Delicious vegan alternatives for popular ingredients

food, delicious vegan alternatives for popular ingredients

There are a variety of reasons for eating vegan. Maybe you’re doing it for animal rights reasons and you won’t ingest or use any animal by-products. Maybe it’s environmental and you’re trying to cut down on your meat consumption to help the planet. Maybe you’re just trying to be a bit healthier by eating just a few less hamburgers and a few more mushroom burgers. Whatever the reason, if you’re new to the vegan game, it might require a bit more planning at mealtime until you get used to it—that is, unless you want to be eating plain salads all the time.

The vegan lifestyle and recipes have been gaining traction in recent years, with products like meat alternatives and coconut-based everything soaring up in popularity. While many previously thought that vegan options were limited to chunks of iceberg lettuce, roasted vegetables, or dry rice noodles, restaurants around the world are experimenting with new ways of cooking old dishes without any animal by-products, which can inspire your own cooking.

But despite this boom in vegan delicacies, many who are unfamiliar with vegan cooking find it difficult to get their hands on recipes that don’t include ingredients they can no longer (or are trying not to) eat. And, quite frankly, sometimes you just want to make a batch of cookies without having to search through six websites before you find a recipe that tickles your fancy. 

Well, never fear. There are plenty of alternatives for some of the most basic ingredients, which will allow you to make your favorite recipes into vegan dishes that you can be proud of, knowing that you’re helping animals, your environment, and your body at the same time. 

Whether you’re going for an all-out vegan lifestyle or merely trying to include it in your cooking arsenal, there are plenty of unique options out there that can be replaced with vegan alternatives. 

Click through this gallery to see the best vegan alternatives for popular recipe ingredients.

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Applesauce can be used as a replacement for butter in most recipes, particularly when baking. Surprisingly, it can also be used as a baking substitute for eggs.

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Flax and chia seeds

Ground up chia or flax seeds mixed with water can achieve the same consistency as an egg, making them the ideal vegan replacement for the ingredient.

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If you’re a pancake fan looking for an alternative, a good buttermilk replacement can be achieved by mixing soy milk with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.

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Coconut cream

There are plenty of substitutes for condensed milk, but cream of coconut and canned coconut milk are the most popular and versatile.

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Vegans often use avocado as a replacement for butter when baking.

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Not all sugars are vegan, as some are filtered with bone char, so try natural agave nectar instead.

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Mashed banana

Mashed fruit, such as bananas, work great as an alternative for eggs in baked items, such as cakes.

food, delicious vegan alternatives for popular ingredients

Soy milk

A staple in most vegans’ diets, soy milk can replace milk in almost all recipes.

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Coconut oil

Coconut oil has so many uses, from cooking to moisturizing, so it can easily work as a substitute to butter, especially in baking recipes.

food, delicious vegan alternatives for popular ingredients

Olive oil

Not many people know this, but olive oil can be used as a replacement for butter in many baked goods, besides the usual frying and sautéing options.

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Vegan cheese

Cheese is probably one of the hardest vegan products to find, but there are actually many good store-bought options now, plus you can make your own at home.

food, delicious vegan alternatives for popular ingredients


Molasses is a natural vegan sweetener that can easily replace honey in most occasions, but just bear in mind that the taste is completely different.

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a dessert on a plate

Maple syrup

Another great vegan alternative to sugar is delicious maple syrup.

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Pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree is a healthy and delicious substitute to butter when it comes to baking.

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Soft tofu is super versatile, and the pureed version can even work as a replacement for eggs in almost any recipe.

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Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast, which is made from sugarcane and beet molasses, has a cheesy flavor to it. It can replace the dairy product in many recipes, even including mac and cheese.

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Vegan sour cream

You can make your own vegan sour cream at home by blending the thick top of full-fat coconut milk with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and sea salt to taste.

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Coconut cream

If you refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight, it’ll form a thick coat of coconut cream at the top. Use this cream as a substitute for yogurt in any recipe you want.

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Crumbled tofu

Crumbled tofu is a great replacement for cottage and ricotta cheese.

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Almond milk

Almond milk is not only dairy-free, it is also a gluten- and soy-free alternative to milk.

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Cashew cream

Blend your soaked cashews with almond milk, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and salt for a homemade sour cream recipe.

a bowl of ice cream

Mashed potatoes

Did you know that, due to their binding properties, mashed potatoes can be used as a baking replacement for eggs?

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Another fun fact: it is possible to bake a cake by mixing store-bought vegan cake mix and a can of soda.

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Vegetable broth

Any time meat or fish stock is required in a recipe, it can easily be replaced with vegetable broth.

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Soy sauce and vinegar

Worcestershire sauce isn’t vegan, but a good alternative is a mix of soy sauce and a hint of vinegar.

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Vegan gelatin

You can easily find vegan gelatin these days, but you can also replace the gelatin in recipes for other ingredients, such as agar flakes.

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food, delicious vegan alternatives for popular ingredients

Vegan mayo

Vegan mayo is also pretty accessible these days, but the homemade one is so much better! Try one of these three recipes.

food, delicious vegan alternatives for popular ingredients


You can make your own Parmesan cheese with cashews, some nutritional yeast, garlic, and sea salt. Try this recipe from Minimalist Baker.

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