Common Substitutions for American Ingredients Article -
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Common Substitutions for American Ingredients

What's cilantro, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, or half and half? Use our handy Cheat Sheet when you're stumped.

We want cooks around the world to be able to use recipes from Not all ingredients or measurements are the same from country to country.

This chart can help you find the closest equivalent ingredients.


all-purpose flour  =  plain flour

andouille sausage  =  smoked sausage

baking soda  =  bicarbonate of soda

bouillon granules  =  stock cube

cilantro  =  fresh coriander

confectioners' sugar  =  icing sugar

frozen whipped topping  =  long-life whipped UHT cream

corn syrup  =  golden syrup

cornstarch  =  cornflour

egg substitute  =  egg white

eggplant  =  aubergine

fava beans  =  broad beans

frosting  =  icing

garbanzo beans  =  chickpeas

graham cracker  =  digestive biscuit

granulated sugar  =  caster sugar

great Northern beans  =  cannellini beans

green onions  =  spring onions

ground beef (ground lamb, turkey, pork)  =  minced beef (minced lamb, turkey, pork)

half and half  =  single cream

ham steaks  =  gammon steaks

heavy cream  =  whipping cream

instant pudding mix  =  whipped dessert mix

Jell-O® gelatin  =  jelly

jelly  =  jam

lasagna noodles  =  lasagne sheets

molasses  =  treacle

non-fat milk  =  skimmed milk

oatmeal  =  porridge

pie crust  =  pastry crust

pizza crust  =  pizza base

pork tenderloin  =  pork fillet

potato chips  =  potato crisps

reduced fat milk  =  semi-skimmed milk

semisweet chocolate  =  dark chocolate

shortening (e.g., Crisco®)  = butter or margarine, or vegetable fat spread (e.g., Stork®)

