Best Pesach Recipe Substitute List

February 5, 2014
Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

iStock_000001752835SmallAt some point during Pesach preparations, we’ve all tried to convert a mainstream 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. I’ve added some great new substitutions this year. If anyone has any other substitutions they would like to share please let me know (

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


  • 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 ¼ cup oil and 7 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 14 oz. sweet chocolate (German-type) = 3 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2-2/3 Tablespoon oil and 4½ 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 = 1¼ cups granulated sugar plus ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup molasses =1 cup honey (and vice versa) now that the flavor will be different.
  • 1 cup corn syrup = 1¼ 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 marshmallow cream/ 2.5 oz. = 8 large marshmallows or 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup of flour = substitute 5/8 cup matzo cake meal or potato starch, or a combination sifted together
  • 1 Tablespoon flour = ½ Tablespoon potato starch
  • 1 cup corn starch = 7/8 cup potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tarter = 1½ teaspoon lemon juice or 1½ 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 matzo cake meal = 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons matzo meal finely ground in a blender or food processor and sifted
  • 3 crumbled matzoth = 2 cups matzo farfel
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese = 1 cup cottage cheese pureed with ½ 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 ½ cup fruit juice plus ½ cup water
  • 1¼ 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 wine = 13 Tablespoons water, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon sugar. Mix together and let set for 10 minutes.

Other Substitutes:

  • 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 okay. However, if you want to avoid them (and I do) you can add one extra egg white and ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil for each yolk eliminated when baking. Use only egg whites as the dipping to coat and fry meats.
  • Italian Seasoning = ¼ teaspoon EACH- dried oregano leaves, dried marjoram leaves and dried basil leaves, plus 1/8 teaspoon rubbed dried sage. This can be substituted for 1½ 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, ½ teaspoon salt. Mix to combine. Makes ¼ cup
  • Rice vinegar = 3 Tablespoons lime juice plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Cider vinegar = 2 Tablespoons lemon juice plus 1 Tablespoon orange
  • Flavored Vinegar = lemon juice in cooking or salad, grapefruit juice in salads, wine in marinades.
  • 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)

Soy Sauce Substitute

Yields 2/3 cup

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
  • ¼ cup boiling water


  1. Combine all the ingredients.
  2. 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.

Use the sauce within 3 to 4 days.

Passover Teriyaki Substitute


  • ¼ cup soy sauce substitute
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch
  • ¼ cup cold water


  1. In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the potato starch and water. Whisk to combine.
  2. Gently start to heat the mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the potato starch water until smooth. Immediately whisk the mixture into the warming liquid and continue stirring and cooking just until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and cool.

Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Cashew Sour Cream

Yields 1 cup

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)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small lemon, juice


  1. Cover cashews with water and soak for a few hours, or overnight.
  2. Pour off all water, and place nuts in food processor.
  3. Add ¼ 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.

Egg Substitute


  • 1½ Tablespoons water
  • 1½ Tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon potato starch
  • ½ teaspoon  baking soda

Works well for up to 2 eggs.

You can also try ¼ cup of applesauce = 1 egg but only for some of the egg in a recipe.

Corn Syrup Substitute


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 dash salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy, large pan. Stir and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and put cover on it for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.
  3. Uncover and cook until it reaches soft ball stage. Stir often.
  4. 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)
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon cold water


  1. In a sauce pan combine the bouillon, sugar and boiling water. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. While it’s boiling, in a cup, combine the potato starch and cold water, mix to combine and add mixture to the boiling broth.
  3. Simmer, whisking constantly until the  mixture thickens.

Chili Sauce

Yields 1+ cups


  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • Dash of allspice

© Eileen Goltz pesach substitutes 14

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.