The 10 Best Substitutes For Baking Powder In Pancakes

What can I use instead of baking powder in pancakes? The best substitutes for baking powder in pancakes are homemade baking powder, self-rising flour, egg whites, club soda, and sourdough starter. Combine baking soda with an acid, like buttermilk, yogurt, molasses, vinegar, or lemon juice, to create billowy pancakes.

Baking powder is the rising agent making your pancakes fluffy. It combines baking soda (a leavener), cream of tartar (an acid), and cornstarch (a moisture absorber). Baking soda reacts with the acid, producing carbon dioxide bubbles to make puffy pancakes.

The 10 best substitutes for baking powder in pancakes are below.

The Best Baking Powder In Pancakes Substitutes

Homemade Baking Powder

The best substitute for baking powder in pancakes is homemade baking powder.

You can use common pantry ingredients to make baking powder: you’ll need baking soda, cream of tartar, and cornstarch.

Combine ½ teaspoon cornstarch with ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar. Blend well together.

Use homemade baking powder to replace baking powder as required by the recipe.

Self-Rising Flour

Another excellent alternative to baking powder in pancakes is self-rising flour.

Self-rising or self-rising flour contains cake flour, baking powder, and salt, so you don’t need additional baking powder.

Replace the flour, baking powder, and salt in your usual pancake recipe with the same measure of self-rising flour.

For example, if your recipe requires 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt, use 1 cup + 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon self-rising flour.

Egg Whites

Egg whites are an ideal replacement for baking powder in pancakes.

If you’re wondering how egg whites make airy pancakes, think about the role of egg whites in meringues. The structure of these delicious bakes is created by egg whites beaten with sugar until stiff and glossy. The process of whipping egg whites incorporates air bubbles, which create texture and height.

Most pancake recipes already contain eggs, so using egg whites as a leavening agent is logical.

To use egg whites instead of baking powder in pancakes, begin by separating the eggs.

Combine the yolks with the other wet ingredients (milk, oil, etc.). Mix the wet and dry ingredients as per the recipe. Set aside.

Whisk the egg whites until the stiff peak stage, but not until they turn dry.

Fold the egg whites into the pancake batter immediately, taking care not to overmix.  Cook the pancakes as soon as possible, or the airiness will subside.

For a batch of a dozen American pancakes, use two to three egg whites instead of baking powder.

Club Soda

Club soda is a somewhat unlikely but handy substitute for baking powder in pancakes.

Club soda will work as a leavening agent because it is highly carbonated or full of bubbles. The role of a rising agent is to add air to increase lift, so a fizzy beverage will do the trick.

To use club soda instead of baking powder, replace the water in your recipe with soda. You can add the soda straight to the batter. Your pancakes will be light and fluffy.

Note that this substitution works best for pancake mixes that use milk and water. Replacing milk in pancakes will mean the taste is less rich.

Using club soda will only work in pancakes, which don’t need to rise very much, rather than cakes.

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough starter is a perfect alternative to baking powder in pancakes.

Sourdough starter is a traditional homemade leavening agent made from flour and water left at room temperature.

The natural or “wild” yeast and bacteria from the air start the fermentation process, creating a natural leavening agent.

If you are a regular baker of sourdough bread, you will have a container of sourdough starter. You can use sourdough starter to make crumpets, pizza, scones, and other bakes.

Use sourdough starter instead of baking powder for airy pancakes. However, you will need to use a recipe developed specifically for sourdough to ensure that the proportions of liquid and flour balance.

Baking Soda And Buttermilk

The combination of baking soda and buttermilk can replace baking powder in pancakes.

Baking soda is a leavening agent that requires an acid to function effectively. Once baking soda reacts with an acid, it releases carbon dioxide, having a rising effect.

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product. Fermentation breaks down the sugars in milk, creating lactic acid, which gives buttermilk its characteristic sour, tangy flavor.

You can use baking soda and buttermilk instead of baking powder in pancakes because you have the combination of a leavening agent and an acid to stimulate rising.

Many pancake recipes already include buttermilk as an ingredient, meaning you don’t need to add more. If your recipe doesn’t contain buttermilk, replace ½ cup liquid with buttermilk.

Replace each teaspoon baking powder with ¼ teaspoon baking soda. If the recipe already requires baking soda, add it as usual.

Baking Soda And Yogurt

Another handy baking soda combination is with yogurt, together replacing baking powder in pancakes.

As mentioned, baking soda needs an acid to make your pancakes rise. Natural yogurt contains the necessary acid.

Like buttermilk, yogurt is a fermented dairy product rich in lactic acid. However, to create the necessary chemical reaction, you need to use plain or Greek yogurt, not flavored or sweetened versions.

To use baking soda and yogurt instead of baking powder in pancakes, replace ½ cup liquid in the recipe with yogurt.

Replace each teaspoon baking powder with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, adding any baking soda the recipe calls for as well.

Baking Soda And Molasses

You can also substitute baking soda and molasses for baking powder in pancakes.

Baking soda requires an acid to function as a rising agent. Molasses contains sufficient acid to create the reaction.

Dark, syrupy molasses is a by-product of making sugar, whether from sugarcane or beets. It is more acidic than regular sugar and becomes darker and more bitter as the sugar-refining process continues.

To substitute for baking powder, replace ¼ cup liquid with ¼ cup molasses in your pancake batter. If you use light molasses, you will require less sugar, as it is intensely sweet.

Dark molasses will add a gorgeous brown color and robust flavor. With its dense and sticky texture and intense flavor, blackstrap molasses is not ideal for pancakes.

Replace each teaspoon of baking powder with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Add other baking soda as normal.

Baking Soda And Vinegar

Combine baking soda and vinegar as an alternative to baking powder in pancakes.

Vinegar is a common household ingredient used for cooking and cleaning purposes. It is not the first ingredient you consider when making pancakes.

However, it is high in acetic acid from the alcohol fermentation process. It can provide the necessary acid to catalyze baking soda to create a leavening effect.

The volcano science experiment, where vinegar and baking powder produce a gush of “lava,” vividly illustrates the chemical reaction.

Any vinegar will work in pancakes. However, plain white vinegar is ideal for its lack of color and neutral flavor.

Don’t worry about the sourness of vinegar ruining your pancakes. You will need ½ teaspoon of vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda for every teaspoon of baking powder.

Add an extra tablespoon of sugar if you are concerned about flavor.

Baking Soda And Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another household staple you can use with baking soda to replace baking powder in pancakes.

Citrus fruits pack a vitamin C punch. This immune-boosting nutrient is also called ascorbic acid. It will react with baking soda to create fluffy, cloud-like pancakes.

Lemon juice will also add a fresh flavor to your pancakes.

Substitute each teaspoon of baking powder with ½ teaspoon of lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.

Note that this baking powder doesn’t replace any baking soda already in the recipe.