Substituting ingredients for dairy products, nuts, or flour doesn’t mean you have to miss out on favorite foods, flavors, and dishes. No matter what type of ingredient you’re allergic to, there are plenty of tasty gluten- and casein-free recipes that hit the spot. You don’t have to give up old favorites, you just have to adapt them to fit your dietary needs.

Best Alternatives to Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, Soy & Sugar

Milk

Replace 1 cup cow’s milk with one of the following:

  • 1 cup soy milk (plain)
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 1 cup almond or other nut milk
  • 1 cup hemp milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup goat’s milk, if tolerated

Buttermilk

Replace 1 cup buttermilk with one of the following:

  • 1 cup dairy-free milk of choice + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1 tablespoon white vinegar (Let stand until slightly thickened.)

Yogurt

Replace 1 cup yogurt with one of the following:

  • 1 cup coconut milk yogurt, rice milk yogurt, or soy milk yogurt
  • 1 cup dairy-free sour cream
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce or fruit puree

Butter

Replace 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter with one of the following:

  • 8 tablespoons butter alternative or margarine, such as Fleischmann’s or Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, such as Spectrum Organic Shortening
  • 8 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil (not typically for baking)

For reduced fat:

  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce + 2 tablespoons fat of choice

Cheese

Replace 1 cup cheese with one of the following:

  • 1 cup vegan cheese alternative, such as Cheezly, Teese, or Follow Your Heart
  • 1 cup Daiya Vegan Cheese (also soy-free)
  • 1 cup Parma! Vegan Parmesan (contains tree nuts)

Cream Cheese

Replace 8 ounces cream cheese with:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese alternative, such as Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese or Follow Your Heart

Sour Cream

Replace 1 cup sour cream with:

  • 1 cup sour cream alternative, such as Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream or Follow Your Heart

Heavy Cream

Replace 1 cup heavy cream with one of the following:

  • 1 cup dairy-free creamer, such as Silk, Mocha Mix, or So Delicious
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ⅔ cup dairy-free milk of choice + ⅓ cup melted dairy-free butter substitute of choice

Light Cream

Replace 1 cup light cream with one of the following:

  • 1 cup dairy-free creamer, such as Silk, Mocha Mix, or So Delicious
  • 1 cup light coconut milk

Eggs

Replace 1 large egg with one of the following:

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce (or other fruit puree) + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal, chia seed or salba seed + 3 tablespoons hot water. (Let stand, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until thick. Use without straining.)
  • Egg replacer, according to package directions (some brands include Ener-G, PaneRiso Foods, and Orgran)
  • 4 tablespoons pureed silken tofu + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons mashed bananas

Replacing more than two eggs will change the integrity of a recipe. For recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like a quiche, use pureed silken tofu. Because egg substitutions add moisture, you may have to increase baking times slightly.

Egg Whites

Replace 1 egg white with:

  • 1 tablespoon plain agar powder dissolved into 1 tablespoon water. Beat, chill for 15 minutes and beat again.

Mayonnaise

Replace 1 cup mayonnaise with:

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise, such as Mindful Mayo by Earth Balance, Spectrum Light Canola Mayonnaise, or Vegenaise

Nuts

Replace tree nuts or peanuts with an equal amount of the following:

  • Toasted coconut
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Toasted sesame seeds (use only 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • Crushed cornflakes
  • Crushed crispy rice cereal
  • Crushed potato chips

Nut Butter

Replace 1 cup peanut/almond/cashew butter with:

  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter

Corn Syrup or Cane Syrup

Replace 1 cup corn/cane syrup with one of the following:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup maple syrup

Sugar

Replace 1 cup refined white or brown cane sugar with one of the following:

  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 cup panela/rapadura or Sucanat
  • 1 cup erythritol or xylitol
  • 1 cup Swerve
  • 1/2 – 1 cup monk fruit sweetener (amount varies because some brands are mixed with erythritol or other ingredients)

Soy Sauce

Replace 1 tablespoon soy sauce with:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos

Miso

Replace 1 tablespoon miso with:

  • 1 tablespoon soy-free miso alternative, such as Miso Master, South River, or Organicville (these are usually made with chickpeas or adzuki beans)

Xanthan Gum

  • Ground or whole chia seeds (use equal amounts, in weight, as you would xanthan gum)
  • Ground flax seeds (use equal amounts, in weight, and combine with twice the amount of water to form a slurry before using)
  • Psyllium husk (use 1 part psyllium to 19 parts flour)
  • Agar powder (use twice the amount as xanthan gum called for in the recipe)

Gluten-Free Flour Substitutions

Each alternative baking flour has unique properties, strengths and weaknesses. The fact is that you have tons of options when a recipe calls for flour – you just have to know what’s out there.

