Welcome, bakers! This is a guest post from Amelia of Home is for Simple. She’s sharing with us her quick recipe for DIY baking powder. You can whip it together in just a few seconds! Missing an ingredient? No worries! Keep scrolling to find alternatives to ensure your bake goes off perfectly!
Are you currently baking and just realized you don’t have baking powder? Or are you concerned about the ingredients in store-bought baking powder? If this is you, look no further! In this DIY baking powder tutorial, I’ll show you how to make healthy and effective baking powder with a couple basic kitchen ingredients.
Like many people, I stumbled upon DIY baking powder out of desperation. I was in the middle of whipping up a batch of fluffy chocolate chip cookies when I hit the line item “baking powder.”
I suddenly remembered that I was completely out of this important baking staple. So, as any chef would do, I turned to Google. I was pleasantly surprised to find that making your own baking powder is incredibly easy!
The baking powder came together quickly and my cookies did not disappoint.
Baking powder is a pantry essential!
When your pantry is stocked with the basics, you can assemble simple, nourishing meals with ease. Get my free pantry staples list to help you stock your pantry in no time!
What is baking powder?
First, let’s start with the basics. What is baking powder anyway?
Baking powder is a common leavening agent in baking. It is regularly used in things like cookies, cakes, and bars.
Is baking powder the same as baking soda?
No. In contrast to baking soda, baking powder combines sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) with an acid in order to produce carbon dioxide through a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction, triggered by liquid, is what gives rise to baked goods.
Recipes that use baking soda often include an acid in them. The acid in the recipe reacts with the baking soda to create the same leavening effect.
Single-acting vs. double-acting
It is important to note that homemade baking powder is single-acting. In contrast, commercial baking powders are double-acting, which is more forgiving in your baking.
Commercial baking powders often contain a second acid that reacts to heat. So, the baking powder reacts first to liquid, and secondly to heat.
As we’ll discuss later, this does create an important difference between DIY baking powder and store-bought.
Baking tips & recipes
Why choose DIY baking powder?
There are a couple of reasons why you might choose to make homemade baking powder. Maybe you relate to my story above and simply need to scroll to the recipe, mix it up, and get cooking!
Or maybe you’re in another camp (of which I am also a member) that carefully considers every food item that we consume. In this case, the purity of the ingredients in DIY baking powder may draw you in.
Reason 1: better ingredients
Unfortunately, commercial baking powders often contain aluminum as the second acid. While aluminum does serve its purpose in baking powder, it is not a great substance for humans to ingest. Many studies show a link between aluminum toxicity and diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s.
Secondly, let’s consider corn starch. All commercial baking powders include a starch (usually corn) to prevent caking or reacting between the baking soda and the acids.
This is very important! However, regular corn starch often comes from genetically modified corn that was sprayed with glyphosate and other things of the sort.
So, if you prefer to eat non-GMO, or want to avoid corn altogether, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a simple way to make baking powder at home without corn or aluminum!
Reason 2: convenience
As I mentioned, many of us discover DIY baking powder simply because we run out of it at an inconvenient time. Like with a bowl of already-mixed-up cookie batter waiting for its leavening agent.
When that happens, it’s great to know how to make your own. That way you can finish your baking without having to run to the store. I’ll even share a handful of variations so that you’re sure to find something that works for you!
Ingredients in DIY baking powder
You’ll need these three simple ingredients to make homemade baking powder.
Cream of tartar
Though more obscure than salt and pepper, cream of tartar is a common pantry staple than can be found at most stores. It acts as the acid in your baking powder.
In case you’re curious where this interesting ingredient comes from, cream of tartar is actually a byproduct of wine-making!
Since it’s quite possible you don’t have this ingredient on hand, I’ll be sure to list many substitutes below.
The second ingredient in baking powder is baking soda. This is a very cheap ingredient that many of us have on hand.
It is more popular than baking powder because it has other uses around the house such as absorbing odors, cleaning dishes or laundry, or even soaking grains.
You can check out the “fizz test” below if you suspect that your baking soda is no longer active.
Corn or arrowroot starch (optional)
Lastly, if you’re planning to store your baking powder for any length of time, you’ll need to add starch. This extends the shelf life of baking powder by preventing caking and reacting.
Non-GMO cornstarch and arrowroot starch are great options. Both are naturally gluten-free!
DIY Baking Powder Recipe
The basic ratio for replacing 1 tsp baking powder in a recipe is:
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp corn or arrowroot starch (optional)
If you’re simply mixing up a bit of baking powder for a recipe you’re making right away, you’ll only need the first two ingredients: ½ tsp cream of tartar and ¼ tsp baking soda.
However, if you plan to store your baking powder, you’ll also need to add starch such as cornstarch or arrowroot starch.
And if you need to make more, just scale the recipe up. The ratio remains the same at 2:1:1.
To be very clear (because it matters in baking), if you’re replacing 1 tsp baking powder without the starch, you would only be putting ¾ tsp powder into your recipe. This is because the starch only acts as an anti-caking agent.
- Mix together baking soda and cream of tartar
For every 1 tsp baking powder that your recipe calls for, mix together ½ tsp cream of tartar and ¼ tsp baking soda.
- Add starch for a longer shelf life
Secondly, if you won’t be using this entire recipe right away, add a ¼ tsp cornstarch (or arrowroot starch) per 1 tsp baking powder called for in the recipe.
If you include the starch in your homemade baking powder, you have a 1:1 substitute for store-bought baking powder. This makes it incredibly easy to use in future recipes!
