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

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!