Dry Substitutes for Fresh Ingredients: How to Save Money and Time in the Kitchen

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Have you ever started cooking a recipe, only to realize that you don’t have all of the fresh ingredients on hand? Maybe the recipe calls for fresh herbs, but you only have dried ones. Or perhaps it calls for fresh vegetables, but all you have are frozen or canned. Fortunately, there are many dry substitutes that can be used in place of fresh ingredients. Not only can these substitutions save you money, but they can also be a great way to reduce waste and make cooking more convenient.

Types of Dry Substitutes

There are many types of dry substitutes that can be used in place of fresh ingredients. Here are a few examples:

Herbs and Spices

Dried herbs and spices can be used in place of fresh ones in most recipes. In fact, many chefs prefer using dried herbs over fresh ones because they have a more concentrated flavor. Some common substitutions include:

– 1 teaspoon dried herbs = 1 tablespoon fresh herbs
– 1 teaspoon dried ginger = 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic = 1 clove fresh garlic

Fruits and Vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables can be replaced with their dried counterparts in recipes. Dried fruits are often used in baking, while dried vegetables can be rehydrated and used in soups and stews. Here are a few examples:

– 1/2 cup dried apricots = 1 cup fresh apricots
– 1/4 cup dried mushrooms = 1 cup fresh mushrooms
– 1 tablespoon dried onion = 1/4 cup fresh onion


Sometimes a recipe calls for a fresh liquid, like lemon juice or orange juice, but you don’t have it on hand. In these cases, you can often use a dry substitute instead:

– 1 teaspoon powdered lemon or orange zest = 1 tablespoon fresh zest
– 1 teaspoon citric acid = 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Benefits of Using Dry Substitutes

Using dry substitutes can have many benefits, including:


When you’re missing a key fresh ingredient for a recipe, it can be frustrating to have to go to the store or change your plans. Dry substitutes can be kept in your pantry for when you need them, making cooking more convenient.

Cost Savings

Fresh ingredients can be expensive, especially if they’re out of season. Dry substitutes are often less expensive and can be used for multiple recipes.

Reduced Waste

Fresh ingredients have a shorter shelf life than their dry counterparts and can spoil quickly if not used. Using dry substitutes can reduce waste and ensure that you always have the ingredients you need on hand.


Dry substitutes for fresh ingredients can be a great way to save money and time in the kitchen. By using the appropriate substitutes, you can still create delicious, flavorful dishes without having to waste time and money on unnecessary trips to the store. Keep a variety of substitutes in your pantry and experiment with different recipes to see which substitutions work best for you.


What are some common substitutions for fresh herbs?

Some common substitutions include using 1 teaspoon of dried herbs in place of 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs. For example, 1 teaspoon of dried basil can be used in place of 1 tablespoon of fresh basil.

Can I use dried vegetables in place of fresh?

Yes, many dried vegetables can be rehydrated and used in soups and stews. For example, 1/4 cup of dried mushrooms can be rehydrated and used in place of 1 cup of fresh mushrooms.

Are there any downsides to using dry substitutes?

In some cases, the flavor of the dish may be slightly different when using dry substitutes. For example, using dried ginger in place of fresh ginger may result in a slightly different flavor. Additionally, some dry substitutes may have added preservatives or other ingredients that may not be desirable.


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