It’s late at night, and you want cookies. Maybe you could whip up a quick batch! However, you’re missing the eggs or maybe the flour or possibly you’re just one egg short. But you still… need… cookies.
While missing a few ingredients may seem like the end of your cookie quest, don’t despair! You can still make cookies even if you are missing key ingredients and I will lay out numerous substitutions you can use in this article. Fresh cookies are on the way!!
Bye Bye Butter
When making cookies, one of the first ingredients you usually use is butter. But what if you don’t have any butter and still want to make fresh cookies?
It would seem like this would be the end of your attempt to make cookies (skipping the first step in a recipe probably isn’t the best idea…) but there are actually a few substitutions you can use in place of butter.
The first option I would suggest would be to use oil. The general rule of thumb when replacing butter with oil in a cookie recipe is to use 3/4 of a cup of oil for every 1 cup of butter. What I like about this option is you can use a variety of oils, whatever you have on hand!
Vegetable oil and canola oil are standards but if you happen to have coconut oil, it goes great in cookies, especially as it will solidify in cold temperatures and allow you to really cream the sugar (as in many ‘step 1s’ of cookie making).
Another choice would be to replace the butter with applesauce. While this substitution will result in cookies that are a little more dense, it will also give you a cookie that is actually lower in fat and, therefore, healthier!
Use half of the amount of applesauce as the amount of butter is called for in your recipe. Also, opt for applesauce that is unsweetened as you don’t want to be adding extra sugar to your cookie dough.
Got an avocado on hand? Throw that in your cookie dough instead of butter! Avocado will not only provide that great creamy texture that butter has but it will also add vitamins K, C, B, E and some healthy fiber.
Use the same amount of avocado as the recipe asks for the butter. Just a small warning, it may turn your cookies a slight greenish brown (but don’t worry, it’ll taste delicious).
The first thing I think of when I realize that I am missing eggs for my cookie batter is the time I skipped the eggs in a recipe and the cookies spread all over the pan and basically fell apart.
You do not want that to happen! Especially when there are several perfectly good egg alternatives that you can easily use.
Flaxseed eggs are the first replacement I would reach for. Mixing one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds together with two tablespoons of water will basically give you an egg.
The mix will bind the cookies the same and have practically no taste. And did I mention that flaxseeds are full of fiber and omega 3s? Hurray for flaxseed eggs!
Applesauce, mashed banana and pumpkin puree will also work as egg substitutes. Two tablespoons of any of these in place of one egg will do the trick.
Each puree is a leavener which is one of the jobs of an egg in a cookie recipe. They will also help hold the cookies together and add a slight new flavor to your dough. No need for eggs when you have one of these on hand!
The last replacement for an egg in cookie dough that I have successfully used is tofu. Two ounces of tofu will mix in to your dough perfectly and add basically no flavor to the cookies themselves.
So chop up that block of tofu you have in the fridge and forget about eggs. We don’t need them at all to make amazing cookies!
Now this can be a tricky one. I’m talking you have no cake flour, no coconut flour, no all purpose flour- nothing!
If you want to make cookies but find yourself at a loss for flour, you do still have a few options. I must admit however that all of these substitutions will change the texture of your cookie a little. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Keep reading to find out what to do.
First option is to use almond flour which is essentially ground almonds. This will give your cookie dough enough substance to hold its shape while baking and also lend some healthy fats to the dough.
Almond flour does, of course, have a nutty flavor which you will be able to taste in the cookies along with the slightly gritty texture.
For every one cup of flour a recipe asks for, use one cup of almond flour and 1/4 tsp extra baking soda.
Oat flour is something that you may have on hand without even knowing it! Put some rolled oats (used for making oatmeal) into a food processor or blender and grind it up into a powder. Poof! Oat flour is ready to go!
When ground until very small, oat flour will have no harsh texture in your cookie dough and will act almost the same as regular flour. Add 1/8 tsp extra baking soda for every 1 cup of flour you replace with the oat flour.
Where’s The Sugar?
If you are craving cookies, then you are in need of something sweet. Having no sugar just won’t do! Not only do we rely on sugar to add sweetness to cookies but they are also essential in making the cookie recipe work.
However, if you have no sugar, you could begin by reaching for some honey or corn syrup. Honey is a great, all natural replacement to sugar while corn syrup is the more manufactured version of the sweeteners we can use to replace honey.
Both will work perfectly in our cookie recipe if you use 3/4 of a cup of honey or corn syrup to every 1 cup of sugar you are replacing. Seems easy enough!
Of course, you can always use brown sugar or a sweetener like baking Splenda or Stevia if you have those on hand. All of these substitutes would be easily swapped for the same volume as was needed for the sugar.
Dried fruit can also be a fantastic and natural replacement for sugar in cookie recipes. Puree dried fruit, such as cranberries, figs or dates, in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste.
For every cup of sugar the recipe asks for, add half the amount of dried fruit puree. The cookies will come out a little bit more dense and have a fruity flavor but they will be nice and sweet!
If your ultimate goal was chocolate chip cookies and you do not have chocolate chips, there are definitely other things you can add. While nothing will quite be the same as chocolate chips, you can still get tasty cookies by adding something else to the dough!
If you happen to have a chocolate bar, just chop it cup and throw it in the batter as you would chocolate chips- this is the best substitution. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cocoa powder in the dough just to get a little of that chocolate you may be craving.
Dried cranberries, yogurt covered raisins, carob chips, M&M’s or Oreo pieces all make fantastic mix ins for cookie dough. There has to be one of those options available in your house!
Now you see that you will be able to make cookies whether you have all the ingredients or not. No need to run out to the store, just start baking!
Making snickerdoodles? You might need another ingredient for that – cream of tartar. Learn about what it does.
For some more cookie hacks, learn how to bake cookies when you don’t have an oven!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.