9 Common and Uncommon Ingredient Substitutions

Cooking is an excellent method when learning about diverse cultures, habits, and delicacies. It is a skill that everyone wishes to have. Making a healthy and premium meal is a necessary adulting skill. But it requires extraordinary culinary skills. It’s best to have all of the ingredients stated in a recipe before you start cooking or baking. However, there are situations when we run out of ingredients.

Almost all of these substitutions yield almost identical results to the intended ingredient, and others come close, but no substitution is as good as the original. Giving it a shot might be worthwhile. These alternatives are well known and tested in the same manner that you may use the dijon mustard substitute with confidence. Here are some suggestions for common and uncommon ingredient substitutions that will help you through each day without having to go to the shop.

1. Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is a must-have ingredient for an obvious reason. People commonly use it in sauces, soups, handmade butter, sweets, and sour cream, among other things. They also called it heavy whipping cream because of its high-fat content. Heavy cream, which contains 36-40% fat, is higher in fat than other cream variants, such as whipped cream and light cream. Milk and butter are a quick, dependable substitute for heavy cream that will work with most recipes. The butter adds more fat to the milk, making it fattier than heavy cream.

2. Agar Agar

Agar agar is a common vegan gelatin substitute. All kinds of dishes, from preparing gravy to gluten-free jello-based sweets, involve agar agar powder and flakes. If you run out of agar agar and need it for a dish, there are several excellent agar agar replacements you may use regardless of what you’re creating. They made cornstarch from corn and are widely accessible in practically all supermarkets. This common cooking item works well in place of agar agar. It’s gluten-free and adaptable enough to use in any recipe that asks for agar agar.

3. Breadcrumbs

So many recipes call for breadcrumbs as a necessary ingredient. Breadcrumbs are also an important binding ingredient in many of the dishes we encounter, such as burgers and meatballs. It is one of the ingredients with the simplest ingredient substitution. If you are out of breadcrumbs, you can substitute oats. For meatballs and meatloaf, oats can serve as a great substitute for breadcrumbs. Just bare in mind that oats don’t have a good amount of flavor, so if you’re applying them to a recipe that asks for breadcrumbs, you might need to season it more.

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain made from an edible seed. The grains have a similar chewy texture and mildly nutty flavor to barley when cooked properly. For many years, it has been a mainstay of South American cuisine. It is a rich source of fiber and has a greater protein content than other grains. While white rice is arguably the most convenient substitute for cooked quinoa, brown rice comes closer in terms of nutrients and flavor. Roast cauliflower florets are a low-carb alternative to quinoa that is more vegan.

5. Thyme

Many different dishes and cuisines, including Italian and Indian, use thyme. It’s really popular and frequently accessible. Thyme is one of the simplest plants to cultivate both indoors and outdoors. The flavor of regular thyme is minty, earthy, and somewhat lemony. Thyme’s grounding, savory-sweet, the not-overpowering taste may provide richness and warmth to a wide range of meals. Oregano, whether fresh or dried, is an excellent thyme alternative. It also has a spicy, herbal tinge, which adds to its exquisite richness. You may substitute oregano for thyme in any dish, regardless of the recipes.

6. Saffron

Saffron is the priciest spice in the entire world. Saffron is an ingredient obtained from the Crocus sativus flower. It has an earthy and flowery flavor, and when cooked, it turns a beautiful yellow hue. Saffron is a unique spice that is difficult to replicate. Turmeric is the greatest saffron substitute available. In terms of flavor and color, turmeric is the closest thing you can get to saffron. When you use this substitute, your dish will acquire a golden color as well as a little peppery and earthy flavor. Your tastes and the food you prepare will determine how much turmeric you need to use.

7. Paprika

Paprika is an excellent spice to have in your spice cabinet to give your dish just the perfect scent and flavor. One of the most popular spices is paprika. Grinding the pods of bell peppers or other chili peppers yields paprika. It provides a deep color to your food and improves its overall appeal. A suitable alternative to paprika is cayenne. It’s one of the greatest paprika substitutes since it adds the same spiciness to your food. Because this red hot chili pepper is somewhat hotter than paprika, you may want to use less of it in your meal.

8. Cumin

Cumin is an important spice in the kitchen of every excellent cook. An herb known as Cuminum cyminum produces cumin seeds, a spice. Cumin is a prominent spice that we can find in Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, and North African cuisines. It has a yellowish color and tastes smoky, earthy, nutty, and sweet. Curry powder usually contains cumin, making it an ideal cumin alternative. These provide an earthy, sweet, and spicy taste to any meal that uses curry powder. It does, however, include additional flavors that you may not want in your dish, so think about what you’re making before swapping.

9. Oyster Sauce

The main ingredients of oyster sauce, which is sweet and salty, are oyster fluids, salt, and sugar. You can find oyster sauce in Asian cuisines for stir-fries, dipping sauces, and meat marinades. It has a viscous and thick composition and a dark brown tint. One of the greatest replacements for oyster sauce is hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is a delicious Chinese condiment known for its thick consistency. ​​You can still execute your recipe exactly if you replace it with this substitution in an equal amount.


You can almost substitute any ingredient for another found in your pantry or for one that is easier to obtain, so don’t worry if you run out of ingredients. Just rely on this list if you need one. Several of them offer similar textures, and others resemble the original ingredient almost exactly in taste.