Homemade baked goods and breakfast items like waffles and pancakes begin with staple ingredients like flour, eggs, oil, and sugar. Read more about common baking ingredients and how they’ll impact your recipe below, as well as potential ingredient substitutions you can make.
This is the base of most every baking recipe, with the exception of some gluten free recipes. When we say “flour” in a recipe, that generally means all purpose flour. Most all-purpose flour is bleached. If you’re particular about the pure whiteness of your flour, this is what you want to use. This flour is bleached using benzoyl peroxide and chlorine gas (among others). If you’re trying to reduce your exposure to chemicals like this, look for bags of unbleached flour. Nobody will know the difference!
As a general rule, you can substitute wheat flour or spelt flour for up to half of the flour in a recipe without impacting the outcome. Whole grain wheat flour has about three times as much fiber as all-purpose flour.
Gluten free bakers can use a gluten free flour blend 1:1 to replace all purpose flour. Other gluten free flours — like almond flour and coconut flour — require specifically formulated recipes in order to work well. You can’t just swap those in. Instead, try these specialized recipes:
Liquids for baking
Milk and buttermilk are the most common liquids called for in recipes. If your recipe calls for milk, good ingredient substitutions include your favorite milk alternative (such as soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk). If you happen to have buttermilk on hand, you can use that to replace milk, too. If you do, substitute baking soda for some (or all) of the baking powder. Buttermilk is somewhat thicker than dairy milk, so if you find that your batter or dough becomes too thick with this substitution, stir in a few tablespoons of water.
Buttermilk is slightly more sour than whole milk. If your recipe calls for buttermilk, there are a number of substitutions you can use. To replace ONE CUP of buttermilk, use:
- 1 cup milk combined with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (let stand for 10 minutes before using in recipe)
- 1 cup milk combined with 1-3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 cup water mixed with 4 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
- 1/4 cup milk combined with 3/4 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk combined with 3/4 cup sour cream
Oils and fats
You’ll see vegetable oil as an ingredient throughout this site. Almost any vegetable oil will work. If you’re trying to avoid genetically modified ingredients, skip the canola oil and corn oil. Avocado oil is nice and light. If you like to use olive oil, opt for an extra light version so that you don’t taste the oil when your waffles are cooked.
Coconut oil and butter are reasonable (and tasty!) substitutes. You’ll need to melt them before incorporating them into some recipes, though.
Eggs are a pretty crucial ingredient for baking and waffling. They hold the batter together and help with leavening. If you find yourself in a pinch, you can try these substitutes for one egg.
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup mashed banana
- Combine 1 tablespoon ground chia or flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
Duck eggs are an acceptable substitute. They tend to be larger than chicken eggs. One duck egg is roughly equal to one and a half chicken eggs.