Simple Foods

Real Food Cooking and Baking Substitutions

December 4, 2013
Real food cooking and baking substitutions blog post- a picture of different bowls of baking ingredients on a table along with a wooden spoon and wire whisk

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When I began switching to a real food lifestyle I encountered a big problem. I wanted to avoid unhealthy ingredients. But struggled to swap the ingredients I was trying to avoid with healthier options. Therefore I simply didn’t know how much of each healthier option to use! So I’ve been compiling this real food cooking and baking substitutions for a while. And I created this handy little chart to help you out!

Real food cooking and baking substitutions


Used For



White sugar

Baking and cooking

Sucanat, Rapadura, Stevia, unfiltered honey, maple syrup, maple sugar, molasses, coconut sugar/nectar, turbinado sugar See the bottom of the page for substitution amounts for cooking and baking

Brown sugar

Baking and cooking

Sucanat, Rapadura, coconut sugar, palm sugar These can be used as a 1:1 substitution.

Any refined flour

Baking and cooking

Sprouted wheat, white wheat, spelt, buckwheat (GF), or brown rice (GF). Can soak organic whole grain flours. Using sprouted flour is much more simple. Soaking requires an additional 12-24 hours.

Vegetable Shortening

Baking and cooking

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic butter (pastured), leaf lard (highest quality lard), tallow Don’t skimp on these substitutes! Our bodies need this good quality fat!



Arrowroot powder, sprouted brown rice flour, tapioca flour Most commercial cornstarch contains GMO corn. That is a good reason to switch!

Chocolate Chips


Enjoy Life Brand Chocolate Chips There is soy in most store-bought chocolate. Avoid soy and buy these really tasty chips instead!

Granulated natural sugars can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio in your baking recipes.

What if you want to substitute honey or maple syrup for granulated sugar?

White Sugar to Honey/Maple Syrup/Coconut nectar ratios

1/8 cup sugar=1 tbsp honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar

¼ cup sugar=2 tbsp honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar

½ cup sugar=1/4 cup honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar

¾ cup sugar=1/4 cup + 2 tbsp honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar

1 cup sugar=1/2 cup honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar

2 cups sugar= 1 cup honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar

3 cups sugar=1 ½ cups honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar

Now you can easily find simple substitutions for your cooking and baking needs. And these are much healthier options for you!

  • Reply
    Black Fox Homestead
    December 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    This is awesome! I’ve been working on converting my holiday recipes so this is perfect. I’ve pinned this for future reference. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      December 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      You’re welcome! So glad this will help you out! 🙂

  • Reply
    Janet France
    December 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Since reading how coconut sugar is made and the toil it takes on the tree I prefer not to use it. I’d rather have the coconut oil than the sugar, plenty of sweet stuff on the planet to use instead 🙂 Thanks for this article!

  • Reply
    SR Booth
    December 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Nice list. Thanks! (and I love Enjoy Life Brand Chocolate Chips ;>) Yum!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      You’re very welcome! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you so much for doing the converting . I have referred to this many times and am grateful and appreciative.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      You’re welcome! 🙂

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