Recipe Change and Substitutions

Recipe changeRecipe Change and Substitutions

My Story

Sometimes I have to do a recipe change up. Not for any specific reason other than because I want to.

I wanted a crumble, but I wanted strawberries, not apples. Could I do that?

There are times the mood strikes me to make something, and I get started. That’s when I find out I don’t have all the necessary ingredients. Half way through the preparation. It’s too late to go to the store then. So I punt and do a recipe change up.

Or the recipe has something in there I just don’t like. Or there was too much of something and not enough of something else. So I changed it.

Yes, my diy home goddesses, a recipe is not set in stone. At least for the most part. Baking, yeah, that’s a little harder to do, except for flavor profiles. But most recipes you can do what you want. Do a recipe change up!

Why Talk About Changing Recipes?

Well, let me give you the scoop.

Recipe change

Doesn’t this look like too much orange?

I went to a cooking class a couple weeks ago. A Fourth of July Celebration. We learned how to make Coleslaw. It was tasty. But I thought it looked a little odd. It had way too much carrot, and not enough cabbage, IMHO. I thought coleslaw was supposed to look like shredded cabbage! Maybe it was the way it was shredded. Or maybe the dressing made all the cabbage look like carrots. I will have to analyze the recipe, and see if it needs to be changed. But it looked too orangey to me. (Hey, I know orangey isn’t a word. But it is now, because I say so.)

I was making French Onion Soup the other day. I didn’t have any white wine. But I had red. I was sautéing the onions, so it wasn’t like I could run to the store. I just switched it out. What the heck. It tasted good. It gave it a bit more body, more depth for a soup that I would eat as a meal, instead of an appetizer to go with a meal.

And what about the time I made shortcakes, and the grocery store was out of decent looking strawberries? The ones they had were old, mushy, ugly looking suckers. I didn’t want to use frozen ones for shortbread, because they would get too soggy. So I grabbed some blueberries and raspberries instead.

What Can I Use for a Recipe Change Up?

There’s all kinds of things you can change, my diy goddesses! The sky is the limit. Here’s just a few ideas to get the brain moving.

  • If a recipe calls for beef broth and all you have is chicken broth, change it up.
  • What if your recipe calls for white wine, and all you have is red? Exchange it, and see how it tastes.

    Recipe change

    Whatever wine works for me!

  • If a recipe calls for heavy cream, you might be able to get away with whole milk. I wouldn’t go less fat than that. though.
  • If it calls for milk, what about switching it out for buttermilk?
  • I may not get this one, but what if a recipe calls for beef, but you don’t eat red meat, by all means, substitute!
  • Change out any vegetables that are similar in texture, when they need to be cooked.
  • Bread crumbs? Use any flavor you want!
  • You can work with noodle substitutions as well. Try to experiment before doing it for company though, because some sauces go better with certain noodles. You want to serve light sauces with angel hair pasta, not a heavy one.
  • Spices can be a total ad-lib. Now, if you are going Mediterranean, you might not want to go Indian on me, but you can definitely change to Italian, or pick one of the common herbs for another. There’s no rule there. Did you know some people abhor cilantro? They say it tastes like soap, something about some chemical reaction in their body. So they substitute. Here’s my post about spices.

Here’s a good website full of substitutes to do a recipe change, just to give you an idea. It goes from acorn squash to zucchini, and everywhere in between.

Be Brave

You don’t have to create a whole new recipe. Just change one or two items out. Taste it. If it is good, guess what? You, my diy home goddess, have just adapted a recipe to something new. You have created. How awesome is that?

And if you want to really get creative, there is this small company who invented foodie dice. These are wooden dice (regulation gambling size, so don’t argue with me they are too small) that have ingredients and cooking methods on them. You roll them and that inspires you for your meal. Each set is about the cost of a cookbook, but if you want to start using your imagination, they are priceless. You can purchase them here. They have several sets (as of the date of this post):

recipe change

Here’s the foodie dice I have fun with

  • Seasonal
  • Seasonal Booster
  • Asian Bowls
  • Paleo Meals
  • Salad Dressings
  • Dessert
  • Mixology

An example from the Seasonal Dice roll might be:

sauté / pork OR eggs / potato / carrots / dill / bacon (straight from their website). Then you make a recipe with this. Or if you don’t like something, roll again.

No, I do not get a kickback for talking about this product. I found these by accident, and got several of these for myself for Christmas. They have been fun. Sometimes they work, sometimes the recipe turns out a total bust.


But that’s the whole thing about learning how to cook. Experiment. You got to give it a shot. You never know what you are going to end up with. Be a diy home goddess and go with it. Recipe change it up!

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