This Is the Easiest Baking Soda Substitute Ever

Your baked goods won't fall flat with this smart swap, and we bet you already have it in your kitchen.
Baking soda in wooden bowl with wooden spoon

Picture this: You're baking a cake or cookies from scratch, and you realize you don't have any baking soda sitting in your pantry. What do you do? Before you run out the door and opt to just buy a box of powdered mix from the store—or worse, buy a pre-made cake or container of cookies from the bakery—know that there is another way you can still make this homemade treat. See, there happens to be a simple baking soda substitute you can employ: baking powder.

Remember, baking soda is important because it helps baked goods to either expand or rise in the oven. In cakes, the addition of baking soda is partially attributable to the cake's light, crumbly texture. Without baking soda, the cake would not rise and instead yield a dense, thicker texture.

Now, back to that other baking soda option…

What is the best baking soda substitute?

Principal chef at HelloFresh Claudia Sidoti knows a thing or two about having to make substitutions for ingredients in a pinch.

"This is a hard one because while you can use yeast, the amount varies depending on the recipe," says Sidoti. "My recommendation is a little more basic, and while it's not a straight one-to-one swap, it does the trick. Try baking powder—keep in mind that baking soda is about four times as effective than powder—so just factor that in when substituting."

Essentially, in order for this swap to work, you want to add one teaspoon of baking powder for every 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda that's needed for the recipe.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

What can you do to make sure this baking soda substitute works?

"Combine dry ingredients together first before adding to wet ingredients for better distribution," says Sidoti. Also, note that if you are using single-acting baking powder instead of a double-acting powder, it's important you move the batter to the oven almost immediately after mixing to prevent the chemical reaction from occurring prematurely.

And there you have it, a simple baking soda substitute you can use when you're in a pinch—all you need is a larger quantity of baking powder.

Would this alternative work for all baking dishes?

Note that this baking soda substitute is not ideal for all homemade baked goods, but it will work seamlessly in a few. To know if the substitution will work, it mainly depends on whether or not a particular list of ingredients is included in the mix.

"The swap is best in recipes that have something acidic because there needs to be something acidic to create a reaction, so recipes that have some lemon juice, yogurt, or buttermilk are best," says Sidoti. Honey and chocolate are also acidic ingredients, too.

Technically, baking powder already contains an acidic agent, cream of tartar, so you may not need as much of those acidic ingredients when making use of this substitute. Remember, once baking soda is combined with moisture and acidic ingredients, a chemical reaction occurs, causing bubbles to arise in the batter. This is what gives your baked goods that delicious fluffy texture. And now, you can keep your treats from falling flat with this baking soda substitute hack!

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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