UK Alternatives to US Baking Ingredients

UK Alternatives to American Cake Ingredients
It can be really annoying when you find an awesome looking cake that you desperately want to bake, but you can't find any of the ingredients here in the UK, or you have no idea what the alternatives are. I've done some research, and here are the closest and best readily available-in-the-UK alternative ingredients to some common American recipe ingredients.

Most US ingredients easily translate into UK ingredients, they just have different names, however some ingredients are special to the US so for those I have suggested the best equivalents, or ways to make your own substitutes. There are a few things you can pick up in places like Selfridges or Tesco's American Grocery Isle, but why go out of your way to buy them, when you probably have something just as good in your cupboard already.

See also: Cups to Grams Converter for Baking

US Ingredient UK Equivalent 1 UK Equivalent 2 UK Equivalent 3
All Purpose Flour Plain Flour

Baking Soda Bicarbonate of Soda

Bitter-sweet Chocolate Dark Chocolate with 70% Cocoa solids or more

Bread Flour Strong Flour

Cake and Pastry Flour Plain Flour 2tbsp Cornflour to every 100g Plain Flour, sifted well.
Cane Syrup Golden Syrup

Canola Oil Rapeseed Oil

Confectioners Sugar Icing Sugar

Cool Whip Dream Topping

Cornmeal Polenta Maize Flour "Natco" available in health food section of some Supermarkets
Cornstarch Cornflour

Dark Corn Syrup Treacle "Karo" available in Tesco American Isle
Graham Crackers Digestive and Rich Tea Biscuits combined Ginger Biscuits Shortbread
Graham Flour Wholemeal Flour

Half and Half 50% Milk to 50% Double Cream 50% Milk to 50% Whipping Cream Single Cream
Heavy Cream Double Cream

Kosher / Course Salt Sea Salt Rock Salt, ground
Light Cream Single Cream

Light Corn Syrup Golden Syrup "Karo" available in Tesco American Isle
Marshmallow Fluff Available from Amazon or Tesco American Isle Make your own Marshmallow Fluff Recipe Melted Marshmallows 
Molasses Treacle Maple Syrup Honey
Pine Kernals Pine Nuts

Powdered Sugar Icing Sugar

Refrigerator Biscuits Not readily available in UK. It is a dough for American biscuits (which are like savoury scones, not cookies) that is bought frozen/chilled. Here is a recipe to make your own refrigerator biscuit dough.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Dark Chocolate with 50% Cocoa solids or less Plain Chocolate
Shortening / Crisco Brands "Trex", "Flora White" or "Cookeen" Softened Butter Lard
Sweetened Coconut 35g desiccated coconut to 1tbsp icing sugar to 1tbsp hot water, left to soak

Super Fine Sugar Caster Sugar

White Sugar / Table Sugar Granulated Sugar

Whole Wheat Flour Wholemeal Flour

White Cake Mix Dry ingredients for a delicate sponge cake made with egg whites. Made with sugar, flour, powdered milk, baking powder & bicarbonate of soda. When ready to use, lard/shortening, water, vanilla and eggs whites are added to turn it into a cake batter. Here's a recipe.
Yellow Cake Mix Dry ingredients for a traditional sponge cake. Made with sugar, flour, powdered milk, baking powder, salt, butter & vanilla. When ready to use, water and whole eggs are added to turn it into a cake batter. Here's a recipe.


  1. This is really helpful Rosie as a lot of my magazines are from the US. I always just go to American Soda in Ashton for ingredients but this is very useful for when I can't get out there. Thanks!!

  2. Do we have an equivalent to 12-oz. tubes refrigerated biscuits

  3. Thank you for this, so informative and appreciated x

  4. You can get molasses at health food shops, found that out a couple of years ago. For buttermilk (which is used often in American baking), you can substitute 1 tbsp. plain live yogurt with some milk to have the same lift and flavor of buttermilk (it will be a thinner mixture than buttermilk so add the milk a little at a time.) or use the old standbys of adding a tablespoon or vinegar or lemon juice to milk. Using butter in place of Crisco will change the consistency of the final product- not hugely, but Trex is the closest in my experience. Have fun baking!

    Kind regards,
    American living in UK for nearly 18 years who loves baking

    1. Thanks for the tips! Buttermilk has just started in the last few years to become available, but only in major supermarkets like Tesco.

  5. Awesome! Many thanks and much appreciated x

  6. super helpful. thanks soooo much for sharing :D <3 x

  7. I find a mixture of digestve and rich tea biscuits taste nearer to graham crackers than all digestives.

  8. I use whey left over from straining my yogurt to make cream cheese in place of buttermilk in pancakes and scones. Not as thick as buttermilk but seems to add the same lovely rich flavor .