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Holiday Baking Alternatives: 30+ Easy Ingredient Substitutes

Want to make holiday baking a lot more fun and a lot less stressful? Whether you’re baking gluten-free treats or or are trying to find better options for your health-conscious friends, we’re here to help! Put down the candy canes and pop over to your pantry. These easy holiday baking ingredient alternatives will make your holiday creations anything but ho-hum.

Easy Butter Substitutes

Butter is a popular ingredient in many holiday treats. But if you’re trying to avoid dairy, or just want to cut down on saturated fat, there are plenty of alternatives that will work just as well. Here are a few options.

  • 1 cup butter = ½ cup nut butter + ½ cup melted coconut oil 
  • 1 cup butter = ¾ cup olive oil 
  • 1 cup butter = 1 cup avocado 
  • 1 cup butter = ⅞ cup avocado oil 
  • 1 cup butter = 1 cup applesauce 
  • 1 cup butter = 1 cup pumpkin puree

The Best Buttermilk Swap

Making a chess pie or a rich holiday cake? Here’s a lighter swap for buttermilk.

  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain Greek yogurt  

How to Substitute Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs lend a nice crunchy texture to all sorts of holiday foods. If you don’t have any on hand, here are some alternatives that you can use instead.

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs = 1 cup of cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs = 1 cup of cornflakes
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs = 1 cup of rolled oats

An Easy Substitute for Cake Flour

Cake flour is a soft, fine-textured flour that makes cakes tender and light. It can be substituted for all-purpose flour, but the texture of your cake will change. So, try this instead!

  • 1 cup cake flour = ¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour + 1 Tbsp cornstarch 

An Ingredient Alternative for Chocolate

Chocolate is a key ingredient in many holiday recipes, but if you need an alternative, try this.

  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate = 3 Tbsps natural unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, vegetable oil, or shortening 

The Easiest Substitute for Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is a staple in many holiday baking recipes. If you’re short on heavy cream or want to cut some fat from your recipe, try this simple substitution.

  • 1 cup heavy cream = 2/3 cups whole milk + ⅓ cup unsalted butter 

How to Substitute Cornstarch

Often used as a thickening agent in recipes and is especially useful when making sauces, gravies and pie fillings, cornstarch is a pantry staple for the holidays. But if you need to make a swap, here’s what to do.

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch = 3 Tbsps all-purpose flour 

4 Substitutes for Eggs

Eggs hold many holiday recipes together, but if you’re baking for guests with egg allergy or eat a vegan diet, you must get creative. Here are four egg substitutes to try.

  • 1 egg = ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 egg = 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsps water
  • 1 egg = ½ banana mashed + ½ tsp baking powder 
  • 1 egg = 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 1 cup water (let sit for 10 minutes) 

A Simple Sour Cream Substitute

Looking for an easy way to lighten up a recipe that calls for sour cream? Try this.

  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt 

2 Ways to Substitute Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a common ingredient in both sweet and savory baked goods. It’s used to give baked goods a moist texture, as well as to make them rich and flavorful. Need a substitute? Here are two ideas.

  • 1 cup vegetable oil = 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup vegetable oil = 1 cup fruit puree 

Wheat Flour Ingredient Swaps

Need to make a recipe gluten-free? Here are a few ideas for substituting wheat flour.

  • 1 cup wheat flour = 1 cup cassava flour 
  • 1 cup wheat flour = 1 cup amaranth flour 
  • 1 cup wheat flour = 1 cup quinoa flour 
  • 1 cup wheat flour = 1 cup rice flour 
  • 1 cup wheat flour = 1 cup sorghum flour 

White Flour Ingredient Swaps

Running low on white flour? Try one of these seven ingredient swaps.

  • 1 cup white flour = ¾ cup wheat flour 
  • 1 cup white flour = 1 cup bean puree 
  • 1 cup white flour = 1 cup cassava flour 
  • 1 cup white flour = 1 cup amaranth flour 
  • 1 cup white flour = 1 cup quinoa flour 
  • 1 cup white flour = 1 cup rice flour 
  • 1 cup white flour = 1 cup sorghum flour 

When it comes to swapping ingredients, choose whatever makes the most sense for your recipe. These ideas will help you use ingredients you already have on hand to make sweet treats that suit your guests’ preferences. So, ready, set, bake!


The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be relied on as medical advice. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, evaluation, or treatment of a qualified health-care provider. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition, or if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You should consult a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and before starting a new diet or health program. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate. If you have or suspect you may have allergies or medical issues which may be affected by certain foods, find you may have or be experiencing side effects, you should promptly contact your health care provider. Statements within this article have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.