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How to Make Baking Powder and Baking soda

How to Make Baking Powder and Baking Soda Explained

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Hi Bold Bakers!

I have been swamped with messages asking to show you how to substitute raising agents in your baking. Luckily this is totally doable. Baking powder and baking soda are both baking essentials, and depending on the specific recipe you may need one or the other, or both. If you run out of one while you are baking I’m going to tell you how you can substitute it in a recipe.

Let’s start out with the what:

So what is baking powder?

It is a raising agent that reacts with moisture in your recipe to activate it and make your baked goods rise. 

An example of this is: If you add baking powder to water you will see it bubble up and get fizzy.

So how can you make a substitute for baking powder ?

To make baking powder mix together 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar.

Cream of tartar is an acid and it is used to activate the baking soda in recipes. It is a by-product of wine making.

So what is baking soda?

Baking soda is another raising agent but it has to react with an acid in your recipe to activate it. By an acid I mean a recipe that has buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar and so on. 

If you add baking soda into vinegar you will see it bubble up and fizz over. That is the acid reaction.

So how can you make a substitute for baking soda ?

For every 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a recipe replace it with 4 teaspoons of baking powder, so use 4 times the amount of baking powder. The ratio is 1:4.


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Notes on yeast

Yeast, fresh or dried, is a raising agent for breads and dough. Now, you can use active dried or fast action yeast. They are similar except fast action doesn’t require you to let your dough rise a second time unlike active dried yeast. Sorry but there is no substitute for yeast in a recipe. You need to add it in for the recipe to rise.

Want more baking tips like these? Check out my Weight Conversion Chart and How to Substitute Sugar in Recipes .


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Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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  1. shaista Islam on March 8, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    hi Gemma i love your work i love your recipies i m a bigest fan of you

    • Gemma Stafford on March 9, 2019 at 6:45 am

      aw thank you so much!!! I’m really delighted you like my recipes 🙂


  2. Judy Miller on February 21, 2019 at 11:15 am

    Gemma, I have been using baking soda &cream of tartar as a baking powder. My problem what can I use to substitute for baking soda. Hubby cannot have sodium, potassium or phosphorus. Plus no sugar, limited carbs, chlosterol, and fats. Appreciate any advice.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 21, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      Hi you can use all baking powder or the sub you have created!

  3. Elene on January 12, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Hi gemma! So can we use baking soda+vinegar instead of baking powder in sugar cookies.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 13, 2019 at 1:20 am

      Hi Elena,
      You are thinking!
      In theory, yes, but this combination is not usually used in this type of recipe. If there was a liquid ingredient, such as milk, then it would be easy to add the vinegar, though you could add it with the egg, a touch though, and about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
      You can also omit the raising agent from this type of recipe, it is not essential in a cookie. Baking soda also reacts with the sugars to change the texture of the cookie. I think you can run a little experiment here if you wish. If you are not keen to do that, then work without the baking powder, no sub.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. AJ Daisy on December 27, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Is baking soda and double action baking powder the same? If not how much of double action baking powder should I use?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 30, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      They are no the same so i would advise you to use different amounts depending on which one you use.

  5. Akanksha desai on December 20, 2018 at 2:13 am

    Hi thanks a lot for explaining.
    For making cupcakes, we r already using baking powder. Now if I’m using buttermilk instead of eggs, do I additionally need to put baking soda as well? Or just baking powder is enough?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 20, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      No you are ok with just baking powder. Great job!

  6. Dianna Davis on November 1, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you so much for your information on all your baking. I love to bake and cook. You covered so many things I have always wondered about… like brown sugar and baking powder/baking soda. I only wanted to tell you that you are pretty awesome and I can’t wait to learn more from your videos and site.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 1, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      I’m really delighted to hear that!!! Thanks for trying reading my posts 🙂


  7. Paula McILwrath on September 26, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Hi Gemma ,
    Hello from the aul homestead…. Ireland.
    Love the show.

