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Are you planning some holiday baking? If so, you can use your knowledge of kitchen chemistry to save a trip to the store if you run out of ingredients. One substitution that can be confusing is whether or not you can use baking powder and baking soda interchangeably. Both baking powder and baking soda are used to help baked goods rise, but they aren't the same chemicals.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. If you don't have baking soda, you can use baking powder, but you will need to add about twice as much because baking powder contains baking soda, but it also contains other ingredients. This substitution may affect the flavor of the food, not necessarily in a negative way. If the recipe calls for salt (sodium chloride), you may want to use slightly less.

Baking powder is sodium bicarbonate and potassium bitartrate. If you don't have baking powder, you can't substitute baking soda, but you can make baking powder using two parts cream of tartar and one part baking soda. For example, two teaspoons of cream of tartar plus one teaspoon of baking soda would give you three teaspoons of baking powder. Unless the recipes states otherwise, begin baking as soon as you have finished mixing the ingredients, since the chemical reaction that causes the rising starts as soon as wet and dry ingredients are mixed. Tell me more...


December 4, 2006 at 4:10 pm
(1) ronna says:

Thanks for having this information!!!!! I am out of baking soda with two batches of banana bread to make. It’s working great!

December 31, 2006 at 11:16 am
(2) chemistry says:

You’re welcome. I’m glad it helped.

September 28, 2008 at 11:44 am
(3) 123456 says:

thanks is is a great help to science fair projects like mine!

January 23, 2009 at 10:23 am
(4) alyssa says:

thats soooo much for the tips!!

April 15, 2009 at 10:18 pm
(5) heath says:

thanks, i have a degree in chemistry, but can’t bake

January 28, 2010 at 11:10 am
(6) mayday says:

can you mix baking powder and baking soda? i followed a recipe with those instructions and my cake collapsed….. but am not sure if thats the problem because the author seems to use that combination on all her recipes…………

February 18, 2010 at 7:09 am
(7) Maria says:

Many thanks,

saved me from a disaster.

March 26, 2010 at 6:23 am
(8) deepa says:

actually most of the time substituting both baking powder and baking soda into each other doesn’t cause an appreciable change in most of our household bakery items becos both baking soda nad baking powder actually are sodium bicarbonate which on effervescence liberates carbon dioxide, causing that fizz in the batter and making the entire preparation porous and spongy , while baking powder’s other constituent potassium bitartrate on dissolution yields tartarate ions which render a slight acidic taste to the mixture

in cakes and buns this does not cause an appraciable change in the taste

April 12, 2010 at 9:54 pm
(9) lilly says:

thanks but don’t you need to add cornstarch?

July 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm
(10) tammy says:

im trying to make Amish bread i have all the stuff but its calling for 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and i have only baking soda can i use it

November 26, 2010 at 7:47 am
(11) Ruth says:

Thanks for the tip. I ran out of baking soda and did what you said about the baking powder, almost three times the amount and I am waiting to see what the result will be. I am hoping it all works out but I thank you again.

February 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm
(12) Gulraj says:

Thanks so much…. now I know the reason why the cake was not rising upto the mark…. :)
Will definitely try it…

June 22, 2012 at 9:47 am
(13) louis poyser says:

thanks for the help guys !!!!!!!! now i can make my special cake :P

June 22, 2012 at 10:00 am
(14) ambs says:

thanx for helping with my science homework :)

June 22, 2012 at 10:01 am
(15) keelan wicks says:


June 22, 2012 at 10:03 am
(16) LEWIS WELLSS says:


June 22, 2012 at 10:05 am
(17) kealan wickes says:

hi thomas gamblen i made special cakes 3:)

June 22, 2012 at 10:05 am
(18) tom gamblen says:

omg i love this website so much its helped me so much in life i get so emotinal when i think of it im sat at home crying looking at them big cookies on the this page omg thank you lord for this website

June 22, 2012 at 10:08 am
(19) gilbert sandwedge says:

I love science

June 22, 2012 at 10:08 am
(20) LEWIS WELLS says:

OMGGG init gambo 5this is wicked iloveyou guys for helping me get through these hard weeks thanks :*<3

June 22, 2012 at 10:09 am
(21) amber m says:

OMG i am totally planning some holiday baking , read my mind …..
it helped alott :)

June 22, 2012 at 10:11 am
(22) Lisa Allen says:

thanks … my kids r at school and i am planning some HOLIDAY baking xxx :)

June 22, 2012 at 10:18 am
(23) matilda jayne says:

wowww .. so scarry lol go bake a cake mate x

December 12, 2012 at 2:12 am
(24) Elizabeth says:

Thank you so much! You saved the day! I’m in Uganda trying to make a cake and was feeling lost about some of the ingredients. Esoteric knowledge really helps my every day life.

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