Slice Of Life

By Eileen Goltz

At some point during Pesach preparations, we all have tried to convert a mainstream recipe into a Pesach one only to discover that we don’t have a clue as to a substitute for a chametz ingredient. This panic moment is why I started compiling my complete list of Pesach substitutes. I’ve added some great new substitutions this year. If anyone has any other substitutions to share, please e-mail me at


1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters

1 tablespoon = 15 milliliters

1 ounce = 28 grams

1 pound = .45 kilograms

1 cup = .24 liters

Items That Don’t Require Special Certification
For Pesach

Primary source:

Baking Soda. OU-certified baking soda is permissible without special KLP certification.

Cocoa Powder. Hershey’s OU-certified, regular (not dark) cocoa powder does not need a special Pesach certification.

Coffee. Unflavored, ground coffee that has a certification year-round is acceptable for Passover without special certification. Folgers and Taster’s Choice instant coffee are acceptable without special Passover certification. Folgers decaffeinated instant coffee is also acceptable without special certification. All other brands and flavors require special certification.

Eggs. Including pasteurized eggs, do not require a Passover certification.

Frozen Fruit. Unsweetened whole frozen fruit, without any other ingredients, does not require special certification.

Juice Concentrate. OU-supervised unsweetened orange and grapefruit juice concentrate may be used without special Passover certification. Bottled juices require a Passover certification.

Milk. Milk does not require a special certification (or a regular certification year-round). However, since milk contains added vitamins, which have a slight chametz risk, it is recommended to purchase your milk before Pesach.

Nuts. Whole or chopped raw nuts, without preservatives or additives such as BHT or BHA, do not require a special KLP certification. However pecans require certification.

Olive Oil. All extra-virgin olive oils are kosher for Passover, as long as they have certification.

Raisins. OU-certified raisins are kosher year round, including on Passover, without special certification.

Salt. Non-iodized salt does not require special Passover certification, nor does sea salt. Regular, iodized table salt does require certification.

Sugar. All white, granulated sugar is acceptable for Passover without special certification. Powdered sugar and brown sugar require certification. (During the rest of the year, brown sugar and powdered sugar–like white sugar–can be purchased without certification.)

Tea Bags. Black, white, and green regular tea bags (not flavored and not decaffeinated) are acceptable for Pesach without special supervision. All Lipton unflavored decaffeinated tea bags are acceptable without special supervision.

Water. All unflavored bottled water, seltzer, and sparkling water is kosher for Passover, even without any certification.


For butter in baking or cooking, use pareve Passover margarine in equal amounts. Use a bit less salt.

1 oz. baking chocolate (unsweetened chocolate) = 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon oil or melted margarine

16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate = 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus ¼ cup oil and 7 tablespoons granulated sugar

14 oz. sweet chocolate (German-type) = 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2⅔ tablespoons oil and 4½ tablespoons granulated sugar

Chili sauce 1 cup = 1 cup tomato sauce, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, dash of ground cloves, and dash of allspice

1 cup confectioners’ sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar minus 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1 tablespoon potato starch pulsed in a food processor or blender

1 cup corn syrup = 1¼ cups granulated sugar plus ⅓ cup water, boiled until syrupy

1 cup honey = 1¼ cups granulated sugar plus ¼ cup water

1 cup molasses =1 cup honey (and vice versa) now that the flavor will be different.

1 cup sour milk or buttermilk for dairy baking = 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a 1-cup measure, then fill to 1 cup with Passover nondairy creamer. Stir and steep 5 minutes

1 cup vanilla sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 split vanilla bean left for at least 24 hours in a tightly covered jar

1 cup marshmallow cream/2.5 ounces = 8 large marshmallows or 1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup of flour, substitute ⅝ cup matzah cake meal or potato starch, or a combination sifted together

1 tablespoon flour = ½ tablespoon potato starch

1 cup cornstarch = â…ž cup potato starch

1 teaspoon cream of tartar = 1½ teaspoon lemon juice or 1½ teaspoon vinegar

1 cup graham-cracker crumbs = 1 cup ground cookies or soup nuts plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup bread crumbs = 1 cup matzah meal

1 cup matzah meal = 3 matzot ground in a food processor

1 cup matzah cake meal = 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons matzah meal finely ground in a blender or food processor and sifted

3 crumbled matzah = 2 cups matzah farfel

1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese = 1 cup cottage cheese puréed with ½ stick butter or margarine

Chicken fat or gribenes = 2 caramelized onions: Sauté 2 sliced onions in 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until the onions are soft. Purée the onions once they are golden.

