Skip to Main Content
Select A Store
Blog Menu
Restaurant (186)
Operations (63)
COVID (13)
Trends (41)
Technology (24)
Staffing (13)
Pop-Ups (9)
Budget (16)
Home Cook (46)
Tips (23)
Family (11)
Nutrition (9)
Holidays (3)
Recipes (48)
Entree (21)
Side-Dish (7)
Appetizer (10)
Beverage (3)
Breakfast (2)
Dessert (5)

Popular Grocery Substitutions That Can Save You Money

Back Print

October 13, 2022

Home cooks are noticing that supply chain issues still affect grocery product predictability. Plus, with the growth of online shopping, popular ingredients are flying off the shelves. Stats suggest that over 50 percent of shoppers frequently experience items being out of stock. Are you looking for ingredient substitution ideas that won’t break the grocery budget? Luckily there are a number of ingredient hacks that not only work with your meal planning recipes but can help you save.

Choosing the Best Food Substitutions for Common Grocery Items

Online grocery shoppers benefit from shopping anywhere, anytime. However, they don’t always know what is out of stock when they place online orders. In fact, 76 percent of surveyed shoppers found grocery order substitutions challenging to deal with. Making last-minute substitutions isn't always easy, but if you have a handle on common grocery ingredients and savvy substitutions, you’ll have no problem making the most of your order.

So, what are a few of the most commonly purchased items that need substitutions?

  • Eggs
  • Specialty dairy products
  • Lemons
  • Buttermilk
  • Fresh herbs


There’s nothing more frustrating than getting ready to bake your favorite recipe, then realizing eggs aren’t available. Luckily, there are some amazing substitutions that you can use in a pinch. Half of a mashed medium banana actually equates to 1 whole egg when baking. If you’re making brownies or other sweet treats, try using ¼ cup of applesauce instead.

Other great baking-hack egg replacements include buttermilk, soft tofu, and yogurt.

Specialty Dairy Products

Speaking of yogurt, did you know that delicious and nutritious Greek yogurt can be used in place of cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and even butter? Whether baking desserts or popping a creamy casserole in the oven, reach for some Greek yogurt for a rich flavor. For recipes, use a 1:1 ratio for everything above except butter. Substitute a ¼ cup of Greek-style yogurt and ½ cup of butter for 1 cup of butter.

Want to save even more money? Whip up your own by using regular yogurt and coffee filters.


We love this tart citrus for everything from lemonade to salad dressings, pasta dishes, and more. When lemons are hard to come by, reach for lemon juice concentrate. You’ll benefit from fresh, lemony essence without all the fuss of zesting and juicing. Plus, you can buy it in large quantities from your grocery supply store and keep it in the fridge longer than a lemon lasts. Looking for the bright acidity of lemon juice without the pucker? Standard vinegar will do the trick!


Buttermilk is a popular ingredient when making quick breads like pancakes, waffles, and biscuits. It also can sometimes be difficult to find in stores. That’s where vinegar can come in handy for you to make your own buttermilk substitute when supplies are low. Grab some whole milk and add a bit of vinegar. The acidic quality reacts to the milk proteins causing a reaction that mimics buttermilk. The key is not to overdo it. Mix 1 Tbsp vinegar with 17 Tbsp milk, stir, and let sit for a few moments, then use immediately. This should yield the equivalent of 1 cup of buttermilk.

Fresh Herbs

Cooking with fresh herbs is excellent when they are in abundance. However, they might be hard to come by, especially during the holiday season. Instead, put dry herbs in your online grocery cart. They are readily available in bulk, less expensive than fresh, and will keep for months in your pantry. You’ll also use less dry herbs in your recipes than fresh, which means you’ll stretch your grocery dollar further.

  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder = 1 small onion
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder = 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 Tsp. ground ginger =1 Tbsp. fresh ginger

Grocery Substitutions

Shop Online and Save at US Foods CHEF’STORE

At CHEF’STORE, we stock top-of-the-line products at affordable prices. Place orders quickly through Click&Carry, then pick up at your convenience. You can also get groceries delivered right to your door with our third-party grocery delivery partners. Start your next order online or visit your local CHEF’STORE today for high-quality products and goods.

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

Related Blogs