Not sure how long that baking powder has been sitting in your pantry? Here’s how to tell if it’s still good. There’s a simple test to find out if your baking powder is still potent, otherwise your dough may not rise.
Baking powder may not contribute any flavor, but it’s an essential ingredient in baking, nonetheless. Just a teaspoon of this powerful agent is enough to make your cookies, cakes, and muffins to rise to life!
Without this key component, your favorite pastries will be flat and dull.
But, just like anything, baking powder doesn’t last forever. And when it reaches its expiration, no matter how much of it you add, it won’t do anything for your baked goods.
Now the question is – when does baking powder expire? Should you go by the “best-by” date, or is it still okay to use even after the fact?
And what do you do if you’ve transferred your baking powder into a different container and don’t know when the best by date is?
Well, good thing there’s an easy way to tell if baking soda is still usable or not. To learn that and more, keep scrolling!
How to Store Baking Powder
Just like any other powdered products, it’s important to store baking powder in a sealable container in a cool and dry place. For most of us, that means the pantry or in a cupboard.
You want to keep it away from moisture, otherwise, it will form clumps and will form mold and other growth. And it will also lose its potency.
How Long Does Baking Powder Last?
If stored properly, baking powder has a lifespan of 9 to 12 months. You may use its “best-by” date as a reference, but also know that you can still use it even past that.
That date is more like an estimate rather than an exact indicator. Confusing? Here’s a simple guide:
- For an unopened box of baking powder, it should still be okay up to 6 months past its “best-by” date.
- For an opened box, give it 3 to 6 more months beyond the date.
But, just to be sure, it’s better to do a potency check before adding your baking powder into your batter. It’s very easy and should take you less than a minute!
How To Test If Baking Powder Is Still Good
And now to the most important question: how can you identify whether baking powder still has its potency?
Unlike other products that change in appearance, texture, and odor, baking powder is deceiving in that it will still look, feel, and smell the same even after many years. And even when it goes bad, it still safe to eat.
But it does lose its potency. Which means your baked goods won’t rise like they should. Fortunately, you can do a hot water test to see if the chemicals in the powder are still active.
And believe me, coming from a person who has suffered from a flat batch of cupcakes, it is essential to do this test! If you don’t want to waste time, effort, and money, do a quick test before you start to prepare your other ingredients.
So, to test your baking powder, just pour half a cup of hot water into a bowl. Add a teaspoon of baking powder to the water and see what happens.
It should start to foam up immediately upon contact with water. You need not wait for a few seconds before the fizzing happens! The bubbles mean that the powder is able to release carbon dioxide gas – which is exactly what you want to happen.
Now, if you do not see a chemical reaction at all, or if it only foams just a bit, discard it. That means it has lost its potency and is no longer useful. Don’t worry, baking powder is affordable and available in all grocery stores.
Oh, and here’s another tip: you can do a similar test with baking soda, too. But, in addition to the water, add a tablespoon of vinegar as well. If it bubbles, it’s still good. If nothing happens, throw it out.