How Do Baking Powder and Cream of Tartar Compare?

Baking powder and cream of tartar have numerous similarities but also major differences. One is a stabilizing agent, while the other is a leavening agent.

If you make pastries often, you should always have both on hand. Furthermore, the two ingredients may be mentioned together in the same recipe.

Understanding the culinary science behind them, as well as their chemical properties, will assist you in determining which ingredient is most suited to your dish and what purpose each one serves. So, should we begin to explain?

The Difference Between Baking Powder and Cream of Tartar

The primary difference between baking powder and cream of tartar is found in the ingredients. Tartaric acid, a byproduct of the winemaking process, is used to make cream of tartar. Baking powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar.

Both baking powder and cream of tartar are leavening agents due to the same composition, however cream of tartar has additional benefits such as stabilizing whipped egg whites and avoiding sugar crystallization. Let’s find out how.

What Is Their Difference in Function?

As previously stated, baking powder requires an alkali such as baking soda, an acid such as cream of tartar, and a binder such as cornflour. Baking soda and cream of tartar react to form carbon dioxide bubbles, which give baking powder its leavening effect.

Tartaric acid, on the other hand, is a byproduct of winemaking that is used to manufacture cream of tartar. It is a little more versatile than baking powder. It keeps whipped cream and egg whites firm, avoids sugar crystals, and keeps cooking vegetables from becoming brown. Rust and stains may also be removed using cream of tartar.

What Is Their Difference in Recipes?

Baking powder is a single-acting or double-acting leavening agent. Single-acting baking powders are fast-acting, which means they react rapidly when wet.

Nonetheless, the vast majority of commercial baking powders have dual-action. A dual-action baking powder will react twice: once when combined with liquid and again when heated.

Baking powder is used in cakes, pancakes, waffles, cookies, syrup sponges, pies, and other baked goods and batters.

Cream of tartar, on the other hand, is widely used in dishes like as meringue pie and souffl to maintain their high rise. Cream of tartar will make pancakes, cookies, or any other dish that does not call for yeast fluffier. Creamier pancake and syrup recipes, as well as frosting and icing recipes.

What Is Their Difference When it Comes to Storage?

When it comes to storage, they are the same; store both goods in an airtight container and away from direct sunlight.

Because cream of tartar is sensitive to heat, moisture, and light, it should always be kept at room temperature. The same holds true with baking powder.

2 tsp in 1 cup of boiling water. If bubbles begin to develop, your baking powder is of high quality; otherwise, discard it.Fun tip: To test the quality of the baking powder, add 1 teaspoon.

What Is Their Difference When it Comes to Shelf Life?

Baking soda and cream of tartar have similar shelf lives. Cream of tartar has a maximum shelf life of two years, while baking powder has a shelf life of one to two years. Before using a product, always verify the expiry date.

Baking Powder vs. Cream of Tartar Comparison Table

Category Baking Powder Cream of Tartar
Formula Cream of tartar + baking soda Tartaric acid
Usage Leavening agent Leavening agent, stabilizer, color perseverer, and cleaning agent
Function Helps batter rise and remain light and airy Helps batter rise and become fluffy, stops sugar from crystalizing, stabilizes the texture of baked goods, preserves the color of boiled veggies, removes rust and stains
Type of recipes Cakes, pancakes, waffles, cookies, syrup sponge, pies Meringue pie, soufflé, pancakes, cookies, pancake syrup, frosting and icing
Storage In an air-tight container, at room temperature in a place without sunlight In an air-tight container, at room temperature in a place without sunlight
Shelf life 1 to 2 years 1 year

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

According to the nutritional statistics below, baking powder is the best option since it has less calories, less potassium, and more iron and calcium.

While cream of tartar has more calories, this is not the reason it is less healthful. The potassium content in cream of tartar is the most concerning issue.

Because of its high potassium percentage, cream of tartar’s most serious side effect is the possibility of hyperkalemia, or increased potassium levels in your blood. However, if consumed in moderation, cream of tartar provides a few additional advantages, such as treating constipation and improving skin health.

