Substitute for Baking Soda

I’ve been there before – in the middle of a recipe before I realized I was out of baking soda. While it seems innocuous to omit it, baking soda is actually a key ingredient – helping your doughs and batters rise. Instead of leaving it out, try adding in one of these baking soda substitutes!

A mason jar labeled "baking soda" on the counter next to a spoonful of the substance.

What is Baking Soda?

But before we dive into substitutes for baking soda, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What even is baking soda? Here’s the science (per my home-ec class circa…nevermind): baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a chemical compound that reacts when combined with an acid, releasing carbon dioxide, which helps baked goods rise. Aka: this keeps your cookies from being completely flat.

Top Substitutes for Baking Soda

  • Baking Powder – This seems so counter-intuitive, right?? But did you know baking powder is actually a combination of baking soda, an acid, and a moisture absorber? It’s an all-in-one leavening agent. To substitute, just use 3x the amount of baking powder in place of baking soda.
  • Potassium Bicarbonate and Salt – Potassium bicarbonate is a healthier alternative with no sodium. Adding salt restores the original flavor. Just replace baking soda with an equal amount of potassium bicarbonate and add an additional 1/3 of the salt required in the recipe.
  • Self-Rising Flour – Self-rising flour already contains baking powder and salt, so if you swap your regular flour and baking soda in your recipe with self-rising flour, you’ll be good to go! 
  • Whipped Egg Whites – This definitely doesn’t work with every recipe, but whipping your egg whites until stiff can add volume and give a rise to your recipe. 
  • Club Soda – Club soda contains carbonation, which can help baked goods rise. Replace the liquid in your recipe with an equal amount of club soda and it should do the trick.
Aerial view of a mason jar labeled baking soda discussing baking soda substitutes.

Having a list of baking soda substitutes can be a lifesaver in the kitchen (if you consider flat baked goods an emergency). So next time you run out, give one of the substitutes for baking soda a try before texting your neighbor to see if they have extra you can borrow. 

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