What is Baking Soda?

The white powdered product we all know as baking soda is actually sodium bicarbonate, a base alkaline, fast-acting leavener used in baking. A base plus an acid produce bubbles. When it comes into contact with moisture and an acidic ingredients like chocolate, cocoa, molasses, citrus juice, brown sugar (which has molasses in it), buttermilk, or yogurt it produces carbon dioxide bubbles which cause the various baked goods to rise.

How to Substitute Baking Powder and Baking Soda

This action begins as soon as it hits any wet ingredient, which is why is usually mixed with other dry ingredients before being blended with any wet ingredients. If there is no acidic ingredient in your recipe, baking soda may cause the food to taste metallic. Baking soda is about 3x as strong as baking powder.

What is Baking Powder?

Baking powder is actually baking soda with some other ingredients added, like cream of tartar and maybe cornstarch. It isn’t as strong as baking soda; it only has about 1/3 of the leavening power. If there is no acid at all in your baked good, then you either can add 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice to your recipe, or you need to stick with baking powder.

What Does Double Acting Baking Powder Mean?

It means that the baking powder is first activates when it hits moisture, and then activates a second time when it goes into the heat of the oven. Most baking powder on the market is double acting, and will say so on the label.

How to Substitute Baking Soda and Baking Powder: What to do when you’re ready to bake but don’t have the right leavener!

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Irish Soda Bread

How to Substitute Baking Soda for Baking Powder

You can substitute baking soda for baking powder. Just use:

  • 1/3 teaspoon baking soda for every 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon baking soda for 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda for 1 tablespoon baking powder.

If you have cream of tartar, add double the amount of the baking soda when subbing for baking powder, so:

  • 1/3 teaspoon baking soda plus 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar for every 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon baking soda plus 1 1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar for 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda plus 2 teaspoons cream of tartar for 1 tablespoon baking powder
How to Substitute Baking Soda and Baking Powder

How to Substitute Baking Powder for Baking Soda

This is trickier. Because you would need to use 3 times as much baking powder to get the same rising effect, you could end up with a bitter, chemically taste if you add too much leavening. If you have one teaspoon of baking soda, then go for 1 tablespoon baking powder; if the recipe calls for more than 1 teaspoon baking soda, you may want to wait for another time.

Not enough leavening will prevent baked goods from rising as much as they should, and yet too much leavening could cause baked goods to fall. In either case, you won’t get the light results you’re looking for. Always use the exact amount stated in the ingredient list.

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits

Also see How to Make Self-Rising Flour!

Recipes with Baking Soda:

Recipes with Baking Powder:

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Baking Powder Substitute

What to do when you're ready to bake but don't have the right leavener!
Yield: 1 people
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 1 minute
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian


  • teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon cream of tartar


  • Combine baking soda and cream of tartar to substitute for 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 5kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 366mg | Potassium: 330mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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