How to modify recipes for food allergies

Early childhood services OSHC

It is important to make allergy free meals look and taste similar to meals served to the rest of the children at your service.

person preparing various fruits in a kitchen

Many favourite recipes can be modified to be suitable for children with allergies by swapping allergenic ingredients with ingredients that are allergy free.

Alternative ingredients for common food allergens

The table below outlines common ingredients used in many recipes and appropriate alternatives for children with allergies.

Ingredient to avoidAllergy free alternative
Eggs These are used to bind or aerate a recipe so the option you choose will depend on the recipe.1 egg = any of the following options: 1 teaspoon egg replacer (e.g. Orgran) + 2 tablespoons water (for aerating or binding) 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1 tablespoon water + 1 tablespoon vinegar (for aerating or binding) ¼ cup mashed potato or pumpkin (for binding) ½ cup mashed banana or puree apple (for binding)
Egg yolks only1 egg = 1 teaspoon egg replacer (e.g. Orgran) + 1 tablespoon water
Egg whitesBeat egg replacer (e.g. Orgran) with water until stiff
Cow’s milkSoy or rice drink
Plain wheat flour1 cup plain wheat flour = any of the following options 1 cup Orgran All Purpose Plain Flour ½ cup rice flour + ½ cup pure cornflour
Self raising wheat flour1 cup self raising wheat flour = any of the following options 1 cup Orgran All Purpose Self Raising Flour ½ cup rice flour + ½ cup pure cornflour + 2 teaspoons wheat free baking powder (e.g. Wards).
Wheat based baking powderUse a wheat free alternative (e.g. Wards)
MargarineMilk free margarine (e.g. Nuttelex, Becel, Sundew)
Cooking oilSunflower oil, safflower oil

Recipe modification example

The following examples demonstrate how common recipes can be adapted to allergy free alternatives by swapping some ingredients.


A standard custard recipe uses custard powder and cow’s milk. An allergy free alternative uses a rice flour and corn flour combination, with rice drink and soy drink.

Standard ingredientsAllergy free alternative
1–2 tablespoons custard powder1–2 tablespoons rice flour or corn flour
½ tablespoon sugarSame
1 cup milk1 cup rice or soy drink (use calcium fortified)
1 teaspoon of vanilla essenceSame

Carrot muffins

Our carrot muffin recipe uses flour, milk and eggs. The allergy free alternative uses Orgran flour, rice bran, rice milk and egg replacer.

Standard ingredientsAllergy free alternative
1 cup white self raising flour, sifted1 ½ cups Orgran self raising flour
1 cup wholemeal self raising flour, sifted½ cup rice bran
Brown sugarSame
Cinnamon, groundSame
Carrots, medium, gratedSame
Apple, medium, gratedSame
1 cup milk1 cup rice drink (use calcium fortified)
2 eggs, lightly beaten2 teaspoons egg replacer (e.g. Orgran) + 4 tablespoons water
Canola or vegetable oilSame
Vanilla essenceSame


Adapted with permission from: Modifying recipes for food allergy, Department of Nutrition and Food Service, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, 2013

For more information please phone 1300 22 52 88 or email

Except where otherwise indicated, the images in this document show models and illustrative settings only, and do not necessarily depict actual services, facilities or recipients of services. This document may contain images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In this document, ‘Aboriginal’ refers to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ‘Indigenous’ or ‘Koori/Koorie’ is retained when part of the title of a report, program or quotation. Copyright © State of Victoria 2016

Written and reviewed by dietitians and nutritionists at Nutrition Australia, with support from the Victorian Government.

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