American food: UK substitutions and ingredient swaps every cook needs to know

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  • American food swaps to UK favourites are actually much easier to make than you might think. Often our friends across the pond use foods in their recipes that we might not be able to get hold of here, so it’s nice to know that things that are readily available in the UK make suitable substitutes.

    The thing is, often the ingredients aren’t even different – it’s just that the names might be. Take heavy cream for instance, it’s not a different type of dairy that we can’t get here, it’s simply double cream. As for butter, well in America their sold in ‘sticks’ and come in at 113g, whereas in Britain this baking essential comes in at 250g as standard.

    And it’s not just baking ingredients that sometimes have us confused when it comes to UK alternatives for US ingredients, it’s also veggies, cooking terms and store cupboard staples.

    To make life that little easier we thought we would jot down all the common equivalents to US ingredients, right here. So next time you’re making a recipe from America you can easily convert what you have in the cupboards to suit your recipe.

    Looking for American to UK weight conversions? Try our handy cups to grams tool!

    Happy cooking…

    American baking ingredients and UK swaps

    American name

    British name

    All purpose flour Plain flour
    Baking soda Bicarbonate of soda
    Brown sugar Light brown sugar
    Cake flour Plain flour
    Candyquik Wilton’s Candy Melts
    Cane syrup Golden syrup
    Cool Whip Bird’s Dream Topping
    Cornstarch Cornflour

    Corn syrup

    Golden syrup
    Crisco Trex
    Dark corn syrup Treacle
    Graham’s Crackers Rich Tea biscuits
    Half and half Single cream
    Heavy cream Double cream
    Light corn syrup Glucose syrup
    Non-fat milk Skimmed milk
    Molasses Treacle
    Powdered sugar Icing sugar
    Reduced-fat milk Semi-skimmed milk

    Self-rising flour

    Self-raising flour
    Shortening Vegetable fat

    Superfine sugar

    Caster sugar
    Whole wheat flour Wholemeal flour

    American chocolate and UK swaps

    American name

    British name

    Cotton candy Candy floss
    Jelly beans Jelly babies
    Milky Way Mars Bar
    Mounds Bounty
    Nestle Crunch Toffee Crisp
    Popsicle Ice lolly
    Smarties Refreshers
    Take 5 Starbar


    3 Muskateers Milky Way

    American vegetables and UK equivalents

    American name

    British name

    Arugula Rocket
    Bell pepper Red pepper
    Beets Beetroot
    Cilantro Coriander
    Eggplant Aubergine
    Green beans Runner beans
    Rutabaga Swede
    Scallions Spring onions

    Snow peas

    Mange tout
    Zucchini Courgette

    American savoury ingredients and UK swaps

    American name

    British name

    Biscuit mix Scone mix
    Canola oil Rapeseed oil
    Garbanzo beans Chickpeas
    Kosher salt Sea salt
    Lima beans Butter beans
    Pine kernals Pine nuts

    American food and cooking terms and UK equivalents

    American name

    British name

    Appetizer Starter
    Baking sheet Baking tray
    Broiling Grilling
    Canned foods Tinned foods
    Entreé Main
    Plastic wrap Cling film
    Skillet Frying pan
    Stove Hob


    Wax paper Baking paper

    If you know of any other American ingredient swaps that we’re missing then let us know in the comments below and we’ll add it in!