What Can Be Used As A Substitute for Baking Soda?

baking soda substitutes

If someone tells you to buy sodium bicarbonate, they’re referring to baking soda. Baking soda can be used as mouthwash, heartburn reliever, deodorant, or air freshener. Just as its name suggests, you also need it on hand whenever you’re baking. Whether you’re cooking pancakes, muffins, cookies, or bread, you’ll inevitably need this raising agent.

So, how does baking soda work? First, note that it’s an alkaline substance. That means it will release carbon dioxide gas once it comes into contact with an acidic ingredient. That gas allows your baked goods to expand and gives them a fluffy texture.

Imagine arriving at someone’s house craving muffins. You open your cupboard, but there’s no baking soda! You don’t want to knock on your neighbor’s door to borrow some, so you decide to use a substitute. So, what are your options?

The chemical composition of the baking soda makes it tricky to replace. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t replace it. Check out some suggestions down below.

Baking Soda Substitutes

Here are several baking soda substitutes for your consideration.

Baking Powder

Baking powder’s ingredients actually include baking soda. That makes baking powder a perfect substitute for it. Their physical appearance, name, and even functions can be quite similar.

Due to the presence of the cream of tartar in it, baking powder is more salty and acidic. To protect your dish from becoming too acidic, reduce your other acidic ingredients, such as salt.

For leavening to take place, baking soda must interact with your acidic ingredients. Since baking powder has cream of tartar, reduce or replace your acidic ingredients with non-acidic ones when using it.

Baking powder is less potent than baking soda. That means that you may require a higher quantity of baking powder than you would baking soda. For every teaspoon of baking soda in your recipe, replace it with three teaspoons of baking powder.

Self-Raising Flour

For amateur cooks, using self-raising flour can ruin your meal if you’re not careful. Also, note that some self-raising flour ingredients include all-purpose flour plus baking powder and salt. As explained above, baking soda doesn’t require acidic ingredients for leavening baking goods. To reduce the acidity of your dish, use non-acidic ingredients. Since each cup of the self-rising flour has a quarter spoon of salt, using it will allow you to avoid adding too much salt to your food.

Potassium Bicarbonate + Salt

Do you want to make cookies, but your kitchen cabinet doesn’t have baking soda or any substitutes? Why not check your medicine cabinet for potassium bicarbonate? It’s your best replacement option, especially if you want to minimize your sodium intake. Unless you are making cookies, avoid using potassium bicarbonate as a substitute.

If salt content is not an issue for you, add some salt. If the recipe tells you to include a spoonful of baking soda, replace it with potassium bicarbonate. For those who love saltier dishes, add 1/3 spoon of salt for every spoon of potassium bicarbonate.

Baker’s Ammonia

Another traditional leavening agent is ammonium carbonate. Just like baking soda, it has to interact with acidic ingredients and heat in order to form carbon dioxide. It also releases ammonium gas. After baking with it, your baked goods will have a distinct crispiness. Substitute it for baking soda with a 1:1 ratio, and you’ll be ready to bake!

For cookies and other goods with light and thin texture, baker’s ammonia is the best substitute for baking soda. However, you shouldn’t use it if your end product will be thick and crumbly, such as muffins and cakes, because it leaves behind an unpleasant smell.

Egg Whites

What if you don’t have baking soda or any of these other substitutes? Never fear–you can use egg whites to replace the baking soda. First, make sure you beat the egg whites well before adding them to your batter. Then, measure the egg whites and remove the equivalent amount of liquid  from your ingredients.

Club Soda

Pancake lovers enjoying fluffy and moist pancakes. But to achieve that delicious result, you may need club soda. Before adding club soda to your batter, make sure you remove an equal amount of liquid from your other liquid ingredients. Not only is club soda an effective replacement for baking soda, but some people prefer to use it instead of water or milk in their recipes. They claim that it adds extra lightness and volume to their confections.

If you choose to use club soda, don’t open the bottle until you are ready to use it. If you open it and leave it for some time, the carbon dioxide supposed to leaven your goods will evaporate. Also, if you want to bake something light and fluffy, avoid substituting baking soda with club soda.

Sour Milk

What if you don’t have baking soda, baking powder, or any of the other substitutes listed above? In that case, check to see if you have sour milk. Surprisingly, if you include sour milk in your recipe, it will produce leavening effects similar to those of baking soda.

Still, due to the differences between sour milk and baking soda’s chemical compositions, your final products may not taste similar to those created with baking soda. So, if possible, stick to the recipe and use all of the recommended ingredients to achieve optimal results.


It’s essential to stick to the recipe you’re given. At the same time, a lack of baking soda should not prevent you from baking altogether. If you’re using a product such like potassium bicarbonate, you can include some salt as long as you have no outstanding health issues. Also, when using baking powder, note that it’s not as strong as baking soda. So for every spoon of baking soda you’d normally add, add three spoons of baking powder instead. And remember: not all of these substitutes work for every kind of baked good. For instance, avoid using baker’s ammonium to bake products such as cakes and muffins, and only use egg whites if you’re baking a simple product. Finally, avoid opening a club soda bottle before you’re ready to use it. If you do, carbon dioxide intended to aid the leavening process will disappear into the air.

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