We’ve all seen it. A snow storm is coming. There is a quarantine in place. It is the day before the store restocks its shelves. The ingredient you need is just not there! What are you to do? What substitutions work? Check out these great tips!
Tips For When Ingredients Are Out of Stock – Substitutions
Aunt Lou here.
Sometimes we run out of ingredients. Sometimes those ingredients are just not available anywhere around? It happens to all of us. Even me. Anyone notice that there aren’t any cream soups in the pictures? There’s a reason for that. I’m OUT! *gasp* So, I get where you are when you are out of ingredients and don’t have a way to get it. Hopefully these tips for switching ingredients out will help!
Pasta is probably one of the easiest substitutions to make. In general, you can easily swap one pasta for another. However, it may alter cooking times or when you add the pasta.
When Your Pasta Needs to Cook Longer
The recipe calls for a pasta that needs to cook for 8 minutes to become al dente, but the pasta you have needs to cook 10 minutes to become al dente. So that means it will take longer for it to become completely cooked. What do you do? You can cook it for a little longer before adding it to your recipe.
When Your Pasta Needs to Cook Less
So now lets look at the reverse situation. Your recipe calls for pasta that has a cooking time of 10 minutes, but you have pasta that has a cooking time of 8 minutes. You can cook it to al dente and add it later in your recipe. An easy way to know how long to cook is to look up other recipes on our site that use the kind of pasta you have on hand. You can do this using our Recipe Finder.
We’ve heard from many readers that some times their stores run out of meats at busy seasons like holidays and emergencies. However, if you do find ground beef, we have an excellent way of making your ground beef stretch further. Check out our crock pot and instant pot make-ahead ground beef recipes! That way you can take a 3 lb or 5 lb pack and make it up and save for a later recipe.
Swapping Out Meats In Recipes
Most recipes can have the type of meat swapped out rather easily. If it is a chicken recipe, you can swap out pork for the chicken without many changes to ingredients and vice versa. If it is a chicken recipe that needs chicken broth, you can use beef and use beef broth instead of chicken broth and, again, vice versa. If you the chicken recipe calls for cream of chicken soup and you need to use beef, you could use cream of mushroom or cream of celery instead. Make sense?
When Meat Is Not Available
If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot get any meat, many of our recipes with other ingredients such as pasta or beans can be made without meat in a pinch. Again, I suggest using our Recipe Finder to find recipes you have ingredients for in your cabinets and fridge or freezer.
Cream Soup Substitutions
Now on to Cream Soups. A recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup, but all you have is cream of chicken and you can’t find cream of mushroom at your store! What to do?! In a pinch, use what you have or what you can get. It can change the flavor a bit, but it should definitely work if it is all you have/can get. Another option, if you have the ingredients on hand, is to use our recipe to make your own Cream Soup Substitute for Recipes.
Next up is broth.
Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t recommend using water in place of broth. However, if you cannot get broth, you can use the same amount of water and add in some seasonings. Depending on the recipe, you can add in some salt, pepper, garlic.
Another option, if it is available, is making your own broth substitute with bullion cubes or granulated bullion.
What about cheese?
Your recipe calls for Velveeta or shredded cheese or cheese slices, but you don’t have what the recipe calls for. In times like these, substitute what you have for what the recipe calls for. It may change the consistency, but you will still be able to make food for your family.
A Note From Aunt Lou
I know that there are often times of uncertainty in today’s world. Be it a snow storm, a hurricane, another kind of emergency or a number of other things that have become a part of our lives. However, know that together we can not only survive, but thrive. Lift each other up. Help each other out. We may be a virtual community and not see each other in person, but that just means our reach is greater. Speak life and hope into those around you. Be the kindness in someone’s day. Together we are stronger than we will ever be on our own. I hope and pray that you and your loved ones have joy, kindness and laughter daily!
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We are SO glad to have you in our slow cooking family!
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Hi there, thank you for your website, it is a life saver. My husband and I are Seniors and don’t get around well. The Crock Pot is a life saver for me, as I put a meal in the pot and it can cook while we sleep. I am in a Motorized Wheelchair, so using the Crock Pot is very convenient. We also enjoy Mikey’s cooking shows, with you Chris as backup & managing him behind the camera! Ha Ha Is that even possible? Ha Ha He is a real kick and makes us laugh. We hope and pray that you, Mikey & Ada are well and being safe. We are praying for everyone in the entire world as this Coronavirus continues. God Bless You all, Aunt Lou, Michael and their kids and the rest of the family.
JOAN L HJELLE says
Thank you for this segment on substitutions. My question is cheese substitutions. I cannot have ANY dairy, cheese; milk; yogurt, you get the picture. So many recipes today include cheese, for all meals and snacks. On some recipes, I omit the cheese, if it is just added on top. What can be substituted with others that some call for two different types of cheese. No long can have pizza. I have been not making or eating new recipes with all the cheese (and I love it) Thanks for your suggestions. Joanie
Aunt Lou says
I am not sure. I haven’t tried any of these recipes with dairy substitutes. If you have a dietitian or healthcare professional that assists you in your dietary needs, they might be a good source to go to who has the experience with substitutions to give you great ideas.
Jo McGovern says
I’m still oven-less and have only one burner on stove working. This site has been so helpful. Bought a rectangular slow pot and I love it!
I don’t get what the hole on the lid is about as I lost the directions.
Do you know?
Aunt Lou says
I’m so glad you have been able to find recipes to help you out while you are oven-less! If you think of a recipe you want to make, but don’t find on our site, email me the recipe at AuntLou@recipesthatcrock.com. I’ll see what I can do!
The hole in the lid lets excess steam escape so pressure does not build in your slow cooker.
Lynn Daunoy says
I will celebrate my 74th birthday on Sunday. Probably with a ricecake and a candle. As a child I was told that birthday wishes are very strong. My birthday wish is “An end to this pandemic and health and prosperity to all men of goodwiil.” 🙏🙏🙏
Aunt Lou says
Happy Birthday Day to You! Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday Dear Lynn! Happy Birthday to You!
I hope you had a wonderful birthday and stay safe throughout this incredibly hard time!
Thank you so much, from the blue grass state of Kentucky! Our stores are pitiful & at this time, it’s wonderful to know that you all care <3 God bless all of you <3
You are so welcome, Kathy! Hang in there! We are all in this together. Thanks for taking the time to drop us a note.