by Eileen Goltz, Kosher Food Writer, Lecturer and Author, Perfectly Pareve Cookbook
At some point during Pesach preparations we’ve all tried to convert a main stream recipe into a Pesach one only to discover that we don’t have a clue as to what to substitute for a chometz ingredient. This panic moment is why I started compiling my COMPLETE LIST OF PESACH SUBSTITUTES.
• 1 oz. baking chocolate (unsweetened chocolate) = 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon oil or melted margarine
• 16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate = 6 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1/4 cup oil and 7 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 14 oz. sweet chocolate (German-type) = 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 2/3 tablespoon oil and 4 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar minus 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1 tablespoon potato starch pulsed in a food processor or blender
• 1 cup sour milk or buttermilk for dairy baking = 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a 1 cup measure, then fill to 1 cup with Passover nondairy creamer. Stir and steep 5 minutes
• Butter in baking or cooking use pareve Passover margarine in equal amounts. Use a bit less salt
• 1 cup honey = 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water
• 1 cup corn syrup = 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup water, boiled until syrupy
• 1 cup vanilla sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 split vanilla bean left for at least 24 hours in a tightly covered jar
• 1 cup of flour = substitute 5/8 cup matzo cake meal or potato starch, or a combination sifted together
• 1 tablespoon flour = 1/2 tablespoon potato starch
• 1 cup corn starch = 7/8 cup potato starch
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar = 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
• 1 cup graham cracker crumbs = 1 cup ground cookies or soup nuts plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 cup bread crumbs = 1 cup matzo meal
• 1 cup matzo meal = 3 matzoth ground in a food processor
• 1 cup matzoth cake meal = 1 cup plus 2 tablespoon matzo meal finely ground in a blender or food processor and sifted
• 3 crumbled matzo = 2 cups matzo farfel
• 1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese = 1 cup cottage cheese pureed with 1/2 stick butter or margarine
• Chicken fat or gribenes = 2 caramelized onions, Saute 2 sliced onions in 2 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until the onions are soft. Puree the onions once they are golden.
• 1 cup milk (for baking) = 1 cup water plus 2 tablespoon margarine, or 1/2 cup fruit juice plus 1/2 cup water
• 1 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk = 1 cup instant nonfat dry milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup boiling water and 3 tablespoons margarine. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. To thicken, let set in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
• 1 cup marshmallow cream/ 2.5 ounces = 8 large marshmallows or 1 cup miniature marshmallows
• 1 cup wine = 13 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix together and let set for 10 minutes.
• For frying: Instead of chicken fat, use combination of olive oil or vegetable oil and 1 to 2 tablespoons pareve Passover margarine.
• Eggs: Passover egg substitutes don’t work quite as well as the chometz egg substitutes. For kugels, matzo balls, fried matzo and some cakes the recipes will probably be ok. However, if you want to avoid them (and I do) you can add one extra egg white and 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil for each yolk eliminated when baking. Use only egg whites as the dipping to coat and fry meats.
• Italian Seasoning = 1/4 teaspoon EACH dried oregano leaves, dried marjoram leaves and dried basil leaves plus 1/8 teaspoon rubbed dried sage. This can be substituted for 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.
• Curry Powder = 2 tablespoons ground coriander, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons red pepper, 2 tablespoons turmeric, 2 tablespoons ground ginger. Makes 2/3 cup.
• Pancake syrup = use fruit jelly, not jam and add a little water to thin. I always like to combine the jelly and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat it gently before I serve it.
• Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar = 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 tablespoon white wine, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix to combine. Makes 1/4 cup
• Flavored Vinegar = lemon juice in cooking or salad, grapefruit juice in salads, wine in marinades.
• Chili sauce, 1 cup = 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, dash of ground cloves and dash of allspice
• Water Chestnuts = substitute raw jicama
• Orange liqueur = substitute an equal amount of frozen orange juice concentrate
You can mince the tops of green onions and use them in recipes that call for chives or use celery tops instead of parsley (who are we kidding, we always have parsley during Pesach)
• 1 egg = 1 ½ tablespoons water, 1 ½ tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon potato starch 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. It works well for up to 2 eggs.
• You can also try 1/4 cup of applesauce = 1 egg but only for some of the egg in a recipe.
• SOY SAUCE SUBSTITUTE: This soy sauce substitute doesn't taste exactly like the real thing, but it makes a flavorful alternative for Pesach stir fry.
2 tablespoons beef broth
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup boiling water
Combine all the ingredients. At this point, you can either a) use the sauce as is, leaving for an hour to give the flavors a chance to blend, or b) for a thicker, richer sauce, boil the liquid until it is reduced by half, about 3 tablespoons. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Makes 2/3 cup. Use the sauce within 3 - 4 days.
• CASHEW SOUR CREAM: It’s creamy and you can use it in any recipe that calls for sour cream. It refrigerates well.
1 cup raw cashews (must not be roasted or salted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 small lemon, juice
Cover cashews with water and soak for a few hours, or overnight. Pour off all water, and place nuts in food processor. Add 1/4 cup cold water, salt, vinegar and lemon juice. Puree for 3-4 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy in consistency. Use in any recipe that calls for sour cream. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Makes 1 cup.
• CORN SYRUP SUBSTITUTE:
2 cups white sugar
34 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 dash salt
Combine all ingredients in a heavy, large pan.Stir and bring to a boil.Reduce heat to a simmer and put cover on it for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Uncover and cook until it reaches soft ball stage.stir often.Cool syrup and store in a covered container at room temperature.
• OYSTER SAUCE SUBSTITUTE (great with fish):
1 mushroom/vegetable bouillon cube (or 1 tablespoon of the powdered stuff)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon potato starch
1 teaspoon cold water
In a sauce pan combine the bouillon, sugar and boiling water. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. While it’s boiling, in a cup combine the potato starch and cold water,mix to combine and add mixture to the boiling broth. Simmer, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.
• A reader asked for a simple conversion to metrics chart so here are the equivalents:
1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters
1 lb = .45 kilograms
1 tablespoon = 15 milliliters
1 cup = .24 liters
1 oz = 28 grams
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics for various newspapers, magazines and websites across the U.S., Canada, and South Africa as well as the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen's blog at CuisinebyEileen.com. If anyone has any other substitutions that they would like to share, please email Eileen at
or at her blog cuisinebyeileen.wordpress.com.