5 Ingredient Substitutes for When You're Out of the Usual Kitchen Staples


Certain ingredients are considered "kitchen staples" because they appear on seemingly every recipe, regardless of the cuisine. But kitchen staples aren't always readily stocked in your pantry, ostensibly because they're so overused. Moreover, the lazy in you might not want to head outside simply to buy one ingredient. Fortunately, if you're in a bind, there are ways to improvise. Here are some substitutes for kitchen staples for the person who doesn't want to needlessly subject themselves to the supermarket.

Read more: 7 Food Scraps You Should Be Saving Instead of Throwing Out

1. When baking, use applesauce instead of butter, and mayonnaise instead of eggs.

David Benbennick/Wikimedia Commons

Apple sauce is one of the oldest health hacks for those who want to make a healthier version of a baked dessert like cake. With that said, replacing butter with applesauce does affect the ideal texture of the resultant baked goods; if that is a concern, consider replacing only half of the recipe's fat with applesauce. 

In the same vein, but sort of a cheat, you can use mayonnaise instead of eggs in a baked good — though the substitution's effectiveness is probably due to the fact mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil and eggs.

2. Instead of olive oil, use coconut oil.


In case you had any doubts about coconut oil's versatility, it's a natural product that can be used as an alternative to most cooking oils.

3. Instead of pasta, break open a few Cup-a-Noodles.

Christian Kadluba/Flickr

Technically speaking, pasta and cup-a-noodles ramen are both noodles. The main difference is that while you might not have purchased enough boxes of pasta, you're more than likely to have a partially opened case of Cup-a-Noodles buried somewhere in your pantry — just skip the flavor packet.

4. Instead of sour cream, scoop some greek yogurt.

John Minchillo/AP

If you're looking for something tart and cooling on your next platter of nachos, consider replacing sour cream with greek yogurt, which has the added benefits of more protein, vitamin B-12 and probiotics.

5. Instead of sugar, drizzle some honey.


Just as sweet as table sugar but with a plethora of health benefits such as antioxidants, honey gives coconut oil a run for its money when it comes to versatile pantry items.