What do you do if a recipe calls for baking soda but you only have baking powder, or if you have baking soda but not baking powder? As it turns out, there are options. You can make that quick bread, biscuits or cookies after all. You could even make all of them, which is always an acceptable choice in these stressful times.
If you don’t have baking soda, you can use baking powder, at three times what the recipe calls for. So if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking soda, you can use three teaspoons of baking powder. Baking powder also contains a little bit of salt, so it’s also a good idea to halve the salt the recipe calls for.
The drawback with substituting baking powder for baking soda is that you run the risk of your baked goods being bitter, so it’s important not to use too much.
Substituting for baking powder is a little more complicated. If you have baking soda, but you don’t have baking powder, you’ll need to use baking soda plus an acid, such as cream of tartar. For every teaspoon of baking powder, you’ll want to substitute in ¼ tsp of baking soda with ½ tsp of cream of tartar. If you don’t have any cream of tartar, you can also substitute one teaspoon of baking powder with a mixture of ¼ tsp of baking soda plus ½ tsp of either vinegar or lemon juice. For liquid acids, such as vinegar or lemon juice, mix it in with the wet ingredients.
How to tell if your baking soda or baking powder is still good
If you are eyeing that package of baking powder or baking soda in the back of your cupboard, it’s easy to test it out before you use it to make something.
For baking powder, put three tablespoons of warm water in a bowl, then stir in ½ tsp of baking powder. If the mixture fizzes, that means it is still good. If it doesn’t, that means it’s expired, and should be thrown out.
For baking soda, pour three tablespoons of white vinegar into a bowl, then stir in ½ tsp of baking soda. If the mixture bubbles up, it’s still good. If not, throw it out. And if it turns out that your baking powder is still good, but your baking soda is not, or vice versa, at least you know how to substitute one for the other.