If you can’t tolerate a certain flour or you’ve run out, find another flour in the same column (not row) and use it as a substitute. While not identical, the flours in each column have comparable baking characteristics and serve a similar function in building the structure in a particular recipe.

 

Neutral (light) Flours High-Protein Flours High-Fiber Flours Stabilizers Starches Gums
Brown Rice Flour Amaranth Flour Amaranth Flour Flax Seed Meal Arrowroot Powder Agar Powder
Corn Flour Buckwheat Flour Buckwheat Flour Ground Chia Seed Cornstarch Carrageenan
Sorghum Flour Chickpea Flour Chickpea Flour Potato Flour (not Potato Starch) Kudzu Root Starch or Kuzu Gelatin Powder
Sweet Rice Flour Millet Flour Corn Flour Potato Starch (not Potato Flour) Guar Gum
White Rice Flour Oat Flour Mesquite Flour Sweet Potato Flour Locust Bean Gum
Quinoa Flour Oat Flour Tapioca Starch/Flour Psyllium Seed Powder
Sorghum Flour Quinoa Flour Xanthan Gum
Teff Flour Teff Flour

Gluten-Free Flour Mixes

To make a gluten-free flour mix, thoroughly combine all ingredients. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until used. You can double or triple these recipes to make as much flour mix as you need.

4.6 from 5 votes
All-Purpose Flour Blend
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
Use cup-for-cup in recipes as you would all-purpose wheat flour. See notes about gums.
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 535 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together well. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts
All-Purpose Flour Blend
Amount Per Serving
Calories 535 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 22mg 1%
Potassium 461mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 123g 41%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 1g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin C 1.8%
Calcium 2.6%
Iron 6.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

5 from 1 vote
High-Fiber Flour Blend
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

This high-fiber blend works for breads, pancakes, snack bars and cookies that contain chocolate, warm spices, raisins or other fruits. It is not suited to delicately flavored recipes, such as sugar cookies, crepes, cream puffs, birthday cakes or cupcakes.

Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 491 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup teff flour (preferably light)
  • 1/2 cup millet flour or Montina flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch or potato starch
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together well. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts
High-Fiber Flour Blend
Amount Per Serving
Calories 491 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Sodium 17mg 1%
Potassium 374mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 107g 36%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 1g
Protein 9g 18%
Vitamin C 0.8%
Calcium 4.9%
Iron 21.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
5 from 1 vote
High-Protein Flour Blend
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
This nutritious blend works best in baked goods that require elasticity, such as wraps and pie crusts.
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 480 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups bean flour (chickpea or soy; your choice)
  • 1 cup arrowroot starch, cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1 cup white or brown rice flour
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together well. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts
High-Protein Flour Blend
Amount Per Serving
Calories 480 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Potassium 935mg 27%
Total Carbohydrates 91g 30%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 2g
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 0.8%
Calcium 8.4%
Iron 18.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
5 from 1 vote
Self-Rising Flour Blend
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
Use this blend for muffins, scones, cakes, cupcakes or any recipe that uses baking powder for leavening.
Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 502 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups white sorghum flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan or guar gum
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together well. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts
Self-Rising Flour Blend
Amount Per Serving
Calories 502 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Sodium 452mg 19%
Potassium 744mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 113g 38%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 1g
Protein 7g 14%
Calcium 24.4%
Iron 13.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

General Guidelines for Using Xanthan or Guar Gum

Gum (xanthan or guar) is the key to successful gluten-free baking. It provides the binding needed to give the baked product proper elasticity, keeping it from crumbling.
Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum per cup of flour blend to make cakes, cookies, bars, muffins and other quick breads.

Add 1 teaspoon per cup of flour blend to make yeast bread, pizza dough or other baked items that call for yeast.

Note: If you purchase a commercial flour blend, read the ingredient list carefully. Some blends contain salt and xanthan or guar gum. If so, there is no need to add more.


Flour Substitutions chart excerpted from Gluten-Free Makeovers by Beth Hillson. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books. Copyright 2011.

Nutritional values are approximate due to variances in product brands, manufacturing and actual preparation.