If you’ve ever set out to bake something and you’re missing an ingredient, trust me, you’re not alone in this. Baking powder is one of those ingredients you usually can’t do without, and if you find yourself out of it, don't worry! Here are 8 of the best substitutes for baking powder for when you’re in a pinch.
Difference Between Baking Soda And Baking Powder
First things first—baking soda and baking powder are not to be confused as the same thing. While yes, both are leavening agents, an ingredient used in doughs and batters that lighten and soften the batter, you can’t swap one for the other. Therefore, baking soda is not a baking powder alternative.
What is Baking Powder:
Baking powder is baking soda mixed with an acid. When baking powder mixes with a liquid, it releases little bubbles filled with carbon dioxide. This reaction causes baked goods, breads, and batters to rise during cooking. It’s important to note baking powder does have an expiration date.
What is Baking Soda:
Baking soda is similar to baking powder in that it will help your recipe/batch rise, but it needs something acetic in order to make it work. Baking soda is a base and it’s alkaline. The chemical reaction doesn’t occur instantly like with baking powder, and will only start when the powder gets wet. This will create a reaction and even more so when the baking soda is heated.
Types Baking Powder
There are actually three different types of baking powder: double-acting, tartrate, and phosphate. While each one of the types has its own unique characteristics, double-acting baking powder is the most commonly found one in the grocery store. Substitutes for baking powder, like the ones in this article, are designed to create a chemical reaction without sacrificing the rising power that baking powder would deliver to your recipe.
Test Your Baking Powder
If you’re not sure whether or not your baking powder is expired, you can do a quick little test to find out. Why should you care? Well, if it’s expired or gone bad, it’s not going to work. If it doesn’t work, you can waste your entire batch of ingredients, time, and money. Eek!
How To Test:
- Pour 1/2 tsp baking powder into a cup
- Add 1/3 cup of hot water
If the mixture bubbles up intensely you’re in good luck! If not, toss that can of baking powder out and opt for one of the baking powder alternatives included in this article.
8 Substitutes For Baking Powder
Making your own baking powder alternative is super easy. If you find yourself with expired baking soda or just without it completely, you’re not out of luck.
Substitutes For Baking Powder: Cream of Tartar
Arguably our favorite baking powder alternative is cream of tartar plus baking soda. The tartar adds the acidity needed to the baking soda to create a homemade baking powder that you can use in your recipe.
To Make: Mix 1 tbsp baking powder with 2 tsp cream of tartar and 1 tsp of baking soda. If you’re making a large batch, add 1 tsp of cornstarch to prevent clumping.
Substitutes For Baking Powder: Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is high in citric acid, a great activating agent for baking powder alternatives. Keep in mind that lemon juice does add a particular flavor to your recipe though, so if it won’t be a compliment, then it might not be a good option for you to use as a substitute for baking powder. We recommend using it as a replacement in recipes that call for a small amount of baking powder.
To Make: to replace 1 tsp baking powder, add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients and 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice to the wet ingredients
Substitutes For Baking Powder: Vinegar
Just like lemon juice, vinegar is a very acidic option to use as a baking powder substitute. We suggest using distilled white vinegar over any other vinegar if possible, as it has the least vinegary taste to it. If you’re really in a pinch, apple cider vinegar as well as rice vinegar will work as a baking powder alternative, but they will most likely add a taste element to your recipe.
To Make: to replace 1 tsp baking powder, mix 1/2 tsp vinegar with 1/4 tsp baking soda
Substitutes For Baking Powder: Club Soda
Bet you didn’t know that club soda has baking soda in it! In fact, that is the exact ingredient that gives club soda its bubbles. All it is is water and baking soda. If you’re in a pinch or don’t have baking powder (or baking soda), you can use club soda in place of the water or milk in the recipe to add some volume.
Substitutes For Baking Powder: Whipped Egg Whites
No baking soda or baking powder? Don’t fret! If you’ve got some egg whites in the fridge, you’re in luck. Using whipped egg whites as a baking powder or baking soda substitute won’t do the exact same thing, however, it will add some volume to your recipe (most likely) so that you don’t have to wax the whole project, especially if you’re right in the middle of it. Ideally, you can use this for things like pancakes or waffles, but probably not in cookies or cakes, for example.
To Make: beat an egg white until it’s frothy and fold into your batter (if you over mix, the whites will deflate)
Substitutes For Baking Powder: Plain Yogurt
A naturally acetic ingredient is plain yogurt. When mixed with baking soda it can create a little reaction very similar to the one that you’d get with baking powder, making it a great substitute. We definitely recommend only using plain yogurt, as flavored will add other ingredients and sugars that may throw off your recipe. Note: plain yogurt is not a good substitute for baking powder if the recipe doesn’t call for many wet ingredients. You’ll also need to reduce other liquids by 1/2 cup.
To Make: to replace 1 tsp baking powder, add 1/4 tsp baking soda to dry ingredients and 1/2 cup plain yogurt to wet ingredients
Substitutes For Baking Powder: Buttermilk
What may be surprising to many is that buttermilk is a very acidic ingredient. The acidity makes it a great ingredient to use when you’re in a bind and find yourself without baking powder. That being said, it’s not a great option for recipes that don’t have much liquid in them. Keep in mind though if you do opt for the substitute for baking powder, you’re going to need to reduce the liquids in the recipe to avoid getting a mixture that is too wet.
To Make: to replace 1 tsp baking powder, combine 1/4 tsp baking soda with dry ingredients and 1/2 cup buttermilk with wet ingredients
Substitutes For Baking Powder: Self-Rising Flour
The difference between regular flour and self-rising flour is that self-rising flour already has baking powder and salt mixed into it. Feel free to swap all-purpose flour for self-rising and omit the baking powder and salt that the recipe calls for. This little substitute for baking powder makes a great option and easy swap.
FAQ: Can Baking Powder Replace Cornstarch?
No, it’s not recommended to use baking powder or baking soda as a substitute for cornstarch.
FAQ: Can Baking Powder Replace Yeast?
Yes, you can replace yeast with an equal amount of baking powder. The baked good, bread, or mixture will rise, however, it’s important to note that it will not rise well or as quickly as it would if you were using yeast as the recipe calls for.
Baking can be an absolute blast so as long as you have the right ingredients and the right swaps in case you don’t have everything on hand. All in all, keep in mind the function of baking powder and baking soda—to give rise to the batter or dough in your recipe. It’s a chemical reaction that requires an acid. Be precise with your measurements, be open to experimentation, and most of all, don’t forget to have fun!
Ready To Try Out Your Baking Skills? Check Out This Lemon Vanilla Protein Donut Recipe That Packs 14g Protein Per Donut!
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