Conversion & Ingredient Tables

Conversion Tables

Oven Temperatures Conversions
US Liquid Measurements
US Can Sizes
International Liquid Measurements
British Measurements
Australian Measurements
Metric Spoon Conversions

Substitutions and Equivalents

Dairy Products
Sugar and Other Sweeteners
Leavening Agents
Starches (Food Thickeners)


Conversion Tables

Oven Temperature Conversions

Farenheit Centigrade Gas Mark Description
225 F 105 C 1/4 Very Cool
250 F 120 C 1/2
275 F 130 C 1 Cool
300 F 150 C 2
325 F 165 C 3 Very Moderate
350 F 180 C 4 Moderate
375 F 190 C 5
400 F 200 C 6 Moderately Hot
425 F 220 C 7 Hot
450 F 230 C 8
475 F 245 C 9 Very Hot

US Liquid Measurements

1 gallon 4 quarts 3.79 L  (can round to 4L)
1 quart 2 pints .95 L  (can round to 1L)
1 pint 2 cups 16 fl. oz. or 450 ml
1 cup 8 fl oz 225 ml (can round to 250ml)
1 tablespoon  (Tbsp.) 1/2 fl oz 16 ml (can round to 15 ml)
1 teaspoon (tsp.) 1/3 tablespoon 5 ml


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US Can Sizes

Can Size Contents Approx. Cups
5 ounce 5 oz. 5/8
8 ounce 8 oz. 1
Picnic 10 1/2 to 12  oz. 1 1/4
12 oz. vacuum 12 oz. 1 1/2
No. 300 14 - 16 oz. 1 3/4
No. 303 16 - 17 oz. 2
No. 2 1 lb. 4 oz. or 1 pint 2 fl. oz. 2 1/2
No. 2 1/2 1 lb. 13 oz. 3 1/2
No. 3 46 fl. oz. 1 1/3
Condensed Milk 14 fl. oz. 1 1/3
Evaporated Milk 5 1/3 fl. oz. 2/3
  13 fl. oz. 1 2/3


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International Liquid Measurements

Country Standard Cup Standard Teaspoon Standard Tablespoon
Canada 250 ml 5 ml 15 ml
Australia 250 ml 5 ml 20 ml
UK 250 ml 5 ml 15 ml
New Zealand 250 ml 5 ml 15 ml


British Measurements

1 UK pint 6 dl  
1 UK liquid oz 0.96 US liquid oz  
1 pint 570 ml 20 fl oz
1 breakfast cup 10 fl oz 1/2 pint
1 tea cup 1/3 pint  
1 Tablespoon 15 ml  
1 dessert spoon 10 ml  
1 teaspoon 5 ml 1/3 Tablespoon
1 ounce 28.4 g can round to 25 or 30
1 pound 454 g  
1 kg 2.2 pounds  

Australian Measurements

Metric Cups Grams Ounces
1 cup butter 250 8 3/4
1 cup biscuit (cookie) crumbs 110 3 3/4
1 cup breadcrumbs, soft 60 2
1 cup breadcrumbs, dry 125 4 1/2
1 cup cheese, grated 125 4 1/2
1 cup cocoa 110 3 3/4
1 cup cornflour (cornstarch) 125 4 1/2
1 cup cornflakes 30 1
1 cup rice bubbles (rice krispies) 30 1
1 cup coconut (flaked) 95 3 1/4
1 cup dried split peas or lentils 200 7
1 cup dried fruit 160 5 3/4
1 cup dates (chopped) 150 5 1/4
1 cup flour (plain or self-rising) 125 4 1/2
1 cup flour (whole wheat) 135 4 3/4
1 cup golden syrup, honey or glucose 360 12 3/4
1 cup jam 330 11 1/2
1 cup nuts (chopped) 125 4 1/2
1 cup oats (rolled) 90 3 1/4
1 cup rice (short grain) 210 7 1/2
1 cup rice (long grain) 200 7
1 cup salt or crystal sugar 250 8 3/4
1 cup castor sugar (superfine) 220 7 3/4
1 cup soft brown sugar (packed) 170 6

Metric Spoon Conversions

1 Tablespoon peanut butter 20 2/3
1 Tablespoon baking powder, bicarb soda, cream of tartar, gelatin, rice or sago 15 1/2
1 Tablespoon cocoa, corn flour, custard powder or nuts 10 1/3
1 Tablespoon golden syrup, treacle, honey or glucose 30 1
1 Tablespoon sugar or salt 20 2/3
1 Tablespoon yeast, compressed 20 2/3
1 Tablespoon = 20 ml  
1 teaspoon = 5 ml  

Substitutions & Equivalents

Have you ever been right in the middle of a recipe and you realize you are missing one of the ingredients which you 'thought' you had?  Here is some information and a few ideas which may help you to 'save the day'.



