If you’re a baker, it’s always good to have some baking powder substitutes on hand.
We never think we’ll run out of something, but we always seem to, anyway.
There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of cooking and not having what you need. It can ruin your whole recipe!
Keep one or two of these baking powder replacements in reserve. That way, you always have a backup plan.
What is Baking Powder?
Baking powder is a combination of sodium bicarbonate, some type of acid, and a filler.
You add it to baked goods as a leavening agent. It’s what gives your bread and pastries their fluffiness and lightness.
But how does it work?
Well, water is the catalyst. Whenever you add water to baking powder, something scientific happens.
The sodium bicarbonate, a base, reacts with the acid, releasing CO2.
The filler, usually cornstarch, helps slow down the chemical reaction.
However, it always happens in the end. And when it does, that’s when things get bubbly.
Your dough will expand and rise, increasing the volume of whatever you’re making.
It’s actually a pretty neat process. So you see, baking really is both an art and a science.
Best Baking Powder Substitutes
The following is a list of nine baking powder substitutes for all your baking needs.
1. Cream of Tartar + Baking Soda
Lots of people confuse baking soda and baking powder. However, the two aren’t the same. Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate, and there’s no acid.
However, you can add a weak acid to baking soda to make it behave like baking powder.
Some people recommend adding lemon juice or vinegar. Both work fine, and we’ll discuss them later.
However, my favorite mixture is baking soda and cream of tartar. I get the most volume in my baked goods with this combination.
The substitution ratio is an easy one to follow, too. For a teaspoon of baking powder, you’ll combine the following:
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
Then, simply double, triple, or multiply the recipe as needed.
2. Homemade Buttermilk + Baking Soda
You can also use a mixture of buttermilk and baking soda in place of baking powder. Store-bought buttermilk works fine, but I prefer homemade.
It’s simple to make, too. Just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a scant cup of milk, stir, and let it sit. Voila! Homemade buttermilk!
Then, there are a few more steps to turn it into a baking powder substitute.
Add a fourth teaspoon of baking soda with a half cup of buttermilk. That’ll give you the equivalent rise power of a teaspoon of baking powder.
Just be sure you cut back on other liquids to make up for the additional fluid in the buttermilk.
3. Plain Yogurt + Baking Soda
The plain yogurt substitute has the same ratio as the buttermilk substitute. (Half a cup of yogurt to 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.)
As with the buttermilk, cut back on other liquids. Otherwise, your dough might be too runny.
4. Sour Milk + Baking Soda
Think of sour milk as buttermilk. You use the same ratios as you would for buttermilk.
You also need to cut back on other liquids just as you would with buttermilk.
Hey, it’s a great way not to let spoiled milk go to waste!
5. Lemon Juice + Baking Soda
The first thing to know about using lemon juice is that it has a strong flavor.
Therefore, you might not want to use it in recipes that need a lot of baking powder.
You might get a bright lemon taste that masks the other ingredients if you do.
However, it’s an excellent option for recipes that only need a teaspoon or two of baking powder.
You’ll need 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of lemon juice. That’ll give you the equivalent of one teaspoon of baking powder.
6. Molasses + Baking Soda
The molasses and baking soda mixture is similar to using buttermilk or yogurt. However, you use less molasses in the mix.
You need a fourth cup of molasses and a fourth teaspoon of baking soda. You can swap that for a teaspoon of baking powder.
There are some downsides to this method, though. For one thing, you have to cut back on liquids just as you would with buttermilk or yogurt.
However, molasses is also very sweet. That means you’ll have to reduce the sweeteners in your recipe, too.
(This substitution works best in desserts. It makes bread too sweet.)
7. White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar + Baking Soda
Vinegar and baking soda combine to make another excellent baking powder substitute. However, it’ll require a bit of kitchen alchemy to get it right.
The first step is taking the amount of baking powder and multiplying by 1/3.
For example, if your recipe calls for a tablespoon of baking powder, you use a teaspoon of baking soda. (A teaspoon is a third of a tablespoon.)
Then, you add a double amount of vinegar. (2 teaspoons vinegar for one teaspoon baking soda.)
It seems like a lot of work when you read it like that, but it isn’t.
Do it a couple of times, and you won’t even have to think about it anymore.
8. Whipped Egg Whites
So far, all of our recipes have used baking soda. But what do you do if you don’t have baking powder or baking soda?!
Simple. Whip up some egg whites instead.
When you whip egg whites, you create bubbles. Those bubbles increase the volume of baked goods just like baking powder would.
The only real problem with this method is figuring out how many eggs you’ll need. Cakes tend to use more, while waffles and pancakes use less.
Once you’ve determined that, though, it’s a simple substitution.
Just whip the eggs until they’re foamy, then beat them at a higher speed to form peaks.
9. Self-Rising Flour
Here’s another option if you don’t have baking soda or baking powder.
Simply swap out the required amount of all-purpose flour for self-rising flour.
As the name implies, the flour is self-rising. You won’t need an extra leavening agent.
10. Club Soda
Fortunately, club soda is carbonated and contains sodium bicarbonate.
That means you can also use it to replace baking powder without adding baking soda.
However, there isn’t a ton of sodium bicarbonate in club soda. So you won’t be able to add it to recipes that require a lot of extra volume.
It’s perfect for smaller treats like waffles and pancakes, though.
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