Baking soda is an ingredient that is essential for most bakers.
When you combine this alkaline powder with an acidic base, carbon dioxide bubbles are created which cause the baked goods to rise and develop a deliciously light, fluffy texture.
But what if you’re in the middle of baking and discover that you ran out of baking soda—what substitutes could you use?
Best Substitutes for Baking Soda
1. Baking powder
Baking powder is the best substitute for baking soda. It could be used in place of any recipe that uses baking soda. If your recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking soda, then substitute with three teaspoons of baking powder. Baking powder acts as a leavening agent to make the baked goods rise, this reaction happens when the batter is exposed to heat instead of moisture. One added benefit is that there is no need to mix baking powder with an acidic base (i.e. lemon juice, buttermilk).
2. Potassium bicarbonate
If your recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking soda, then substitute with one teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate and a 1/3 teaspoon of salt (in order to keep the taste consistent). Potassium bicarbonate is sometimes used to treat hypertension or acid reflux disease, so you most likely won’t find it in the grocery store, although your local pharmacy should carry it. This substitute is best used for cookies. Potassium bicarbonate is a great option for people who are trying to monitor or restrict the salt levels in their diets. If that’s the case, just leave the salt out and solely use the potassium bicarbonate.
Substitutes for Baking Soda When Making
- Whisk eggs vigorously: This is more of a trick if you run out of baking soda, baking powder, and potassium bicarbonate while making pancakes: Whisk the eggs vigorously before adding to the batter; this will increase the air bubbles in the pancake batter and result in fluffier pancakes.
- Self-rising flour: Opt for self-rising flour instead of plain flour for fluffier pancakes.
- Beer: Put beer in the batter to add carbonation; carbon dioxide will make the baked goods rise.
Tips for Replacing Acidic Liquids
When you use an alternative to baking soda, the acidic liquids that make the baking soda work might not go well with the substitute. If the recipe calls for sour cream, vinegar, yogurt, or buttermilk; consider replacing those liquids with plain milk or water.
For example, if the recipe calls for buttermilk, use whole milk instead. If the recipe calls for lemon juice, or any other type of juice, opt for water. Use the same amount of liquid that the original recipe calls for.
Baking Soda 101: Tips and Tricks
1. Store your baking soda in a cool, dry place to prevent it from clumping.
2. Store a box of baking soda in the freezer or fridge to absorb bad odors.
3. Use baking soda when cleaning; a pinch of baking soda and water can help remove stubborn stains.
4. To extinguish a small grease fire, sprinkle baking soda on the fire to help put out the flames—the baking soda will essentially cut off the oxygen supply. (Note: This does not mean that you should use this method if a chemical fire extinguisher is nearby.)
5. When you are boiling veggies, sprinkle a small dash of baking soda into the pot to help the vegetables maintain their color.
Recipe of the Day…Yes, it Contains Baking Soda
White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies
- Vegetable-oil spray
- 2 3/4 cups of flour
- 1 1/4 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of natural salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 20 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup of molasses
- 10 ounces of white chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large 17-by-12-inch baking sheet with vegetable spray. Line the bottom of the sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices until properly blended. Beat the butter and brown sugar into the mixture until it is fluffy.
Add the eggs and yolk and continue to beat after each ingredient is added. Reduce the speed to a slower pace and add in the vanilla. Mix in the white chocolate. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
“Substitute for Baking Soda,” EnkiVillage.com; http://www.enkivillage.com/substitute-for-baking-soda.html#Tips0, last accessed June 15, 2015.
“Baking Soda Substitutions,” NewHealthGuide.org; http://www.newhealthguide.org/Baking-Soda-Substitute.html, last accessed June 15, 2015.
McKay, B., “What Can I Substitute for Baking Soda?” OurSavoryLife.com, December 13, 2012; http://oursavorylife.com/what-can-i-substitute-for-baking-soda/.