Skip to Content

Never Fail Food Substitutes

Ever run out of butter in the middle of making cookies? Then read on because here are some never fail food substitutes to save the day.

Whole Milk

Whole milk isn’t something that I have readily on hand. So unless I have planned ahead when a recipe calls for it I’m out of luck. Not anymore. When you are out of whole milk try any one of these food substitutes. One cup of whole milk=1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water OR 1 cup water plus 1/3 cup nonfat evaporated dry milk powder OR 1 cup skim milk plus 2 teaspoons melted butter.


This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our disclosure.

Buttermilk is another one that I don’t keep laying around. Yet, it’s used enough in recipes that I needed to find an adequate substitute of things that I do have on hand. To solve my buttermilk dilemma I have substituted 1 cup buttermilk for 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar). Let it sit for 5 minutes so the lemon juice (vinegar) can do its thing to the milk. Tip: You can add your tablespoon of lemon juice (vinegar) first and then fill the remainder of the cup up with milk. This has been one of the never fail food substitutes that I use often.

Heavy Cream

Recipe calls for heavy cream and you are fresh out. Have no fear. It can be easily substituted with 1/4 cup melted butter mixed with 3/4 cup milk. Mix it together to make 1 cup of heavy cream. This heavy cream substitute works great in cooking and baking but won’t whip up like heavy cream does so it’s not a good substitute to dollop on top of your strawberries.

Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt

This is another of my personal favorite never fail food substitutes. These two dairy friends are quite interchangeable in recipes. If you are baking and it calls for a cup of sour cream you can swap it for a cup of plain greek yogurt. Easy peasy. If you are out of greek yogurt AND sour cream you can use 1 cup heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.


All ready to start your cookies and realize you don’t have enough butter. There’s a substitute for that! When baking you can replace the called for butter with unsweetened applesauce. When doing so, you only need to use 1/2 of the butter amount as applesauce. If your recipe calls for 1 cup butter substitute with 1/2 cup applesauce. Or try using 3/4 cups vegetable oil to 1 cup of butter.

Sweet Baking Chocolate (German)

I found myself making a grocery list for my birthday German chocolate cake that I love to make. When to my horror the store was out of German sweet baking chocolate! I immediately got online and started searching out what I could use as a substitute and found that 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 4 teaspoons sugar + 1 tablespoon butter, shortening or vegetable oil would equal 1 ounce of the German’s sweet baking chocolate. All was not lost and I could still make my yummy birthday German chocolate cake.


Unfortunately we all don’t always have everything needed for a recipe on hand. Luckily there are some never fail food substitutes that can save the day for you. Try them out and see if you and your family can tell the difference.

Never Fail food Substitutes

Share and join us on social media!