    Are you ever gonna do Sour dough recipes. ?
    I’ve tried these before but results weren’t great.
    Do you still need to use Yeast or can the sour dough be used as the only rising agent .?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 26, 2018 at 10:07 am

      Hi Paula,
      It is high on my list!
      Actually you can use a number of things to make a starter. It is a bit like keeping a pet though, needs feeding, watering, and exercising (using) once it is going for you. These can be kept alive for many years when managed properly.
      You can use a yeast dough, a little to get a starter going. You can use organic white grapes, or beer! It is about getting the natural yeasts in the environment to inhabit the dough, and stay alive, to benefit your dough.
      We will get to it, if you use yeast as a starter you use it only for the first batch, then keep it going.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Elizabeth on July 7, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    What if you have neither baking soda or powder, what can i use?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 9, 2018 at 1:04 am

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Baking tends to need leavening, this is done with a combination of an alkaline and acid to create gasses in the bake and rise it.
      Self raising flour has these ingredients added.
      I presume you have access to some type of leavening agent, it is everywhere!
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Tinybaker on April 21, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Hi Gemma! I just wanted to say thanks for making this article, it really helped me. I was making a chocolate cake and I realized there was no baking soda 😬 But luckily I found this and I was saved! And to be honest I think the cake tasted better than it did when I’ve made it previously…🙂 anyway, thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 22, 2018 at 4:28 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for this, yes, it is a help to understand these little techniques,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Sadie on April 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Hi, Gemma,
    So, just some food for thought — you say you need baking powder to substitute for baking soda, and baking soda to substitute for baking powder. Juuuuust saying😐
    — Sadie

    • Gemma Stafford on April 21, 2018 at 3:24 am

      Hi Sadie,
      Think you are not picking this up right!
      I think you know that this applies to someone who has one, and not the other, if you do not need this advice then it will not make sense to you!
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Ashley on December 15, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    I hope you can help me. I want to make apple scones. The recipe calls for 2t baking powder and 1/2t baking soda. Here in Egypt, they believe powder and soda are the same and only sell baking powder 🙄
    Would I use a total of 6t of baking powder in this recipe?
    Lots of sites say you can substitute soda with powder (x3 or 4), but none address what to do if the recipe calls for both.
    Thanks for your help. Next time I visit the States I am stocking up on baking soda!

    • Ashley on December 15, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      *Oops! I meant a total of 4t baking powder (1/2t soda = 2t powder + original 2t powder in recipe)

    • Gemma Stafford on December 16, 2017 at 6:17 am

      Hi Ashley,
      I am wondering if it is called something else. This is bicarbonate of soda, and sold like that in many places. I found this response on a forum online ‘metro is in every where in Cairo
      spineys at city stars
      hyper one at karfour
      el hawary at lebanon sq. mohandsen
      aswa2 el 3azezya at el harm area
      abou zekry at dokki.mohandsen, naser city)
      Not sure if this makes sense to you, but it is wort a shot. Bicarbonate of soda is used for lots of purposes, including cleaning.
      Baking powder is a combination as you know, it gives a different result, but if you cannt find the soda, add a touch more baking powder, depending on the recipe,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Ashley on December 16, 2017 at 6:28 am

        Hey Gemma! Thanks for your reply. I was told I could find it at pharmacies. I stopped at a few today with no luck. One had sodium bicarbonate with borax mixed in =\
        I’ll keep looking. The language barrier makes it difficult. When I can communicate what I want, they always point me to the baking powder.
        Oh well. I’ll test the scones with extra powder and see what happens.
        Thanks again!

        • Gemma Stafford on December 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

          Ashley, I think that will work well for you, some recipes use soda to crisp, like a cookie, where the soda reacts with the heat of the sugar, this is not an issue with your scones, what you are looking for is a little help with the rise, because of the wet apple ingredient, It will be good, enjoy,
          Gemma 🙂

  12. Tartan on September 17, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Great article, quick comment on yeast. I agree that there is no substitute, but also remember that yeast is all around us. You can try mashing bread bits into flour and water, or popping open a beer (the darker the better, since they tend to be less filtered than light colored beers). There is lots of online knowledge about creating and managing a yeast starter, including culturing yeast from the air around us.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 18, 2017 at 2:23 am

      Hi Tartan,
      Yes, and I appreciate your input here on this subject. Do let us have what has worked for you, it will be a help to other bold bakers, they are endlessly interested in this subject. Organic grapes are also a great source of natural yeast, and commonly used in sourdough starters, we are going back to the beginning of time, learning from the pas. Thank you,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Sevrina on August 5, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Hi Gemma,

    So happy to get involved in your baking.

    Loved your recipes so much. ?
    And so much good info abt baking.