snow peas  =  mangetout

tomato paste  =  tomato puree

whole wheat flour  =  wholemeal flour

zucchini  =  courgette

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    Jun. 23, 2009 4:45 am
    This is a really helpful cheat sheet! Am often stumped when trying to understand many ing. Thanks!!
    Chef Popi 
    Jun. 24, 2009 6:46 am
    Any one have a substitute if WINE is included in recipes
    Jul. 4, 2009 10:31 am
    I've used beer, water, stock. Just reduce a bit to make up 4 alch. evap.
    Jul. 5, 2009 9:24 am
    As an American living in England, I think I might help a bit to clarify a couple of ingredients on the above list. Most are right on, but here are some things I noticed: - "Granulated sugar" is actually just plain old white sugar, not necessarily caster sugar. Either would work in a given recipe, but it's a bit easier to use white sugar because most people would have it to hand, while not everyone would have caster sugar to hand. - I'm not convinced that corn syrup and golden syrup are the same thing; I would never, for example, put corn syrup on a waffle. Corn syrup is clear, although it is of roughly the same consistency of golden syrup. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think corn syrup is used almost exclusively as an ingredient, whereas golden syrup can also be used as a condiment. - You may also see "powdered sugar" in American recipes--it is the same as confectioner's (icing) sugar. - "Semisweet chocolate" is actually plain chocolate, not dark. If an American recipe cal
    Jul. 9, 2009 2:29 pm
    I was thinking the same thing Gina. I would not want scones and gravy :) Also Americans definitely say 'hard-boiled egg' too. I've had to try to sort all this out too when I moved to England.
    Aug. 5, 2009 9:14 am
    people also might like to note that flour in England is different from American all purpose. Therefore, when you are using an American recipe in England, add slightly more flour than the recipe calls for to get the right consistency for your dough.
    Aug. 10, 2009 8:52 am
    I have to agree with a comment below from Gina. Granulated Sugar is not as fine as Castor. Golden Syrup and Corn Syrup are not the same thing but it is the closest you will find in Uk. I also disagree with half and half. If I can recall and I havent lived that side of the pond now for 4 years but... half and half is half milk and half cream. Graham crackers are not the same as digestives but they are the closest that you will find. The cheat sheet is good but they are not the same just the closest! :) Happy cooking :)
    Aug. 19, 2009 4:54 am
    Light corn syrup, according to the company that makes the market-leading Karo brand, is a mixture of corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup (which provides increased sweetness), flavored with salt and vanilla. It is clear and colorless, with a moderately sweet flavor. In the case of corn syrup, the light is not to be confused with lite or any other misspelling meaning reduced calorie. The light refers to the shade, and, indeed, some people refer to it as white corn syrup. Dark corn syrup is corn syrup with a small amount of refiners' syrup (a type of molasses derived from sugar cane), caramel flavor, sodium benzoate (a preservative), salt, and caramel color. Dark corn syrup has a medium brown color and a much more assertive flavor. Both light and dark corn syrup function similarly in recipes and can usually be used interchangeably. The use of dark corn syrup will add more flavor to a recipe. Golden syrup is a pale treacle. It is a thick, amber-colored form of inverted sugar syru
    Aug. 28, 2009 10:26 am
    Gina is correct in that golden syrup IS NOT corn syrup. I have a recipe that calls for Karo (corn syrup) and the results would be different. Corn syrup (light) is pretty much just a sweetener whereas Golden Syrup is used as a topping (somewhere between pancake syrup & corn syrup). I have found that plain flour is pretty much interchangeable. One thing to note is that polenta (not precooked) can be interchanged for corn meal in things like sweet corn muffins - amounts remain the same. Scones are NOT an american style biscuit - almost more like a traditional shortcake that would be served with strawberries (not quite as dry). They can be plain or with sultanas (raisins!) and are yummy with devon cream & strawberry jam. And jelly over here is like Jello in the US - NOT something you spread on toast (that would be jams or preserves). Chips = french fries; semi-sweet chocolate = plain chocolate; tomato passata = tomato sauce. And some ingredients just can't be found in the UK that a
