Here's What You Can Substitute For Baking Soda

We usually have a few boxes of baking soda on hand in our kitchen, one for household cleaning and tooth whitening, one for cooking, and one for deodorizing the fridge, but even so we've occasionally found ourselves in the situation wherein — gasp! — we reach for our trusty box only to find out that it's empty. Thankfully, there's another common pantry ingredient that you can use as a substitute for baking soda in your recipes. 

Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps baked good rise. If you just leave it out, you'll end up with dense, heavy breads and pancakes, which no one wants. Here's how to substitute baking soda accurately, so that even when you run out you can still make your favorite baked goods.

The best baking soda substitute

It turns out that the best baking soda substitute is also the thing you probably get it confused with the most: baking powder.

That's because baking powder is actually made by combining baking soda with a dry acid like cream of tartar, and a bit of salt (via Extra Crispy). 

You can't just sub the same amount of the ingredient, though. In order to accurately replicate the chemical reactions baking soda would have with the other ingredients in your recipe, for every 1 teaspoon of baking soda the recipe calls for, you should replace it with 3 teaspoons of baking powder. 

The dry acid in the soda won't have too much of an effect on your recipe. One thing you do need to watch out for, though, is saltiness. Since there is some sodium in baking powder, you might want to omit or reduce the amount of salt called for in the recipe when you're using baking powder as a substitute for baking soda. 

Another thing to check for? Before using baking powder as a baking soda substitute, check to make sure the powder is still fresh. Add a little to a bowl of water. If it froths up, that means it's still good to go and will help your baked goods rise just like baking soda would (via Simply Recipes).