    • Gemma Stafford on August 6, 2017 at 3:18 am

      Hi Sevrina,
      Thank you, it is great that you are with us, and I will be happy to see your baking results too.
      Gemma 🙂

  14. David Ramsey on February 2, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I found your article about baking soda and powder interesting but, what about this: from
    We’ve always wondered why some recipes called for both baking soda and baking powder. They’re both chemical leaveners that do pretty much the same thing in pretty much the same way. So is it just extra insurance? We finally found our answer in this month’s issue of Fine Cooking!

    Food Geek Brian Geiger explains that it all comes down to acid. Baking soda needs some in order to activate and create the carbon dioxide needed to lift the batter, and you want to use only enough soda to neutralize the acid (since leftover soda in the batter tastes gross). Baking powder is actually baking soda mixed with just the right balance of another acidic ingredient, so you don’t have to worry about acid in your recipe or leftover soda in your batter!

    Now the reason why both soda and powder might be used is because you might have enough soda to neutralize the acid in a recipe, but not actually enough to lift the batter. In these cases, Geiger says that a little baking powder will give the extra lift needed to make the recipe perfect. You could use baking powder alone, but then your finished baked treat might taste too acidic.

    Geiger says that you might also use both soda and powder when you want the recipe to taste a little tangy or develop a nice browned color. Baking soda is the key to both of these!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 3, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Yes, this is it. It is about the alkaline acid balance, and the creation of carbon dioxide, to form the air bubbles, to rise the bake!
      In honeycomb/cinder toffee the bicarb is activated by the heat of the sugar (150C) to get the carbon dioxide to form the bubbles. it is science really, maybe not rocket science though!
      Thank you for your contribution and research,
      Gemma 🙂

  15. Victoria on January 31, 2017 at 5:31 pm


    Thank you for this information about substitutes. One question- when you substitute baking powder with 1 T baking soda and 2 T crème de tartre, does that make a substitute for 3 T of baking powder? I want to make sure it is an even ratio conversion.


    • Gemma Stafford on February 1, 2017 at 1:38 am

      Yes, it is the cumulative amount, three teaspoons of baking powder will be the yield,
      Gemma 🙂

  16. Armandas on January 31, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Gemma, In Lithuania we don’t have cream of tartar.Can I use citric acid powder?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 31, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      great question, yes you can 🙂

  17. NancyMaranto on January 30, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Love your tips and recipes….you’re the greatest. I have a question for you about your new “setup”, for lack of a better word: When I went on your website the other day (as I’ve done many times) I had to download something before I could access your recipes. It really screwed up my computer, I couldn’t get out of it, plus I never was able to access your recipes. What’s with all that? I hate not being able to look up your recipes as I once did.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 31, 2017 at 1:20 am

      Hi Nancy,
      I have no idea what you are referring to! This sounds like a pop up from somewhere else, I will ask Kevin to get back to you about this, but it sounds like a bug on your system, it is not something we put up there. I am sorry to hear this, it is such a pain!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Dixieelle on February 27, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        Nancy: Just refresh your page, and the popup window will disappear. I didn’t install it either, because I work on the internet everyday, building website, so I already knew what it would do to my computer. Judging from Gemm’s reply, I’m assuming she doesn’t know what happens to your computer when you click the button. If you are still having a problem, go to the upper right hand corner of your page, to the “customize tab”, scroll down to “internet options”, and click the tab. When the next window pops up, make sure the homepage you are using is shown in the home page tab, instead of the one it was chaned to. Reboot your computer and start over, and the problem should be fixed. For future reference, you can usually remove a popup covering your page by simply refreshing your page. Gemma has great recipes, and there is no point in missing any of them. Hope this helped.

        • Gemma Stafford on February 28, 2017 at 6:16 am

          Hi there Dixieelle,
          Thank you for your kind assistance, tech questions usually go to Kevin, so he will thank you too!
          Gemma 🙂

  18. Srashti Sharma on January 30, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Hey Gemma, I’d like you to also tell substitutes for butter (I’ve used cream in some recipes) and also how much they should be substituted. Also Substitutes for yogurt, curd, sour cream. Thanks.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 31, 2017 at 1:28 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, cream can be used as a substitute for butter, but if you can use cream, you can use butter, and I do not believe there really is a substitute, but that is because I am Irish, and grew up on butter!
      Oils are used in some recipes too, Carrot Cake for instance, it is a slightly different batter.
      Margarines are a substitute in a creaming method, for Victoria type cakes.
      Substitutes for yogurt/curd/sour cream will depend on the recipe and there is a buttermilk recipe here on the website. So, it really depends on a recipe what you can substitute and where,
      Gemma 🙂

  19. Zoe on January 30, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Hello Gemma, I was wondering if you could post either a macaron or a meringue recipe using aquafaba. Aquafaba is the brine from a can of chickpeas and when beated they whip up just like eggs. I have tried some recipes using aquafaba but have had some hit and misses, I would like to see a good recipe using aquafaba from a professional baker.

