it works in reverse too- garlic and onion powders are great substitutes for asafoetida. If you can’t eat garlic or onions, you can use celery seeds, chives or fennel seeds.
Asparagus can be replaced in a recipe with green beans, green peas, zucchini, broccoli, green capsicum, brussels sprouts, and sugar snap peas. If you prefer asparagus but it’s not in season, canned asparagus is a great alternative.
Avocado Oil Substitute
Luckily, avocado oil can usually be replaced with almost any other oil: coconut, canola, sunflower, sesame, peanut, grapeseed, olive, vegetable… The possibilities are endless.
If oil isn’t for you, butter or ghee (clarified butter) are other options, although they may need to be melted down before use if the recipe calls for an oil-like consistency.
Baking Powder Substitute
If you have baking soda on hand, you can combine it with cream of tartar, buttermilk, plain yoghurt, molasses, vinegar or lemon juice.
If you don’t have baking soda, you can use self-raising flour or whipped egg whites.
Balsamic Vinegar Substitute
The best stand-in for balsamic vinegar is to add one part red wine vinegar to two parts maple syrup or honey. The sweetness of the syrup or honey combined with the tangy, robust flavour of the red wine vinegar will pretty closely mimic the complex flavour of balsamic vinegar.
Barberries are still a relatively new and exciting ingredient for most Australians. They work in both sweet and savoury dishes and have unique health benefits- but they aren’t readily available everywhere yet. If a recipe calls for barberries but you don’t have any, you can replace them with another tart, dried fruit. Cranberries will mimic the flavour most closely, but you can also use apricots, mulberries or currants.
Barley is a versatile cereal grain that can be used in a myriad of recipes, and it has plenty of health benefits. Unfortunately, it’s not gluten-free, but that doesn’t mean those with celiac disease have to miss out. There are a few substitutes with much the same texture and taste as barley- quinoa, farro, buckwheat, freekeh and millet are all options if your recipe calls for barley.
Bay Leaf Substitute
Bay leaves may not seem like an essential addition to a recipe, because they don’t have an intense flavour. But this humble leaf really can change the result of your soup, sauce or stew by adding a layer of depth and complexity.
You can mimic this flavour with a few other herbs. Dried oregano or dried thyme is your best bet, but you can also use basil, juniper berries, or rosemary.
Beef Cheek Substitute
Beef cheek is also known as barbacoa, so you may have success searching for it by that name! If beef cheek isn’t available to you, don’t worry. Short rib, oxtail, ossobuco, silverside, or brisket will give you a similar result. If you’re an adventurous eater, beef tongue is another option!
Bengal Curry Paste Substitute
Bengal curry paste gives your curries a mild but complex flavour that will make your mouth water- but it’s not as easy to purchase as some other curry variations. If you can’t find Bengal curry powder or paste, any other mild curry paste will do. Look for one rich in cumin, turmeric, ginger, and fenugreek seeds, since those are the main components in a Bengal curry flavour. If you’re in the mood for cooking from scratch, there are recipes online to make your own Bengal curry!
Kidney Beans Substitute
Kidney beans are a variety of common beans, and they can be replaced with almost any bean or legume. To get the closest texture to kidney beans, try borlotti beans, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans or cannellini beans.
Birch Syrup Substitute
Birch syrup is savoury, but you can always add sweetness to your personal taste. This wonderful syrup can be pricey and hard to find, and, unfortunately, can be difficult to mimic. You can replace it in a recipe with maple or golden syrup, which will give a slightly sweeter flavour to your dish. Birch syrup is not dissimilar in flavour to certain soy sauces, balsamic, molasses, and even honey.
Black Mustard Seed Substitute
The most obvious substitutes for black mustard seeds are brown mustard seeds and white mustard seeds, which are slightly less spicy and bold- but both of these tiny seeds can be tricky to find. Instead, look for mustard powder, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, turmeric, horseradish, wasabi powder, or mustard oil.
Black Vinegar Substitute
Your best bet to substitute black vinegar is simple: white vinegar! It’s usually more readily available and has a pretty similar taste. Rice wine vinegar works too. In a real pinch, you could use vinegar with a totally different flavour- balsamic, red wine, or date vinegar.
Bok Choy Substitute
If you want to mimic bok choy, try cabbage! Chinese cabbage, also known as Chinese leaves, napa cabbage, or wombok, is a great way to mimic bok choy. If this isn’t available to you, try long-stem broccoli.
