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Easy Cooking Substitutions

I have more than just cooking substitutions, check out more recipes at the end of the page.

Are you out of condensed cream soup? Use my cooking substitutions. Garlic powder, onion powder, shake and bake substitute, chicken broth substitute, soy sauce and many more below.

Don’t run to the grocery – make it from scratch. You will now know what’s in your food. What’s not? Preservatives and chemicals…

Cooking Substitutions

Cooking Substitutions


1 tsp onion powder
2 TBS cornstarch
1 TBS canola oil
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
pinch of white sugar
8 oz homemade evaporated milk

Process in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Pour into a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 2 minutes. Mix well and cook 1 more minute. Mixing again.

Use this soup mix as a substitute for 10-3/4-ounce cans of condensed cream of chicken, mushroom or celery soup with the additions below.

For condensed cream of mushroom soup add 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

For condensed cream of celery soup add 1/8 tsp celery salt and 1/2 cup chopped celery ribs

For condensed cream of onion soup add 1 tsp homemade dry onion soup mix

It’s ready for the recipe.

This cooking substitution recipes makes approximately 2 cans of “condensed” cream of chicken soup. If you use this often, you may double or triple the recipe and freeze the rest for later.


1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp homemade poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp homemade onion powder
1/4 tsp homemade garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
dash of paprika
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup flour

Bring the broth and 1/2 cup of milk to a boil. Add the seasons; let boil for one minute.

Meanwhile, whisk 1 cup milk with the flour in a mixing bowl. Whisk this slowly into the boiling mixture and continue mixing until it boils and thickens.

This is an excellent substitution for the store bought soup – with NO MSG. If you have leftover chicken broth, make this condensed soup and freeze in 1-1/2 cup sized portions. Just thaw and use.

Homemade Chicken Broth Substitute

Homemade Beef Broth Substitute

Cooking Substitutions

My secret cooking substitution is this wonderful base.

1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp “Better Than Bouillon” chicken base
1 cup water, boiling

Add 1/4 teaspoon of chicken base to the hot water and whisk to dissolve. Taste it. If you want it stronger (remember stronger is saltier), just add more. It is ready for your recipe.

Better Than Bouillon tastes so much better than using regular bouillon cubes/granules. By the way, you will find it by the bouillon cubes in the grocery store.

You also use the Better Than Bouillon Beef base for beef broth.

Homemade Soy Sauce Substitute

Cooking Substitutions

Here’s my recipe for homemade soy sauce. It’s delicious.

1-1/2 cups boiling water
4 TBS beef bouillon granules (lower sodium works too)
4 TBS cider vinegar
1 TBS dark molasses
1 tsp sesame seed oil
pinch of black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together until dissolved and pour into a bottle with a tightly sealed top. May be refrigerated indefinitely. Makes 2 cups. Place in a glass jar and wrap with a ribbon – this makes a great gift too.

Homemade Bread Crumb Substitute

Cooking Substitutions

My next cooking substitute is so handy – and so much better than the commercial brands.

4 slices of bread = 1 cup of bread crumbs

If the bread is really soft, let it sit on the counter to dry out a bit, and then cut into crumbs with a knife. Otherwise place in a blender or food processor to make crumbs.

Onion rolls are wonderful and one large roll will make approximately 2 cups of crumbs. A blender or food processor will give you fresh bread crumbs in 30 seconds.

When the blender is running, add small chunks of bread through the hole in the cover of the blender.

If you like you can place the bread crumbs in a hot dry pan to toast them.


Add a little: oregano, basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, savory and marjoram.

You can also add the following spices to one cup of bread crumbs:

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoon of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped

This is wonderful over fish. Experiment and make your own bread crumbs – it makes a good meal; GREAT.

Homemade Garlic Powder

Homemade Onion Powder

Cooking Substitutions

You will love these cooking substitutes. Talk about handy – and tastes so much better.


Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into thin pieces. Place on a baking sheet in a 150 degree oven or use a food dehydrator; turning often.

Grind the dried pieces in a blender and sift the material in a strainer to separate the chunks from the fine powder. The chunks are excellent on pizza or in sauce, by the way.

Store the chunks and powder in airtight containers, or freeze for long-time storage.


