You’re all set to cook, but you realize you’re out of bread crumbs or fresh basil. Here are some work-arounds to help you out in the kitchen.

By Real Simple
Updated December 01, 2010
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Wendell Webber

Lemons
Use: fresh lime juice or half the amount of white or red wine vinegar

Fresh Basil
Use: fresh mint (slightly less) or fresh cilantro

Dry Bread Crumbs
Use: crushed cracker crumbs, cornflakes, or croutons

Chili Powder
For 1 teaspoon, use: 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1⁄4 teaspoon dried cumin, and a dash of bottled hot sauce

Kosher Salt
Use: fine table salt, substituting 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 the amount called for

Fresh Cilantro
Use: fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cheddar
Use: Colby, Monterey Jack, or American

Fresh Herbs
Use: the dried version, substituting 1⁄3 the amount called for

Nutmeg
Use: cinnamon, ginger, or allspice (for sweet, not savory, recipes)

Buttermilk
For 1 cup, use: 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar), plus enough milk to equal 1 cup (let stand 5 minutes)

Parmesan
Use: pecorino or Asiago

Don’t be caught empty-handed again. Download our checklists to learn which basic spices and gourmet spices you should always keep in your pantry.