The 7 Best Substitutes for Baking Soda In Cookies

What can I use instead of baking soda in cookies? The best substitutes for baking soda in cookies are potassium bicarbonate, baker’s ammonia, baking powder, and self-rising flour. Add egg whites, whipped cream, and club soda in a pinch.

Baking soda is a leavening agent that creates height and texture in cookies. Unlike baking powder, it needs an acid ingredient like lemon juice to produce the carbon dioxide bubbles that make your bake rise. Baking soda also helps cookies to spread, making them crisp or chewy. Here are the seven best substitutes for baking soda in cookies.

The Best Baking Soda In Cookies Substitutes

Potassium Bicarbonate

Potassium bicarbonate is the closest substitute for baking soda in cookies.

Like baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate), potassium bicarbonate is a leavening agent. However, it does not contain the salt (sodium) that baking soda does.

People who suffer from high blood pressure or heart disease are encouraged to reduce their salt intake, making potassium bicarbonate a healthy choice when baking.

You’ll, therefore, usually find potassium bicarbonate at a pharmacy or health store, where it is sold as a dietary supplement.

Replace baking soda in cookies with potassium bicarbonate in a 1:1 ratio, with the proviso that you’ll need to reduce the amount of acid in the recipe. For example, replace buttermilk with regular milk.

If baking for people without salt limitations, add a teaspoon salt for every 3 teaspoons potassium bicarbonate.

Baker’s Ammonia

Another excellent substitute for baking soda in cookies is baker’s ammonia.

Also called ammonium carbonate, baker’s ammonia is an old-fashioned rising agent used for baking since the 1400s. It was phased out of use when baking soda and baking powder became more popular.

Like baking soda, baker’s ammonia produces carbon dioxide bubbles via a chemical reaction – but with heat, not acid.

However, when exposed to heat, baker’s ammonia also produces ammonia, a colorless, foul-smelling gas.

Fortunately, the ammonia dissipates efficiently when making flat bakes, like cookies. (In cakes, muffins, or quick breads, the ammonia can be trapped, giving your bake an unpleasant smell.)

Baker’s ammonia makes your cookies crispy, which is ideal if you want sugar or ginger cookies with a snap.

Use baker’s ammonia to replace baking soda in equal measures.

Baking Powder

The most convenient substitute for baking soda in cookies is baking powder.

Baking powder is a common leavening agent that contains baking soda, cream of tartar (the reactive acid), and cornstarch. You probably have it in the cupboard for making cakes.

However, baking powder is not as strong as baking soda and creates a more cake-like texture. Hence, it is best used in denser cookie batters, like peanut butter or chocolate chip oat cookies.

Baking powder already contains acid, so additional acid in the recipe will react and cause an uneven reaction and salty, acidic flavor.

Use baking powder, preferably double-acting, in a 3:1 ratio instead of baking soda.

For the best flavor, replace acid ingredients like lemon juice with lemon zest and water and reduce the amount of salt by half.

Self-Rising Flour

Another pantry staple that can substitute for baking soda in cookies is self-rising flour.

Self-rising flour (called self-raising flour in the UK) is a mixture of cake flour, baking powder, and salt: a cup of self-rising flour contains 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.

In other words, this flour already has a leavener, so you don’t need to add baking soda or baking powder.

Replace your cookies’ flour, baking soda, and salt with equal quantities of self-rising flour.

As with baking powder substitutions, replace acid ingredients with neutral ones, such as milk, instead of buttermilk.

Cookies made with self-rising flour tend to be crisp rather than chewy unless you add baking powder.

Egg Whites

Egg whites are another handy replacement for baking soda in cookies.

Although not a typical leavening agent for cookies, beaten egg whites perform well as rising agents:  soufflé is a great example.

Whisking egg whites with sugar or cream of tartar draws air bubbles into the mixture, creating texture in the bake.

It’s ideal to use egg whites instead of baking soda in cookies that contain eggs as an ingredient. Instead of adding the eggs to the batter, separate the whites from the yolks.

Use the egg yolks as per the recipe’s requirements. Use a whisk or electric mixer to beat the egg whites – they should reach the stiff peaks stage. Fold them into the batter just before baking.

If your cookie recipe does not contain eggs, separate two eggs and set the yolks aside. Beat the egg whites until frothy.

Use the egg whites to replace the baking soda and an equivalent amount of liquid in the recipe. For instance, if your egg whites make ¼ cup, use ¼ cup less liquid in the batter.

Whipped Cream

Try whipped cream as an alternative to baking soda in cookies.

When added to a dish, whipped cream functions like beaten egg whites – consider how it makes cheesecake light and fluffy.

Like egg whites incorporate air into meringues, whipped cream becomes frothy and stiff when whisked.

Whipped cream is a handy rising agent instead of baking soda in cookies containing dairy products like milk, cream, yogurt, or buttermilk.

Replace one of these liquids with an equal volume of whipped cream, gently folding it into the batter immediately before baking.

However, this substitution will not be successful in a bake that requires a hefty rise – the air dissipates quickly.

Club Soda

Another store cupboard possibility to replace baking soda in cookies is club soda.

Like baking soda, club soda contains carbon dioxide bubbles, which add fizz to the beverage and air to your cookies.

To substitute baking soda in cookies with club soda, measure how much liquid (e.g., milk or water) your recipe requires. Replace the measured fluid with club soda.

Note that this substitution is best in flatter cookies, as club soda won’t achieve a cake-like rise.