1 cup milk (for baking) = 1 cup water plus 2 tablespoons margarine, or ½ cup fruit juice plus ½ cup water

1¼ cup sweetened condensed milk =1 cup instant nonfat dry milk, ⅔ cup sugar, ⅓ cup boiling water and 3 tablespoons margarine. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. To thicken, let set in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

1 cup wine = 13 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix together and let set for 10 minutes.

For frying: Instead of chicken fat, use a combination of olive oil or vegetable oil and 1—2 tablespoons pareve Passover margarine.

Eggs: Passover egg substitutes don’t work quite as well as the chametz egg substitutes. For kugels, matzah balls, fried matzah, and some cakes the recipes will probably be OK. However, if you want to avoid them (and I do) you can add one extra egg white and ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil for each yolk eliminated when baking. Use only egg whites as the dipping to coat and fry meats.

1 egg = 1½ tablespoons water, 1½ tablespoons oil, ½ teaspoon potato starch, ½ teaspoon baking soda. It works well for up to 2 eggs.

You can also try ¼ cup of applesauce = 1 egg, but only for some of the egg in a recipe.

Italian seasoning = ¼ teaspoon each dried oregano leaves, dried marjoram leaves, and dried basil leaves plus ⅛ teaspoon rubbed dried sage. This can be substituted for 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning.

Curry powder = 2 tablespoons ground coriander, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons red pepper, 2 tablespoons turmeric, 2 tablespoons ground ginger. Makes â…” cup.

Pancake syrup = use fruit jelly, not jam, and add a little water to thin. I always like to combine the jelly and water in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it gently before I serve it.

Seasoned rice-wine vinegar = 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 tablespoon white wine, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt. Mix to combine. Makes ¼ cup

Rice vinegar = 3 tablespoons lime juice plus 2 teaspoons sugar

Cider vinegar = 2 tablespoons lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon orange

Flavored vinegar = lemon juice in cooking or salad, grapefruit juice in salads, wine in marinades.

Water chestnuts = substitute raw jicama

Orange liqueur = substitute an equal amount of frozen orange-juice concentrate

You can mince the tops of green onions and use them in recipes that call for chives or use celery tops instead of parsley. (Who are we kidding? We always have parsley during Pesach.)

Soy Sauce Substitute

This soy sauce substitute doesn’t taste exactly like the real thing, but it makes a flavorful alternative for Pesach stir-fry.


2 Tbsp. beef broth

1 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. oil

â…› tsp. garlic powder

black pepper to taste

¼ cup boiling water


Combine all the ingredients. At this point, you can either: (a) use the sauce as is, leaving for an hour to give the flavors a chance to blend; or (b) for a thicker, richer sauce, boil the liquid until it is reduced by half, about 3 tablespoons. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Makes â…” cup. Use the sauce within 3—4 days.

Homemade Passover Teriyaki Substitute


¼ cup soy-sauce substitute

1 cup water

½ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. garlic powder

5 Tbsp. packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. potato starch

¼ cup cold water


In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the potato starch and water. Whisk to combine. Gently start to heat the mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the potato starch and water until smooth. Immediately whisk the mixture into the warming liquid and continue stirring and cooking just until the mixture starts to thicken slightly. Immediately remove from heat and cool. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Cashew Sour Cream

It’s creamy and you can use it in any recipe that calls for sour cream. It refrigerates well.


1 cup raw cashews (must not be roasted or salted)

¼ tsp. salt

1—2 tsp. apple-cider vinegar

juice of 1 small lemon,


Cover cashews with water and soak for a few hours or overnight. Pour off all water, and place nuts in food processor. Add ¼ cup cold water, salt, vinegar, and lemon juice. Purée for 3—4 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy in consistency. Use in any recipe that calls for sour cream. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Makes 1 cup.

Corn Syrup Substitute


2 cups white sugar

¾ cup water

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

dash of salt


Combine all ingredients in a heavy, large pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Uncover and cook until it reaches soft ball stage. Stir often. Cool syrup and store in a covered container at room temperature.

Oyster Sauce Substitute

(Great with fish)


1 mushroom/vegetable bouillon cube (or 1 tablespoon of the powdered stuff)

½ cup boiling water

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. potato starch

1 tsp. cold water


In a saucepan, combine the bouillon, sugar, and boiling water. Boil for 2—3 minutes. While it’s boiling, in a cup combine the potato starch and cold water, mix to combine, and add mixture to the boiling broth. Simmer, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.

© Eileen Goltz

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher foods writer. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes columns for the CJN in Chicago,, and the OU Shabbat Shalom website, She also wrote the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim).


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