    Sep. 20, 2009 12:31 am
    What a really useful helpsheet! Many thanks!
    Sep. 26, 2009 9:48 am
    i am having a problem with a recipe calling for northern beans .... what are northern beans and what could be a good substitute??? pls help ... i would like to make this sausage soup...thanks .. sunshine memos
    Sep. 30, 2009 3:40 pm
    thanks for this picked up an old american cook book an did not know what molasses was. i can now get to use a lot of the recipes
    Oct. 4, 2009 12:19 am
    thanks,from South Africa!
    Oct. 14, 2009 4:07 pm
    right, here's what i've found about the whole corn syrup question. glucose syrup is a suitable replacement and it's stocked in at least one of the big supermarkets here in the uk. like most of you lot, i'm an american living in the uk and trying to make all these recipes that i know and love. now, for northern beans, as far as i can tell, they are a midwest thing. unlikely here, and i couldn't even find one sub, navy beans. but i was able to find the other: cnnellini beans. happy cooking!
    Oct. 24, 2009 1:22 am
    As a substitute for wine why not try grape juice (reduce any sugar amounts though because its much sweeter than wine unless you can find an unsweetened version). Water it down a little and reduce your liquid ingredients accordingly.
    lise n 
    Nov. 10, 2009 2:17 pm
    I was just reading through this and most of the ingredients are from the UK. Here is a list of substitutes for people living in France: for Philadelphia cream cheese, use Kiri or any equivalent brand for corn syrup I have been using Golden Syrup and it's almost the same. However the pancake syrup sold by most major retail shops is actually corn syrup to my knowledge. -chocolate chips: cut cooking chocolate into manageable chunks. I would recommend not using chocolate chips bought in France as neither the texture nor the "melt" will be the same. Peanut Butter and marshmallows can be found in most of the large stores sugar substitutes are now available under a common brand name found in North America but not the baking variety - for light brown sugar use : Vergeoise blonde for dark: Vergeoise Brune baking soda is bicarbonate alimentaire baking powder-use levure chimique but add slightly more for muffins as it is not as strong as double acting baking powder Hope this helps
    Pamela Virgo 
    Nov. 26, 2009 12:59 am
    Thanks to all of you and your comments... I moved to the UK almost two years ago and just like most, am trying to use American recipies here.
    Eva Andersen 
    Dec. 9, 2009 12:25 pm
    Substitute for wine: What we would be interested in is the light acidity of the wine, which would not be found in a fruit juice such as grape juice. I use an equivalent amount of (light) stock/bouillon and out of that amount I substitute 1/2-1 teaspoon per serving with an appropriate type of vinegar such as red or white balsamico, apple cider vinegar or a mild wine vinegar (red or white). Don't be heavy-handed - it's easier to add an extra spoonful later than take it out ;)
    Jan. 13, 2010 6:52 am
    A substitute for wine that I have used many times.....for each cup called for, use broth (chicken or beef) plus 1 tsp vinegar.
    Jan. 24, 2010 7:07 am
    sorry but icing is not frosting ! during my time living in England you couldn't find 'American' frosting ... you'd have to make it yourself. very different from icing !
    Feb. 1, 2010 1:21 pm
    Thank you!!!! VERY HELPFUL!! :)
    Feb. 24, 2010 3:23 am
    Very helpful list, you said you were considering this type of list and here it is.... The list greatly refined by the comments from viewers.
    Jun. 6, 2010 3:24 am
    yes, thanks a ton for the list! I had tried to replace corn syrup with golden syrup in making marshmallows, I ended up with fluff, but I was able to find corn syrup in an Asian market in Dublin city center. I have yet to try it, but it looks like the right stuff! Also, as far as frosting/icing goes, I've seen the betty crocker tubs at Spar and Tesco, but making it yourself is so super quick and easy! There is some stuff that you just cannot get over here, my friends usually come back with their favorite sugary cereals. When I go home, i always stop by a "bulk" shopping store and stock up on canned pumpkin, baking unsweetened chocolate (I can't find a brand i like here... any suggestions?), chocolate chips, ovaltine, and swiss miss :) and I may have to add tahini to the list as I've been craving hummus.
    Jun. 29, 2010 6:05 am
    This is so helpful! I live in London and the first thing you really need to do here is buy a cooking scale in grams!
