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9 Substitutes for Baking Tools in a Pinch

These baking tool substitutes can save your recipe in a pinch.

We’ve all been in the kitchen, excited about a new recipe, when we suddenly realize—we’re missing some of the tools called out in the recipe. 

Then we’re faced with the dilemma of deciding if we ditch the recipe or run to the store to purchase the missing tools. 

Fortunately, there are some solutions to these stressful moments, and as it turns out, you may already own working substitutes for missing baking tools. 

But first…

Are baking tools and equipment necessary?

Now you might be wondering if baking tools are even necessary in the first place, especially if there are everyday substitutes out there. 

The answer is: yes, to a degree. 

Whether it’s a specific tool or a substitute for that tool, baking tools are sometimes necessary for the process. 

For instance, there’s practically no substitute for a baking sheet, and it’s not recommended you bake your cookies right on the oven rack. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.

What are basic baking supplies and tools?

So if baking tools are necessary, what are some common ones? Basic baking tools and supplies include:

  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoons
  • A whisk
  • Loaf and cake pans

9 Impromptu Substitutes for Baking Tools

Now on to the real mystery: what to do when you’re missing certain baking tools.

What are some objects you can use to substitute a specific utensil or tool?

1. When you don’t have a flour sifter.

Sifting flour is recommended to aerate the flour and get rid of any clumps. But what if you don’t have a dedicated flour sifter? 

A colander works in a pinch. You can also poke holes in the bottom of a plastic bottle and use that to sift flour, too.

2. When you don’t have a colander.

Okay, but what if you also don’t have a colander? If you’re doing something other than sifting flour, there is still hope. 

It’s painstaking, but you can use spoons to drain water or liquid without a colander. Simply scoop the item from the liquid, then hold the edge of the spoon to the edge of the pot or bowl you’re using, allowing the liquid to slowly drain off the spoon.

3. When you don’t have a basting brush.

Basting brushes are necessary for things like egg washes. If you don’t have a basting brush, you can make one from parchment or wax paper. 

Cut off a strip of paper. Fold once vertically and then four times horizontally. Make vertical cuts on one end (these will be the bristles). Unfold the paper and then roll it into a pencil-like shape. You should have your bristles nicely spread out like a makeshift brush. 

4. When you don’t have an icing spatula.

Icing spatulas are sometimes called for when icing cookies and cakes. If you don’t have this specific tool, a butter knife or the back of a spoon will get the job done!

Check out some icing hacks and other pro-level tips.

5. When you don’t have a cookie cutter.

Good news: you can still make cookies without a cookie cutter. Just take a drinking glass, turn it upside down, and you’ve got a perfectly functioning tool to cut out your cookies. 

This also works for other baked goods like scones and biscuits. 

In a pinch, you can use a water bottle (or any plastic bottle) to separate eggs.

6. When you don’t have an egg separator.

Sometimes a recipe calls for only egg whites or only egg yolks. The old pass it back and forth in the eggshell method can be messy and frustrating. 

In a pinch, you can use a water bottle (or any plastic bottle) to separate eggs. Crack your eggs in a bowl and use the water bottle to suction up the yolks (they easily squeeze back out). Then discard whichever part of the egg you don’t need. 

7. When you don’t have a double boiler.

Double boiling can be useful for tasks like melting chocolate. But you don’t need a fancy double boiler to get the job done. 

You can stack pots or use a heat-safe bowl in a shallow pot of boiling water. No microwaving and burnt chocolate here!

8. When you don’t have a cupcake pan.

Cupcake pans are pretty specific, so it may seem unlikely that there are any substitutes out there. You’d be incorrect. 

If you’ve got mason jar lids laying around, you can use them to support your cupcake liners in the oven. Just make sure you lay them all on a baking sheet, so gravity doesn’t ruin your treat.

Don’t have a rolling pin lying around? No worries! A wine bottle gets you the same result.

9. When you don’t have a rolling pin.

Don’t have a rolling pin lying around? No worries!

A wine bottle gets you the same result. Just clean it up and use it like you would a normal rolling pin.

Motivated to get baking?

Check out our rotating seasonal recipes full of globally-diverse flavors.

All ingredients come pre-packaged and pre-measured, so all you’ll need is some baking tools (or substitutes) to get started.   


Brittani Rable

Brittani Rable

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