On a regular day, it can be annoying to realize you’re out of a key ingredient for the meal you’re making. But during quarantine? It’s even tougher! No one should be running to the store last minute for one item and, even if you do, chances of finding basic ingredients may be slim. But, you may be able to make it through with a few simple swaps – maybe you have these substitutions on hand!

With the help of the Food Substitutions Bible and our knowledge of veganism, we’ve created this list of simple vegan food swaps for when you’re in a pinch. The swaps won’t perfectly match the original ingredients – in some instances, they’re as close as it gets. But either way, they’re close enough to pull the meal or dish together and you may even find a swap you prefer to the original!


Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay

When cooking, any oil or margarine will do.

When baking, use margarine or coconut oil (the kind that solidifies). With recipes that require you “cut” the butter in (like biscuits or croissants), try and use hard, frozen margarine for the best results.

If you have part of the margarine or coconut oil needed for a baked recipe, sub the rest with applesauce.


Image by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay

Replace each egg in a baking recipe with:

  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 pureed banana (frozen works fine)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water (let it sit until the flax absorbs the water)
  • 1 tabelspoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water (let it sit until the chia absorbs the water)
  • 1/4 cup blended silken tofu
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 can carbonated beverage (for cakes – replaces the eggs and oil!)

Sour Cream

Image by Elias Sch. from Pixabay

Sub each cup with:

  • 1 cup non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine or coconut oil + 3/4 cup non-dairy milk + 1 teaspoon lemon juice (for baking)

Other Dairy Products

Image by Imo Flow from Pixabay
  • 1 cup half & half = 1 cup non-dairy milk (thicker the better – i.e., full fat coconut milk works better than almond milk) + 1 tablespoon melted margarine or coconut oil
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream = 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (other non-dairy milks will do, the thicker milk just works better) + 1/3 cup melted margarine or coconut oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar (let it sit until it starts to look “curdled,” ~5 minutes)


Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Replace each fresh clove with:

  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (omit 1/2 teaspoon salt from the recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced shallots


Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

For each onion, use:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped leeks, green onions or scallions (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onions


Image by Richard John from Pixabay

Replace each tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 1/2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or champagne vinegar.

Sub 1 teaspoon of lemon zest with 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract.

Fresh Herbs

Image by Konstantin Kolosov from Pixabay

Sub 1 tablespoon of fresh, chopped herbs with:

  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground or powdered herbs


Image by bluebudgie from Pixabay

Sub each cup with:

  • 3 to 4 slices of bread (dried in the oven and crushed in a food processor)
  • 3/4 cup vegan cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla (dried slightly in the oven)
  • 1 cup potato chips, crushed
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes


Replace 1 cup granulated sugar with:

  • 1 3/4 cup unsifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (minus 2 tablespoons) agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (reduce the liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons and lower oven the temperature by 25°F).

Replace 1 cup dark brown sugar with:

  • 1 packed cup light brown sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 cup granulated sugar + 2 to 3 tablespoons molasses

Replace 1 cup light brown sugar with:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar + 1 to 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar + 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Replace 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon cornstarch, processed in a food processor


Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Replace 1 cup all-purpose flour with:

  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (omit baking powder + salt from the recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry breadcrumbs, finely ground

Replace 1 cup of cake flour with:

  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • 1 cup (minus 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour + 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Replace 1 cup pastry flour with:

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour + 1/3 cup cake flour

Replace 1 cup self-rising flour with:


Replace 1 pound of fresh tomatoes with:

  • 1 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 sun-dried tomato halves (soaked in hot water)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (you may need to add liquid)