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12 Baking Powder Substitutes & 5 Tips for the Best Results

Baking powder is one of the essential components of baking. Without it, your recipe might not come out as expected. Today, you’ll learn about all the possible baking powder substitutes and how to use them.

Ever forgotten to add baking powder to a cake and ended up with a rubbery, flattened object? It’s a baker’s worst nightmare. This happens because baking powder is the leavening agent that helps give your baked goods that airy and fluffy texture.

That said, if you don’t have baking powder available, you don’t have to call off the recipe. The good news is that there are multiple substitutes you can use, and they’re just as effective.

Facts About Baking Powder

Facts About Baking Powder

Baking powder is a common ingredient in the kitchen. It has the ability to create little bubbles inside the dough or batter after reacting with the rest of the components. As a result, it gives baked goods that light and airy texture we all love.

Principally, store-bought baking powder consists of three main parts: a base, an acid, and a filler.

In most products, the base is sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda. As for the acid, it’s usually cream of tartar.

The filler part may or may not be there. Yet, it’s mostly a kind of starch, such as corn, potato, or wheat starch.

Before we get to explain each substitute, let’s discover some more information about baking powder itself.

What Baking Powder Is Good For

Plate of belgium waffles with ice cream, caramel sauce and fresh berries

Besides its leavening properties, baking powder is actually practical for many other purposes.

For example, it contributes to the texture of baked goods, giving them that soft and tender crumb. It also helps develop the chewiness of cookies and other similar bakeries.

Moreover, baking powder ensures a uniform rise in dough and batters while in the oven. This provides the recipe with the stability to achieve the desired final shape.

In general, what makes baking powder unique is how fast it reacts.

This makes it perfect for quick recipes, such as waffles and pancakes. Additionally, the immediate leavening action allows for shorter baking times as well.

Other than that, baking powder still has some other uses outside of cooking. Whether cleaning, deodorizing, degreasing, or even repelling insects, this magic powder has got it all.

Can You Substitute Baking Powder for Baking Soda?

Can You Substitute Baking Powder for Baking Soda?

If this refers to using baking soda alone instead of baking powder, the answer is no. Although both ingredients are leavening agents, they work differently in a way. Here’s what you need to know about both compounds.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Principally, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate in its pure form. Just like baking powder, it comes in packets of fine, white powder.

Basically, baking soda is a type of quick-acting chemical. So, once it comes into contact with moisture and acid, a reaction happens.

Such a chemical reaction results in the formation of little bubbles of carbon dioxide. Consequently, these bubbles give a light texture to bakeries.

What makes baking soda a good choice in recipes is the immediate reaction it creates.

Therefore, it’s best to use it in a quick recipe that doesn’t require much waiting. Otherwise, the bubbles will vanish, and you won’t be able to achieve the right texture.

Baking Powder

Baking Powder

As previously mentioned, baking powder is a mixture of three components, with the base being baking soda. This means it already contains the acid needed for the chemical reaction to happen.

Thus, it’s useful to use in recipes that don’t already contain an acidic agent.

Mainly, there are two types of baking powder: the single-action and double-action types. For the single-action baking powder, the carbon dioxide gas bubbles start to form directly after contact with moisture.

As for the double-action baking powder, the leavening happens in two stages. The first reaction initiates as normal, while the second one occurs during the baking process.

Overall, double-action baking powder is the type that’s more commonly used among most people.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, sometimes it’s possible to use baking soda instead of baking powder. However, you’ll need to add the acidic agent to complete the formula for the required chemical reaction.

Reasons for Seeking Baking Powder Substitutes

Reasons for Seeking Baking Powder Substitutes

You may think seeking baking powder substitutes is a waste of time. However, it can be quite essential in some situations. Here are a few reasons for that:

  • Being Out of Stock: This is one of the most obvious reasons on the list. When you run out of baking powder in the middle of a recipe, finding a substitute can be priceless. That’s especially true when making a trip to the supermarket isn’t a feasible option.
  • Needing a Diet-Specific Alternative: Some people may have dietary restrictions that prevent them from consuming regular baking powder, whether allergies or sensitivities. In such cases, seeking substitutes becomes a necessity.
  • Wanting To Experiment: Many enjoy experimenting around the kitchen. It’s a fantastic way to learn about the science of baking and how specific ingredients interact with each other. That’s why people look for possible substitutes for many components.
  • Having Preferences for Natural Ingredients: Eliminating chemicals and preservatives from the food you eat is a great step toward living healthier. Thus, some cooking enthusiasts seek natural baking powder alternatives to achieve similar leavening effects.

Best Substitutes for Baking Powder

Best Substitutes for Baking Powder

Now that you know more about baking powder and how it works, it’s time to discuss some of its possible alternatives. So, the next time you go short, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Take a look at a few of our recommendations for the best baking powder substitutes.

Buttermilk + Baking Soda

Buttermilk + Baking Soda

Buttermilk is a dairy product that’s slightly sour and acidic. It’s a bit similar to yogurt but with a more tangy flavor.

Traditionally, buttermilk was a byproduct of churning butter from cream. Nowadays, it’s usually made by adding lactic acid bacteria to low-fat milk.

