Food Allergy Substitutes

December 15, 2023
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Food allergy substitute list

I remember feeling so overwhelmed when we first had to deal with food allergies. I hated baking and cooking to begin with, but now I had to do it without the help of eggs and milk? That feeling of helplessness is not fun.

Any other allergy mama’s relate?

That’s why I thought I’d start a list of food allergy substitutes to help you in your baking and cooking endeavors with food allergies. My experience is mostly with a dairy and egg allergy. But I wanted to include some of the other common food allergy substitutes as well.

I’m sure you all know there are more food allergies than what’ve I’ve listed below, but it would be impossible to include every food that someone could be allergic to and it’s substitute. You’d be reading this list for days!

So book mark this page for quick reference!

I’ve also included some notes on how to use them in baking or cooking, but you should look up what’s recommend for your particular dish. For example, if you’re using a substitute in a fluffy cake then you may have to add more baking powder in order to achieve your desired outcome, but you may not need to if it’s a dense cake or are baking cookies. So always check! A quick google search will tell you. Pinterest can be your best friend as well when choosing recipes that exclude your food allergy.

Etiquette for Those With a Food Allergy

A few housekeeping issues to deal with first if you are hoping to cook/bake for someone with food allergies:

  • Always find out their allergies in their entirety first. Don’t assume.
  • Always inform them of the substitute you want to use so they can read the labels for themselves. Some can’t use shared equipment with their allergen and they’ll be the expert on what they can and can’t have.
  • Sometimes the cooking equipment can’t be used in your home if it’s been used with the person’s allergy. Similar to the above statement. You may need to purchase equipment to make their food. Be sure to check with them first if this is something they have to do. Some do and some don’t.
  • Never surprise someone who has an allergy with something you’ve made, unless you’ve cleared it with them and have done all the above. They probably wouldn’t eat it because of the potential risk of a reaction. Just being honest and speaking from experience. Well intentioned people can still trigger an allergic reaction.

Reading Labels

Also, I try to keep my posts as up-to-date as possible, but life happens with three littles. Be sure you check the labels of the foods you’re swapping out for as manufacturers have been known to add ingredients to their recipes, and it might just be your allergy food they’ve added!

And as always, the fewer ingredients on the label, the better. If the replacement item is a processed food item, I’ve listed in each category the best option (in my opinion) from first to last. But the reality is that sometimes the best isn’t always available to us or within our budget. In those cases, we do the best we can, with no guilt. When you can get the better ones, then do so! There should be plenty of options to choose from in this food allergy substitute list so you can avoid the really yucky ingredients that some allergy friendly companies add to their products.

Dairy Substitutes

Milk (replace 1-1 in any recipe)

  • Coconut milk (ingredients should be just coconut milk and water, guar gum is okay.)
  • Almond milk (as few additives as possible)
  • Hemp milk (as few additives as possible)
  • Oat milk (as few additives as possible)
  • Tiger nut milk (as few additives as possible)

Buttermilk (replace 1-1 in any recipe)

  • 1 can of coconut, almond, or hemp milk + 1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice, stir and use

Evaporated milk (replace 1-1 in any recipe)

  • Canned evaporated coconut milk
  • Some other plant based replacements will be very high in sugar content so be careful.

Yogurt (1-1 in any recipe)

  • Dairy free yogurt, such as coconut, almond or cashew based, usually plain when baking. Flavored versions will have more sugars added.
  • Applesauce (unsweetened) when baking
  • Dairy free sour cream: 1 cup of coconut milk + 2 drops of lemon juice + 1/16 tsp tapioca starch or arrowroot powder, whisk together. (This replaces one cup of yogurt)


  • Nutritional yeast (cheesy/nutty flavor, super easy to use on anything)
  • Cashew cheese (easy to make homemade)
  • Primal Kitchen’s No Dairy Cheddar Cheez Style Plant Based Sauce
  • Miyoko’s Brand
  • Nooch It
  • Nuts for Cheese brand, variety of fermented cheeses

Sour Cream

  • Dairy free plain yogurt (1-1 in recipes)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk + 2 drops of lemon juice + 1/16 tsp tapioca starch or arrowroot powder, whisk together. (This replaces one cup of sour cream)

Cream Cheese

  • Whipped coconut cream (comes in a can) and nutritional yeast mixed together
  • Miyoko’s Plain Cream Cheese
  • Kite Hill


  • Coconut oil – in its solid state, usually 1-1 for sauteing or slightly less of the coconut oil if using in baked goods. Best for replacing in baked goods.
  • Olive oil – 2 ½ tsp olive oil = 1 tbs butter; ¾ cup olive oil = 1 cup butter. Not the best for sweet baked goods.
  • Mashed banana (1-1 replacement). Best in muffins and breads that you don’t mind a banana flavor in it.
  • Pureed avocado (1-1 replacement). Best for dark colored muffins, quick breads, brownies, cookies, and puddings.
  • ⅞ cup of avocado oil = 1 cup butter
  • Applesauce (1-1 replacement) 
  • Pumpkin puree (1-1 replacement). Only if you don’t mind some pumpkin flavor coming through.
  • Ghee – this is a butter that many dairy sensitive people can tolerate. The protein that causes issues is separated out. It could be an option for some.

Ice Cream

  • Nice cream – homemade from bananas. You can add things like peanut butter, cocoa, chocolate chips, or any kind of fruit. Here’s some of our favorites.
  • So Delicious brand (some have ingredients that aren’t so hot, but it’s a treat!)
  • There are other dairy free brands, but many have a ton of additives.

