In this article we’re going to answer the million-dollar question – what’s the difference between baking powder and baking soda. So, what’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Short answer: acid. But it can make a big difference for baked goods, so let’s explain.

Baking soda has only one ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is a base that reacts when it comes into contact with acids, like buttermilk, yogurt or vinegar. This reaction produces carbon dioxide (CO2) in the form of bubbles, like a liquid foam. When making baked goods, the process is called “chemical leavening,” because the trapped CO2 gas makes the dough or batter rise. But when baking soda comes into contact with an acid, it pretty much reacts immediately. And that’s a problem. For many baking recipes, you want an extended reaction, so that the rising doesn’t take place all at once.

All baking powders contain sodium bicarbonate (just like baking soda). But baking powder also contains two acids. One of these acids is called monocalcium phosphate. Monocalcium phosphate doesn’t react with the sodium bicarbonate while it’s dry.

What is Baking soda?

Here’s what you need to know – well, when a recipe calls for baking soda, it usually calls for some type of acid. Like buttermilk, brown sugar, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, cream of tartar, molasses, applesauce, natural cocoa powder, or honey. You need this acid in the recipe to react with the baking soda, which in turn creates carbon dioxide and allows your baked good to rise. Baking soda is strong. In fact, it is about 3-4x stronger than baking powder. More baking soda in a recipe doesn’t necessarily mean more lift. Too much baking soda and not enough acid means there will be leftover baking soda in the recipe.

What is Baking Powder?

We can answer that question for you – baking powder contains baking soda. It is a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch. These days, most baking powder sold is double acting. This means that the first leavening occurs when baking powder gets wet– like when you combine the dry and wet ingredients in the recipe. The second leavening occurs when the baking powder is heated. Since baking powder already contains an acid to neutralize its baking soda, it is most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient.

You Can Also Use Them Both in:

This means that sometimes one agent is not enough to rise your cake, so you have to use both. You can use baking soda to rise batter of cake and give it a brown color, and use baking powder to rise it while cake is heating. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share.