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How to Make Baking Powder

Just realized you’re out of baking powder and you need it for a recipe? Don’t worry, you can make homemade baking powder in seconds! This post explains How to Make Baking Powder, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about storing and using it. 

jar of baking powder

Why Make Your Own Baking Powder? 

Knowing how to make your own DIY baking powder alternative is a handy skill to have! 

Whether you’ve run out of baking powder, or the box you have expired long ago, baking powder is a key ingredient in many baked goods. 

Not to mention that homemade baking powder tastes better than the commercially made variety, and as a bonus it’s made without any nasty additives! 

Consider this post your crash course to baking powder, including what it is, how it’s different from baking soda, and how to make your own homemade baking powder in seconds. 

What Is Baking Powder?

In short, baking powder is a chemical leavening agent that helps baked goods rise in the oven. Baking powder is made with three ingredients: an acid, a base, and a filler ingredient. 

Baking powder comes in two varieties, single acting and double acting. This recipe for DIY baking powder makes a single acting baking powder. I’ll explain what that means in a little bit. 

What Does Baking Powder Do? 

Baking powder is what makes your cakes, cookies, and quick breads light and fluffy rather than dense and chewy. 

When baking powder comes into contact with a liquid — such as melted butter, eggs, or milk — it causes an acid-base reaction. This reaction creates carbon dioxide and causes batters and dough to rise. 

Single Acting vs Double Acting Baking Powder 

As I mentioned above, baking powder can be either single acting or double acting. Here’s the difference between the two: 

  • Single acting baking powder: Only reacts once, when it’s stirred into a dough or batter and comes into contact with a liquid. This type of baking powder is best suited to muffin, quick bread, cake, and cupcake recipes (i.e. anything that will be baked immediately and won’t have to sit out). 
  • Double acting baking powder: Reacts twice, first when it’s stirred into a dough or batter and again when it’s exposed to heat. Double acting baking powder is ideal for batters and doughs that won’t be cooked right away, such as cookie dough, pancakes, and waffles. 
person measuring baking powder with a teaspoon

Difference Between Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Baking soda is alkaline, or a base. It’s also a leavening agent, but it only works when combined with an acidic ingredient such as buttermilk, lemon juice, yogurt, or vinegar. Baking soda is about 4 times stronger than baking powder, so you need significantly less of it when baking! 

Baking powder is acidic. As I explained in the section above, double acting baking powder reacts when it’s added to a dough or batter and again when it’s exposed to heat. 

Can Baking Soda Replace Baking Powder? 

Yes … sort of. Baking powder is actually made with baking soda (confusing, I know!). 

However, baking powder also contains an acid to balance out the alkaline baking soda. Cream of tartar is the most common acid used in baking powder. 

Otherwise I don’t recommend substituting baking powder with baking soda.

If you used baking soda instead of baking powder, you’d also need to increase the amount of acid in the recipe (i.e. buttermilk, yogurt, etc) to balance out the larger quantity of alkaline baking soda being used.  

What Is Baking Powder Made Of? 

To make homemade baking powder, you’ll need the following ingredients: 

  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar 
  • Cornstarch (optional) 

Seriously, those are all the baking powder ingredients you’ll need! 

How to Make Baking Powder 

Wondering what you can substitute for baking powder? The easiest option is to make your own! 

Prepare a big batch of baking powder to keep on hand at all times, or make just 1 teaspoon so you have enough for a single recipe. 

To Prepare a Big Batch

To prepare a larger batch of homemade baking soda, follow this ingredient ratio: 

1 part baking soda + 1 part cornstarch (optional) + 2 parts cream of tartar 

Stir the ingredients together in a bowl, making sure everything is thoroughly combined. Then, seal and label. Store someplace cool and dry. 

To Prepare 1 Teaspoon 

Just need 1 teaspoon of baking powder to squeeze by? Combine the following: 

  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda 

How to Store Baking Powder 

Baking powder needs to be stored in a cool, dry place. I recommend storing it in an airtight container, such as a mason jar or small spice container. 

