5 Creative Substitutes for Baking Powder and Baking Soda

In the world of baking, having a well-stocked pantry is essential for culinary success. However, there may be times when you need to think outside the box and get creative with your ingredients. This is where finding substitutes for commonly used leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda becomes crucial. Whether you’re dealing with dietary restrictions, running low on supplies, or simply looking to add a unique twist to your recipes, having alternative options at your disposal can be a game-changer.

In this article, we will explore five inventive substitutes for baking powder and baking soda that can come to the rescue in a pinch. From household staples to unexpected ingredients, we’ll delve into the possibilities and provide you with the know-how to elevate your baking endeavors. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice in the kitchen, these creative alternatives are sure to expand your baking repertoire and inspire delicious results.

Key Takeaways
You can substitute baking powder with a mixture of cream of tartar and baking soda, using 1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar. For baking soda, you can use baking powder, although you will need to use a larger amount since it is less potent. Alternatively, you can also use buttermilk or yogurt in place of baking soda, though this may slightly alter the flavor of the recipe. Always adjust the quantity based on the specific substitution and the recipe’s needs.


Yeast can be used as a creative substitute for baking powder and baking soda in recipes that require leavening. When activated, yeast releases carbon dioxide gas, which helps dough rise and provides a light, airy texture to baked goods. To use yeast as a substitute, mix it with warm water and a small amount of sugar to activate it before adding it to your recipe. Keep in mind that using yeast may result in a longer rising time compared to using baking powder or baking soda.

Baking with yeast can add a unique flavor profile to your baked goods, often described as slightly tangy or yeasty. This can be particularly desirable in bread and other savory baked goods. However, it’s important to note that using yeast as a substitute may not work well for quick breads, cakes, or other recipes that rely on the quick leavening action of baking powder or baking soda. Overall, yeast can be an effective substitute for leavening in recipes, particularly those that benefit from a longer rise and a distinct flavor profile.

Self-Rising Flour

Self-rising flour is a versatile substitute for both baking powder and baking soda. This ready-made flour contains baking powder and a touch of salt, eliminating the need for these leavening agents in a recipe. When using self-rising flour as a substitute, simply omit the baking powder and salt from the original recipe, as these ingredients are already present in the self-rising flour.

The convenience of self-rising flour makes it a popular choice for quick breads, biscuits, and pancakes. Its leavening properties help baked goods rise, resulting in a light and fluffy texture. Additionally, using self-rising flour can simplify the baking process, especially for novice bakers or when working with limited pantry ingredients. However, it is important to note that self-rising flour is not suitable for all recipes, particularly those that require precise measurements or call for specific types of flour. Nonetheless, for many everyday baking needs, self-rising flour can be a reliable and convenient substitute for both baking powder and baking soda.


Buttermilk is a versatile ingredient that can be used as a substitute for baking powder and baking soda in certain recipes. Its acidic nature helps to activate baking soda, causing a chemical reaction that leads to the rise of baked goods. When used as a substitute for baking powder, buttermilk adds acidity to the batter, leading to a similar leavening effect.

In recipes that call for baking powder, you can replace it with buttermilk by using 1 cup of buttermilk for every 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Similarly, if a recipe calls for baking soda, you can substitute it with buttermilk by using 1 cup of buttermilk for every 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. It’s important to note that when replacing baking powder or baking soda with buttermilk, you may need to adjust the amount of other acidic ingredients in the recipe to maintain the overall balance of flavors. Buttermilk can also add a subtle tanginess to the final baked goods, enhancing their overall flavor profile.

Whipped Egg Whites

Whipped egg whites are a versatile and effective substitute for baking powder and baking soda in various recipes. When whipped to stiff peaks, egg whites can provide leavening and help to add lightness and structure to baked goods. This makes them an excellent replacement for chemical leaveners in recipes such as cakes, waffles, and pancakes.