    Jul. 4, 2010 11:09 pm
    I wish that i had known about this cheat sheet when i first moved to Canada it would have made life so much simpler
    Jul. 17, 2010 2:38 pm
    This is very useful :-) just to add, I have bought tahini in holland and barrat, hope this helps.
    Jul. 20, 2010 9:51 am
    just loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jul. 23, 2010 1:23 pm
    I wish I'd found this article earlier! I've had to figure most of these things out in South Africa by trial and error. The only thing I still haven't found a good substitute for is American zucchini. Baby marrows are readily available here, but I find they do not cook with the same consistency as American zucchini. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
    Jul. 27, 2010 4:50 am
    Does anyone know of a substitute for tinned chicken broth? I have noticed that a lot of American recipes use it, (for example Campbells chicken broth) but in England I can only find tinned thick cream of chicken broth.
    Aug. 2, 2010 12:31 pm
    THANK YOU!! :)
    Aug. 11, 2010 9:51 am
    I live in Malawi Africa. What they call Treacle sugar is not what we call Molasses in the USA. The Treacle sugar is like our brown sugar in America - dark and a bit more sticky or something. Molasses - in the USA - is a thick, dark brown, syrupy substance. Is the treacle sugar that others commented on like the American brown sugar or the syrupy molasses? Can I use the brown -sugar-like treacle sugar in place of the molasses? they do sell the syrupy kind of molasses here, but it costs an arm and a leg.
    Aug. 24, 2010 6:35 am
    I have the same problem as cupcake - what do Americans mean by tin of chicken or beef broth? Is this just chicken or beef stock?
    Sep. 4, 2010 12:34 pm
    stephmar you can get Tahini in Ireland in the health food/natural foods store. To be honest I think you could get it in the natural food aisle of most large supermarkets!You can also get hummus in the fridge section of ant supermarket, hope that helps your craving.
    Sep. 9, 2010 7:01 am
    To Caroline. Yes a tin of chicken or beef broth is just that chicken or beef broth just packaged in a tin can.
    Sep. 23, 2010 4:37 am
    AL8DAN, thanks for the link! Am presently drooling over almost all the goodies there and remembering that tasty treats I'd forgotten about! Wish Ireland had it's own version of this place, I would definitely go :) And Stephmar, I've found chocolate in Lidl that I use for baking - can't remember the brand name but it's 86% cocoa and comes in 125g packs. I've made loads of good choc cakes/brownies with it when I'm out of my Hershey's stash.
    Sep. 29, 2010 8:19 pm
    Moved from the states years ago, and spent ages collecting this sort of stuff. Semi-sweet is dark chocolate with a low sugar content. It's similar to dark chocolate bars, but less sweet. Depending on the recipe, milk or dark is a better choice. I find dark works better mixed in things (cakes, frosting, etc) and milk is better on things (decoration and cookies) But I agree with Lise, the chocolate chips here in Britain don't melt the same either, but I've heard of greasing and flouring them first. Have yet to try it. Unsweetened is exactly that, completely unsweetened pure chocolate liguor (not liqueur). The best thing I've found for for a sub since moving is The Cadburys Bournville cocoa powder or the like with a bit of butter. I'll have to try the 86% Anne! When the recipe calls for Hershey's, try adding a bit of buttermilk to get the right flavour. Worth a note for the East side of the pond - in the States Jelly is clear jam and Jam has bits. Tinned broth can be don
    Oct. 3, 2010 12:51 am
    Thanks for this list...In UK a tin of beef broth is like beef soup. They sell bags of chicken, beef, veg. STOCK usually near the gravy and stock cubes, at least at Sainsbury's here in Wales. I have seen American marshmallows there as well. I just used Golden Syrup as corn syrup in Caramels and worked great. Also, I just used Haricot beans as sub for Navy beans...great! Anyone know where I could get American cheese? How about real Mexican food or Lawry's Taco Seasoning? Many Thanks
    Oct. 3, 2010 12:55 am
    Oh how about reall yummy SOURDOUGH bread????
    Oct. 18, 2010 3:25 pm
    This is great, I often have to google half this stuff!
    Oct. 20, 2010 12:26 pm
    I found rootbeer at
    Oct. 22, 2010 2:18 pm
    Can coconut oil (thick like lard) be substituted for shortening? When baking or making tamales?
    Dec. 20, 2010 5:20 pm
    I had always assumed porridge was more like Cream of Wheat and it's oatmeal- So cool to learn new things!