- Incorporate gently into your recipe, and cook immediately
As we discussed earlier, DIY baking powder is single-acting and reacts quickly with the liquid in your recipe. For this reason, follow these tips:
- Add baking powder last to your batter
- Incorporate gently
- Bake promptly
Saving the baking powder for last allows you to get your goodies into the oven while the baking powder is still reacting with the liquid in your batter. Don’t feel rushed, you do have some time! Just don’t let your batter sit for longer than necessary.
Mixing gently allows your batter to retain the wonderful bubbles created by the baking powder. This will produce a more desirable texture in your baking!
Finally, once you have your DIY baking powder mixed up and stirred into your batter, simply bake as usual.
Substitutes for cream of tartar
The only downside to this recipe is that cream of tartar is quite possibly less common in your pantry than baking powder.
So, if you don’t have time to pick up this key ingredient from the store, here are some effective substitutes.
The principle is that you’ll need to use something acidic in order to get the desired leavening effect. I’ll list them in order of how common they are.
Vinegar or lemon juice
First off, let’s look at a few acidic ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen: vinegar or lemon juice.
This will be a 1:1 substitute. So, use ½ tsp vinegar or lemon juice in place of the ½ tsp cream of tartar.
For most recipes, this small amount of acid should not affect the flavor. However, if you’d rather not throw these tangy juices into your sweet baking, you have other options.
Yogurt or buttermilk
Another great substitute for cream of tartar in homemade baking powder is yogurt or buttermilk. Both of these fermented dairy products are acidic and will create the desired reaction with your baking soda.
For yogurt, replace the ½ tsp cream of tartar with ½ cup yogurt, thinned out with milk if necessary. Plain yogurt works best. Also, be sure to decrease the other liquid in your recipe accordingly.
If you are using buttermilk, simply replace the ½ tsp cream of tartar with ½ cup buttermilk. Again, decrease the other liquid in your recipe by ½ cup.
Another option is to use soured milk. If you have raw milk on hand, you could leave it out at room temperature for about 24 hours. Wait until it is a bit sour, but not separated into curds and whey.
However, if you’re reading this post in a pinch, you likely don’t have 24 hours to spare.
So if you’d like to use soured milk, but you don’t have raw milk OR don’t you want to wait till tomorrow to bake, here’s how you can make a quick version:
- Mix 1 cup milk (pasteurized or raw) with 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
- Let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes
That’s it! Then use it in the same way as buttermilk or yogurt in this recipe. Replace the ½ tsp cream of tartar with ½ cup soured milk, and decrease the other liquid in your recipe by ½ cup.
Leave it out
Now, I include this option as an honest recommendation from experience. Though this is not proper baking advice, I’ve done it in a pinch.
For simple things like pancakes, I have used ⅓ tsp baking soda as a replacement for 1 tsp baking powder. With things like pancakes, I haven’t noticed much of a difference.
For recipes like cake or fluffy cookies, you would certainly notice a difference, though.
How long does DIY baking powder last?
The general recommendation is to use up your homemade baking powder as soon as possible. Another common guideline is to keep it for one month.
However, when stored in an airtight container without moisture, it can last for quite a while. Simply check it with the “fizz test” to see if your baking powder is still active.
“Fizz test” for baking powder
In order to test if your baking powder is active (and will do its job in your baking), perform the “fizz test.”
Simply drop 1 tsp baking powder into ⅓ cup of hot water.
If it fizzes, it is active! It’s an immediate reaction that you will hear and see. If it doesn’t it would be better to whip up a fresh batch.
You can also do this test with baking soda like this:
- Mix ⅓ cup of hot water with ½ tsp white vinegar (or lemon juice)
- Drop ¼ tsp baking soda into the mixture
- If it fizzes, it is active. If it doesn’t, it’s time to buy some fresh stuff.
Top tips for using DIY baking powder
Here are my top tips to ensure success with your DIY baking powder.
Remember that it is single-acting
The most important difference between this DIY baking powder and store-bought baking powder is that it is single-acting. It only reacts once, when it hits the liquid in your batter.
Because of this, be sure to mix it into your batter last, and stir gently to retain bubbles. Finally, place it into the oven promptly after mixing it in.
Test your baking powder
In order to make sure that your baking powder will be effective, you could test your baking soda before starting this recipe. However, if you know that your baking soda is fresh, you can disregard this step.
If you choose to store some DIY baking powder for later use, be sure to check it with the “fizz test” before baking with it.
If you accidentally add too much baking powder…
Unfortunately, using too much baking powder can ruin a recipe. But check out these options before throwing out your whole batch!
If you accidentally pour in too much baking powder, try to gently remove all of it. Then, carefully add the proper amount back in.
Now, if you’ve already mixed in your baking powder, it’s a different story. If you know exactly how much extra you put in (for example, you accidentally added double or triple), then you could multiply the rest of the ingredient by that much.
The more the merrier when it comes to cookies and cake, right?
What to do with extra baking powder?
You can store your extra baking powder in an airtight container. Be sure not to let any moisture in, and store it in a cool, dark area.
DIY Baking Powder
- 1 Small bowl or jar
- Measuring spoons
- 1 Mixing spoon
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp corn or arrowroot starch optional
- Mix together baking soda and cream of tartar.
- Add starch to extend shelf life.
- Mix gently into your recipe and bake promptly.
Pin this recipe for later!
About the Author
Amelia is the creator and writer of the blog Home is for Simple. She loves sharing nourishing recipes and non-toxic living tips with her readers. She is a stay-at-home mama of two sweet little girls and a wife to her college sweetheart hubby.