To use whipped egg whites in place of baking powder or baking soda, separate the eggs and whip the whites until they form stiff peaks. Then carefully fold the whipped egg whites into the batter to help provide the desired lift and texture. Be mindful not to overmix, as this can deflate the egg whites and reduce their leavening ability. Additionally, because egg whites are a pure and natural ingredient, they can be a preferable option for those seeking an alternative to chemical leaveners. Overall, whipped egg whites are a creative and effective way to achieve light and fluffy results in baking without relying on traditional leavening agents.

Sour Milk

Sour milk can serve as a creative substitute for baking powder and baking soda. When mixed with an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar, sour milk can create a chemical reaction that helps leaven baked goods. To use sour milk as a substitute for baking powder, simply combine it with an acidic ingredient to activate the leavening properties, and adjust the recipe as needed to account for the additional liquid content.

Moreover, sour milk can also be used as a replacement for baking soda. When combined with an acidic ingredient, sour milk can help produce carbon dioxide gas, which aids in the rising of baked goods. To use sour milk as a baking soda substitute, combine it with an acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk or yogurt, to create a similar leavening effect. Whether used as a substitute for baking powder or baking soda, sour milk offers a natural and readily available alternative for leavening baked goods, perfect for those who are looking to experiment with new ingredients in their baking endeavors.


Molasses is a natural sweetener that can serve as an effective substitute for baking powder and baking soda. Its high acidity can help activate the leavening agents in the recipe, making it a suitable alternative for those looking to avoid chemical leavening agents. When using molasses as a substitute, it’s important to note that its distinct flavor may slightly alter the taste of the final baked goods, adding a hint of rich, caramel-like sweetness.

You can replace baking powder by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 cup of molasses to provide the necessary leavening effect. Additionally, for recipes that call for both baking powder and molasses, consider reducing other sweeteners in the recipe to balance the sweetness. It’s worth experimenting with the quantity of molasses to achieve the desired taste and texture in your baked treats. Overall, molasses can be an excellent natural alternative, offering a flavorful twist to traditional recipes.

Cream Of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a popular substitute for both baking powder and baking soda due to its acidic nature, which can help activate baking soda to produce carbon dioxide gas for leavening. When used as a substitute for baking powder, it’s often combined with baking soda in a 2:1 ratio (2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda). This combination mimics the leavening action of baking powder. It’s important to note that cream of tartar should be sifted with other dry ingredients before being added to the recipe to ensure even distribution.

Aside from its leavening properties, cream of tartar can also be used to stabilize beaten egg whites and improve their volume and stability when making meringues or angel food cakes. Furthermore, it can prevent sugar syrups from crystallizing, making it useful for creating smooth and glossy frostings and candies.

In addition to its culinary uses, cream of tartar has been touted for its potential health benefits, such as helping to lower blood pressure and relieving arthritis symptoms. However, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes.


Vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can act as a substitute for both baking powder and baking soda in certain recipes. When replacing baking powder, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of vinegar to create the necessary leavening action. The combination of acidic vinegar and alkaline baking soda produces carbon dioxide, which helps baked goods rise.

Alternatively, when substituting for baking soda, use 1 teaspoon of vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. This will provide the necessary acidity and leavening power to achieve a similar effect. Keep in mind that the vinegar flavor could slightly impact the taste of the final product, so choose a type of vinegar with a mild flavor, such as white or apple cider vinegar, for better results. Additionally, be mindful of the overall acidity in the recipe and adjust accordingly when using vinegar as a substitute to avoid any undesirable changes in flavor.


In today’s culinary landscape, having a repertoire of creative substitutes for baking powder and baking soda can provide endless possibilities for experimentation and innovation in the kitchen. Whether it’s using whipped egg whites, buttermilk, or even vinegar, the options are both varied and abundant. By exploring these alternative ingredients, home cooks and professional bakers alike can adapt recipes, achieve different textures, and enhance flavors with ingenuity and resourcefulness.

With the versatility and flexibility offered by these baking powder and baking soda substitutes, the limitations of traditional baking ingredients become a thing of the past. Embracing these creative alternatives not only opens up a world of culinary opportunities, but also empowers individuals to confidently navigate the kitchen and create delectable treats with unexpected twists. By embracing experimentation and the willingness to think outside the box, bakers can continue to innovate and elevate their craft, pushing the boundaries of traditional baking methods.

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