Baking powder is a crucial ingredient in many baking recipes, providing the necessary leavening power to help cakes rise and cookies become delightfully fluffy. However, there are times when you may find yourself in the middle of a recipe only to realize that you’re out of baking powder. Don’t fret! In this article, we’ll explore several substitutes for baking powder that can save the day and allow you to continue baking with confidence.

Substitutes for baking powder

Understanding Baking Powder

Before we delve into the substitutes, let’s briefly understand what baking powder is and how it works. Baking powder is a leavening agent composed of an alkaline component (usually baking soda) and an acidic component (such as cream of tartar). When combined with moisture and heat, baking powder releases carbon dioxide gas, which creates bubbles and causes the batter or dough to rise.

Substitutes for Baking Powder

Baking Powder Substitutes
  1. Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar: One of the most common substitutes for baking powder is a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar. To replace 1 teaspoon of baking powder, use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. This mixture provides the necessary acid-base reaction for leavening. It’s important to use this substitute immediately as the reaction occurs upon mixing with liquid.
  2. Buttermilk or Yogurt: Both buttermilk and yogurt are acidic in nature and can act as effective substitutes for baking powder. Replace each teaspoon of baking powder with 1/2 cup of buttermilk or yogurt. This substitution not only provides leavening power but also adds a subtle tangy flavor to your baked goods. Adjust the recipe’s liquid content accordingly to maintain the desired consistency.
  3. Self-Rising Flour: Another alternative is using self-rising flour, which is pre-mixed with baking powder and salt. For recipes that call for baking powder, you can substitute an equal amount of self-rising flour. This option is convenient, especially if you have self-rising flour on hand. However, be cautious when using self-rising flour in recipes that don’t call for it, as it already contains leavening agents.
  4. Whipped Egg Whites: Whipped egg whites can provide a light and airy texture to baked goods. To replace 1 teaspoon of baking powder, whip 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form, and gently fold them into the batter. This substitute works best in recipes where a fluffy texture is desired, such as angel food cake or meringues.

Other Alternatives to Consider

Apart from the common substitutes mentioned above, there are a few other options worth exploring.

  1. Baking Powder Alternatives in Specific Dietary Requirements:
    • Gluten-free Options: If you’re following a gluten-free diet, you can use gluten-free baking powder or substitute it with alternatives like a combination of baking soda and an acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) in the appropriate proportions.
    • Vegan Alternatives: To make a vegan-friendly baking powder substitute, mix together 1 part baking soda, 2 parts cream of tartar, and 1 part cornstarch.
  2. Unconventional Substitutes:
    • Yeast: Yeast can be used as a substitute for baking powder, particularly in recipes that require a longer rising time. Keep in mind that yeast-based recipes may require adjustments in rising times and proofing.
    • Club Soda or Carbonated Water: The carbonation in club soda or carbonated water can mimic the leavening effect of baking powder. Use an equal amount of club soda or carbonated water as a replacement in your recipe.
    • Ammonium Carbonate (Baker’s Ammonia): While not commonly used nowadays, baker’s ammonia was traditionally used as a leavening agent. It provides an extra crispness to cookies and can be used as a substitute in old-fashioned recipes.

Tips for Successful Substitution

When substituting baking powder, it’s essential to keep a few tips in mind:

  1. Testing and Adjusting Proportions: Since each substitute behaves differently, it’s wise to test the substitute in a small batch before using it in a larger recipe. Adjust the proportions and make note of any changes required to achieve the desired results.
  2. Factors to Consider: Consider the flavor profile and consistency of the substitute. Some substitutes may alter the taste or texture of the final product, so choose the option that best complements your recipe.


While baking powder is a staple in many kitchens, there are various substitutes that can save the day when you run out. From the baking soda and cream of tartar duo to buttermilk, self-rising flour, whipped egg whites, and more, you have options to keep your baking adventures on track. Experimentation and personal preference play a crucial role, so don’t be afraid to try different substitutes and explore new alternatives. Remember, even in the absence of baking powder, your culinary creativity can still rise to new heights. Happy baking!

Read more: Substitutes for Buttermilk in Cake

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