White flour is the finely ground endosperm of the wheat kernel.

All-purpose flour is white flour milled from hard wheat or a blend of hard and soft wheat. It gives the best results for many kinds of products, including some yeast breads, quick breads, cakes, cookies, pastries and noodles. All-purpose flour is usually enriched and may be bleached or unbleached. Bleaching will not affect nutrient value. Different brands will vary in performance. Protein varies from 8 to 11 percent. US & UK all purpose and plain flour can be interchanged without any adjustments.

Bread flour is white flour that is a blend of hard, high-protein wheat and has greater gluten strength and protein content than all-purpose flour. Unbleached and in some cases conditioned with ascorbic acid, bread flour is milled primarily for commercial bakers, but is available at most grocery stores. Protein varies from 12 to 14 percent.

Cake flour is fine-textured, silky flour milled from soft wheat with low protein content. It is used to make cakes, cookies, crackers, quick breads and some types of pastry. Cake flour has a greater percentage of starch and less protein, which keeps cakes and pastries tender and delicate. Protein varies from 7 to 9 percent. US cake flour is lighter than all-purpose flour, and can be substituted with 1 cup minus 3 Tbsp. of all purpose/plain flour, and add 3 Tbsp. of cornstarch or potato flour to make the full cup.

Self-rising flour, also referred to as phosphated flour, is a convenience product made be adding salt and leavening to all-purpose flour. It is commonly used in biscuits and quick breads, but is not recommended for yeast breads. One cup of self-rising flour contains 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Self-rising can be substituted for all-purpose flour by reducing salt and baking powder according to these proportions.

Pastry flour has properties intermediate between those of all-purpose and cake flours. It is usually milled from soft wheat for pastry-making, but can be used for cookies, cakes, crackers and similar products. It differs from hard wheat flour in that it has a finer texture and lighter consistency. Protein varies from 8 to 9 percent.

Semolina is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum, a hard spring wheat with a high-gluten content and golden color. It is hard, granular and resembles sugar. Semolina is usually enriched and is used to make couscous and pasta products such as spaghetti, vermicelli, macaroni and lasagna noodles. Except for some specialty products, breads are seldom made with semolina.

Durum flour is finely ground semolina. It is usually enriched and used to make noodles.

Whole wheat, stone-ground and graham flour can be used interchangeably; nutrient values differ minimally. Either grinding the whole-wheat kernel or recombining the white flour, germ and bran that have been separated during milling produces them. Their only differences may be in coarseness and protein content. Insoluble fiber content is higher than in white flours. US whole wheat flour is interchangeable with UK whole-meal flour.

Gluten flour is usually milled from spring wheat and has a high protein (40-45 percent), low-starch content. It is used primarily for diabetic breads, or mixed with other non-wheat or low-protein wheat flours to produce a stronger dough structure. Gluten flour improves baking quality and produces high-protein gluten bread. This is also sold as 'Vital Wheat Gluten' or 'Wheat Gluten'.


• Any recipe calling for all-purpose flour may use ½ whole-wheat flour and ½ all-purpose flour.

• Self rising flour can be made by substituting 1 cup of all purpose/plain flour minus 2 tsp., and add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt to make the full cup.

• If wanting the product to be 100% whole wheat, substitute 1-cup whole-wheat flour minus 1-tablespoon for every cup of all-purpose or bread flour.

• To create a lighter whole-wheat loaf, add 1-tablespoon gluten flour and 1-tablespoon liquid for each cup of whole-wheat flour.


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Dairy Products~

Evaporated milk & Condensed Sweetened milk are both sold in cans.  Both are similar in consistency and color, but they are not the same.  Condensed Sweetened milk (such as Eagle brand) is mixed with sugar and a higher concentrate of dry milk.  A recipe for a homemade version of this can be found by doing a search on our website by clicking here and scrolling down to the search box.

Recipes calling for buttermilk or cultured milk can be made by creating your own 'sour milk' substitute.  Add one Tbsp. of vinegar or lemon juice to each cup of sweet milk, then let stand for about 5 minutes.  Use as directed in your recipe, and you won't be able to tell the difference.

The table below will give you an idea of the percentage of milk fat in each type of milk product.

Dairy Product US UK
Whipping Cream 30% 35%
Whipped Cream n/a 35%
Clotted Cream n/a 55%
Double Cream n/a 48%
Heavy Cream 36% n/a
Half Cream 'Half & Half' 12%
Single Cream 'Light Cream' 18%


Quark (or Quarg) Is a soft, un-ripened cheese with the texture and flavor of sour cream. Quark comes in both low-fat and nonfat. The calories are the same (35 per ounce) in both types, the texture of low-fat Quark is richer than that of low-fat sour cream. It has a milder flavor and richer texture than low-fat yogurt. Quark can be used as a sour cream substitute to top baked potatoes, and in a variety of dishes including cheesecakes, dips, salads and sauces.