Chop the amount of onion you want to dry, then spread evenly on a baking sheet and place in a 150 degree oven. Of course, a food dehydrator is perfect for this. The onions are dry and ready when you can easily crumble them in your hand.

Allow to cool and then grind in a food processor, mortar and pestle, spice mill or coffee grinder until you reach the desired consistency you’re looking for.

Store in an airtight container in a cool and dry place, or freeze for long-time storage.

How To Make Stewed Tomatoes

Homemade Tomato Paste

Cooking Substitutions

The next cooking substitute is delicious. Making your own stewed tomatoes makes recipes so much better. See for yourself…


12 tomatoes
1 TBS butter
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp white sugar

Pour boiling water over tomatoes to remove the skin. Cut into pieces and add the butter, salt, pepper and sugar; slowly simmer for 30 minutes.

NOTE: If you want the tomatoes thicker for a recipe, just add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with a little water to make a paste, OR 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.

This is a really simple way to get fresh tomatoes into your dish. If you want to add garlic or onion powder now, feel free to do so.


Plum tomatoes are the best for this old-fashioned recipe; less juice. If you do not have a food dehydrator, this process takes 10-18 hours in the oven.

plum tomatoes

Place tomatoes in a heavy kettle or stock pot and crush to bring out the juice. Cook until very soft; approximately 1 hour, and then puree in the blender. Return to the stove and cook over very low heat; stirring often. Simmer until it is reduced in half; approximately 2-4 hours.

PREHEAT oven to 145 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil.

Spread the paste out on baking sheets and if you have a dehydrator, use that. Otherwise dry in the oven for 2 hours with the door ajar. Turn the temperature down to 120 degrees and dry another 2 hours. Now increase to 140 degrees.

Dry the tomatoes for another 6 hours (it may take from 10 hours to 18 hours). Roll dried paste into 1 inch balls and let dry at room temperature for another day. Store in airtight jars.NOTE:

You may add herbs such as basil, oregano, garlic and parsley if you wish. You can also dry the paste in the direct sun for 2 days. Cover with cheesecloth to keep bugs away.

Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipe

Cooking Substitutions

For this cooking substitute, I have included a wonderful fresh tomato sauce recipe and a cooked tomato sauce that are easy to prepare and simply delicious.


2 lbs very ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 cup oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1 TBS sweet basil or 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp parsley

Plunge tomatoes into boiling water for 12 seconds. Peel and chop coarsely.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium and add the onions and garlic. Saute and stir until onions are transparent. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and parsley.

Cook, uncovered, on low for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Makes approximately 4 cups.


2 TBS canola oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 TBS garlic, minced
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
1-1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
1 TBS fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/3 cup sherry cooking wine
2 TBS kosher salt
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp (or to taste) homemade cayenne pepper, optional

freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium-high, sauté the onion in canola oil until tender. Add garlic and sauté until brown. De-glaze the pan (scrape the bottom of the saucepan with a spatula) with the sherry; add parsley and stir.

Put in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour.

Shake and Bake Substitute

Cooking Substitutions

This is a wildly popular cooking recipe – even though you BAKE the chicken…


This is my pork chop, fish and chicken basic coating recipe.

Save money today by making your own coating mix.

3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper, optional

Mix all ingredients in a resealable bag. Add the fish, pork or chicken in the bag after dipping the pieces in an egg and milk mixture. “Shake it.” Place in a shallow pan and “bake it.” This recipe will coat 6 pounds of meat. Store mix in an airtight container.

For Fish: Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp dill weed
For Chicken: Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp tarragon
For Pork Chops: Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sage

This recipe is going to save you major money and calories. Calories? Yes, because the chicken tastes like it was fried – but you baked it.


For this cooking substitution recipe, you need to add 1/4 tsp of tarragon to the above recipe.

3 lbs chicken (legs, breasts, thighs)
Shake and Bake coating, recipe above

PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees.

Place seasoning in a large resealable bag and add chicken parts in a bag and shake until well coated.

Place chicken in a 9×13 inch baking dish (or baking sheet) in the preheated oven. Place chicken in the baking dish skin side down and bake for 20 minutes. Turn pieces and bake another 20 minutes until tender and juices run clear.

I offer more than cooking substitutions, please check out more homemade recipes below:

Authentic Mexican Food Recipes

BEST Italian Recipes

Easy Chicken Recipes