4 Clever Substitutes for Baking Soda

Medically Reviewed on 6/30/2022
4 Clever Substitutes for Baking Soda
If you find yourself without baking soda, there are a few ingredients you can use with similar results

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a leavening agent that is used in baking. When it comes into contact with an acidic substance and a liquid, it activates and releases carbon dioxide, causing baked goods to rise. This results in the fluffy texture found in cakes, bread, and other baked goods.

If you find yourself without baking soda, however, there are a few ingredients you can use with similar results.

4 baking soda substitutes

1. Baking powder

Baking powder is the most common baking soda alternative. Sometimes confused for baking soda because of their similar names and appearance, baking powder is made from a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar.

Baking powder acts in the same way as baking soda because it produces carbon dioxide when exposed to liquid and heat, causing baked goods to rise. However, baking powder is not as strong as baking soda, so you will need to use a lot more of it to get the same result. 

Baking powder can give a slightly saltier flavor, so be mindful of this when adjusting the recipe. Because the baking powder contains cream of tartar, the finished result is also slightly more acidic; you may want to adjust the other ingredient proportions to account for this.

2. Potassium bicarbonate and salt

Potassium bicarbonate is an alkaline mineral that is commonly used as a dietary supplement. It can, however, be used in place of baking soda. It does not contain sodium, which is one of the main reasons why some people prefer this as a substitute.

You can use the same amount of potassium bicarbonate as baking soda. However, due its low salt content, products may taste a little bland and you may want to add about ¼-½ teaspoon of salt for every teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate used. However, this is optional and depends on the recipe. It may take some experimenting to get the measurements right.

3. Baker’s ammonia

Historically, baker's ammonia (ammonium carbonate) was used as a leavening agent in baking before baking soda and baking powder were developed.

Baker's ammonia works better for baked goods with a thin texture rather than those with a thick crumb. It adds crispness to a dish, which is especially desirable in cookies and crackers. 

It is quite simple to use as a baking soda substitute because you can use the same amount as you would with baking soda. It does, however, produce ammonia, which has a strong and unpleasant smell. While the odor will usually dissipate in light baked goods, it may linger in more dense baked goods like muffins or cakes. 

4. Self-rising flour

Self-rising flour is the most complicated baking soda substitute to use because it requires the most changes in a recipe. It is made from all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. For every cup of self-rising flour, there is about 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Because self-rising flour does not need an acid ingredient to react, you can replace acid ingredients in your recipe with more neutral flavoring to keep a good balance. For example, if your recipe calls for buttermilk, you may want to just use regular milk.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/30/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Marshall C. Substitute for Baking Soda. The Kitchen Community. https://thekitchencommunity.org/substitute-for-baking-soda/

WebMD. What Is a Substitute for Baking Soda? https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/whats-a-substitute-for-baking-soda