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Sugars & other Sweeteners~

Glucose is a monosaccharide and is less sweet than other sugars. Fructose, on the other hand, is the sweetest known monosaccharide. Sucrose, or common sugar, has 1 part glucose and 1 part fructose. Sometimes knowing what parts certain sugars or syrups break down into can help when choosing a substitute.

There are many varieties of sugar and despite their similarities they aren't all interchangeable. Here's a quick guide to the most common types of sugar.

Common Sugar- This is your everyday white table sugar. It has a large variety of uses. Normal granulated sugar has a grain size of about 0.5mm across. You can also get larger grained sugars such as hail sugar which is popular for decorating cookies and other deserts.

Castor Sugar- Castor sugar is preferred in pastry and cake making as the granules are finer (around 0.35mm) and dissolve faster. With more sharp edges to cut through fat, batters become aerated more rapidly. Castor sugar also dissolves into beaten eggs for meringue with greater efficiency. (The term caster or castor sugar is a British term given to sugar fine enough to fit through a sugar "caster" or sprinkler. In the United States this sugar is also sold as "superfine" sugar).

US superfine sugar can be used in place of UK castor sugar.  These sugars are finer than regular granulated sugar.  Most times, you can use regular granulated sugar in place of castor sugar with no ill effects.  

Icing Sugar (Powdered or Confectioner's Sugar)- This is crushed, powdered granulated sugar. It is used in icings, fillings and some pastries. It's also one of the most important ingredients in cake decorating. This is because icing sugar is the basis of royal icing, which is used for decorating and writing, and it's also used to make "cake glue" and to dust surfaces before rolling out icings.

There are a few different sorts of icing sugar and they are not interchangeable. Pure Icing Sugar is pure unmixed sugar with no additives. Pure icing sugar is quite lumpy and usually needs to be sifted. This is the sugar used for Royal icing. Icing Sugar Mixture is sugar that has been blended with a small amount of corn flour (around 4%). It's not so good for cake decorating work as the small amounts of flour present can start to form mold if there is any moisture in the cake or decorated items (and there usually is). Pure sugar will not mold. Icing sugar mixture is fantastic for making simple glazes and icings, and fillings where a small amount of corn flour will not effect the result. It does not clump or lump and this is a definite advantage. Snow Sugar is icing sugar with a mixture of corn flour and a touch of vegetable fat and dextrose. This mixture produces a sugar that doesn't melt when dusted onto cakes and tarts.

UK/Aust/NZ icing sugar can be used in place of US confectioner's/powdered sugar.   You will occasionally find one of these which contains 5% cornstarch or corn flour.

Palm Sugar- Comes from a sugar-giving tree of which there are several. The most generous is the Asian sugar palm. The sap is collected from the flowers or from a tap in the trunk then boiled down to syrup (called palm honey) or crystallized to a mass. The dark sugar is often called 'jaggery' and has a distinct almost winey aroma. It is mostly used in Indian, Indonesian and some African cuisines. A lighter palm sugar is also used extensively in Thai cuisine. This lighter palm sugar is the most common palm sugar used in our kitchens in Australia.

Brown Sugar- Brown sugars are softer and moister than granulated sugars. Their crystals are coated with a molasses like syrup. Darker sugars are more intensely flavored, as the color relates to the molasses retention. Glucose and fructose are present in the molasses syrup coating the crystals. These attract and retain more moisture in the sugar itself, making brown sugars great for baking, as the products will retain more moisture and stay fresher for longer periods. Granulated sugars are 99% sucrose and brown sugars vary between 85-92% sucrose along with glucose and fructose. If brown sugar is used instead of granulated sugar the result will be more flavorful and moist but the browning temperature will be lower. Demerara sugar can also be in this category, as it often comes from the first crystallization of cane juice, producing yellow gold crystals that are frequently washed with alcohol to make them shiny and clear. Muscavado sugars are the crystallization of the dark mother syrup forming very small sticky intensely flavored sugars.

Invert Sugar- Invert sugar is made from a sucrose water solution (basic sugar syrup) that is heated with the addition of acid. Although invert sugar naturally occurs in honey, molasses and corn syrup, to name a few, it can also be purchased as a paste or syrup. It doesn't crystallize and it retains moisture. It is sweeter than sucrose (standard sugar), and when added to baked goods it will keep them moist longer. It also helps prevent ice formation in ice creams and sorbets. Therefore, it is used extensively in ice cream, sorbet, glazes and sauces, fondant and candy making. Fudge and caramel sauce are two examples where a non-grainy texture is important.