Bonito Flakes Substitute
Bonito flakes, also known as katsuobushi, are made from fermented and dried fish grated into flakes. It’s a staple ingredient in many Japanese dishes, but it’s not always easy to find in Australia. You can add a rich umami flavour to your dish without katsuobushi using Nori seaweed, mackerel powder, or dried shiitake mushrooms.
Bread Improver Substitute
If you’re baking bread from scratch, a bread improver might be part of the recipe. Using it will result in a lighter loaf with a better texture, and the bread will last longer- but it’s not entirely necessary. You can bake bread without it. But if you want a soft, light loaf and don’t have any of this flavourless acidic substance, don’t worry. You can replace it with citric acid or even vinegar.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to brioche, or just can’t find any, there are plenty of options. Pullman loaf, challah bread and Japanese milk bread all have a similar buttery, light texture and slightly sweeter taste. Depending on your recipe, croissants may work too.
Brown Sugar Substitute
If your recipe calls for brown sugar and you don’t have any, it’s ok- you probably have other sweeteners in your pantry! You can replace brown sugar with maple syrup, golden syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar or raw sugar. If you have white sugar, try combining it with molasses or maple syrup. If you’re in a real pinch, simply use the white sugar on its own.
Buckwheat Flour Substitute
If you can’t find this gluten-free flour, you can use a chickpea flour, oat flour, sorghum flour, quinoa flour, rice flour, or simply use all-purpose flour. Use these substitute flours in a 1:1 ratio.
While it lacks the same creamy centre of burrata, fresh mozzarella is the closest you’ll get to burrata. Look for mozzarella balls packaged in water or whey. If this won’t do, use a cream cheese like Philadelphia. In a pinch, feta, ricotta, or cottage cheese might work.
Fortunately, most supermarkets carry a variety of butter-like products- margarine and other buttery spreads are a staple. If you’re out of any kind of butter or margarine or want a healthier alternative, you may find success using ghee, olive oil, applesauce, coconut oil, or mashed bananas.
Buttermilk can be replaced with a dairy product (like cow’s milk) combined with something acidic. Milk and vinegar is the most common variation. You could also combine milk with lemon juice, or cream of tartar. Sour cream or plain, unsweetened yoghurt could work, but mix them with water to thin them down to the texture of buttermilk.
While cabbage has its own unique flavour, you can get pretty similar results from using collard greens, brussels sprouts, kale, celery, bok choy- or even iceberg lettuce, due to the slightly crunchy texture.
Cake Flour Substitute
Cake flour is often called biscuit flour or pastry flour in Australia. It has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, making it better suited to cakes- but unless you’re a professional cake baker, you probably don’t need cake flour. All-purpose flour will do nicely.
If you want cake flour, there’s a way to make your own! Just take a cup of all-purpose flour minus two tablespoons, and replace those two tablespoons worth of flour with either cornflour or arrowroot flour.
Calvados is an apple brandy made from specially grown apples, and it is only made in Normandy. Thus, authentic calvados isn’t usually found in your local Liquorland. But you don’t necessarily need calvados. Instead, use any other apple brandy or apple cider. Pear brandy works too.
Also known as candleberry or Indian walnut, these are pretty hard to come by in Australia outside of Asian grocers. You can substitute them kg-to-kg with Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts.
Carom Seeds Substitute
Replace carom seeds in a recipe with caraway seeds, fennel seeds, thyme, or marjoram.
Cassava Flour Substitute
For another gluten-free substitute for cassava flour, use tapioca starch. Other types of starch- particularly potato starch, arrowroot starch, and cornstarch- work too. You could also use a chickpea flour, almond flour, coconut flour or rice flour. All-purpose flour is another option, but remember that, unlike cassava flour, it’s not gluten-free!
Fancy cheeses like this can be hard to track down unless you frequent pricey artisan delis. Instead, use comte, asiago, or another semi-firm cheese like gouda, cheddar or edam.
Caster Sugar Substitute
There’s nothing worse than getting partway through a recipe and finding that you’re missing a key ingredient! Caster sugar can be replaced with granulated sugar, raw sugar, or even brown sugar.
Cavolo Nero Substitute
Also known as Lacinto kale, cavolo nero can easily be substituted with curly kale. You could also use spinach, collard greens or chard.
Cayenne Pepper Substitute
If you don’t have cayenne pepper, try hot paprika, red chilli flakes, chilli powder, or capsicums.
Chaat Masala Substitute
This Indian spice blend is made from fennel, cumin, coriander, ajwain, mint, kala namak, tamarind, mango powder, ginger, red chilli powder, and salt- so if you have most of these ingredients on hand, you could try making your own. If not, you could get away with using garam masala, which is available in most supermarkets. If all else fails, curry powder could work too!
