Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, is a household necessity for everyone who loves to bake. It’s used to help baked goods rise in the oven, and there aren’t many substitutes for it that can perform to the same efficacy.
Running out of baking soda can be a real predicament. If you’re ever in a pinch, here is a curated list of the top 5 ingredients you can substitute for baking soda that every baker swears by. You may not achieve the same results, but they will be satisfactory, or better, with the help of this guide.
#1. Baking Powder
Baking powder is just a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar. It is, without doubt, the best substitute there is for baking soda. It’s typically used as a leavening agent for light baked goods like chewy cookies and pancakes because it’s not as powerful as baking soda.
Please note that swapping baking soda with baking powder may alter the taste of the final product. It adds a mildly acidic tart that works well when incorporated with complex baked dishes. Consider reducing any other acidic ingredients your recipe calls for to neutralize the effect.
Because it’s not as powerful as baking soda, you will need to substitute about three times more baking powder to achieve the intended results of your recipe.
1 Tsp. Baking Soda = 3 Tsp. Baking Powder.
#2. Self-Rising Flour
Self-rising flour is flour that has baking powder and salt added to it. It’s a quick and easy substitute that can save you time if supermarket shelves are ever out of baking soda.
Using self-rising flour in your recipe eliminates the need for any additional leavening agents. As the name suggests, it’s self-rising, so you don’t need to substitute any quantity. Commercial self-rising flours already have an adjusted ratio of flour to baking powder.
So, there is no substitution ratio you need to use here. All you need to do is add the rest of the ingredients and bake your recipe.
#3. Baker’s Ammonia
Baker’s ammonia, also known as ammonium bicarbonate, acts as an effective leavening agent and is known to make baked goods distinctly crispy.
Baker’s ammonia was the go-to baking agent before baking soda and baking powder became popular in baking practices. However, baker’s ammonia is still used today for making crisp and crunchy cookies, chips, and crackers. Unlike baking soda, baker’s ammonia does not impart an alkaline taste.
The only disadvantage of baker’s ammonia is the pungent smell it emits when exposed to acid or heat. Thinly baked goods with a light texture give enough room for the ammonia and carbon dioxide to dissipate. Thick baked goods, on the other hand, may trap the smell and give an unpleasant odor. It’s best to only use baker’s ammonia for baked goods that are thin and crispy like wafers, biscuits, cookies, and crackers.
1 Tsp. Baking Soda = 1 Tsp. Baker’s Ammonia.
#4. Whipped Egg Whites
Whipped egg whites have a fluffy texture that helps trap pockets of air in the batter or dough. When exposed to heat in the oven, the air in these tiny pockets expands to help lift baked goods. Although whipped egg whites make a better substitute for baking powder, they can still save you in a baking soda shortage crisis.
It’s pretty common to find recipes that include whipped egg white, because it’s an effective leavening agent and adds some protein to the dish. When you’re swapping egg whites for baking soda, replace the liquid element or ingredient of the recipe with whipped egg whites. You may need to adjust the substitution ratio based on the type of texture you’re trying to achieve.
1 Tsp. Baking Soda = 4 Whole Egg whites.
#5. Club Soda
Club soda, or carbonated water, is water containing dissolved carbon dioxide gas. It’s responsible for the fizziness you taste in a variety of cold beverages like root beer and ginger ale.
Club soda is another practical substitute for baking soda as a leavening agent. When heated, it produces carbon dioxide that lifts the batter of baked goods, giving them a fluffy texture. Club soda is commonly used to create fluffy and moist pancakes, pastries, and creamy confections.
You can use club soda in the same way you use baking soda. Just remember to work on your dough fast because club soda can go flat in a short time.
1 Tsp. Baking Soda = 1 Tbsp. Club Soda.