To make invert sugar, simply boil 3 parts sugar with 1 part water (by weight) and add an acid. For example, add 3kg sugar to 1litre (or kg) water and approx 3-5g of citric acid. Bring this to the boil, strain and cool.

Corn Syrup-

Why do some recipes have corn syrup in them?
Corn syrup is an invert sugar, which means that it prevents sugar crystals from forming. Microscopically, sugar has jagged edges and when you melt it, sugar liquefies. But if you keep cooking it to a syrup, those jagged edges want to re-attach themselves to others. Corn syrup acts as interfering agent, which ‘interfere’ with that process. Honey, agave, and the like, don’t have the same properties.

If making a caramel, and a recipe calls for corn syrup, you can substitute a dash of lemon juice or cream of tartar, which performs nearly the same function.  In other cases, corn syrup is used to give it a shine.

Is the corn syrup one buys in the supermarket the same at high-fructose corn syrup?
No. High-fructose corn syrup goes through an additional process to make it sweeter than standard corn syrup. Karo, the company that makes most of the corn syrup found on supermarket shelves in America, has come out with Karo Lite , which contains no high-fructose corn syrup.

When can another liquid sweetener be substituted for corn syrup in a recipe?
Corn syrup is there for the shine and body- not to prevent crystallization. You can use another liquid sweetener, that is mild-flavored (like agave) or close to neutral, to keep chocolate flavors pronounced.

When can one not substitute something for the corn syrup called for in a recipe?
For candy making, stick strictly to the recipe. If a recipe calls for boiling a sugar syrup, unless specified, stick to using corn syrup. Especially ones cooked to a higher temperature. Honey, and the like, tend to burn when cooked down, so care should be taken to avoid that.

If one wants to substitute another liquid sweetener, such as corn syrup, honey, or golden syrup, for granulated sugar, what proportion can one use?
In general, liquid sweeteners should be used in a 3/4's proportion to granulated sugar if substituting. That is, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, use 3/4 cup honey, or another liquid sweetener. If baking a cake or cookies, lower the baking temperature 25ºF and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of liquid sweetener you’re using.

If substituting another liquid sweetener for corn syrup, use equal amounts.

What can be used if corn syrup isn’t available where I live?
Glucose is what most professionals use and can be substituted 1 for 1. It can come from different sources, including corn or wheat. You can look for it online or visit a professional baking supply store in your area.

Sugar or golden syrup can also be substituted for US corn syrup.  You will find that corn syrup comes in two forms- light and dark.   Dark corn syrup is similar in texture and flavor to molasses, and can be used in place of molasses if needed.  Many times recipes will list light corn syrup as 'Karo' brand syrup.  Golden syrup is a thick, light brown byproduct of the sugar cane refining process.  Many times recipes will list golden syrup as 'Lyle's' brand syrup, or 'Chelsea' brand syrup.  Light corn syrup is an acceptable substitute, or a homemade version can be quickly mixed up by mixing 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water, then boiling for 1 minute.  Be certain to cool your homemade version before using it in any recipe.  You may also find blackstrap molasses listed in a recipe or two, and may substitute black treacle for it if needed.

Agave Nectar- Naturally-occurring sweetener made from the juice (aguamiel) of the agave plant. Subtle maple-like flavor is a good alternative to refined brown sugar, syrups, or molasses. Generally 100% pure and minimally processed with no additives or known allergens. Most are certified organic and kosher; low glycemic index;  gluten, nut, peanut, and dairy free.



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Leavening Agents~

Leavening agents are substances that are used in batters as well as doughs which are used to soften the dough and it is also used for lightening it.  There are three types of leavening agents, mechanical, biological and chemical agents. It produced air within interaction with the heat, moisture and acidity, it is the bubble you see when you make dough.  When you mix dough, the water and flour are mix together, you can see that there are holes that are left and this is an indication of the leavening agents presence in the mixed dough.

Chemical leaveners-- these are substances which when react to moisture or heat can produce gases -- the carbon dioxide gas -- they are used in quick-bread as well as cakes and cookies. it is for immediate use unlike biological leaveners which used fermentation and take longer time. This usually combines the base chemicals and acid.

Baking soda is made from 'sodium bicarbonate'.  Recipes listing this as an ingredient always contain some type of acidic ingredient, because this is what activates the baking soda.

Baking powder is made from a powdered acid and baking soda, and can be activated in a recipe without adding any other acidic ingredients.   A substitute for baking powder can be made as follows:

Baking Powder Substitute~

Mix 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda plus 1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar   This mixture can be used to substitute 1 tsp. baking powder.