Champagne Vinegar Substitute
Rice wine vinegar and white wine vinegar would both work as substitutes for champagne vinegar. If you’re ok with a more intense flavour, you could use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
Chia Seeds Substitute
Linseeds, also known as flax seeds, are a great substitute for chia seeds. Hemp seeds, quinoa, sesame seeds, or mashed banana are further options.
Chickpea Flour Substitute
Chickpea flour can be substituted with almond flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour or oat flour. If you only have plain flour, you can use that, but double the amount of flour that the recipe calls for.
Chinese 5 Spice Substitute
Making your own Chinese 5 spice is easy- star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds and Sichuan peppercorns. For a less hot flavour, Sichuan peppercorns can be replaced with black peppercorns.
If you don’t have all those ingredients on hand, don’t worry. Any of those 5 ingredients on its own will still add a valuable flavour to your dish. Garam masala is also vaguely similar.
Chinese Cooking Wine Substitute
Instead of Chinese cooking wine, try dry sherry. Just your everyday cheap cooking sherry will do fine. If you don’t have sherry, try mirin, a Japanese cooking wine- but it’s considerably sweeter than Chinese cooking wine. You can omit Chinese cooking wine if the recipe calls for only a small quantity, such as 1 tablespoon or less.
Cilantro is basically the same thing as coriander- in Australia, coriander is the more commonly used term. If you don’t have coriander, try parsley, basil, oregano or dill.
Cime Di Rapa Substitute
Cime di rapa is also known as broccoli rabe. You can substitute this with broccoli, spinach, chard, spring greens, or kale.
Coconut Milk Substitute
If you’re looking for yummy dairy-free milk without the flavour of coconut, try soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, oat milk, or rice milk. You can also try heavy cream, greek yoghurt- or simply use coconut cream.
Coconut Nectar Substitute
If you don’t have coconut nectar, try maple or golden syrup, agave nectar, date syrup, or honey.
Coconut Oil Substitute
You can use another oil such as avocado oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. Butter or a butter alternative is another great substitute.
Coconut Sugar Substitute
If you don’t have coconut sugar, use another kind of sugar or a natural sweetener- agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup.
Coconut Vinegar Substitute
You can substitute coconut vinegar with almost any other vinegar- but the best substitute is rice wine vinegar.
Coffee is an incredibly popular way to start your morning, but if you’re trying to cut the caffeine, or just don’t like the taste of coffee, there are other ways to quench the thirst for coffee. Decaf coffee, hot chocolate, tea, kombucha and lemon water are all suitable alternatives.
Comte Cheese Substitute
Comte cheese can be replaced with alternatives such as cheddar, Jarlsberg, parmesan, or gouda.
Copha is a vegetable shortening made from over 99% coconut oil- so if Copha isn’t available, try coconut oil or coconut butter, or just regular butter.
Corn Syrup Substitute
The best alternatives to corn syrup are agave nectar, honey, golden syrup, tapioca syrup, or molasses.
In place of cornflour, use tapioca flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch, white flour, or guar gum.
Use another starch like potato starch, arrowroot starch, or tapioca starch. If you don’t have access to any of these, try xanthan gum, plain flour or rice flour.
Cranberry Sauce Substitute
If you’re craving cranberry sauce and can’t find any, there are plenty of substitutes. Plum sauce or various fruit chutneys can give you a similar flavour.
Depending on your recipe, there are plenty of alternatives to cream. Try mixing milk with butter or use evaporated milk, coconut cream, plain yoghurt, or cream cheese. They may not whip like cream, but they may be able to replace it in a recipe that calls for thickened cream.
Cream Of Tartar Substitute
If your recipe calls for cream of tartar, replace every half teaspoon of cream of tartar with one teaspoon of either vinegar or lemon juice.
Crème Fraîche Substitute
The most common substitute is sour cream, but greek yoghurt or cream cheese are other options you may have in your fridge.
Cremini Mushrooms Substitute
Cremini mushrooms are sometimes marketed as “baby Bella” or “baby Portobello” mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms are the same variation of mushrooms as cremini mushrooms, so they’re the most obvious choice as an alternative. You may need to just chop them into smaller pieces.
Cumin can be replaced with chilli powder, caraway seeds, parsley or ground coriander.
Curry Leaves Substitute
Curry leaves have a very unique flavour that can be hard to replicate. Asafoetida, bay leaves, basil or lime can be used in place of curry leaves.
Dried cranberries, prunes, sultanas, figs and jujubes can all be used to replace dates in recipes.
