Baking soda is a staple ingredient in many cookie recipes. It helps cookies spread, become flaky, and take on that irresistible golden brown color. But what if you’re ready to bake cookies and discover you’re out of baking soda? Don’t worry, you have options. With a couple substitutions, you can still bake up delicious cookies.

1. Baking Powder

The easiest substitute for baking soda is baking powder. While the two are not identical, they are both chemical leaveners that create rise and light texture through a reaction with moisture and heat. The main difference is that baking powder already contains an acid whereas baking soda must be paired with an acid like molasses or brown sugar.

For every 1 teaspoon of baking soda, use 2-3 teaspoons of baking powder. Make sure to still include an acidic ingredient like buttermilk or lemon juice in the recipe to activate the baking powder. A touch more liquid may help counteract any dryness from extra baking powder.

2. Potassium Bicarbonate

Potassium bicarbonate is a very close match to baking soda. It’s a purer form of leavener that reacts with acids in nearly the same way baking soda does. The only difference in cookies is that it may produce a very slight bitter aftertaste.

You can substitute potassium bicarbonate 1:1 for baking soda in recipes. Be sure to still include an acidic ingredient like brown sugar, honey, buttermilk or vinegar to activate the rise. For the best results, use potassium bicarbonate in simple sugar cookie or gingersnap recipes.

3. Self-Rising Flour

If a recipe calls for all-purpose flour and baking soda, you can swap in self-rising flour which has baking powder added to it. Sift the self-rising flour first to remove any clumps. Then for every 1 cup of all-purpose flour, use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of self-rising flour.

For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda, use 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour instead. The baking powder mixed into the flour provides chemical leavening and rise. Be sure to leave out any additional baking soda or baking powder from the recipe.

4. Whipped Egg Whites

For chewy cookies like macarons and meringues that rely on beaten egg whites for lift, you can get a similar effect without baking soda. Simply whip 2-3 egg whites until frothy and soft peaks form. Gently fold them into the batter at the end in place of the baking soda.

The airy egg whites will help the cookies puff up, spread, and obtain crunchy edges. This substitution works best in recipes without a lot of acidic ingredients that activate baking soda.

5. Baking Ammonia

An old fashioned leavening agent, baking ammonia results in crisp, lace-like cookies. It can be substituted 1:1 for baking soda, but be aware it does have an ammonia odor during baking. Make sure to have good ventilation. And avoid baking ammonia if you have food allergies or sensitivities.

In a pinch, rely on baking staples like baking powder, potassium bicarbonate, and whipped egg whites in place of baking soda. With a few tweaks, you can have soft and chewy, light and crunchy, or crispy and lacy cookies coming out of the oven in no time.

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julia jane

Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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