The Main Difference Between Baking Soda And Baking Powder

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For decades, I’ve kept both baking soda and baking powder in my pantry at all times. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I couldn’t really tell you the difference between the two. Many of us use baking soda and baking powder in our baking – so really, what’s the difference between the two lookalike products?

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Baking Soda

When it comes to baking, baking soda is used to create a reaction – and in desserts, this reaction translates to a “rise.” Because baking soda is so basic (that is, the complete opposite of acidic), it creates a reaction when exposed to another acidic substance. That’s why when a recipe calls for baking soda to be mixed with something like buttermilk, brown sugar, or other acidic solutions, you’ll see that bubbling reaction begin to appear. The bubbling reaction creates carbon dioxide, which in turn creates the rise that gives desserts that light, fluffy quality.

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Another great thing baking soda does? It is a serious deodorizing agent. Baking soda traps and neutralizes odors, making it the perfect tool for eliminating any unpleasant odors. Simply sprinkle baking soda over furniture, carpets, in stinky running shoes, and more. Let it sit for about half an hour, then vacuum it up. Similarly, keep a box of slightly open baking soda in your fridge to neutralize any stinky and stale food odors.

Baking Powder

Now, let’s move on to baking powder. You may not know this, but baking powder contains baking soda. However, the two can’t necessarily be used interchangeably. You will commonly find recipes calling for baking powder when there aren’t any other acidic ingredients at play. The baking powder can lend a hint of acidity in addition to creating that coveted rising effect, but using baking powder in place of baking soda can lead to a funky-tasting dessert. The main differences between baking soda and baking powder are based in science, so follow your recipes closely to ensure you’re achieving the desired result.

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As previously mentioned, it’s not a good idea to use baking soda and baking powder as though they were the same thing. If you only have one of these products, a general rule of thumb is that you can use two to three times more baking powder to achieve the same rising effect as baking soda.

Another important thing to note is that you should pay attention to the expiry dates on both products. However, storing both products in a cool, dark, and dry place can make them last anywhere from a few months up until a whole year.

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To check if your baking soda is still good to use, pour a small amount of vinegar in a glass. Drop a hint of baking soda into the glass. If you see it start to fizz and bubble, it’s still good! You can practice the same method for testing baking powder – just substitute the vinegar for hot water instead.

Now that you know these forgotten facts about baking soda and baking powder, hopefully you’ll be able to use each of them to the best of their abilities. Happy baking!