Chocolate (milk free)

  • Bake Believe Brand Chocolate chips (no sugar and delicious!)
  • Lily’s brand (they offer both with milk and without so be sure to read the labels)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cocao – more bitter than cocoa but less processed
  • Enjoy Life Foods (has added sugar, but works in a pinch!)

Egg Substitutes

  • These are best in recipes that call for 1-2 eggs. I’ve not done recipes that use more:
    • 1 tbs chia seed (2 tbs if ground) + 3 tbs water = 1 egg. Let it sit 5 min until it gels up. Best in baked goods like muffins or sweet breads. Grinding them up first makes it a smoother texture. Great source of healthy omega 3’s!
    • 1 tbs flax seed (2 tbs if ground) + 3 tbs water = 1 egg. Info from chia seeds applies to flax seeds as well.
    • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce = 1 egg. Best in baked goods like brownies and cookies. In cakes/cupcakes, may need to add an extra 1/2 tsp baking powder.
    • 1 tsp baking soda + 1 tbs vinegar = 1 egg. Best in cakes, cupcakes and other fluffy baked goods.
    • ¼ cup mashed banana = 1 egg. Best in baked goods that you don’t mind a bit of banana flavor, but doesn’t give you much height for cakes.
    • ¼ cup pumpkin puree = 1 egg. Best in baked goods that you don’t mind a bit of pumpkin flavor, but doesn’t give you much height for cakes.
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk = 1 egg. Best in dishes that already have leavening agents in the ingredients, like muffin, cakes and cupcakes.
    • 1/4 cup plain yogurt = 1 egg. Best for muffins, cakes and cupcakes.
    • 2 tbs arrowroot powder or cornstarch + 3 tbs water = 1 egg. Best in light, fluffy baked goods, or custards or puddings. Does not add any moisture to the recipe so may need to add more butter/oil/fat to compensate.

Peanut Substitutes

  • Seeds and seed butters – be sure to read labels and avoid added sugars and oils.
  • Tiger nut products such as flour, butter, or milk – it’s not a nut, it’s a root vegetable.
  • Coconut butter or oil- be sure to check there’s no issue with coconuts first. May affect the texture of finished recipe.
  • Maple butter – if there’s no dairy issues.
  • Can do other nut butters, such as almond, if there’s no issues with other nut butters.

Tree Nut Substitutes

  • Chickpeas and chickpea butter – be sure there’s no issues with legumes, avoid added sugars and oils.
  • Coconut butter – be sure to check there’s no issue with coconuts first.
  • Seeds and seed butters – be sure to read labels and avoid added sugars and oils.
  • Maple butter – if there’s no dairy issues.

Gluten Free Flours

Gluten is not an allergy, but is worth mentioning here I think.

For those with gluten intolerance, I realize you have to watch for more than just flours when avoiding gluten. Gluten can be found in seemingly odd things like soy sauce or even in supplements. That’s where the importance of reading labels can’t be reiterated enough!

Getting away from boxed foods and eating a diet containing whole foods with real ingredients is a great way to avoid gluten altogether. There’s no gluten in whole meats, fruits or veggies.

But to keep things somewhat simple, I’m going to just list flours as that seems to be a big obstacle for most of the people I talk with.

Most flour alternatives are not a 1-1 replacement, especially in large amounts. Many recipes call for a mix of a couple different kinds of gluten free flours in order to get the desired consistency or texture. And one flour for one recipe may not be suitable for another recipe. Discussing how to replace each flour would be a whole blog post on it’s own. Or several!

So if it’s a 1-1 replacement, I’ll note it below. Otherwise, just look up the ratio of the flour you want to use to replace the one the recipe calls for. Keep in mind, that your particular recipe may still need to be tweaked with the amount of flour, even if it says 1-1. This and this article dive deeper in how exactly to use these flours as replacements.

  • Cassava Flour: 1-1 replacement in most recipes. Brand matters for desired outcome. Otto’s Cassava Flour is a good brand.
  • Oat Flour – 1-1 replacement in most recipes by weight, but not volume. Replace 1 cup of regular flour with 1¼ cup oat flour. Be sure it says gluten free as many oats are processed with products that do contain gluten.
  • Tiger Nut Flour: This is a 1-1 in only certain recipes.
  • Chickepea Flour
  • Almond Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Arrowroot Flour
  • Tapioca Flour: 1-1 only for thickening purposes, like gravies, stews, puddings.
  • Quinoa Flour
  • Rice Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Buckwheat – does not contain wheat despite the name. Can be used as a 1-1 replacement but is denser. Best to use with a lighter gluten free flour.
  • Amaranth Flour
  • Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour: 1-1 replacement in most recipes. Be sure to read the ingredients to check if the mix contains any other allergy ingredients.

Wheat Replacement

A wheat allergy is not the same as a gluten intolerance (celiac), though many people think they’re the same. However, many gluten free foods are safe for those with a wheat allergy.

Here’s my advice for replacing wheat in foods.

  • Reference the list for gluten free flours, but double check labels to be sure it’s wheat free
  • Get away from boxed foods as much as possible and start eating a diet containing whole foods with real ingredients.
  • Most foods containing wheat come in a box or a package. There’s too many to try to list all the brands or alternatives that can be used as a substitute for every boxed food containing wheat. Read those labels if you must buy boxed/packaged items.
  • There’s no wheat in whole meats, fruits or veggies.

Hopefully this gives you a good start and some hope on being able to replace certain allergy foods when it comes to baking or cooking. Obviously, this is not an all inclusive list. Nor have I been able to experiment with ALL of the above mentioned food allergy substitutes. I’m sure there are other substitutions that I don’t know about and haven’t used. If you have one, be sure to comment below to share with everyone!

Better with Bekah, Nutrition for Real Life

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