Biological leaveners -- are usually this process is longer than chemical leaveners as it used fermentation like the yeast --- it alters the biological chemistry of the batter or dough while the yeast is at work.

An example of biological leavener is yeast leavening which "requires proofing, which allows the yeast time to reproduce and consume carbohydrates in the flour".

Mechanical leaveners-- are what it is you used your hand by mixing leavening agents like whisking cream, egg whites or when you do creaming -- mixing butter with sugar. According to Wikipedia usually this process "integrates tiny air bubbles into the mixture, since the sugar crystals physically cut through the structure of the fat. Creamed mixtures are usually further leavened by a chemical leavener and is often used in cookies.

Eggs are often times used as leavening agents in recipes, and so it is important to never add or remove eggs from the recipe until you know if this is why they have been included in the recipe.  An egg substitute which can be used in a pinch is as follows:

Egg Substitute~

For use in baking only, soften 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin in 1 Tbsp. cold water.  Add 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. boiling water and mix.   This mixture may be used to substitute for 1 egg when baking.

Another good egg substitute to use in baking only, is to use 1 heaping Tbsp. Soy Flour dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water.  This mixture may be used to substitute for 1 egg when baking.

Different kinds Of Leavening Agents

Kinds of Leavening Agents 
Biological leaveners 
sourdough starters, yeast, yoghurt, kefir, ginger-beer, buttermilk, beer 
Chemical leaveners 
baking powder, baking soda, monocalcium phosphates, sodium acid pyphospate, cream of tartar, hydrogen peroxide
Mechanical leaveners 
mixing sugar and butter, cream, egg whites, sponges ,cakes 
other leaveners
used in tempura and pudding, nitrous oxide



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Starches (Food Thickeners)~

Food thickeners, or starches, are used to give more thickness or consistency in liquid food items. There are many natural food thickeners as well as synthetic ones that we use in our everyday cooking. These are some common thickeners that are used for preparing foods like soup, stew, pudding and many other homemade food.

Cornstarch- cornstarch is one of the most common soup thickeners that is used for cooking not only soups but lot others like stew, sauces and gravies. Sometimes cornstarch is used with flour including rice flour- a natural food thickener- where both of these ingredients are blended with cool water and then added to a hot liquid while stirring constantly like for making sauces and gravies.

US cornstarch and UK corn flour may be interchanged.  Potato flour is a starch as well and may be substituted for cornstarch. 

US corn flour is actually finely ground cornmeal, and this may be confusing in many recipes.  Double check with the author of your recipe if you are in doubt as to whether your recipe calls for US or UK corn flour.  Generally, US corn flour/cornmeal is used in larger amounts as a major ingredient in a corn bread type recipe, or as a coating for fried/baked meats or vegetables. 

UK corn flour/cornstarch is used in small amounts as a thickening agent in baked goods or puddings and gravies.   If your recipe calls for cornstarch/corn flour as a thickening agent, you may substitute twice the amount called for in flour, and get the same results, if the recipe is being heated to a boil.  Flour will give a cloudier result however, so if you need a clear result, do not use it as a substitute.

Arrowroot- Yet another healthy natural food thickener, arrowroot is added to hot soups and sauces for a smooth silky texture. Arrowroot is a white powder extracted from the root of a West Indian plant.  It looks and feels like cornstarch.  Arrowroot has no flavor and may also be used as a thickening agent for sauces, pies, puddings and glazes.   

Arrowroot mixtures thicken at a lower temperature than mixtures made with flour or cornstarch.  Mix arrowroot with cool liquids before adding hot liquids, then cook until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat immediately to prevent mixture from thinning.  2 tsp. of arrowroot can be  substituted for 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch.   Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels and prevents ice crystals from forming on homemade ice cream.

Cassava (Tapioca)- This natural food thickener is generally used in cooking desserts. Cassava doesn't let the sweet dish to gel upon sitting. It even prevents the food from becoming stale.

Agar-agar- The strong thickening agent, agar-agar is used for making jellies and vegetarian deserts. This thickener in cooking is used generally when the food needs to withstand warm temperatures without melting.

Gelatin- Gelatin is also a natural food thickener as it comes from cows and pigs but for the same reason many people do not prefer it in cooking vegetarian dishes. However, gelatin is an inexpensive thickener used for fruit-flavored deserts including ice creams.

Eggs- Yes, the natural thickener- the very delicious eggs are used as thickening agents in foods like custards. They are also use widely in ice creams and cooked fillings.

Powdered Mashed Potatoes (flakes)-  Another natural thickener for soups and stews.  Add using a whisk (as desired) at the end of cooking time, before serving.