Basically, combining buttermilk with baking soda in a recipe can make one of the most popular substitutes for baking powder.

You see, the acidity from the buttermilk interacts with baking soda and produces the same leavening effect.

On top of that, buttermilk adds lovely moisture and tenderness to baked goods. So, that’s a huge plus.
For perfect results, all you need to do is add about half a cup of buttermilk to each ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.

However, you need to pay attention when adding extra liquid to any recipe you work with so you don’t end up with a runny batter.

Thus, you must adjust the amount of other liquids in the recipe to compensate for the buttermilk you add. For example, if you added the mentioned half a cup of buttermilk to a recipe that originally calls for 3/4 cup of milk, use only 1/4 of a cup, and so on.

Yogurt + Baking Soda

Yogurt + Baking Soda

Yogurt is another acidic dairy product that results from fermenting milk. In a way, it works just like buttermilk does. It contains natural acids that react with baking soda and produce bubbles of carbon dioxide gas.

Whenever you run out of baking powder, try using baking soda and plain yogurt instead.

As with buttermilk, you’ll need to add half a cup of yogurt to the wet ingredients and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the dry ingredients.

Not only do you have to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe, but you also have to adjust any other acidic ingredients. For instance, try using less vinegar or lemon juice in recipes that call for one of them. That’s to prevent your food from becoming too acidic.

In general, you should stick to plain yogurt if you don’t want to end up with any extra flavors. Yet, you can always opt for Greek yogurt to pump up the protein content or almond yogurt for a plant-based recipe.

Self-Rising Flour

Self-Rising Flour

If you don’t have baking powder or baking soda, self-rising flour might be the solution you’re looking for.

It’s one of the best alternatives for baking powder, as it already contains both regular flour and a leavening agent (usually baking powder and salt).

Mainly, self-rising flour is a common ingredient inside most packaged mixes, from cake and cookie mixes to quick breads.

Luckily, it’s also sold separately in the baking aisle at almost all supermarkets.

Simply substitute all-purpose flour with the same amount of self-rising flour. Yet, don’t forget to omit any additional salt mentioned in the recipe. Furthermore, keep in mind that self-rising flour might slightly alter the flavor and texture of the final product, but it’s nothing too concerning.

Otherwise, follow the rest of the recipe as instructed.

Sour Milk + Baking Soda

Sour Milk + Baking Soda

Sour milk combined with baking soda is an effective substitute for baking powder in baking recipes.

However, unlike buttermilk and yogurt, sour milk isn’t a product you can buy from the store. That’s because it’s originally spoiled milk.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for your milk to go bad.

Instead, you can create sour milk by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to every cup of milk. In just a few minutes, the milk will curdle, thicken, and become ready to use.

Once you prepare your sour milk, you can follow the rest of the steps just like you do with buttermilk or yogurt. This means you’ll only need ¼ teaspoon of baking soda for each half cup of sour milk. Additionally, don’t forget to adjust the other liquids as needed.

Lemon Juice + Baking Soda

One of the essential acids in your kitchen that we can’t ignore as a baking powder substitute is lemon juice.

So, don’t let our earlier suggestions fool you into thinking that the acidic agent added to the recipe with baking soda has to be a dairy product.

If you have a lactose-sensitive stomach, a lemon might just save your recipe.

That’s because combining lemon juice with baking soda triggers the same leavening reaction you’re after for your bakeries.

That said, the only concern here is the lemon flavor. Therefore, it’s better to use this option in recipes that don’t require much baking powder.

In all cases, you’ll have to use ½ teaspoon of lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda as a substitute for each teaspoon of baking powder.

Molasses + Baking Soda

Molasses + Baking Soda

Molasses is a thick syrup that’s mostly used as a sweetener in baking and cooking. It results from the process of refining sugar cane or sugar beet into sugar.

In general, it’s dark brown, sweet, and has a strong flavor with hints of caramel.

Despite not having a distinct sour taste, molasses is actually acidic enough to react with baking soda. For each teaspoon of baking powder, you’ll need to combine ¼ cup of molasses with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.

In this specific case, you’ll need to compensate for the extra sweetness you added, not just moisture. So, besides using fewer liquids, you’ll also have to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Another consideration to keep in mind with molasses is the recipes that call for brown sugar. To avoid ending up with an overwhelming molasses flavor in these recipes, use white sugar instead.

Cream of Tartar + Baking Soda

Cream of Tartar + Baking Soda

Cream of tartar is an acidic powder known as potassium bitartrate. It’s a byproduct of the winemaking process, usually forming inside wine barrels as a result of fermenting grapes into wine.

When combined with baking soda, cream of tartar can also act as an acidic agent in the chemical reaction. That’s why it’s one of the best substitutes for baking powder.

Plus, it’s flavorless. Therefore, you can use it in almost all recipes.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need to use two parts cream of tartar and one part baking soda. For instance, if the recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking powder, you can replace it with ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar combined with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.

Vinegar + Baking Soda

Vinegar + Baking Soda

The classic baking soda and vinegar combo is famous for the reaction it creates. You must have used it at least once, whether in a school project or to unclog a drain. This time, we’ll test it out in baking.

