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Substitute for Baking Soda in Cookies 

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is widely used in American cooking. Because baking soda reacts with other substances to produce carbon dioxide, it is sometimes referred to as an inert ingredient in the food.

Baking soda was first discovered in 1791 by a French chemist named Nicholas Leblanc when it was still called sodium bicarbonate. It is a white crystalline powder of a chemical compound (NaHC03). It is classified as an acid salt formed by merging carbonic acid and a base known as sodium hydroxide. At temperatures greater than 300 degrees Fahrenheit, baking soda decomposes into sodium bicarbonate, water, and carbon dioxide. The physical properties of baking soda give it away for its wide range of applications. These include; baking, deodorizing, a cleaning agent, and fire extinguishers.

Baking soda with cookies image

Baking soda finds relevance in many baking recipes such as bread, cakes, cookies, puddings, and more. When used in baking, baking soda behaves like a chemical leavener. This, afterward, produces carbon dioxide in reaction to acid. And then produces bubbles that help the cake or cookies rise to tender, moist, and fluffy after product. Baking soda is usually bitter, with a strange, almost soapy flavor. It is intertwined between not having a definite taste but instead carries the essence of bitterness and saltiness away. Several baking recipes include baking soda as a leavening agent and will leave no exact flavor when used in the right proportion. However, adding too much can input those bitter and salty tastes it has.

The texture of baking soda by itself is soft and powdery to touch but feels gritty if you rub it between your fingers. But, if you mix a little with enough water quantity, it will quickly dissolve, leaving no trace of the usual grainy texture. On the other hand, if you mix baking soda with just a tiny bit of water, it will form a paste. And this will make it retain its grittiness, which can be a desirable quality when used as a cleaning agent.

Baking Soda Nutrition Facts:

Baking soda nutrition fact

Use in Different Types of Recipes

Baking soda works as a chemical leavening in recipes doubling from cookies to cakes and even bread. They act as a rising agent to these recipes making their preparation easier because of their presence. Another recipe where baking soda can be used includes;

  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Sugar cookies
  • Bread and cakes
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Chocolate chip cookies

And indeed, most baking recipes.

Substitutes for Baking Soda

Although baking soda is almost indispensable, there are quite a few other ingredients that can act just like it. And deliver results even more optimally. They include;




Yeast can be a substitute for baking soda in many recipes. This can be achieved by mixing equal parts of lemon juice and baking soda. So, for instance, if your recipe requires one teaspoon of yeast, you can add half a teaspoon of lemon juice and baking soda. With this mix, your dough will begin to rise immediately. This eliminates the proofing time it requires if you used baking soda and a leavening agent.

Baking Powder

Baking Powder

Baking Powder

Baking powder can serve as a ready substitute for baking soda. The significant factor here will be the quantity. If a recipe will require one teaspoon of baking soda, then substituting with baking powder would need about 2 to 3 teaspoons. Therefore, the best way to use this substitute is to triple the amount of baking powder to equal that of the baking soda.

Potassium Bicarbonate and Salts

Potassium Bicarbonate and Salts

Potassium Bicarbonate and Salts

This ingredient is often used as a dietary supplement; however, it is a useful alternative for baking soda. This substitute is handy, especially for people trying to cut down on their sodium intake because potassium bicarbonate is devoid of sodium. Using this is just like using baking soda; that is, it requires just the same amount of 1:1. The only difference will be the reduced amount of saltiness in your dish.

Bakers Ammonia

Bakers Ammonia

Bakers Ammonia

Also known as ammonium carbonate is another adequate replacement for baking soda. Baker’s ammonia has a knack for imparting distinct crispiness to baked foods. And this makes it a desirable option in some confections such as thin, crisp cookies and crackers. The usage as in baking soda is in the same quantity, although this may not suit all recipes. Ammonia has a strong odor, which should dissipate in thin texture foods. However, in thick crumbs such as muffins, the ammonia will not escape, which may leave an unpleasant odor.

Self-Rising Flour

Self-Rising Flour

Self-Rising Flour

This can be another option in place of baking soda. Though it may affect the recipe, and this may not be the best substitute for new bakers. Self-rising flour already includes an acid. Therefore, you will want to replace the acid in your original recipe with something a bit more neutral. This is to keep all flavors balanced.

Substitute for Baking soda in Oatmeal cookies

Oatmeal cookies are a crunchy meal any day. The perfect substitute for baking soda in this recipe is baking powder. The baking powder gives the dough more lift, making the cookies less dense and a bit chewier. This was discovered after many years of trying other options.

Substitute for Baking Soda in Sugar Cookies

A perfect substitute for baking soda in sugar cookies will be baking powder too. This will only require more quantity of the powder compared to the baking soda. Say in a ratio 1 to 3.

Substitute for Baking Soda in Peanut Butter Cookies

For peanut butter cookies, potassium bicarbonate and baking powder are ready substitutes for baking soda. However, when using bicarbonate, it should be known that it has less salt.

Substitute for Baking Soda in Chocolate Chip Cookies

Using self-rising flour or baking powder is possible here when looking for a substitute for cookies’ leavening agent.

Substitute for Baking Soda in Biscuit Cookies

Biscuit cookies are a crunchy chew. Using baking powder for the recipe can readily substitute for baking soda here.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

What can be used as a substitute for baking soda?

There are quite several alternatives to baking soda. Some of the substitutes include; yeast, bakers’ ammonia, or potassium bicarbonate and salt.

What happens if you make cookies without soda?

The significant effect of baking soda is to serve as a leavening agent in doughs. The absence of it will mean having a flat cookie that wouldn’t rise before making it.

Is yeast a good alternative for baking soda?

Yes, it is. And when mixed appropriately with lemon juice and soda, it will even shorten the baking time, as rising occurs immediately.


This a wrap on the substitute for baking soda in cookies. I am optimistic this article will help you make good substitute choices in your cookie recipes.