Do our sous vide a part of your everyday vocabulary? Are you a molecular chef who has spent hours trying to perfect your recipe? You are probably a foodie.

Sometimes, you can substitute inexpensive ingredients that won’t compromise the integrity of your dish. Learn how to make gourmet cooking more affordable.

Red and white wine

Many delicious recipes use wine. Vino is expensive, and it can often be hard to find a bottle for under $10. Although it may not seem like much, most of the money will go to waste if you only use half of the wine in your recipe.

You can substitute wine for cooking with wine. It is easy and cheap. It can be found in the same aisle as cooking oils. It is available in smaller sizes and costs less than cooking oils.

Non-alcoholic alternatives to wine are also available. To achieve the same consistency and flavour in your dishes, you can use chicken broth or cranberry juice to make white wine.

Stock and broth: What is the difference?

Chicken stock and chicken broth both are made from chicken. But what makes them different? Stock is made from chicken bones which gives the liquid a richer taste. The broth is primarily made with meat from the bird.


Truffles are a great way to add depth and flavour to any dish. However, at $1,400 per pound, it’s too expensive for most people’s budget. But don’t worry. Truffle oil, which is made by infusing sunflower oil with a truffle aroma, costs less than the original and can provide similar flavourings when used as a finishing oil.

Also, mushrooms can be used as substitutes for truffles. Porcini mushrooms are a great substitute for truffles. They have a pleasantly spicy flavour and can be used in dishes that require more expensive mushrooms.

Truffle Hunters

Traditional truffle hunters used pigs to dig up and root out the precious fungi. Dogs are now used more frequently because they don’t enjoy truffles as much as pigs.


The bitter, sweet flavour of saffron, which is the most expensive spice globally, can be hard to replicate. It is made from dried stigmas from the crocus flowers, which must also be picked manually. Making just over one pound of saffron can take up to 250,000 stigmas.

It’s not surprising that saffron can be so expensive because it is so labour-intensive to make. You may not be able to afford saffron at $300 per ounce. You can substitute paprika with turmeric. They are much cheaper and work well in most recipes.


Cardamom is an exotic spice used in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Scandinavian cuisines. However, it’s also one of the most expensive spices globally. To get the same warm and spicy flavour, substitute ground cinnamon with equal nutmeg or ground.

Vanilla Beans

Vanilla is another expensive spice. The price of vanilla is directly proportional to how long it takes to bring the spice on the market. After planting the vanilla seeds, it can take 18 to 36 months for their beans to become visible. They must also remain on the vine for at most nine months. To preserve their flavour and aroma, the beans must be stored for three months after being harvested. It takes up to 48 months to make a handful of beans. It’s not hard to understand why vanilla beans are so expensive. Madagascar is the world’s largest vanilla producer. In 2009 and 2007, Madagascar was hit by several cyclones. It doesn’t have the same flavour, but you can use vanilla extract to get the real deal.