Out of Nutmeg? You Probably Have One of These Subs on Hand

Nutmeg is the spice equivalent of a knitted sweater. Fragrant and warm, you’ll find it giving depth to pumpkin pies, apple spice cakes, cheesy gratins, eggnog, butternut squash soup, super-simple glazed ham…the kind of food you want to eat by a firepla…

Nutmeg is the spice equivalent of a knitted sweater. Fragrant and warm, you’ll find it giving depth to pumpkin pies, apple spice cakes, cheesy gratins, eggnog, butternut squash soup, super-simple glazed ham…the kind of food you want to eat by a fireplace. But don’t let its absence in your spice rack stop you from cooking recipes that call for it. Here are 9 stupendous substitutes.


Best Nutmeg Substitutes

Mace

Mace is the outer, webbed layer of a nutmeg seed, which is typically ground separately from nutmeg because of its more assertive, piquant taste. Think of it as nutmeg’s sassy twin. Since most nutmeg recipes always call for a small amount—it is a sharp spice, after all—you are fine substituting it with mace 1:1.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Substitutes For Perky, Puckery Goodness

As a medium-sharp vinegar, apple cider vinegar is easygoing when it comes to being substituted. It is almost always a quick 1:1 replacement. You may not find its exact fruity, acidic pitch in these substitutes, but you’ll make a vinegar chicken, or sal…

As a medium-sharp vinegar, apple cider vinegar is easygoing when it comes to being substituted. It is almost always a quick 1:1 replacement. You may not find its exact fruity, acidic pitch in these substitutes, but you’ll make a vinegar chicken, or salad dressing, or cheesy chickpea omelet here that lets the show go on. Call it an understudy, dinner edition.

So: Is there a “best” apple cider vinegar substitute? It really comes down to which element of apple cider vinegar you want to replace most: the fruitiness, sweetness, or the sharpness.

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The 4 Best Substitutes for Ginger

I grew up with a steady supply of fresh ginger in my kitchen. While some kids woke up to the smell of pancakes or eggs and bacon, I rose to the sweet and slightly spicy scent of my mother’s ginger tea, a cup of which warmed me up on cold winter morning…

I grew up with a steady supply of fresh ginger in my kitchen. While some kids woke up to the smell of pancakes or eggs and bacon, I rose to the sweet and slightly spicy scent of my mother’s ginger tea, a cup of which warmed me up on cold winter mornings and settled my stomach for the breakfast I’d prepare for myself before school (I was a very picky eater). Nowadays, my mornings begin with a strong cup of coffee, but I always have some fresh ginger on hand in case I’m feeling tea or am cooking something that could use a little extra oomph. But once in a while I reach into the crisper of my fridge to find that I’ve forgotten to replenish my stash: All that’s left behind is a shriveled up and slightly moldy knob that’s headed straight for the trash.

If you find yourself there, too, there’s still hope! When it comes to the best ginger substitutes, it’s certainly easier with some recipes than others. For example, apple pie cookies would be fine with a substitute, but in something like gingery spice cake (or my mom’s tea!), where ginger plays a main role, you might just need to head to the store. Regardless, there are likely a few items knocking around your pantry that can do the trick.

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The Best Poultry Seasoning Substitutes

It’s almost turkey time, which means we’re looking at creative alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving menu, starting with homemade poultry seasoning. Poultry seasoning is commonly used for roasting chicken or turkey, but you can find it called fo…

It’s almost turkey time, which means we’re looking at creative alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving menu, starting with homemade poultry seasoning. Poultry seasoning is commonly used for roasting chicken or turkey, but you can find it called for in stuffing recipes and some soups as well. If you’re like me, your early encounters with poultry seasoning were pretty limited to McCormick. I assumed that all poultry seasoning tasted the same as the one I remember from my mother’s spice rack. While the taste profile of most poultry seasoning is savory, there’s so much variation, depending on the particular combination of herbs and spices. If you can’t find poultry seasoning and need some, or even if you just want to customize your own blend, here is the best way to proceed.


Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (Yes Really)

If you’re going by the McCormick blend, the ingredients in poultry seasoning are some combination of sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg. Poultry seasoning based on parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme is the most common variation (we’re pretty sure the Simon and Garfunkel rendition of “Scarborough Fair” is based entirely on a chicken). This is true especially for stuffing, but another big hitter that works really well for roasting is marjoram. We like marjoram because it has a similar flavor to oregano and even mint, but with a subtly different nuance of flavor.

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The Best Gruyère Cheese Substitutes for Nutty, Salty Goodness

Gruyère is a cheese staple because of its creamy, nutty flavor and sturdy, semihard texture. It’s the perfect addition to a cheese or charcuterie board, plus one of its strengths is that it melts easily for recipes like French onion soup or a croque mo…

Gruyère is a cheese staple because of its creamy, nutty flavor and sturdy, semihard texture. It’s the perfect addition to a cheese or charcuterie board, plus one of its strengths is that it melts easily for recipes like French onion soup or a croque monsieur.

It also happens to be one of the most expensive cheeses in the grocery store, averaging about $15 to $20 a pound if you’re going for the AOC label. And no, we’re not referring to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez—we assume she is too busy to be stamping cheeses. AOC stands for appellation d’origine contrôlée, which in French cheese-speak is the label that protects a product’s ingredients and methods, tying them to a particular location.