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Shortening is a solid, white colored fat made from hydrogenated vegetable oil.  (A common US brand is Crisco, and this may be used to name this ingredient in many US recipes.)  Shortening is sold in both plain and butter flavors in the US.  Many times you may substitute butter or margarine for shortening in recipes, but this will result in a different flavor due to the fact that vegetable shortening has a very bland, nondescript flavor. 

A 'stick' or 'cube' or 'square' of butter or margarine is equal to 1/2 cup US or 4 ounces or approximately 100 grams.  There are 8 Tbsp. to each 1/4 pound 'stick' of butter or margarine.  Many times manufacturers mark the paper wrapper with measurements so you can slice off the exact amount of butter or margarine needed without the use of a measuring spoon or measuring cup.

Another substitution which may be used is Lard.   Lard is rendered and clarified pork fat.  The quality of lard depends on the area of the pig which the fat came from.  The very best is 'leaf lard' which comes from the fat around the animal's kidneys.  Unprocessed lard has quite a strong flavor and a soft texture.  Lard can be processed in many ways, including filtering, bleaching, hydrogenation and emulsification.  In general, processed lard is firmer (about the consistency of shortening) and has a milder, nutlike flavor.  Lard can also have a longer shelf life than butter, margarine or shortening.  Lard is richer than many other fats, and therefore makes extremely tender, flaky biscuits and pastries.   It's a flavorful fat for frying and is widely used throughout South America and many European countries.  When substituting lard for butter in baking, reduce the amount by 20 to 25 percent.  All lard should be tightly wrapped to prevent absorption of other flavors.  It may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending on how it has been processed.  Always check the label for storage directions.

Copra is a solid fat derived from coconuts.   It is fairly saturated and used in recipes where it is melted, combined with other ingredients and left to set.  This is sometimes referred to as coconut or palm leaf lard.

Deep frying requires fats/oils with heat tolerant properties.  Butter and margarine, as well as lard & olive oil are not good candidates for this type of cooking.  Canola, Vegetable, Corn and Peanut oils are widely used for deep frying.

The smoke point of an oil or fat is the temperature at which it gives off smoke. The smoke point of oil depends to a very large extent on its purity and age at the time of measurement.                

Fats or Oils


Cooking Uses

Type of Fat

Smoke Point °F

Smoke Point °C

Almond Oil

Has a subtle toasted almond aroma and flavor. 

Used in sauté and stir fry of Oriental foods.




Avocado Oil

Vibrant green in color with a has a soft nutty taste and a mild avocado aroma. This is a very healthy oil with a profile similar to olive oil. This oil can be used for very high temperature applications.

Stir frying, searing





Whole butter is a mix of fats, milk solids, and moisture derived by churning cream until the oil droplets stick together and can be separated out. 

Baking, cooking




Butter (Ghee), clarified

Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter since clarification eliminates the milk solids (which burn at lower temps).  

Frying, sautéing


375-485°F (depending on purity)

190-250°C (depending on purity),

Canola Oil (Rapeseed oil)

A light, golden-colored oil.

Good all-purpose oil. Used in salads and cooking.




Coconut Oil

A heavy nearly colorless oil extracted from fresh coconuts. 

coatings, confectionary, shortening




Corn Oil

A mild, medium-yellow color refined oil. Made from the germ of the corn kernel. 

Frying, salad dressings, shortening




Cottonseed Oil

Pale-yellow oil that is extracted from the seed of the cotton plant. 

Margarine, salad dressings, shortening. Also used for frying.




Grapeseed Oil

Light, medium-yellow oil that is a by-product of wine making.

Excellent choice of cooking oil for sautéing or frying. Also used in salad dressings.




Hazelnut Oil

The nuts are ground and roasted and then pressed in a hydraulic press to extract the delicate oil.   

Salad dressings, marinades and baked goods.






The white solid or semi-solid rendered fat of a hog. This was once the most popular cooking and baking fat, but has been replaced by vegetable shortenings. 

Baking and frying



182 °C

Macadamia Nut Oil

This oil is cold pressed from the decadent macadamia nut, extracting a light oil similar in quality to the finest extra virgin olive oil. 

Sauté, pan fry, sear, deep fry, stir fry, grill, broil, baking.




199 °C

Olive Oil

Oils vary in weight and may be pale yellow to deep green depending on fruit used and processing. 

cooking, salad dressings, sauté, pan fry, sear, deep fry, stir fry, grill, broil, baking


Extra Virgin -320°F
Virgin - 
Pomace - 
Extra Light -


Palm Oil

A yellowish-orange fatty oil obtained especially from the crushed nuts of an African palm. 

Cooking, flavoring




Peanut Oil

Pale yellow refined oil with a very subtle scent and flavor. Made from pressed steam-cooked peanuts. Used primarily in Asian cooking. 