    Dec. 30, 2010 12:09 am
    Dec. 30, 2010 12:18 am
    There is a sourdough starter recipe on here called Herman- I haven't used it for bread but it makes a fab coffee cake. I finally figured out that a cup in the UK is different from a cup in the USA and brought back US measuring cups and spoons my last trip. I saw black/dark treacle in the store when I was looking for molasses- will give it a go!
    Jan. 15, 2011 11:21 pm
    the tinned broth is the same as stock..hope it helps..
    Jan. 15, 2011 11:25 pm
    oh and when making tamales.. its better to use a soft lard.. the thickened coconut may make the taste off.. unless your making sweet tamales like we make around Christmas time around my house..then i would assume that it would be grand..
    Jan. 15, 2011 11:35 pm
    a usa cup is 8 ounces..or .25 liters..
    Jan. 22, 2011 7:31 am
    Does anyone know where I can buy Miracle Whip? I have even tried to make it myself but it was disgusting!
    Jan. 28, 2011 6:50 am
    Feb. 13, 2011 10:16 am
    Must admit, I have a different problem from most of the comments. I'm a Brit emigrated to USA, had one heck of a time trying to find anything that is similar to Brit food without much succes so had to make my own. Brought lot's of UK cook books with me but oh dear, should have bought UK measuring equipment as well. Had to change everything to metric to get an approximation of the portions but every now & then small disasters happen. This cheat sheet will help in some way's but still have to rely on UK friends visiting & bringing lots of supplies with them, it's the only way they get to stay at our Pacific oceanside home, no UK goodies, no lodging. Just wish they could bring some pork pies with them, or steak & kidney pies. Tried to get our local store to get some kidney's so I could make my own, he was informed that they could only be supplied in 50lb bag's, now that's a lot of steak & kidney pie's. Thanks for all the recipes that remind me of my homeland. I make a lot of them during t
    Feb. 23, 2011 1:22 am
    As an American living in England this is helpful as I often don't know what the substitutes are in "english" lol
    Mar. 18, 2011 4:07 am
    Thanks for the translation list - it's really helpful. These comments are just fascinating and I have loved reading them. I was particularly interested in reading you, MalawianMama, as I have lived in Malawi myself and know all about the challenges of finding ingredients! It really is great to read of other people's experiences.
    Mar. 22, 2011 4:17 am
    Oh this is just brilliant - being an 'ex-pat' in Britain this is a really helpful guide, so helpful I am going to share it on my blog.
    Apr. 1, 2011 3:02 pm
    Hey guys head to for goodies from home if living in the UK--shake and back and crisco:-)
    Apr. 10, 2011 4:25 pm
    The world is full of helpful people ..and this proves it! Thanks everyone for your comments and for the list!
    Apr. 12, 2011 10:22 pm
    Any know what "00" is up here in Canada..I have been on a million web site, and while I now know it is used in Europe and especially in Italy for pizza, pasta making, a breads. But have not found just a plain answer. I know it's very fine white but grrrrrr HELP it keeps cropping up in all bread and baking recipes. Just need to know if it's Cake flour, Bread flour, or WHAT?? And can I add something to our flours to make the same. i.e. add tablespoon of gluten per cup A plain answer like.....use bread flour. Use all purpose flour.. Thanks for help ahead of Oh and the lady that wanted to know about subbing for wine..(I hate wine) Just use more of any liquid in recipe. Chicken broth of savoury.. WHITE grape juice, pear juice or just plain water or milk if sweet. I have never noticed a differnce.
    Apr. 12, 2011 10:25 pm
    OOPS it's 00 FLOUR.
    May 26, 2011 12:42 am
    You can get Italian-style flour at the King Arthur website.
    Oct. 17, 2011 3:54 am
    Plaisham, When I lived in Italy I used '00' for bread, not for cakes. when I added flour to other recipes, or for breading cutlets or fish I also avoided '00'. It is really bread flour.
    Oct. 21, 2011 9:29 am
    A few additions: Someone mentioned that plain flour and all purpose flour are not the same - that is correct. The gluten content is higher in all purpose and therefore when baking something that relies on gluten (such as hand-kneaded breads or drop cookies) from an American recipe, I use bread flour, not plain. Also, a closer comparison to graham crackers would be caramlised digestives. They taste almost exactly the same (I'm not sure who else makes them besides Lotus, but they're really inexpensive).