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The Best Cornstarch Substitutes for Cooking & Baking

The Food52 Hotline has been around for nearly a decade, so it’s no surprise that some of the most common cooking questions have come up again and again. How to substitute cornstarch is one of them. Our community has been quick to share their favorite s…

The Food52 Hotline has been around for nearly a decade, so it’s no surprise that some of the most common cooking questions have come up again and again. How to substitute cornstarch is one of them. Our community has been quick to share their favorite substitutes for cornstarch). Tapioca flour and arrowroot powder are fan favorites, but user Ophelia notes that tapioca flour and powder are more expensive products and have a tendency to clump quite easily. Other users have pointed out that all-purpose flour can work as a thickening agent like cornstarch. For a gluten-free substitute for cornstarch, our savvy community members recommend potato or rice starch. With so many suggestions, we wanted to find out once and for all what is the best substitute for cornstarch.

It should come as no surprise that the particular cornstarch substitute you choose should depend on what you’re cooking or baking. The type of ingredient needed for a coating on something that you’ll be deep-frying may be different from what is best for thickening a sauce or soup

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Out of Half & Half? Here Are 4 Easy Substitutes

Half-and-half is a delightful dairy product—it works just as well as a coffee creamer as it does for making luscious, rich mashed potatoes. But sometimes, you run out because life happens and you need a substitute for half-and-half. That’s where these …

Half-and-half is a delightful dairy product—it works just as well as a coffee creamer as it does for making luscious, rich mashed potatoes. But sometimes, you run out because life happens and you need a substitute for half-and-half. That’s where these genius swaps come in. Next time you’re using a recipe that calls for half-and-half and all you have is milk or cream in the fridge, turn to these savvy substitutions.

What Is Half-and-Half?

Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like! Half-and-half is a dairy product that is made by homogenizing a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, which is the governing body that defines things like the difference between half-and-half and heavy whipping cream, half-and-half must contain at least 10.5 percent milkfat, but not more than 18 percent milkfat. Unlike heavy cream, half-and-half doesn’t hold its structure when whipped, so you can’t use it to make whipped cream. However, we have plenty of other brilliant recipes, like our Creamed Spinach & Parsnips, this refreshing, award-winning Lemon Basil Sherbet, and Cauliflower Gratin With Mornay Sauce.

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These Are the Best Substitutes for Cardamom, Hands Down

Cardamom is a powerful, extra-special spice that can add warmth to savory and sweet dishes alike, from challah and roast poultry, to blondies, hot chocolate, snickerdoodles, and rice pudding. “Think about creative ways to use cardamom and make it a go-…

Cardamom is a powerful, extra-special spice that can add warmth to savory and sweet dishes alike, from challah and roast poultry, to blondies, hot chocolate, snickerdoodles, and rice pudding. “Think about creative ways to use cardamom and make it a go-to spice. It can be a substitute for cinnamon, rather than the other way around,” says Angel Anderson, owner of The Spice Suite in Washington D.C. Ahead, learn all about what makes cardamom unique—and, should you ever run out, the best spice substitutes to use in its place.

What Is Cardamom?

Cardamom is a spice that adds warmth to sweet and savory dishes. There are two types of cardamom seeds that you’ll find in a grocery store or spice shop—green cardamom and black cardamom. Green cardamom is the type that home cooks and bakers are more likely familiar with, but both varieties of this expensive spice have a place in savory and sweet dishes. Because it can be pricey to buy both whole and ground cardamom (Anderson notes that it’s the third most expensive spice in the world), you’re more likely to come across recipes that call for green cardamom, so that’s the best variety to have on hand. “Even if you’re not a baker, you can add ground green cardamom to French toast, pancakes, or biscuits—things that most people make all the time—when you’re tired of cinnamon,” she adds.

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The Best Heavy Cream Substitutes for Cooking & Baking

If you asked me what I dream about at night, the answer would be heavy cream in all its silky, creamy glory. Heavy cream is responsible for chart-topping recipes like Our Best Vanilla Ice Cream, Stovetop Mac & Cheese With Garlic Powder & White …

If you asked me what I dream about at night, the answer would be heavy cream in all its silky, creamy glory. Heavy cream is responsible for chart-topping recipes like Our Best Vanilla Ice Cream, Stovetop Mac & Cheese With Garlic Powder & White Pepper, Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions, and Warm Eggnog. If creamy comfort food is my dream, then running out of heavy cream is my nightmare. Few things hurt my soul more than pouring a generous amount of heavy cream into freshly mashed spuds only to find that there’s a drop or two left of the cream. What’s a girl to do? Cry. Panic. Call my mom. Or maybe do three minutes of breathwork and then open my refrigerator or pantry again to search for a substitute for heavy cream.

Alternatives for heavy cream may be another kind of dairy product or they may be vegan. There are thousands of recipes on our site that call for heavy cream, like penne alla vodka and creamed greens and frozen honey mousse. But do you actually need the cream? Can you replace it with milk? Or coconut milk? Or something else entirely? Today, we’re going to answer those questions and more. Ahead, find the best heavy cream substitutes that work every time...no tears necessary (but I’m still going to call my mom).

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The 11 Best Cream Cheese Substitutes for Cooking & Baking

Cream cheese adds an all too familiar thick, creamy, rich tang to the cut sides of bagels, in between layers of carrot cake, in bowls of flavorful party dips, and more. But what if you’re halfway into a recipe only to realize that someone used your cre…

Cream cheese adds an all too familiar thick, creamy, rich tang to the cut sides of bagels, in between layers of carrot cake, in bowls of flavorful party dips, and more. But what if you’re halfway into a recipe only to realize that someone used your cream cheese to slather on their cinnamon raisin bread this morning, leaving you several tablespoons short?

While it’s hard to replicate the exact flavor and texture of cream cheese (especially all at once), there are some good substitutes available. Some can be used as is with pleasing results, and others need a few tweaks; some will work well as a spread or in dips, while others can handle more involved applications, like frostings and baked goods. In general, proceed with caution when making full-blown baked cheesecakes and other cream-cheese-heavy baking projects with anything other than full-fat, real-deal cream cheese.

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