The baking powder is an ingredient used to add volume and lighten the texture of our baked goods. Unfortunately, sometimes we just forget about it when we need it! Thankfully, there are plenty of ingredients we can use instead. See what the 10 best baking powder substitutes are.
Does the scenario sound familiar to you? You are in the middle of baking and then you realize that you have left out an ingredient. There are days when you can get away with a missing ingredient. But if you happen to miss out the baking powder, that could make things a bit different from your original plan. Because the baking powder is not something that you can simply just leave out in the recipe. And sometimes, the nearest baking store could take you an hour to reach. Frustrating? Kind of, but we have good news for you! Along with some other common ingredients and baking soda, so long you have those in your pantry, you are already in good hands!
One thing we have to be clear on is that baking powder and baking soda are not the same. You cannot swap one for the other. Even though both are leavening agents, their roles are different in the recipes.
The baking powder itself is a soda that has been mixed with an acid. When the baking powder comes in contact with a liquid, it will let off carbon dioxide bubbles, causing the baked goods to rise. In baking stores, most of the baking powder that you see are usually double-acting types—this means once the baking powder will activate when liquid touches it, and it will activate again when it is heated.
Using the baking soda also helps to rise your baked goods, but it requires an acidic element to make it work. Acidic ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar, or buttermilk (see how you can make your own buttermilk at home) helps to activate the baking soda. Read Baking Soda vs Baking Powder to learn more.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way… What happens if you are out of baking powder? Easy-peasy, these ingredients will work beautifully in your favor. Behold, the 10 best baking powder substitutes.
No. 1: Self-Rising Flour
Self-rising flour is flour with baking powder and salt already mixed in. Who knew? This means that you can switch the all-purpose flour for self-rising flour. You just need to leave out the baking powder and salt called for in the recipe. This truly is one of the easiest substitutes so long you have some self-rising flour in your pantry.
No. 2: Yogurt + Baking Soda
Yogurt is a great acidic ingredient. Mix it with baking soda and it can copy the effects of baking powder. If the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of baking powder, just add in ¼ teaspoon baking soda with the dry ingredients and ½ cup plain yogurt with the wet ingredients. Then, remember to reduce the other liquids by ½ cup. There you have it, baking powder substitute.
No. 3: Cream of Tartar + Baking Soda
One of the best baking powder substitutes is to mix baking soda and cream of tartar. The cream of tartar helps to add acidity to the baking soda. To make 1 tablespoon of baking powder, mix 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar with 1 of teaspoon baking soda (add 1 teaspoon cornstarch if you plan to make a big batch—it prevents the mixture from caking, but it is not always necessary).
No. 4: Whipped Egg Whites
While this substitution will not work for all recipes, it is still a decent option for making pancakes or waffles. Most of the baking powder substitutes make use of baking soda, and if you do not have baking soda at hand, you can always use whipped egg whites as a substitute. The whipped egg whites aid in adding volume in some recipes. Beat an egg white or two to soft fluffy peaks and gently fold into your batter (be careful not to overmix or the egg whites will deflate).
No. 5: Buttermilk + Baking Soda
Keep in mind that buttermilk is very acidic in nature. It is a no-brainer that it will work well to activate baking soda. This makes buttermilk and baking soda a duo for great baking powder substitute. Easily, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of baking powder, just add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with your dry ingredients and ½ cup buttermilk with the wet ingredients (similar to using yogurt and baking soda). A quick heads up, you will have to lessen the other liquids in the recipe to accommodate the extra ½ cup, so this might for be your best choice for recipes that do not call for a lot of liquid to begin with.
No. 6: Water + Baking Soda
Guess what? Water and baking soda equals a club soda. If you are really in desperate need of baking powder and do not have baking powder, use this lightly salted carbonated water in place of the milk or water in your recipe and it will provide a little extra volume. Only use it if you need a little lift though—this is not a miracle worker that can do anything.
No. 7: Vinegar + Baking Soda
Similar to lemon juice, vinegar is also highly acidic. And who does not have vinegar in their pantry? The best option here is to use white (or clear) vinegar. Since white vinegar has the most neutral flavor, it is likely to go unnoticed in a baked good, but rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also do the job. To substitute for 1 teaspoon of baking powder, mix ½ of teaspoon vinegar with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
No. 8: Sour Milk + Baking Soda
Has your milk turned sour but is not curdled yet? If yes, that is great as it is beginning to experience the fermentation process and contains lactic acid, which will activate baking soda. Though it is not 100% possible and guaranteed that you will have milk that is perfectly sour (but not spoiled yet) when you need a baking powder substitute, but if you do (bonus points!), use it the same way you would use buttermilk or yogurt in combination with baking soda.
No. 9: Lemon Juice + Baking Soda
What is high in citric and good for activating baking soda as a baking powder substitute? The answer is lemon juice. A fair warning though, because lemon juice also has a strong flavor, only use it as a replacement in recipes that only call for a small amount of baking powder or in a dish where you do not mind having a lemony flavor (like a Lemon Apricot Swiss Roll). To replace 1 teaspoon of baking powder, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with the dry ingredients and ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice with the wet ingredients. Voila!
No. 10: Molasses + Baking Soda
Molasses may not be very acidic as fresh lemon juice or vinegar, but when it is mixed with baking soda, it can have similar leavening properties as baking powder. Since it is also sugar, it will aid in adding more sweetness to a recipe. If you are planning to use molasses and baking soda to substitute baking powder, consider reducing the amount of sugar in your recipe. Molasses is also liquid so the other liquids in the recipe need to be reduced too to accommodate it. To substitute 1 teaspoon of baking powder, mix ¼ cup of molasses and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
Now You can Bake without Baking Powder.
Now that you know what the 10 baking powder substitutes, some people might still ask if you can omit the baking powder in the recipe. As baking powder is essential to getting the right structure and texture in most baked goods, the truthful answer is that it is not recommended that you leave it out of the recipe. Having the baking powder omitted can leave you with an unappealing final product. With so plenty of baking powder substitutions here, you can do so much better in choosing one that suits you and give it a try in your recipe! After all, you pretty have these ingredients already in your pantry. Who told you to give up on baking powder?
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