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7 Baking Powder Substitutes That Work in a Pinch

I cannot tell you how many times I've run into this problem. I'll be in the middle of making a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies and I'm missing an important ingredient. Baking powder. Most times, I would stop what I'm doing, race to the closest grocery store and grab a container of baking powder. But did you know there are multiple baking powder substitutes already hiding in your kitchen?

What is baking powder exactly? Some might confuse baking powder with baking soda, however, there's a big difference. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and an acid, like cream of tartar. When you add a liquid to baking powder, a chemical reaction occurs which produces bubbles of carbon dioxide, giving volume and lift to baked goods.

That being said, baking powder and baking soda can't be used interchangeably. Next time you're out of baking powder or your container is expired, try out these simple baking powder substitutes.

1. Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar 

Feel like doing a science experiment? Combining baking soda and cream of tartar is an effective way to make a baking powder substitute. Cream of tartar is often used to stabilize meringues and also provides acidity. To replace one teaspoon of baking powder, mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. It's that simple.

2. Buttermilk

Measuring butter milk for biscuits.

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No need to throw away that container of buttermilk. Put it to good use by replacing the baking powder with buttermilk. If a recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking powder, combine 1/2 cup buttermilk with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Make sure to decrease other liquids in the recipe to keep the right consistency.

3. Plain Yogurt

Plain yogurt is similar to buttermilk since it's pretty acidic, but just a bit thicker. It makes a great alternative to baking powder when mixed with baking soda. Replace one teaspoon of baking with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 cup plain yogurt. Again, reduce the number of liquids in your recipe to keep the desired consistency.

4. White Vinegar

Who doesn't love experimenting with white vinegar and baking soda? Turns out white vinegar and baking soda aren't just for class experiments in elementary school.  Combined, they make a great baking powder alternative. When a recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking powder, mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar.

5. Lemon Juice

Fresh squeezed lemon juice on a cutting board

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Fresh lemons are a kitchen staple and can easily be used as a baking powder substitute. Just like with white vinegar, mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice to equal one teaspoon baking powder.

6. Molasses

A common ingredient used in quick bread and cookies, molasses also serves as a baking powder substitute. Pretty cool, right? This natural sweetener tastes great in baked goods, however, it's not quite acidic enough so the addition of baking soda is helpful. Combine 1/4 cup of molasses with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, which will give you one teaspoon baking powder. Don't forget to reduce any other liquids in the recipe since molasses comes in liquid form.

7. Club Soda

Club soda is a carbonated drink that has many uses in the kitchen. It can be used to replace baking powder and baking soda in a recipe since it contains sodium bicarbonate and other minerals. Substitute all of the liquid ingredients for club soda. This works especially well for light and airy pancakes or waffles.

READ MORE: Baking Soda in Coffee Makes for a Better Cup of Joe