11 Best Baking Powder Substitutes for When You’re in a Pinch

If you love to make fluffy pastries, there should always be a box of baking powder, or, a good baking powder substitute on standby in your pantry.

collage of baking soda substitutes

For those of us unlucky enough to find a dusty, expired box of baking powder hiding on the back of the shelf, the latter option is our best bet in a pinch. 

No Baking Powder? No Problem! Let’s cover the 11 best baking powder substitutes that you can make in no time using these common ingredients you already have in your kitchen.

Best Baking Powder Substitute for Every Recipe

1.  Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a form of fermented (sour) milk made from combining whole or low-fat milk with various bacterial cultures. The bacteria break down the sugars into lactic acid, which makes buttermilk a good acidic ingredient to combine with baking soda.

How to Use

For every 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of baking powder in your recipe, mix a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a ½ cup of buttermilk. Since the buttermilk represents extra liquid in your recipe, you should reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients by ½ cup.

2. Homemade Sour Milk

If you are fresh out of buttermilk, then your next best option is to make your own homemade sour milk mixture. This method introduces an acid to the milk, which acts as an activator of the leavening agent (the baking soda) in place of the missing lactic acid.

How to Use

Combine 1 cup of whole or low-fat milk and 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar. Let this mixture rest for 10-15 minutes. 

For every 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of baking powder in your recipe, mix a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a ½ cup of the sour milk mixture. Reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients in the recipe by ½ cup.

3. Plain (Non-Flavored) Yogurt

Plain yogurt is another good ingredient to combine with baking soda since yogurt has an acidic pH as a result of the fermentation process.

How to Use

For every 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of baking powder in your recipe, mix a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a ½ cup of plain yogurt. Reduce the amount of other liquids in the recipe by ½ cup.

juice springing from a lemon

4.  Lemon Juice

This is a good baking soda activator since lemon juice contains high levels of citric acid. If your recipe can use a hint of lemon flavor, go right ahead and combine with baking soda as instructed below.

How to Use

For every 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of baking powder in your recipe, mix a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a ½  teaspoon of lemon juice.

5. Vinegar

If you don’t want to alter the taste or color of your baked goods, using white vinegar is your next best option. Apple cider vinegar will also do the job if your recipe only needs a small quantity of baking powder. 

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which makes it one of the more ideal reactive agents when combined with baking soda.

How to Use

For every 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of baking powder in your recipe, mix a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a ½ teaspoon of vinegar.

6. Potassium Acid Tartrate (Cream of Tartar)

Cream of tartar is made from tartaric acid, which is a dry, white powder that is a by-product of winemaking. It is usually the main acidic ingredient in commercial baking powder formulas.

How to Use

For every 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of baking powder in your recipe, mix a ¼  teaspoon of baking soda with a ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.

small dishes of molasses

7. Molasses

The fermentation process used to transform cane sugar and beet sugar into molasses causes it to be slightly acidic. This makes molasses a good activator when combined with baking soda. 

Adding molasses to a recipe can change both the flavor and color of your pastries. It’s best to pair it with strong earthy flavors, such as caramel or ginger.

How to Use

For every 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of baking powder in your recipe, mix a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a ¼ cup of molasses. Since molasses is slightly sweet, you may need to cut down on other sugary ingredients. Be sure to also cut down the other liquids in the recipe by ¼ cup.

8. Self-Rising Flour

Self-rising flour is essentially just flour with added salt and baking powder. If you’re making flour-based baked goods, such as cakes, breads, cookies etc., then you are in luck if you have this sitting around in your pantry.

How to Use

Simply swap the all-purpose flour with self-rising flour in your recipe. As a general rule, each cup of self-rising flour contains around 1½ teaspoons of baking soda and a ¼ teaspoon of salt. Reduce any added salt and baking soda in your recipe accordingly.

9. Egg Whites

Whipping egg whites produces small air pockets that add volume and fluffiness to recipes such as meringues, soufflés, and pancakes. 

How to Use

The amount of whipped egg whites varies with each recipe, but 1 whipped egg white per teaspoon of baking powder is generally a good measure. 

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and then gently incorporate the whipped egg whites into your batter.

10. Club Soda

Club soda is carbonated water mixed with other mineral salts, including sodium bicarbonate, added for taste. The carbon dioxide in the club soda is the element that gives your batter or dough an extra lift, which improves the texture of your baked goods.

How to Use

Club soda is best used as a replacement for water in a recipe (e.g. for cupcakes, cakes, and pancakes). However, to retain the carbonation you must be sure to incorporate it by stirring as gently as possible.

Ammonium Bicarbonate on a large wooden spoon

11. Ammonium Bicarbonate (Baker’s Ammonia)

Baker’s Ammonia is actually the predecessor of baking powder. It is a traditional leavening ingredient that is still used today when making old-fashioned cookie and cracker recipes.

How to Use

Use a ¼ teaspoon of baker’s ammonia for every teaspoon of baking powder required for your recipe.

Put A Baking Powder Substitute to the Test

Now that you have these 11 baking powder substitutes in your arsenal, try out this delicious Fluffy American Pancake recipe. 

Try substituting the plain flour, baking powder, and salt with self-rising flour. Or, try swapping out the milk and baking powder with buttercream and baking soda.

Cake and Cookie Recipes With Baking Powder (or a substitute)

Blueberry Buckle

Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’mores Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes with Kahlua Cream Cheese Frosting

Candy Apple Sugar Cookies

Bread and Biscuit Recipes With Baking Powder (or a substitute)

Irish Soda Bread

Red Lobster Copycat Cheddar Biscuits

Zucchini Bread

Banana Bread Muffins 

Perfect Pumpkin Bread

Tell us which baking powder substitute is your go-to during a pinch! Also, don’t forget to share your favorite recipes using your new techniques!

baking powder substitutes pinterest pin

Have questions or suggestions? Leave them in the comments below. Until next time: Stay salty, and sweet 😉

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