Dijon Mustard Substitute
Stone ground mustard is the best substitute for dijon mustard, because they’re made from the same mustard seeds. If you can’t find stone ground mustard, you can use whole grain mustard, hot English mustard, yellow or brown mustard, honey mustard, or horseradish sauce.
Instead of dill, try tarragon, thyme, rosemary, fennel, parsley, or chervil.
Duck Fat Substitute
Generally you can substitute duck fat with other fats like lard or butter. If you want a healthier option, go with coconut oil or vegetable oil.
If you can’t eat eggs (or just don’t have any in your kitchen at the moment), there are so many alternatives. One of these options is egg replacement powder. It can be purchased in most supermarkets.
If you don’t have any, there are so many other options. You can replace one egg in your recipe with 1⁄4 cup of applesauce, ¼ cup of banana puree, ¼ cup of silken tofu, ¼ cup of yoghurt, one “flax egg” (1 tablespoon of flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water), or 3 tablespoons of any nut butter.
Zucchini is quite similar in texture to eggplant. If you don’t have zucchini, try butternut pumpkin, cauliflower, carrots, or beetroot.
Fish Sauce Substitute
Soy sauce, tamari, oyster sauce and vegan fish sauce are all great alternatives. For a different flavour try seaweed or worcestershire sauce.
French Onion Soup Substitute
If a recipe calls for French onion soup mix, combine 3 tablespoons of onion powder, 2 beef stock cubes, ¼ teaspoon parsley, ⅛ teaspoon celery seeds, a pinch of paprika, pinch of pepper and a pinch of salt for every ¼ of French onion soup mix the recipe calls for. If that’s a bit too much, you can get away with simply using onion powder- it won’t have the same complexity of flavour, but it will work.
Golden Syrup Substitute
In place of golden syrup, use maple syrup, honey or agave
Greek Yoghurt Substitute
If greek yoghurt isn’t available to you, use sour cream, cottage cheese, buttermilk, avocado, or mayonnaise. Or simply use plain yoghurt.
Hemp Seed Substitute
Instead of hemp seeds, you can use flaxseed, chia seeds, desiccated coconut or almond meal
Hoisin Sauce Substitute
In place of Hoisin sauce, try an alternative like bean paste, garlic teriyaki, miso and mustard, or sweet soy sauce
Other sweeteners such as maple syrup, golden syrup or agave nectar can be used as a substitute for honey
If you don’t have kale, the best substitute is spinach! If you don’t have spinach, try collard greens, swiss chard or broccoli rabe.
If you don’t like (or can’t find) Kimchi, use sauerkraut, miso paste, pickled radishes, or gochujang.
Also called German turnip, kohlrabi is from the same family as brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and collard greens- so any of those options would work in place of kohlrabi.
Since Arnotts discontinued their lattice biscuits, you’re probably looking for alternatives. Julie’s sugar crackers are similar, but they’re slightly more savoury than the original.
Beans are best to use as substitutes for lentils. Chickpeas, pinto beans and garbanzo beans are all good options. Depending on the recipe you may be able to use quinoa, TVP or even beef mince.
Unfortunately, some parts of Australia are facing a lettuce shortage. Fortunately, lettuce has many alternatives. Rocket, cabbage, spinach, celery, watercress and bok choy could all work.
Macadamia Oil Substitute
As a general rule, most oils can be substituted for similar oils. Replace macadamia oil with avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil or almond oil.
Malt Vinegar Substitute
Apple cider vinegar is the best substitute for malt vinegar. If this isn’t available, try balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, or lemon juice- but be prepared for a different flavour.
Maris Piper Potatoes Substitute
If you can’t purchase Maris Piper potatoes, instead look for King Edward, dutch cream, and sebago varieties.
Marjoram is vaguely similar to oregano, but has a milder flavour- so if replacing marjoram with oregano, you might want to use slightly less than the recipe calls for so you aren’t overwhelming your dish with oregano flavour. Basil and thyme are other alternatives.
As an alternative to mushrooms, try tofu, tempeh, cauliflower, meat, eggplant, artichoke hearts, zucchini, onions or pumpkin.
The thing that makes paneer so special is that it holds its shape and does not melt. So, if you’re looking for a substitute for paneer, use something like halloumi cheese, which has a high melting point. For a vegetarian alternative, use tofu.
In place of paprika, use cayenne pepper, capsicum, or red pepper flakes
Turnips and rutabagas have a similar texture and earthy flavour to parsnips
Canned tomatoes are almost the same thing as passata, so they make a great substitute. Additionally, tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, or a tomato-based pasta sauce might work.
