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 Frugal Food Substitution Tips


Baking Powder

If you run out of baking powder, or find a sale on baking soda, here is a homemade substitute to make your own baking powder. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup cream of tartar and 1/4 cup cornstarch.

Barbeque Sauce

When you reach the end of a bottle of store bought barbecue sauce, here is how to make it go further. Add some orange juice or other liquid to the jar. Shake it hard, so that it mixes with the barbecue sauce left in the bottle on the sides and bottom. You should be able to get a few more uses out of it.


When a recipe calls for a can of beef or chicken broth, you can easily make your own. Keep your pantry stocked with beef and chicken bouillon cubes. They store for years. All you have to do is dissolve a cube or 1 1/2 teaspoon of granulated bouillon (depending on how you buy it) in a cup of boiling water. This will substitute for 1 Cup of bouillon soup.

Brown Sugar

Use granulated white sugar.  Just add a few drops of molasses until it is the same color as brown sugar.

Butter, Soft

Save money by making your own soft butter. Just blend together 2 cubes/sticks of butter/margarine (softened) and 3/4 Cups of a good quality vegetable oil. Whip it until fluffy and well blended, and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.


If you are out of cornstarch, you can use flour. Just double the amount.

Corn Syrup

For every cup of corn syrup, use 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar mixed with 1/3 cup water or use a little less than a cup of honey.


Here's another substitution that may come in handy. If you need light cream, use 1 cup of evaporated milk.

Dehydrated and Powdered Foods

Two good items to have in your pantry are dried eggs and dried milk. Both can be used in baking without any loss of flavor. You don't have to use them every time, but it saves you a trip to the store if you want to bake and don't have any eggs or milk. You can also mix your fresh milk half and half with powdered milk to save money, and use the powdered eggs on campouts.


Running out of eggs is something most of us avoid. However, should it happen, here are five substitutions that may work for you. These are not exact, and depending on what you are making, it is a gamble.

1.  1 tsp baking powder, 1 Tbsp liquid, 1 Tbsp vinegar.

2.  2 Tbsp mayonnaise.

3. 1 tsp yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water.

4. 1 1/2 Tbsp water, 1 1/2 Tbsp Oil 1, and 1 tsp baking powder.

1 packet unflavored gelatin and 2 Tbsp warm water.


Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk has 60% of its liquid removed.  You can substitute powdered milk, using 40% of the recommended water to reconstitute. You can also try buttermilk.  Another option is to boil the milk to reduce the water content.


Most everyone wants to eat healthy and lose weight these days. Here is a tip that is very easy, but makes a difference. We know that the less sugar and white flour (as opposed to wheat flour) we eat, the better it is for us. When you bake, try replacing the white flour with oat flour. There is very little difference. You can find oat flour in the health food section of your grocery store.

Flour: Self-Rising

If you buy only regular flour, yet run across a recipe for self-rising flour, here is how you make it. Add 1 tablespoon of baking Powder to every cup of regular flour.


Here's a fast and easy way to frost a cake with a light and airy frosting. Use cool whip. For a chocolate type frosting, mix in cocoa. Just be sure and add it before serving so that you don't make the cake soggy.


Fresh garlic is wonderful, but you don't always have it on hand. There are a couple ways to get the flavor of garlic that you can store in your pantry. Dried garlic can be used in place of fresh garlic. So can garlic powder. Use about 1/8 - 1/4 of a teaspoon for each clove of garlic.


If you run out of ketchup, here is a tip for a substitute sauce that may keep you from running to the store.  Mix 1 cup of Tomato Sauce with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 2 Tbsp of vinegar.

Marinade Sauce

Be creative when it comes to marinating food. Start with with salad dressing and then add additional flavor by adding juice from cans of fruit, or other liquids,  This is also a good use for fruit that is over ripe.  You can puree it and add it to the sauce.


Here's a substitution that may come in handy if you are making rice crispy treats, fudge, or another recipe that calls for marshmallows. Ten small marshmallows equal one large one.


Need a substitute for mayonnaise? Here are 2 things you can use.
1. 1 cup of sour cream
2. 1 cup of cottage cheese, whipped smooth.


Be sure and keep powdered milk in your pantry. Many people mix it with whole milk to save money. Even if you don't want to mix it with your regular milk to save money, you can use it instead of fresh milk when you cook and bake. To use it for baking, add 1/3 cup for every cup of water.

Pancake Syrup

Pancake Syrup is one of those things that is very easy to make from scratch, and cost effective. All you have to do is bring brown sugar and water to a boil and simmer 15 minutes and then add maple flavoring. Use 1/2 cup of water for every cup of brown sugar, and about 1 teaspoon of maple flavoring for 1/2 cup of water.  Also, if you want to try something different on your pancakes, use apple pie filling. Heat up the filling on the stove or in the microwave, and pour over the pancakes.


If you don't have any canned pumpkin, but want to make pumpkin flavored pastries, use sweet potatoes.  Just cook and mash them, and add some pumpkin pie spice mix.


Here is another substitution that may save a trip to the store. When a recipe calls for shortening, you can substitute equal amounts of butter or margarine for shortening, Applesauce can also replace up to 3/4 of the shortening in many recipes.

Soup Stock

Save a little money on creamed soups by making your own dry starter mix. Just add water and you can use it for creamed soup. All it takes is a little flour, dry milk, bouillon and a few spices. Mix them together and when you want to make soup, just add water. For the equivalent of several cans, here are the proportions:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups dry milk
1/2 cup bouillon (chicken is good)
2 T onion powder
1 tsp each of salt, pepper, basil, and oregano.

Add 1 1/2 cups of water to each 1/2 cup of soup mix.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Here is a substitute for sweetened, condensed milk that may keep you from running to the store. Mix the following ingredients together in a blender:

1 cup powdered milk
2/3 cups sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter or margarine
1/3 cup boiling water

Refrigerate if not using right away.


If you don't normally buy toothpicks, but need one to check if your cake is done, here is an alternative. Use a piece of Spaghetti.

Vanilla Flavoring

Save money baking by using imitation vanilla flavoring instead of real vanilla extract. It costs less, and the difference can barely be detected in most baked goods.


Here is a substitute for vinegar.. Use lemon juice Use twice as much lemon juice as the vinegar called for in the recipe.

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