Vegan Ingredient Substitution List: 10 Popular Options

Tofu: the staple vegan ingredient

People who are considering becoming vegans often have a hard time making the transition because they are worried about how they will still enjoy their favorite recipes, which is where a vegan ingredient substitution list can come in handy. They may not know that for almost any non-vegan food product, there is an equally viable vegan alternative that will create a similar flavor and often a similar texture as well.

Why a Vegan Ingredient Substitution List?

While most people know that tofu is a good substitute for most meats, they may not know what to use instead of other items that aren't vegan, such as eggs, dairy products and gelatin. A list lets them pick something at a glance that will work just fine in most recipes.

Sample Vegan Ingredient Substitution List

This list is not all-inclusive, but it does contain some of the most popular alternatives for each of the items mentioned.

  • Meat - Tofu, seitan, tempeh, textured soy protein, quinoa, beans
  • Eggs - Bananas, applesauce, Ener-G egg replacer, baking soda and water, ground flaxseeds
  • Gelatin - Corn starch, agar, carrageenan, arrowroot powder, xanthan gum
  • Honey - Agave nectar, cane sugar, maple syrup
  • Cheese - Nutritional yeast flakes, soy or nut based cheese
  • Mayonnaise - Soy or grape seed oil mayonnaise
  • Cow's milk - Milk made from nuts, rice or soy
  • Ice cream - Soy ice cream or sherbet
  • Yogurt - Yogurt made with soy milk, rice milk or coconut milk

Other Lists

Those who are looking for a more substantial list can check out the following websites:

  • The Kids Are Vegans Too Blog: This list focuses on items vegan kids will want to eat, including butter and chocolate chips. Several substitutions are provided for each ingredient.
  • The Veggie Table - This list is similar to the others, but it has one bonus. It includes links to recipes for how to make the alternate ingredients, such as tofu cream cheese, yourself.
  • Veg Kansas City: This site explains exactly how to use each vegan substitution, from the amount needed to how to prepare it. It also mentions some brand names to look for in the harder to find products.

Another place to look for lists is in the front or back of many vegan cookbooks.


Before using a vegan ingredient as a substitute for a non-vegan one, it's important to consider that dish it's going to be used for. For example, some egg substitutes, like applesauce, work great in some situations but are a total wash in others. Applesauce is a perfect egg substitute in a cake, but it will not work in a quiche or omelet. The same is true with many of these ingredients.

Another thing to keep in mind is that veganism does not only extend to food products. Plenty of other things, like camera film and leather shoes, do not fit in with the lifestyle. There is an extensive substitution list for edible and nonedible animal derived products on PETA's webpage. Extensive as in it has dozens of items on it. Even a longtime vegan may learn that something he or she thought was vegan really isn't after reading through all of the entries.

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Vegan Ingredient Substitution List: 10 Popular Options