Frying, cooking, salad dressings




Rice Bran Oil

Rice bran oil is produced from the rice bran, which is removed from the grain of rice as it is processed. 

Frying, sauté, salad dressings, baking, dipping oils




Safflower Oil

A golden color with a light texture. Made from the seeds of safflowers. 

Margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressings




Sesame Oil

Comes in two types - a light, very mild Middle Eastern type and a darker Asian type pressed from toasted sesame seeds. 

Cooking, salad dressings




Shortening, Vegetable

Blended oil solidified using various processes, including whipping in air and hydrogenation. May have real or artificial butter flavor added. 

Baking, frying



182 °C

Soybean Oil

A fairly heavy oil with a pronounced flavor and aroma.  

Margarine, salad dressings, shortening




Sunflower Oil

A light odorless and nearly flavorless oil pressed from sunflower seeds. Pale yellow. 

Cooking, margarine, salad dressings, shortening




Vegetable Oil

Made by blending several different refined oils. Designed to have a mild flavor and a high smoke point. 

Cooking, salad dressings




Walnut Oil

Medium-yellow oil with a nutty flavor and aroma. More perishable than most other oils. 

Sauté, pan fry, sear, deep fry, stir fry, grill, broil




Saturated Fats: 
Saturated fats are mainly animal fats and are solid at room temperature. These fats include butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, egg yolks, lard and fatty meats. Some plants fats are also high in saturated fats such as coconut oil and palm oils. Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol more than any other food you eat. By using the right oils and fats for the right reasons, you can preserve the healthful benefits. Your foods will not only taste their best, but also be healthy.

Unsaturated Fats:
These fats can come from both animal and plant products. There are three (3) types:

  1. Monounsaturated Fats - Usually come from seeds or nuts such as avocado, olive, peanut, and canola oils. These fats are liquid at room temperature.

  2. Polyunsaturated Fats - Usually come from vegetables, seeds, or nuts such as corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, cotton seed, and sesame seeds oils. These fats are liquid at room temperature.

  3. Trans Fatty Acids - Trans fats are produced when liquid oil is made into a solid fat, such as shortening or margarine. This process is called hydrogenation. Trans fats act like saturated fats and can raise your cholesterol level. 


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Cacao (Cacao Nibs, Raw Cacao, Roasted Cacao, Ground Cacao)

This is the cacao bean, minus the shell. You can buy cacao raw or roasted. Whole cacao is the whole bean, cacao nibs are crunched up pieces of bean, and ground cacao is powdered. The healthiest form of chocolate there is, cacao can sometimes be quite bitter.

Chocolate Liquor

The basis of all types of chocolate, formed by grinding cacao beans into a smooth, liquid paste. Nothing is added, and it does not contain alcohol, despite the name. It naturally contains about 53% cocoa butter (fat).

Unsweetened Chocolate (Chocolate, Baking Chocolate, Pure Chocolate, Bitter Chocolate)

Chocolate liquor that has been allowed to cool and harden. It is used for baking and to make other types of chocolate. Many bakers prefer this type of chocolate for baking because they have more control over the flavor and sweetness.

Bittersweet Chocolate (Semisweet Chocolate, Dark Chocolate)

US dark chocolate and UK plain chocolate are the same, the darkest, sweetest of eating chocolates. This chocolate is also referred to as 'bittersweet', 'semi-sweet' or 'sweet dark'.  This contains at least 35% chocolate liquor, plus cocoa butter and sugar in varying amounts. There is no technical difference between bittersweet and semisweet types of chocolate, and they are often referred to as “dark.” Note that there is such a thing as “bittersweet (or semisweet) baking chocolate,” which is sweetened cocoa liquor without the added cocoa butter.

Sweet Chocolate

'Bitter' chocolate is a term used in the UK for high quality plain chocolate.  This contains at least 15% chocolate liquor, plus cocoa butter and sugar in varying amounts. Some people mistakenly refer to this as “bittersweet.”

Milk Chocolate

US milk chocolate and UK milk, or plain chocolate are also the same.  When following a recipe, please remember that chocolate chips contain an ingredient which slows the melting process, and bar chocolates do not contain this same ingredient.  This contains at least 10% chocolate liquor, plus cocoa butter and sugar in varying amounts, and at least 12% milk (milk, cream, milk powder, etc).

White Chocolate

White chocolate is not technically one of the types of chocolate because it does not contain any chocolate liquor. It must contain at least 20% cocoa butter and 14% milk, plus sugar in varying amounts.

Cocoa (Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened Cocoa)

This is made by slamming chocolate liquor with a hydraulic press to expel the fat, i.e. the cocoa butter; what is left is allowed to harden, and then it is crushed into a powder. There is roughly 10-20% fat remaining in the powder. Cocoa powder is often used in low fat cooking because it retains the chocolate flavor but has much of the fat removed.