Baking Powder vs Cream of Tartar: Nutritional Profile

Category (1tsp) Baking Powder Cream of Tartar
Calories 2.4 7.7
Carbs 1.3g 1.8g
Fat 0g 0g
Potassium 0.9mg 495mg
Sodium 488mg 1.6mg
Protein 0g 0g
Fiber 0g 0g
Sugars 0g 0g
Vitamins & Minerals
Calcium 21% 0%
Iron 2.8% 0.6%

Can I Substitute Baking Powder for Cream of Tartar & Vice Versa?

Yes, baking powder may be used for cream of tartar and vice versa.

You may use 1.5 teaspoon baking powder for 1 teaspoon cream of tartar. This proportion may be used in any recipe without altering the taste or texture of the final meal.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, white vinegar, yogurt, and buttermilk are all suitable substitutes for cream of tartar.

If you wish to use cream of tartar instead of baking powder, keep in mind that you must also incorporate baking soda. To produce 1 tsp baking powder, combine 1 tsp cream of tartar and 1 tsp baking soda.

If you want to keep it for a few weeks, add a teaspoon of cornstarch. Cornstarch keeps the powder from getting dry and clumpy; you may omit this item if you’re going to use your baking powder straight away.

Can I Skip Baking Powder or Cream of Tartar in a Baking Recipe?

Your baked items will still taste excellent if you don’t use baking powder, but they won’t fluff since the chemical reactions required for that won’t occur.

The same is true for leaving out the cream of tartar. Even if your sweets aren’t as fluffy as you’d want, they’ll still taste delicious. Also, while creating meringue, be in mind that the peaks may collapse.


Overall, it seems that the primary difference between baking powder and cream of tartar is that baking powder includes both cream of tartar and baking soda! Because they share the same component, they are both leavening agents.

However, producing air bubbles in the dough isn’t the sole speciality of cream of tartar. This powder also functions as a stabilizer, preventing sugar crystallization.

Although cream of tartar is more adaptable, it is not the healthiest option. It has more calories and potassium than baking powder.

Whichever option you select, your baked products will be grateful!


Can cream of tartar replace baking powder?

Tartare Sauce

It is also a quick and simple alternative for baking powder and can be purchased in the spice department of most supermarkets. For optimal results, use a cream of tartar to baking soda ratio of 2:1.

Is cream of tartar and baking powder the same?

Baking powder is formed from cream of tartar and baking soda, as we’ve previously established. So, if you have baking powder, you have cream of tartar as well! For every 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, use 1.5 tablespoons baking powder.

How much baking powder is equivalent to cream of tartar?

1 teaspoon (3.5 grams) cream of tartar may be replaced with 1.5 teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder. This substitute is perfect since it can be used in any recipe without affecting the final flavor or texture.

What is the difference between baking soda and baking powder and cream of tartar?

Baking powder, unlike baking soda, is a full blend of baking soda and cream of tartar, a powdered form of tartaric acid, and hence contains both the basic and acidic components required to make carbon dioxide.

How important is cream of tartar in a recipe?

Cream of tartar keeps the small bubbles in the egg whites from adhering together by preventing the egg proteins from sticking together. It so accelerates the whipping of egg whites and helps to a sturdy, billowy, glossy meringue that is ideal for cookies, topping pies, and folding into cake.

What does cream of tartar do to cookies?

Cream of tartar reduces sugar crystallization in cookie dough while heating. Cookies without it have a crunchy texture. According to EHow, cream of tartar helps cookies bake lighter by forming more air bubbles when it comes into touch with liquid.

Does cream of tartar add flavor?

Snickerdoodle cookies are one dish where cream of tartar adds taste. It imparts a subtle tang to the cookies and aids in their traditional chewiness.

Can I add cream of tartar to baking soda to make baking powder?

Combine two parts cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) and one part baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to produce baking powder.

Why is cream of tartar used in snickerdoodles?

Cream of tartar: A leavening agent that transforms the cookie from a sugar cookie to a Snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodle cookies have a tangy flavor and are chewier and somewhat taller than a typical sugar cookie when made with baking soda.

What’s a good substitute for cream of tartar?

Instead of 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar. For instance, if your cookie recipe asks for 1 teaspoon baking soda, use 2 teaspoons lemon juice for the cream of tartar.The Best Cream of Tartar Substitute

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