Emergency Cooking Hacks When You Are Missing an Ingredient

Cooking hacks can save your baking fail or pending disaster when you are missing a crucial ingredient. Every single chef out there knows the pain of going to make your dinner masterpiece or bake sale work of art just to find an ingredient missing. Oh maybe it’s the eggs or the sour cream. Perhaps it’s the baking soda or baking powder! If you don’t know what to substitute then the recipe is dead in the water.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

BUT, hey don’t fret. There are many easy cooking hacks and simple baking substitutions you can use to pull it off even without all the proper ingredients. This list of emergency cooking substitutions should help to get you through just about any cooking crisis.

EMERGENCY Cooking Hacks – What Do I Do When I Run Out of Eggs?

There are a couple of ingredients you simply can’t get away without. So stop right now if you started and then realized someone ate all the eggs. There’s pretty much no way out of that one.

Need Eggs?

If you are right in the middle of your cooking and you suddenly discover you are out of eggs; the best thing to do would be to cover, and then run next door to the neighbour or the corner market. Depending on the creation you might be able to get away without eggs, but it’s not advisable. Cookies, cakes and breads need eggs to hold everything together. It’s what gives the recipe body.

So eggs are really one thing you have to have handy at all times – or go rely on that neighbour. But did you know that there is a quick cooking hack for egg whites versus egg yolks?

Already used your egg yolks, but want to use your egg whites to substitute as if it were a whole egg. Use two egg whites for one large egg. Or, if you have two egg yolks, just add a tablespoon of water and it will make a suitable substitute for a large egg. Got it?


Baking Powder

This is the one that I often run out of. Baking powder is an absolute necessity in good homemade biscuits and so many other things. However, if you’ve found that you’ve run out, or don’t have quite enough, you can substitute ½ teaspoon of Cream of Tartar plus ¼ teaspoon of Baking Soda for each teaspoon of Baking Powder needed. There are other substitutions that can be made but this works the best.

Cocoa verses Unsweetened Chocolate

You will find that usually a recipe that requires either cocoa or unsweetened chocolate many times depends on the cook who created the recipe. If the recipe calls for 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate and all you have is cocoa, it’s an easy fix. For 1 ounce of chocolate substitute 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, or melted shortening or butter. You can do the same thing in reverse.

Need a Thickening Agent?

Most white sauces, gravies and cream pies use flour as a thickening agent, where fruit pies and any dish where it is important to show the integrity and beauty of the fruit, then cornstarch or tapioca is used. In a pinch any of these will work. For every 2 tablespoons of flour, try 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or 4 teaspoons of quick – cooking tapioca. Simple cooking hacks, right?

Sour Cream verses Yogurt

If the recipe calls for sour cream and all you have on hand is plain yogurt, or visa – versa, you can substitute one for the other, using equal amounts, with good results. The sour cream might be a bit more tangy, but it’s hardly noticeable in the finished product. And in many bakes good sour cream often makes the recipe taste even more moist.

Tomato Paste and Tomato Sauce

¾ cup of tomato paste plus 1 cup of water will work for 2 cups of tomato sauce. Substituting for tomato paste is a bit more work, but with good results. For ½ cup of tomato paste, take 1 cup of tomato sauce and simmer, uncovered on low until reduced by half.

Apple Pie Spice/Pumpkin Pie Spice

Did you know that Apple Pie Spice and Pumpkin Pie Spice can be substituted for each other as they are so close, but if you don’t have either then you must mix:

Apple Pie Spice/Pumpkin Pie Spice ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon of allspice and 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom.

Apple Pie Spice can be produced using ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon of Cardamom. Pumpkin Pie Spice is produced with ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. So they are pretty similar indeed.

Cooking Hacks you need when you run out of ingredients while baking something in the kitchen. Easy fixes to avoid baking fails.

Emergency Cooking Hacks to Avoid Kitchen Fails

There are many other emergency substitutions that can be made for different dishes, but these are the most common ones. What’s the one thing you run out of often?

Here’s one of my best pinned recipes for you to make and pin for later.

Best Butter Tarts on the Planet.

Happy Cooking!

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.