“Dutched” cocoa is formed by washing cocoa powder with an alkali solution of potassium carbonate. This darkens the color and neutralizes the acidity of the powder. Very alkalized cocoa is called black cocoa, which gives Oreos their unique look.

Most American recipes use plain cocoa powder (Hershey’s is plain cocoa). If a recipe needs Dutch cocoa, it will usually specify it. In general, regular cocoa is used in recipes with baking soda (which is alkaline), and Dutch cocoa is used in recipes with baking powder (which is acidic).

Ground Chocolate (Powdered Chocolate)

Not to be confused with cocoa powder, this is regular eating chocolate that’s been ground to make a powder. It is generally used for making drinks, and should not be used in place of unsweetened cocoa powder in recipes.

Baking Chocolate (Baker’s chocolate)

Although the FDA sets the guidelines for what types of chocolate can be labeled “unsweetened, bittersweet, semisweet, milk, and white,” they don’t specify what can be labeled baking chocolate.

You can find all of the following types of chocolate labeled “baking chocolate”:

1) unsweetened chocolate

2) bittersweet baking chocolate (chocolate liquor + sugar, but no cocoa butter added)

3) bittersweet chocolate (chocolate liquor + sugar + cocoa butter) Most chefs wouldn’t consider this true baking chocolate because of the added cocoa butter, though you might find it labeled as such.

4) baking-resistant chocolate, i.e. chocolate chips (bittersweet chocolate with less cocoa butter added, so that it won’t melt easily)

Recipes will usually specify at least “unsweetened baking chocolate (#1 above)” or “bittersweet baking chocolate (#2 above).” One thing you should avoid, though, is using chocolate chips in place of other types of chocolate when the recipe calls for melting. The low cocoa butter content makes chips bad for melting.

In recipes calling for unsweetened baking chocolate, you may substitute 3 Tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp. of vegetable or olive oil, for each 1 ounce square. 

Chocolate Coating (Compound Chocolate Coating, Summer Coating, Chocolate Flavored Coating)

These are vegetable fat-based coatings that contain sugar and some amount cocoa powder, chocolate liquor and/or cocoa butter for flavor. They are not true chocolate. The advantage to using them is that they typically do not “bloom” in high heat. They are best used in making chocolate decorations.

Couverture (Coating Chocolate)

Chocolate coating or coating chocolate? Couverture is the good stuff – usually some type of dark chocolate with extra cocoa butter added to make it melt nicely for enrobing (drizzling onto the outside of a chocolate confection). Because the high cocoa butter content (roughly 35-45%) makes it melt well, it is ideal for chocolate fountains, and usually no oil need be added.

Gianduja (Gianduia, pronounced zhahn-DOO-yuh)

Chocolate made with toasted hazelnuts ground into powder. This has a smooth, chocolaty texture, but also has the wonderful flavor of hazelnuts. An Italian or Swiss invention, depending on whom you believe.

Single Bean Chocolate (Origin Chocolate, Single Origin, Estate Chocolate, Grand Cru, Single Cru)

In general, these are types of chocolate that are made from a single type of bean that’s grown in a specific region, or even a specific plantation. But not always. These can also be from different types of beans all grown on the same plantation, a single bean from several different plantations in the same geographic region, or a blend of the finest of the same exact type of bean from locations around the globe.

The point is, the manufacturer is carefully selecting the beans to create a unique flavor, but some people argue this is a gimmick. After all, Hershey’s selects its beans to create a unique flavor too. In general, however, these types of chocolate are of high quality.

Cocoa Butter

When chocolate liquor is pressed to expel the fat and make cocoa powder, the fat expelled is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is added to chocolate liquor to make the type of chocolate we enjoy eating; it gives chocolate that smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Cocoa butter is also used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Because it melts at about 97° F, it smoothes into the skin nicely. Also, it has healing properties and is resistant to spoilage.

Chocolates (Chocolate Candies, Truffles, Creams, Pralines, etc.)

When people speak of “chocolates” in the plural, they are typically referring to chocolate candies, like truffles, chocolate creams, chocolate-covered nuts, and that sort of thing. “Chocolates” are candies made from other types of chocolate.

Chocolate Extract

Chocolate extract is a good way to add chocolate flavor to your cooking without adding fat, but the flavor can be a bit strong. It is made like vanilla extract; cacao beans are soaked in alcohol.

Chocolate Oil

There is actually no such thing as a chocolate oil. If you see chocolate oil, it’s most likely a chocolate perfume oil, entirely manmade, and not for cooking.


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copyright Kaylin White/Real Food for Real People  1994-2012
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