American food: UK substitutions and ingredient swaps

Do you know the difference between double cream and heavy cream? You do now...

American food UK substitutions

Use our handy guide to swap American ingredients to UK substitutions and vice versa. From British baking ingredients to classic American chocolate, we've got all the UK vs. US food swaps you'll need.

It's much easier than you may think to swap American food for a UK substitute and vice versa. 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 you can't get in the UK, 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 standard. All-purpose flour in America is actually just plain flour in the UK.

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 easier we have all the common equivalents to US ingredients. So next time you're making a recipe from America you can easily convert what you have in the cupboards to suit your recipe. And if you're looking for American to UK weight conversions too, our handy cups to grams tool (opens in new tab) will help you out.

Of course, all of these swaps work the other way around too so if you're based in America and you want to find out the UK version, you can use the charts below to help you figure that out too.

*American baking ingredients and UK swaps *American chocolate and UK swaps *American vegetables and UK equivalents *American savoury ingredients and UK swaps *American food and cooking terms and UK equivalents *Where can you buy American ingredients in the UK? *American food you can’t get in the UK

American baking ingredients and UK swaps

American nameBritish name
All-purpose flourPlain flour
Baking sodaBicarbonate of soda
Brown sugarLight brown sugar
Cake flourPlain flour
CandyquikWilton's Candy Melts
Cane syrupGolden syrup
Cool WhipBird's Dream Topping
CornstarchCornflour
Corn syrupGolden syrup
CriscoTrex
Dark corn syrupTreacle
Graham's CrackersRich Tea biscuits
Half and halfSingle cream
Heavy creamDouble cream
Light corn syrupGlucose syrup
Non-fat milkSkimmed milk
MolassesTreacle
Powdered sugarIcing sugar
Reduced-fat milkSemi-skimmed milk
Self-rising flourSelf-raising flour
ShorteningVegetable fat
Superfine sugarCaster sugar
Whole wheat flourWholemeal flour

American chocolate and UK swaps

American nameBritish name
Cotton candyCandy floss
Jelly beansJelly babies
Milky WayMars Bar
MoundsBounty
Nestle CrunchToffee Crisp
PopsicleIce lolly
SmartiesRefreshers
Take 5Starbar
WhoppersMaltesers
MuskateersMilky Way
Kraft CaramelsWerther's Original Soft Caramels

American vegetables and UK equivalents

American nameBritish name
ArugulaRocket
Bell pepperRed pepper
BeetsBeetroot
CilantroCoriander
EggplantAubergine
Green beansRunner beans
RutabagaSwede
ScallionsSpring onions
Snow peasMange tout
ZucchiniCourgette

American savoury ingredients and UK swaps

American nameBritish name
Biscuit mixScone mix
Canola oilRapeseed oil
Garbanzo beansChickpeas
Kosher saltSea salt
Lima beansButter beans
Pine kernalsPine nuts

American food and cooking terms and UK equivalents

American nameBritish name
AppetizerStarter
Baking sheetBaking tray
BroilingGrilling
Canned foodsTinned foods
EntreéMain
Plastic wrapCling film
SkilletFrying pan
StoveHob
StrainerSieve
Wax paperBaking paper

Now you know the UK substitutes for some classic American foods and ingredients it should make whipping up your favorite American recipe that little bit easier.

Where can you buy American ingredients in the UK?

If you want to stick with making an American classic, there are so many ways you can get ahold of all the traditional American ingredients if you'd rather not use the UK substitute. Try shopping online; American wholesalers like American Fizz, American Food Mart, as well as Amazon, all sell US food. Be aware that you may have to spend a bit more money, especially on the delivery, as these products will be shipped from the US.

You can also visit supermarkets such as the American Food Store (based in London) or often larger superstores like Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury’s have World Foods sections where you can often find American favorites.

American food you can’t get in the UK

Unfortunately, there are some foods that you just can’t get in the UK. You might be able to buy them online for an added cost but here is a list of some popular products:

  • Taco Bell sauce
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Cheetos Crunchy
  • Saltines
  • Fritos
  • Cornbread - make your own cornbread instead!
  • Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces

We hope you enjoy baking and creating some American classics at home whether using traditional American ingredients or swapping them for the UK substitution instead.

Jessica Dady
Jessica Dady

Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at Goodto.com and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.