    Thanks :]

    • Gemma Stafford on January 31, 2017 at 1:58 am

      Hi Zoe,
      I think I got to this! It is indeed on my list, and well worthwhile. I am happy that you have found it useful.
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Millie Sansby on January 30, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Gemma what would you recommend using baking powder, baking soda or both when I’m writing recipes based on my ideas (e.g i hope to bake a pineapple cake that looks like my favourite pizza ‘ham and pineapple’ in the future)?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 31, 2017 at 2:01 am

      Hi Millie,
      This is a great question. Delicate cakes, using a creaming method, butter/flour/sugar/eggs will generally use baking powder.
      Batter type recipes which include buttermilk/yogurt/curd will use bicarbonate of soda or a combination.
      It is so recipe dependent, you cannot just decide to throw soda into a cake, it needs to be balanced with the acid.
      Gemma 🙂

      • Millie Sansby on January 31, 2017 at 6:24 am

        Thank you so much, I absolutely adore and am addicted to your baking channel. You made me realise that extraordinary baking can require only simple skills, tips and basic equipment. One other question: what material are your microwaveable mugs made out of, because I tried to make your egg-free carrot cake in a mug in the oven instead of a microwave and it took about 40 mins to cook (and I thought it wouldn’t take any longer than 15 mins)? Having said that though I substitued some of the maple syrup (as there wasn’t enough in my kitchen) for mashed banana, not knowing it might affect the cooking process/time. My oven is a fan Neff one (if that’s any help to you), but could you tell my mistake from my info provided?

        • Gemma Stafford on February 1, 2017 at 1:41 am

          Millie, the material in your mug matters for the microwave. Some materials like heavy pottery will absorb the microwave energy, and the food will not be cooked. Most suitable ceramics will say this on the bottom.
          If oyu are using an oven to make these do two things:
          1. use a muffin pan
          2. make more than one – the big oven is expensive to run, when you switch it on you should make use of it! I would not use a mug in the main oven,
          Gemma 🙂

          • Millie Sansby on February 1, 2017 at 3:34 am

            Okay thank you, one other thing Gemma is that have you ever considered making all free-from bakes as this could be very useful for baked goods that anyone can eat, no matter what tolerance/ allergies they may have. Such as I’m composing a recipe for all-free from brownies, as I’ve got a few friends who are coeliacs. It is yet to be tried and tested, but that do you think?

            • Gemma Stafford on February 2, 2017 at 8:36 am

              Hi Mille,
              This is a good idea! The problem you run into is that you have to use something, if you get it gluten free, you will need to use another flour, and then you have nut allergy, or another intolerance. The fat is equally problematic, as so many people are now vegan, and butter will not do, nut oils bring their own issues, and then there is a fear of contamination! This is a really difficult area to work in, you will never get it right for everyone. All we can do is get recipes that suit some of the people some of the time! Go to it though, it will be a great learning for you,
              Gemma 🙂

  21. NidhiSingh on January 30, 2017 at 8:30 am

    So so so so helpful… Thankuuu a lot… I hope that u make some Valentine’s day heart shaped brownies
    And ya I am the first one to comment on ur website ???

    • Gemma Stafford on January 31, 2017 at 2:13 am

      Yes, I know you! I wil add this to my list, time to get down to it now!
      Gemma 🙂

      • NidhiSingh on February 2, 2017 at 7:57 am

        Aww.. So sweet of u

        • NidhiSingh on February 2, 2017 at 8:05 am

          Sorry I forgot to write this in the reply but I am like oh my godddddd a celebrity chef knows me….. Thank uuuuu it just made my day

          • Gemma Stafford on February 2, 2017 at 8:43 am

            Haha! not so much a celebrity, but thank you for being with us,
            Gemma 🙂

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