What’s fantastic about vinegar is that it’s widely available in all households.

It’s a common ingredient in several desserts and other baked goods. As a substitute for baking powder, vinegar works perfectly.

Primarily, any type of vinegar works, but white vinegar is our top recommendation. That’s because it’s colorless and has a somewhat neutral taste.

All you need to do is add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of vinegar to your recipe instead of a teaspoon of baking powder.

Natural Substitutes for Baking Powder

Natural Substitutes for Baking Powder

Although it occurs naturally as a mineral called nahcolite, some may not consider sodium bicarbonate a natural component. Additionally, it may not be available when needed. As such, we included the following two natural baking powder substitutes.

Foamy Whipped Egg Whites

Foamy Whipped Egg Whites

Using whipped egg whites to puff up baked goods is an age-old method. It can work fantastically for specific recipes such as sponge cakes, meringues, souffles, etc.

That’s because whipping egg whites creates tiny air bubbles, turning the mixture into foam.

So, there’s no need to create a chemical reaction, as the air inside the whipped egg whites is enough to leaven your baked goods.

Even if the recipe doesn’t call for separating the eggs, you can do it for the sake of adding volume.

Principally, the number of eggs you need varies depending on the recipe. For pancakes or waffles, two to three eggs should be good. You just need to separate them and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Then, fold the foam into the rest of the batter.



Yeast is a natural living organism that ferments sugars inside the dough, resulting in the production of carbon dioxide gas. Using yeast instead of baking powder can be unusual.

Yet, it works well in many cases, especially in bread and other recipes that require longer rising times.

As for other recipes, it’s not completely prohibited to use yeast instead of baking powder.

Nonetheless, you should be aware of the changes in texture and flavor it may cause. You also need to understand that both of these leavening agents work differently.

If you absolutely need to use yeast as a substitute for baking powder, here are a few useful tips that might come in handy.

If you plan to use active yeast, make sure to activate it first by adding it to warm water with a bit of sugar.
The water shouldn’t be hotter than 115°F or cooler than 100°F for the yeast to activate properly.

Let the yeast and sugar mixture sit for ten minutes until it starts to bubble, and then add it to the rest of the ingredients.

You don’t need to use this activation method if you’re using instant yeast ( add it directly to the dry ingredients).

After mixing and before baking, allow the batter to rise, just like you do when baking bread.

Gluten-Free Substitutes for Baking Powder

Gluten-Free Substitutes for Baking Powder

When you prepare gluten-free recipes, finding the right ingredients can be challenging. While most baking powder brands are gluten-free, some might contain or come into contact with it during production.
Here are two gluten-free baking powder substitutes to try out.

Club Soda

Club Soda

Club soda is principally carbonated water with some added minerals like sodium bicarbonate.

In some recipes that don’t need huge volumes, like pancakes and waffles, it can work well as a substitute for baking powder.

Simply use club soda to replace the liquids in your recipe ingredients, whether water or milk.

The fizziness of this drink creates enough air bubbles inside the batter to help it rise.

Home-Made Gluten-Free Baking Powder

Home-Made Gluten-Free Baking Powder

To make sure your baking powder is gluten-free and free your mind from the hassle of cross-contamination, you can make some at home. Frankly, it’s quite easy to do so.

As we mentioned previously, baking powder consists of baking soda, cream of tartar, and a type of starch.

You may use cornstarch or potato starch, as both are gluten-free.

So, for every two teaspoons of cream of tartar, add one teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of starch.

Essentially, these ingredients should produce one tablespoon of baking powder. Thus, if you need more than that, just double or triple the amount.

In general, you can prepare as much as you want and keep the rest for later use. Luckily, the starch helps maintain the stability of the mix. As such, you can store it in a cool, dry place for as long as it remains good.

Check Your Mix: Before each use, you need to check that your baking powder mix hasn’t expired. To do so, add one teaspoon to ⅓ cup of hot water. Optimally, the mixture should fizz and bubble. If not, you may need to make a fresh batch.

Tips for Substituting Baking Powder

Tips for Substituting Baking Powder

Having too many substitutes and choosing between them can be overwhelming.

The following tips should help you further understand your options.

  • Flavor Profile: It’s essential to keep in mind the added flavor of any substitute you use and how it may affect your final dish. For example, adding lemon juice may impart a citrusy taste, while molasses contributes to the overall sweetness of your recipe.
  • Nutritional Profile: This is also a vital factor to consider. For example, some substitutes, like yogurt or sour milk, add protein and probiotics to your recipe. Other additions, like molasses, contribute additional minerals, such as calcium and iron.
  • Available Ingredients: Work smart and leverage what you have when looking for baking powder substitutes. If the recipe already contains vinegar, lemon, or buttermilk, you just need to add baking soda and proceed as usual.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Luckily, our list provides alternatives that work with almost all dietary restrictions. Whether dairy-free, gluten-free, or vegan, you can find suitable baking powder substitutes.
  • Testing: Avoid making large batches of baked goods, and test the baking powder substitute in a small amount first. This way, you can make the necessary adjustments before committing to a larger quantity.
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