Be sure to label and date your homemade baking powder so you know what it is and when it expires. 

How Long Does Baking Powder Last? 

If stored properly, baking powder will last up to 9 to 12 months. 

Does Baking Powder Expire? 

Yes, baking powder expires after roughly 9 to 12 months. Usually, you can’t tell that it has expired just by looking at it. 

Expired baking powder won’t react with the liquid ingredients when stirred into the batter, nor will it react when exposed to heat. As such, using expired baking powder in a recipe will result in flat, dense cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. 

To tell whether your not your baking powder has expired, you must test it prior to using it in a recipe. 

How to Test Baking Powder 

Testing baking powder is a quick and easy process that takes mere moments to complete. 

  1. Add 3 tablespoons of warm water to a bowl (warm tap water works!). 
  2. Stir ½ teaspoon of baking powder into the water. 
  3. If the mixture begins to fizz, the baking powder is fresh. If no reaction occurs, you need to replace your baking powder. 

Tip: If you’re making a DIY baking powder substitute, be sure to check your baking soda beforehand to ensure it hasn’t expired as well! Use the same method as above, but mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of vinegar instead of water. 

jar of baking powder with wooden spoon

Tips for Baking with Baking Powder 

  • Use the correct variety: Homemade baking powder recipes like the one I’ve shared with you today make single acting baking powder. If the recipe you’re making requires double acting, you’ll need to run to the grocery store and cannot substitute homemade. 
  • Test your baking powder: Can’t remember when you bought your baking powder? Sprinkle some into a bowl of warm water to see if a reaction occurs! 
  • Never use expired baking powder: If your baking powder is expired, you have to throw it out and either make a substitute or buy a new container. Expired baking powder won’t deliver the same results. 

Baking Powder Uses

Now that you know how to make baking powder at home, you can begin baking with it! Remember that homemade baking powder is single acting, so it works best in recipes where the dough or batter is cooked immediately. 

More Kitchen Tutorials: 

Learn all about common buttermilk substitutes as well as how to make buttermilk in this post. It’s easier than you’d think to make your own buttermilk!

Homemade pumpkin puree can be used in many sweet and savory recipes and lets you enjoy pumpkin season year-round! In this post, I’m sharing 5 ways to make pumpkin puree from scratch as well as how to store, freeze, thaw, and use it.

Homemade bacon bits are super easy to make at home, and way better tasting than store-bought! You can enjoy them atop salads, soups, wraps, and more!

Come learn how to make easy homemade croutons! Who needs expensive bags of store-bought ones when you can make your own croutons exactly how you like them?

Don’t throw out those vegetable scraps, use them to make vegetable broth instead! In this post, I’m sharing how to make vegetable broth from scraps or whole vegetables as well as answering commonly asked questions about homemade broth.

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jar of baking powder

How to Make Baking Powder

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Just realized you’re out of baking powder and you need it for a recipe? Don’t worry, you can make homemade baking powder in seconds! This post explains How to Make Baking Powder, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about storing and using it. 

Ingredients

  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar
  • Cornstarch (optional)

Instructions

    To Prepare a Big Batch

  1. Combine 1 part baking soda + 1 part cornstarch (optional) + 2 parts cream of tartar 
  2. Stir the ingredients together in a bowl, making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  3. Then, seal and label. Store someplace cool and dry. 

To Prepare 1 Teaspoon 

  1. Combine ½ teaspoon cream of tartar, ¼ teaspoon cornstarch, and ¼ teaspoon baking soda.

Notes

How to Store Baking Powder 

Baking powder needs to be stored in a cool, dry place. I recommend storing it in an airtight container, such as a mason jar or small spice container. 

Be sure to label and date your homemade baking powder so you know what it is and when it expires. 

How Long Does Baking Powder Last? 

If stored properly, baking powder will last up to 9 to 12 months. 

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