Walnuts are interchangeable with pecans in most recipes, and cashews, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts are also great options. For a nut-free alternative, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds can also add a crunchy texture.
To add a crunchy texture and a salty nutty flavour to a recipe, try swapping pistachios for pine nuts, cashews, almonds or peanuts.
Pomegranate Seeds Substitute
Raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, currants, cherries and sultanas can provide a similar taste and texture to pomegranate seeds
If this superfood isn’t for you, try cooked brown or white rice, couscous, barley, roasted cauliflower, nutmeat, or bulgar wheat.
Perhaps the best alternative to radishes are carrots, which tend to be much easier to find. If you can’t use carrots, turnips work too.
Red Onion Substitute
If you don’t have red onion, other variations of onion work too- white onion, yellow onion, spring onion. Additionally, use leeks, celery or chives.
If a recipe calls for sake, Chinese rice wine or dry sherry are good substitutes. If you can’t consume alcohol, try broth, kombucha, or even water.
The most commonly used substitute is potassium, but if you don’t have any on hand, try something that comes from the ocean, such as seaweed or anchovies, to provide a great salty flavour. Alternatively, use garlic, pepper, lemon juice, onion powder, or nutritional yeast.
Scotch Bonnet Substitute
Scotch bonnet may sound exotic to an Aussie, but it’s basically just capsicum! If you don’t have any capsicum or another kind of pepper, hot paprika will add a similar flavour
Self Raising Flour Substitute
It’s easy to make your own self raising flour at home. For every cup of self raising flour that your recipe calls for, use one cup of all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
Serrano Pepper Substitute
Serrano peppers are super hot, so if you want to keep that in your recipe, substitute with any chilli pepper or hot sauce. If you want a milder taste, try capsicum or jalapenos.
Soba Noodles Substitute
Swap soba noodles for udon noodles, rice noodles, vermicelli noodles or ramen noodles.
Soy Sauce Substitute
The best substitute for soy sauce is tamari or worcestershire sauce
If your recipe calls for spinach, you can use kale, arugula (rocket), or bok choy.
Spring Onion Substitute
If you don’t have spring onions handy, instead try chives, leeks, or other variations of onions. In a pinch, use onion powder.
There are plenty of options available if you’re looking to substitute sugar. You can use honey, maple syrup, dates, agave, stevia, applesauce, fruit purees, or molasses.
There are multiple alternatives to replicate the tart flavour of sumac, but be sure to use less than the amount of sumac the recipe calls for, since these substitutes have a more intense flavour. These alternatives include lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar.
Sushi Rice Substitute
To replace sushi rice in a recipe, try white rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.
Sweet Chilli Sauce Substitute
A great way to mimic the flavour of sweet chilli sauce is to combine something hot and tangy (such as chilli sauce) with something sweet (such as honey).
A few nut butters can replicate tahini, but cashew butter is your best bet. You can also try using sesame oil or Greek yoghurt- or, if you have the ingredients handy, you can try your hand at making homemade tahini using sesame seeds and oil
Teriyaki Sauce Substitute
If you’re searching for an alternative to teriyaki sauce, there are several options. Soy sauce, barbecue sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, or ginger and brown sugar are all fine choices.
Canned tomatoes are the best substitute for fresh tomatoes, but if these aren’t an option for you, red capsicum may work just as well. But the truth is that there aren’t many things similar to tomatoes, so if it’s not crucial to the dish, feel free to omit the tomatoes.
The best substitute for walnuts is pecans, for their similar flavour and texture. Hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts and macadamia nuts aren’t as similar, but are all suitable alternatives nonetheless.
Water Chestnut Substitute
If you can find canned water chestnuts, use those, as they have the same texture as fresh ones. If not, other nuts that may work are almonds and hazelnuts. If you’re seeking a nut-free alternative, go with celery, white turnips, artichokes or fresh bamboo shoots.
Xanthan Gum Substitute
To replace xanthan gum, try chia seeds and water, as they form a gel similar to xanthan gum. Replace xanthan gum with chia seeds at a 1:1 ratio, and add hot water 2:1 for chia seeds.
Za’atar is a spice blend consisting of dried savoury herbs such as oregano, thyme and marjoram and toasted earthy spices including cumin and coriander. It usually also includes sesame seeds, dried sumac, and salt. You can make a similar spice mix at home using herbs you have in your kitchen already, using equal parts of each herb and spice- or, for a simpler solution, use ground thyme on its own to get a similar flavour.
As you can see, there are a number of ingredient substitution options in Australia. So, whether you’re a person with allergies, or just need to switch things up for convenience, we hope you found this article helpful.