    Call Me Alice 
    Nov. 29, 2011 6:57 pm
    To those Brits who live in the Northeast region of the US (especially Rochester and Syracure in NYS): The lovely grocery store, Wegmans, has a small UK section in the "International Foods" aisle. It probably won't have kidneys, but there may be some other things that could give you a taste of home. Cheers!
    Mar. 4, 2012 2:37 am
    so where is the list of substitutions? i allways have trouble finding it and it shoul;dnt be hard to do.
    Mar. 6, 2012 11:08 am
    What can you substitute for Worcestershire sauce in BBQ sauce?
    Mar. 15, 2012 8:50 am
    If I want to bake a cake in a tube pan rather than a 9" x 13" pan, do I need to alter the oven temperature or the baking time?
    Mar. 16, 2012 2:34 am
    How much powdered egg white would equal 1 fresh egg white?
    Mar. 19, 2012 8:48 am
    I am from St. Vincent in the Caribbean, and we use different terms for the same ingredients, so this was very helpful, especially the confectioner's sugar, I always thought was some special sugar that we don't sell here, silly me. :)
    Apr. 19, 2012 12:01 pm
    What a fantastic list! Got to save in my recipe box! Thank you!
    Apr. 20, 2012 2:41 pm
    Carolyn, what is a tube pan.... A 9 by 13 inch is rectangle and shallow
    May 7, 2012 8:15 am
    This sure came in handy when I was looking for St. Patty's Day recipes on the UK site! :-)
    Jun. 18, 2012 5:56 am
    Does anyone have a substitute for Atora Suet?
    Jun. 18, 2012 6:08 am
    I would like to try and find a substitute for English Atora Suet. My mum used to make a delicious Bacon Pudding and she used Atora Suet. Just can't imagine what else to use in it's place.
    lise n 
    Oct. 12, 2012 6:49 am
    @Marion -here is a link I found to a shop that ships worldwide:
Not ideal but if you buy a few, it might not be too bad.
    Oct. 21, 2012 11:06 pm
    This is so helpful although I am still learning to cook with English ingredients and still learning to make English foods, but I have a wonderful helper, my husband to be is from East London and he hasn't had a lot of these dishes since moving here to the states but I appreciate all of the recipes that are here.
    Dec. 6, 2012 11:23 pm
    Is there a substitute for molasses?
    Jan. 2, 2013 2:41 pm
    Extremely useful being a Londoner! Thanx
    Mar. 28, 2013 4:33 am
    Thank you for posting this... I'm English and am planning to make some easter cupcakes (I find there is a much better choice of American recipes) but I was struggling with some of the ingredients! Being English I can help with the granulated sugar though... It is definitely not caster sugar, it is normal white sugar like you have in a cup of tea or coffee.
    Sep. 18, 2013 3:41 am
    so what about vegetable oil. What's a good substitution for that and is it equal to 1 cup of veggie oil?
    Nov. 25, 2013 10:35 am
    two great nations seperated by a common language ;)
    Dec. 28, 2013 2:07 am
    Hi Kayla, Tamarind sauce makes a pretty good substitute for Worcestershire in BBQ sauce. Came here looking for a substitute for 'shortening' in a cookie recipe from a friend in the US. In my Mum's day it just meant any solid fat. Has anyone tried pork lard ('saim' in Spain) in cookie recipes?
    Jun. 13, 2014 12:35 pm
    What is the English equivalent to chocolate ripple biscuits
    Jul. 6, 2014 12:56 pm
    I need more info pages like this. We just moved to South Africa 2 weeks ago. I'm so lost in the food stores. I love to cook and bake we are from the states and have never been out of the country. Today I tried a cake didn't work at all. Thought maybe some local cooking classes might help.
    Aug. 2, 2014 2:31 am
    Hi thank you for the cheat sheet. I love american recipes, but had trobule trying to find the subsutitues. For eg, single cream and heavy cream. Thank you again so much.
    Aug. 16, 2014 11:27 am
    This is a really helpful list so many thanks! Can anyone tell me if there is a substitute for buttermilk please?
    Alice Buchanan 
    Jan. 12, 2015 2:39 am
    Karen, i don't know if there is anything else that u could use for buttermilk, but what i have always done was use a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in the milk, thatsours it a bit, i hope this helps u out.
    Jan. 30, 2015 6:47 am
    I have recently moved to the UK and have found that my américain/canadian recipes for cakes, muffins and cupcakes dont raise as much. Any tips as to how I could fix that? thank you!
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