These are the supermarket ingredients you can use if what you need isn't available

The government has assured the public that stockpiling isn't necessary during the coronavirus outbreak, with hard work being done to ensure supermarket supply chains continue providing enough food for everyone.

There are, however, some on the items you can now buy in supermarkets to make sure vulnerable people and NHS workers can access the supplies they need.

In the meantime, however, there are substitutes you can use in your cooking if what you need is temporarily unavailable. Please be aware that these ingredient substitutions may change the taste or texture of the dish you're cooking.

Tinned tomatoes / passata

Tinned tomatoes are a great base to many dishes, including pasta sauces and curries. If you can't find any at the supermarket, however, there are a few replacements you can try.

If you can get hold of tomato paste, combine one part tomato paste with one part water for a sauce.

Alternatively, if you mix fresh tomatoes with garlic, olive oil and sugar in a pan, you can make your own passata. The BBC has a recipe for doing this here.

Jarred bolognese sauce can also be used as a replacement for tinned tomatoes or passata in a recipe.


If onions are in short supply, shallots work as a replacement - though bear in mind that you'll probably need to use more, given that they are smaller than onions.

Shallots may also create a milder flavour in the dish.

UHT milk

In the absence of UHT dairy milk, you may be able to find non-dairy substitutes which have a long life, including oat, soya or almond milk.

If none of these are available, you can make your own oat milk with a blender fairly easily using water, oats and a pinch of salt. There are plenty of recipes online for doing this.


Most oils can be substituted for one another without affecting the flavour of a dish too much - for instance, swapping out vegetable oil for rapeseed oil.

If you can't get hold of oil at all, you can use butter as a replacement, instead.


If you're baking and need eggs, you can mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of vinegar to replace one egg. Apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar are the best to use for this.

This replacement works best for cupcakes, quick breads and cakes.

If you've got no eggs in and fancy something scrambled on your toast, you could try scrambling tofu instead, using recipes online. Tofu also has the advantage of having a fairly long shelf life.


If making your own pasta sounds too fiddly, you can replace spaghetti with noodles without affecting the flavour of your dish too much - especially with a tasty sauce.


Depending on what you're cooking, like oil, most flours can be substituted for one another.

However, if a recipe requires self-raising flour, normal flour is unlikely to work as a substitute. Instead, add two teaspoons of baking powder to each cup (150g) of all-purpose plain flour.

If you can't get hold of flour at all, you can blend rolled oats as a replacement.


Rice can be replaced by a number of other grains, including quinoa, barley or bulgur wheat.

Tinned chickpeas and other tinned pulses

If you're struggling to get hold of tinned food, bear in mind that some of what you're looking for may come in dried form - like chickpeas or lentils for example - so check the shelves to see if the dried version is available.


If there's no fresh garlic on offer, check other sections for garlic paste, garlic granules or frozen garlic.

Naan bread

Can't find any naan bread? Using flour, water and salt, you can easily make your own chapatis as a replacement at home.

Coconut milk

Instead of coconut milk, you can try using the same amount of whole milk or yoghurt as a replacement.


Vegetables can be found fresh, in tins and in the frozen section of supermarkets, so try all three before you give up on your five a day.

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