How to Make Substitute Baking Powder

Baking Powder is an important leavening ingredient in a wide variety of baked goods. If you don't have any on hand for your recipe, don't despair - it's quite easy to recreate the leavening effect of baking powder by substituting baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and an acidic ingredient to your recipe, which will react to form leavening bubbles. Because many common kitchen ingredients are acidic, you have many options for making your own baking powder. As an added bonus, the ingredients of some substitute recipes are cheaper than the equivalent amount of baking powder.


  • Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), and one of the following options:
  • Cream of tartar
  • Cornstarch (optional)
  • Buttermilk, sour milk, or yogurt
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Molasses, golden syrup, or treacle


  1. Image titled Make Substitute Baking Powder Step 1
    Use 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (plus an acid) for every 1 teaspoon of baking powder in your recipe. Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) is an ingredient in nearly all substitute baking powder recipes. Baking soda acts as the base in the acid-base reaction that recreates the leavening effect of baking powder. You may choose from a variety of acidic ingredients, but, for the reaction to work correctly, you'll need this common kitchen base. When substituting baking soda for baking powder, know that baking soda is about four times as powerful as baking powder, so 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda equals 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda equals 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and so on.
    • While the amount of baking soda you will use as a substitute for baking powder is always 1/4 of the amount of baking powder called for, note that the volume of your acidic ingredient will vary from recipe to recipe.
  2. Image titled Make Substitute Baking Powder Step 2
    Use an acid that compliments your recipe. As noted above, each substitution option uses baking soda as a base. However, each substitution option uses a different ingredient as its acid. The reaction between the baking soda and the acid will effectively neutralize most of the sour taste of the acid, so you don't have to worry, for instance, that using the baking soda and vinegar method will leave your cake with a disgusting sour taste. However, other aspects of the acid's flavor will remain, so try to pick a substitution option whose acid compliments the other ingredients in your recipe.
    • For instance, if you're making sweet, delicious cookies, you might opt for the baking soda and molasses method, which will give your cookies dark, decadent molasses undertones.
  3. Image titled Make Substitute Baking Powder Step 3
    Add your baking soda to the dry ingredients and your acid to the wet ingredients before combining the two. The acid-base reaction between your two ingredients substituting for baking powder will begin as soon as they are combined, and, over time, the reaction will slow and eventually peter out. Because of this, it's important not to combine these two ingredients until just before you're ready to put your dough or batter in the oven. Luckily, most baking recipes call for you to combine all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, etc.) and your wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla, etc.) separately from each other before combining the two. Use this to your advantage - add the baking soda to your dry ingredients and add your acid to your wet ingredients so that they combine as soon as possible before putting your ingredients in the oven.

Substitution Recipes

  1. Image titled Make Substitute Baking Powder Step 4
    Use 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar for each 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Cream of tartar is a common powdery ingredient that, combined in a slightly greater than 2:1 ratio with baking soda, makes a good substitute for baking powder. Though cream of tartar itself is a dry ingredient, add it to your wet ingredients as you would any of the other acids used in this article.
    • Optionally, you may create and store a powdered baking powder substitute for use at a later date. Combine your cream of tartar and baking soda in a 2:1 ratio as you normally would, then add a quantity of cornstarch equal to the amount of baking soda you added. The cornstarch will absorb moisture from the air, preventing the baking soda and cream of tartar from reacting prematurely.[1]
  2. Image titled Make Substitute Baking Powder Step 5
    Use 1 cup of sour dairy for 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Another useful acid-base leavening combination is that of baking soda and any form of sour dairy - buttermilk, yogurt, or completely sour milk will all work. The dairy's sour taste is a result of its acidity, the same property that causes it to react with baking soda and produce the leavening effect. Use 1/2 cup of dairy for every 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, or, in other words, 1 cup for 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, etc.[2]
    • Because you must use a relatively large volume of dairy to balance out your baking soda, reduce the volume of your other liquid ingredients to accommodate the extra liquid. For example, if you're using this substitution method and you put 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into your dry ingredients, you might want to remove 1/2 cup of milk from the recipe to make up for the fact that you will add 1/2 cup buttermilk.
  3. Image titled Make Substitute Baking Powder Step 6
    Add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. The acid-base reaction between baking soda and vinegar has gained fame through countless paper mâché volcano science fair projects. The reaction works identically here. Simply add vinegar to your wet ingredients in a 2:1 ratio to the baking soda you add to your dry ingredients and combine as normal. Lemon juice, because it is also quite acidic, may be used in place of vinegar.
  4. Image titled Make Substitute Baking Powder Step 7
    Add 3/8 cup of molasses, golden syrup or treacle for every 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Some thick, viscous kitchen sweeteners are acids and therefore will react with baking soda. Molasses, golden syrup, and treacle are all good choices when substituting for baking powder - add 3/8 cup of any of these to your wet ingredients for each 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda you add to your dry ingredients.
    • As with the sour dairy method above, the volume of acid here is large enough to affect the overall composition of your recipe. So, if you use this method, remove 3/8 cup of liquid from your recipe for every 3/8 cup of molasses, etc. you add.
    • Additionally, because molasses is very sweet, you may want to lower the amounts of other sweeteners in your recipe as well.


  • Bicarbonate of soda is also known as baking soda.

Article Info

Categories: Baking