cooking tips & tricks

Our 4 Favorite Baking Substitutions

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You’re in the mood to bake something (today’s been one of those weeks) but you realize you’re missing some essential ingredients. Do you need to go through the stress, hassle, and real pants of going to the store? The good news is that there are actually more baking substitutions out there than you might think. Here are some of our go-tos. 

A Substitute for Eggs

Flaxseeds are an excellent substitution for eggs if you’re making something vegan or simply don’t have eggs. To make a flax egg, just combine 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal with 3 Tbsp water. Mix them together and let sit for 15 minutes before using. Tip: While flax eggs provide the thickening power of eggs in vegan baked goods, they don’t behave exactly like eggs do, so we wouldn’t recommend them in baked goods that rely heavily on eggs. Flax eggs are team players, not soloists! 

Butter Swaps 

If you’re bereft of butter, don’t fret. There are several ways to replace it in baked goods:

  • Coconut oil: Swap in coconut oil if you’re making something at high heat. Tip: Since coconut oil doesn’t have the water content of butter, your baked goods won’t be quite as moist and will likely taste a bit coconutty. 
  • Olive oil: Use olive oil for lower temperature items. As a general rule, if substituting olive oil, use ¾ of the amount of butter the recipe calls for. Tip: Olive oil works best in recipes that call for melted butter like brownies, not recipes that require creaming sugar into butter, which olive oil cannot do the way butter can. 
  • Apple sauce: Substitute applesauce for a healthier banana bread, zucchini bread, or muffins. As a general rule, use half as much apple sauce as you’d use butter. Tip: While this will help moisten your baked goods, it won’t provide the flavor benefits of butter, so plan accordingly. 

Use Chia to Thicken

Some jam recipes call for pectin as a thickener. If you don’t have it on hand, remember that chia seeds “bloom” when they’re in liquid, so they work well as a binder in baked goods or a thickener for sauce. Adding them to jams means you can get a thicker consistency with less sugar. Tip: Chia seeds can take 1-2 hours to gel completely in the fridge, so make sure to build that time into your game plan.

A Buttermilk Hack

Buttermilk can be one of those niche ingredients that you either buy and never finish or never buy and never finish worrying about what to use instead. We say: Why buy a container of buttermilk when you only need half a cup? In a pinch, you can replicate the tangy flavor by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk. Tip: This substitution works best for recipes where buttermilk is mainly around for its acidity, which lets it react with baking soda. If the recipe is using buttermilk for flavor, like in a dip or justifiably famous fried chicken brine, we’d recommend getting the real thing.


  • Kasie
    March 5, 2021 at 4:23 am

    Love this! So very helpful!

    • Imperfect
      March 5, 2021 at 7:23 pm


  • Kelsie
    June 12, 2021 at 2:13 am

    Are you all planning on continuing the blog? I love it!

    • Imperfect Foods
      June 15, 2021 at 12:39 am

      We abso-fruit-ly are! 💚😊

  • Angie
    January 26, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Can’t wait till it gets delivered to my zip code

    • Imperfect
      January 27, 2022 at 3:51 pm

      Looking forward to delivering to you soon! 💚


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