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Substitute Cornstarch for Baking Powder

From thickening soups and sauces to making fluffy omelets and crispy waffles, cornstarch is a versatile ingredient that should be a staple in every kitchen. It is used in many recipes, and apart from culinary, it is also used for other non-culinary and industrial functions.

Baking powder and cornstarch are different ingredients, but cornstarch can still substitute the baking powder in recipes with the right measurements and mixture. In this article, I will be showing how you can use cornstarch to achieve good results in baked recipes, soups, sauces, etc.

Substitute Cornstarch For Baking Powder

Cornstarch Nutrition Facts

Substitute Cornstarch For Baking Powder

What Is Cornstarch?

Cornstarch is a carbohydrate-rich powdery substance gotten from the endosperm of corn. It originated in New Jersey in 1844 and is largely produced today in countries that grow corn in large amounts. These countries include the United States, India, Brazil, and China.

Cornstarch works well as a thickening agent; the starch contains molecules that help soak up the liquid and expand when it is added to recipes. Cornstarch has a texture, taste, and gel-like or glossy appearance that makes it suitable in recipes; it leaves no trace when added to recipes because it is transparent and flavorless.

Since cornstarch is made primarily from the endosperm of corn, it is rich in carbohydrates and has no protein, which makes it a gluten-free alternative to cooking.

Cornstarch Uses in Recipes

Cornstarch is a great ingredient not only for soups but in baking, and it helps soften the flour and improve the overall texture of the baked good. Cornstarch is a staple in many parts of the world, especially in North America and Asia.

Another use of cornstarch is as an anti-caking agent. Cornstarch is added to goods in commercial production to help absorb moisture and preserve the product. Cornstarch is also used in some sugar products like corn syrup.

Some delicious recipes that use cornstarch include:

Substituting Cornstarch for Baking Powder

Baking powder is a dry leavening agent used to make baked goods increase in size and volume with the release of carbon dioxide, while cornstarch is a thickening agent used to absorb moisture in recipes.

They both serve different purposes, but they are both used in baking, and baking powder contains a little bit of cornstarch.

However, cornstarch cannot perfectly substitute baking powder in baking recipes without a little bit of tweaking. With a mixture of cream of tartar, baking soda, and cornstarch, you would get a suitable baking powder alternative that you can use in your meal.

In cases where you’ve run out of baking powder, you can always substitute it with baking soda; some other individuals still go ahead and use cornstarch, especially in recipes where the baking powder is not needed in large quantities. Still, if you want something close to baking powder, you can use the mixture I talked about below in your recipe.


Baking powder plays the role of making baked goods have an increased size and volume; it is a common ingredient in baked goods as it helps lighten their texture; Cornstarch, on the other hand, works excellently in baked goods; it gives a dense and chewy texture to baked goods.

But in baking recipes that specifically call for the baking powder, you can prepare a close baking powder substitute using two teaspoons of cream of tartar, one teaspoon of baking soda, and1 one teaspoon of cornstarch.

Mix all ingredients properly in a bowl; this mixture would provide you with four teaspoons of baking powder that you can conveniently use in your baking recipe.

In other cases where you have just cornstarch or baking soda, you can use any of them to substitute baking powder in your baked recipe without it making a big difference.

Sauces and Gravies

Sauces and Gravies

When ingredients are unavailable last minute, most persons turn to the unimaginable ingredient as a substitute, and sometimes the ingredient does the job well. This is the case for baking powder in sauces; some people turn to bake powder as a thickener last minute when they’ve run out of any possible substitute.

A small amount of baking powder is mixed with enough cold water, milk, juice, or broth to form a paste that can act as a thickener in sauces; the mixture is slowly whisked into the sauce and left to boil until it becomes creamy and opaque.

Well, if you have cornstarch, then you’ll know that there’s no need for baking powder. Cornstarch is one of the best ingredients for thickening sauces, the starch molecules in Cornstarch help in absorbing liquid fast and easily. It also leaves no trace as cornstarch has a flavorless, gel-like, and transparent look added to recipes. It adds a creamy and smooth texture to sauces too.

When using cornstarch, start by making a paste with about two teaspoons of cornstarch with 2-3 tablespoons of water or stock.

Mix them thoroughly and add about 3/4 of this paste to the simmering sauce or gravy. Once the gravy or sauce starts boiling, the cornstarch will start to form; continue boiling the sauce until you get the desired consistency and texture. If you are not satisfied with the consistency when boiling the sauce, add more paste mixture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What else can u use for baking powder when I run out?

If you have baking soda, you could use it in your recipe, but you would need acid to help it react and act like baking powder.

Why is cornstarch present in baking powder?

Baking powder has both a base and an acid, so the cornstarch present in it acts as a buffer preventing the base and acid from reacting too soon by absorbing any moisture in it.

Can I make my cake rise without baking powder?

Yes, you can. Most cake recipes don’t necessarily need baking powder to rise, and there are still other ingredients that can make a cake rise.


Cornstarch and baking powder are both unique ingredients that serve different purposes in culinary. Still, since they share a little similarity and work excellently in similar recipes, cornstarch can substitute for baking powder in many recipes. With just the right mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar, you can make a suitable baking powder at home.