Can You Make Baking Soda At Home? [+ Baking Soda Alternatives]

Ever wondered if you can make baking soda at home?

This kitchen ingredient is used for many culinary and non-culinary purposes. So it’s easy to think you can save yourself a lot if you learn to make baking soda at home.

Not to dash your hopes, but you cannot make baking soda at home.

Why can’t you make baking soda at home? What can you use as a baking soda substitute when you run out of supply? These are some of the questions you’ll find answers to in this article.

What is baking soda?

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is an alkaline compound that contains sodium cation and bicarbonate anion.

Both actives make the crystallized white powdery solid that is used in cooking, baking, cleaning, disinfecting, and treating pain from insect bites and stings. As a base, sodium bicarbonate has a bitter, soapy and salty taste.

But when mixed in the right amounts with other baking ingredients, this taste fades away into the batter and makes baked goods rise. Sodium bicarbonate also makes baked goods like cakes and bread fluffy.

Can you make baking soda at home?

No, you cannot.

Sodium bicarbonate is made through a series of chemical processes that should not be carried out at home. They are best done in industrial environments with facilities that can keep the active ingredients intact.

In addition, sodium bicarbonate is a naturally occurring mineral. You can find it in evaporated lake basins in nahcolite deposits. These deposits are found in large quantities in the salt body of Searles Lake in California and Colorado.

Other countries like Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Mexico, and Turkey also mine sodium bicarbonate for commercial purposes.

Can you use baking powder in place of baking soda?

Yes, you can.

Since baking powder and sodium bicarbonate are both leavening agents, you can use one as a substitute for the other but with some adjustments.

Moreover, baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate in moderate quantities. So it’s easy to use it as a substitute for sodium bicarbonate.

Can you leave baking soda out of your recipe?

You may leave out the baking soda in your recipe if you are not keen on getting light and fluffy baked goods.

For instance, you don’t necessarily have to add sodium bicarbonate when making pancakes. But for cakes, bread and muffins, sodium bicarbonate is a necessity. Otherwise, they’ll come out flat and dense.

How to substitute baking soda with baking powder

Replace one teaspoon of baking soda with two to three teaspoons of baking powder. However, because this substitution may result in a salty dish, you’ll have to make adjustments in the quantity of salt the recipe calls for.

Use half a teaspoon if the recipe requires a teaspoon of salt. If it also requires other ingredients like salted butter, you should make consequent adjustments in the salt you add.

Other baking soda substitutes

Baker’s ammonia

Baker’s ammonia is another name for ammonium carbonate, one of the excellent substitutes for sodium bicarbonate.

When ammonium carbonate comes in contact with heat and acid, it releases carbon dioxide and makes dough rise, and produces light and fluffy baked goods.

But alongside carbon dioxide, ammonium carbonate releases ammonia which has a pungent smell. If used to make dense baked goods like bread, cake muffins, and cookies, the ammonia may not be able to escape.

Consequently, it’ll leave the baked goods with an unpleasant smell. Baker’s ammonia is recommended as a sodium bicarbonate substitute when you need to make light, thin baked goods.

Self-rising flour

Self-rising flour is a great substitute for sodium bicarbonate. This special flour is a combination of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. So, you have to be very cautious with this substitute.

For instance, a cup of self-rising flour contains around 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Baking powder in self-rising flour is acidic. So, you do not need to add any more acidic ingredients.

Rather, you should replace any acidic ingredient in your recipe with a neutral ingredient. Otherwise, you may end up with a bitter, salty, and acidic dish.

This is why it is better for experienced bakers. If you are an inexperienced baker, you should only experiment with self-rising flour at home.

Egg white

Egg white will not perfectly leaven your baked goods, but it’ll help you in an emergency. It is best used for home baking, especially when you are not baking a lot of cookies, cakes, or bread.

If you are using egg white to replace sodium bicarbonate, you have to beat the egg white until it is very foamy. Use egg white in equal amounts as any other liquid in your recipe.

Potassium bicarbonate and salt

Potassium bicarbonate can replace sodium bicarbonate in a recipe in a ratio of 1:1. Replacing sodium bicarbonate with potassium bicarbonate and salt will not only save your recipe, but it’ll also help you cut down your sodium intake.

You’ll need the salt because potassium bicarbonate has a low salt content. Add ½ teaspoon of salt for every 1 teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate.

In addition, you do not have to adjust the amount of salt the recipe calls for. You may also adjust the salt quantity if you’re keen on cutting down your sodium intake.


Can you use vinegar instead of sodium bicarbonate?

No, you can’t. Vinegar cannot replace sodium bicarbonate because it is an activator for sodium bicarbonate when baking.

Vinegar plus sodium bicarbonate makes a perfect pair to replace baking powder when baking cakes and cookies.

Is baking soda the same as baking powder?

Baking soda and baking powder are different baking ingredients.

Although they both act as leavening agents, they do so differently. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and becomes active when it comes in contact with an acid and a liquid.

Baking powder, on the other hand, contains sodium bicarbonate, an acid (cream of tartar), and sometimes cornstarch. It becomes active when it comes in contact with a liquid.

Moreover, sodium bicarbonate acts only once when baking, but the action of baking powder occurs at every baking stage.

Can baking soda go bad?

Yes, it can. Baking soda will not last forever. It has a shelf life of three months. When it has gone bad, it’ll no longer fizz or bubble when you mix it with vinegar.

Are there any side effects of eating sodium bicarbonate?

Sodium bicarbonate has side effects when you consume it in excess.

Excess consumption of this ingredient can lead to constipation, diarrhea, nausea, slow and shallow breathing, kidney failure, seizures, and convulsion. All these stem from excess sodium absorption.


Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate contains carbon, sodium, hydrogen, and oxygen. You can’t get these ingredients in stores and mix them at home to make baking soda. Your best option is store-bought sodium bicarbonate.

To save yourself stress, stock up on baking soda substitutes. Have a few hacks up your sleeves and save your recipe when you suddenly run out of baking soda.

Thanks for reading.

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