What Are Some Common Substitutions for Recipe Ingredients?

Some common substitutions for recipe ingredients include applesauce for oil, lemon juice for vinegar, sugar and molasses for brown sugar, and milk and lemon juice for buttermilk. To make the buttermilk substitute, combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

If substituting butter with an equal amount of margarine or vegetable shortening, make sure the margarine has full-fat. If the recipe calls for melted butter, use an equal amount of oil. However, substituting oil with margarine or butter doesn't work as well, says Alice Henneman of UNL.

Substitute flour for cornstarch at a 2:1 ration. If the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch as a thickening agent, use 2 tablespoons of flour. If using flour, cook the sauce longer so that it thickens fully.

Substitute mayonnaise, powdered eggs or egg substitute for eggs. If the recipe calls for 1 egg, use 1/4 cup of egg substitute or 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Mayonnaise can be substituted with an equal amount of yogurt, sour cream or pureed cottage cheese.

Use half whole wheat flour and half white flour to substitute for all-white flour. For example, 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of white flour equals 1 cup of white flour. For cake flour, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons. For self-rising flour, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour minus 2 teaspoons, plus 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.