Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda – Are The Same?

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of baking, only to realize that you’re missing a crucial ingredient – like baking powder?

Fear not, for we are here to rescue your biscuits from the fate of flat flakiness. In this kitchen problem, we’ll explore the dynamics of baking powder and baking soda, their roles in leavening, and what to do when you find yourself with one but not the other.

Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda


  • Baking soda reacts with acids in your recipe, producing bubbles for leavening.
  • Baking powder, with baking soda, has added acidic components and works in two stages—mixing and baking.
  • If out of baking powder, use three times baking soda and add acid; if out of baking soda, use a third of baking powder and add moisture.
  • Most baking powders are double-acting, ensuring leavening in both moist and heated conditions.
Read More – Baking Sheet vs. Cookie Sheet – Are they Same?

Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda – What is the difference between?

Baking soda reacts with acidic ingredients to release gases, providing leavening in baking. Baking powder, containing baking soda, has added acidic components and acts in two stages—during mixing and baking—for a more versatile leavening effect.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda
Baking Soda

Baking soda, a kitchen workhorse, operates by reacting with acidic ingredients. Think back to those childhood science experiments involving a magical fizz when mixing baking soda with vinegar—this reaction is akin to what happens during the baking process.

When incorporated into your batter, baking soda interacts with acidic components, releasing bubbles and gases. These bubbles contribute to the lightness and fluffiness of your baked goods.

Baking Powder

Baking Powder
Baking Powder

On the other hand, baking powder is a more complex leavening agent that contains baking soda, an acidic component, and a moisture-absorbing agent like cornstarch.

Most baking powders on the market are double-acting, meaning they react both when mixed with a moist ingredient and when exposed to heat.

This dual-action mechanism ensures a thorough leavening process, starting in the mixing bowl and continuing in the oven.

Substitution Strategies – Can baking powder be used instead of baking soda?

Now, let’s tackle the problem: what if your recipe demands baking powder when you only have baking soda, or vice versa? 

If your recipe requires a teaspoon of baking soda, you can substitute it with three times the amount of baking powder.

Conversely, if you are short of baking powder and the recipe calls for a teaspoon, use about a third of a teaspoon of baking soda.

However, since baking soda lacks the acidic punch found in baking powder, introduce approximately a teaspoon of acid to your recipe—options include lemon juice, yogurt, or buttermilk.


Do you use baking soda or baking powder in cookies?

Baking soda is typically used for chewy cookies while baking powder is used for light and airy ones.

What Does Baking Soda Do In Cookies?

Baking soda contributes to the chewiness of cookies, and using it imparts a distinct taste.

Can I use baking powder instead of baking soda for banana bread?

Yes, baking powder is a suitable substitute for baking soda in banana bread, and self-rising flour can also be an alternative.

What does baking powder do in a cake?

Baking powder, especially in conjunction with baking soda, primarily provides leavening by enlarging existing bubbles in the batter.

Can I skip baking powder and soda?

Yes, you can rely on whipped egg whites as an alternative leavener if you don’t have baking powder or baking soda.

What happens if you bake without baking soda?

Omitting baking soda may result in flat cookies and less fluffy pancakes, although the taste will remain.

What happens if you bake without baking powder?

Baked goods, especially cakes and cookies, may become dense and only rise with the leavening action of baking powder.

What can I replace baking soda with?

Triple the amount of baking powder can substitute for baking soda. Other alternatives include potassium bicarbonate, baker’s ammonia, or self-rising powder.


Have you ever encountered a kitchen problem with baking powder or baking soda? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below. The world of baking is full of delightful surprises, and with a bit of knowledge, you can turn any baking challenge into a sweet success.