American food: UK substitutions and ingredient swaps

Common UK substitutes for American food including swaps for all-purpose flour, dark corn syrup, and Candyquik...
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  • 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 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 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
    Whoppers Maltesers
    Muskateers Milky Way
    Kraft Caramels Werther’s Original Soft Caramels

    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
    Strainer Sieve
    Wax paper Baking 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.

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