Baking Powder vs Baking Soda

Baking Powder
Baking Soda

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder is baking soda with an acid — usually cream of tartar, calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate, or a mixture of the three.

Although baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents (i.e. cause the dough to rise), the difference lies in how each one reacts to make the dough rise. Baking soda by itself is cannot leaven dough - it requires an acidic ingredient in the dough for a reaction, while baking soda contains its own acidic element. For the same reason, baking powder can be substituted in recipes that call for baking soda, but you cannot substitute baking soda for baking powder.

Comparison chart

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Baking Powder

Baking Soda

Ingredients Sodium Bicarbonate, cream of tartar (acidifying agent), starch (drying agent) Sodium bicarbonate
Differences Already has dry reactants in it so it has to be added to liquid or "wet" ingredients If you want a chemical reaction to take place it needs to have a reactant with it.
Can be substituted for the other Yes, can be used instead of baking soda. Cannot be used instead of baking powder.
Paired with Non-acidic ingredients like milk and Dutch-processed cocoa Acidic ingredients like buttermilk and yogurt
Calories per 100 g 53g 0g
Carbohydrate per 100 g 28g 0g
Sodium per 100 g 10600 mg (441% of daily value) 27360 mg (1140% of daily value)

edit Reaction in Baking

Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate; it does not have any leavening capabilities by itself. It is only when baking soda is mixed with an acid such as sour cream, molasses, lemon juice, or buttermilk that these gases are released. Because these gases start forming right after the baking soda and acid are mixed, batters using baking soda should be baked immediately after mixing.

Baking powder is available as single-acting baking powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the temperature of the dough increases in the oven.

This video explains the difference between baking soda and baking powder, and how it affects recipes.

edit Which Recipes use Baking Powder vs Baking Soda?

Whether you bake with baking soda or baking powder depends on the other ingredients in the item you are baking. Baking soda is more common in recipes that have other acidic ingredients like yogurt or buttermilk, say cookies or biscuits. Since baking powder includes an acidifying agent already, it's used in other recipes like cakes and bread.

edit Other Uses

Baking soda is also used as a cleaning agent to remove spills from kitchen countertops and other articles.

Comments: Baking Powder vs Baking Soda

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October 31, 2013, 5:06am

Very Helpful. Thank you

— 49.✗.✗.138

December 12, 2013, 4:40pm

It Is well explained but i wonder if you know the advantages and disadvantages of using baking powder compared to baking soda?

if you do please could you write as it would help me so much


— 94.✗.✗.249

December 8, 2013, 2:16pm


— 5.✗.✗.89

December 15, 2013, 5:40pm

helpful in someways but need advantages and disadvantages!?

— 92.✗.✗.207

September 23, 2013, 5:53pm

Very helpful; thank you! I am baking a Classic Southern Caramel Cake with buttermilk and baking soda in the recipe. A friend uses baking powder in her Southern Caramel Cake recipe which does not include buttermilk. Now I know why, LOL.

— 74.✗.✗.210

December 11, 2013, 11:50am


— 5.✗.✗.207

June 20, 2013, 1:47pm


— 217.✗.✗.67

April 25, 2013, 6:14pm


— 5.✗.✗.94
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