Are baking powder cornstarch the same? Can you use cornstarch instead of baking powder?
The first time I tried to follow a recipe, I didn’t have any baking powder. At the time, the only thing I had a lot of was cornstarch, but I didn’t know if it would work in place of baking powder. I didn’t want to be in that stressful situation again, so I looked up what I could use instead of baking powder.
Most of the time, cornstarch can’t be used instead of baking powder. Cornstarch is used to make things thicker, and baking powder is used to make things rise. Mixtures get thicker when cornstarch is added, and baking powder helps the dessert rise.
When I want to bake a cake for a family gathering, I try to have everything I need in my pantry. Just like baking, I’m not perfect! I used this as a chance to learn, and now I know which ingredients work best in place of baking powder.
What’s the difference between Baking Powder Cornstarch?
Even though cornstarch and baking powder look almost the same, they are not the same thing at all.
Even though people sometimes mix them up, there is a difference between the two. Both are used to make baked goods rise up high, but you can’t just swap one for the other without changing the amount the recipe says to use.
Baking soda is a base, so it needs to be mixed with something acidic, like lemon juice or milk, for it to leaven something. If it isn’t mixed with an acid, it gives the baked good a metallic taste, which is obviously not what you want.
Baking Powder is a mixture of baking soda, a dry acid, and sometimes cornstarch. Unlike baking soda, which needs another acidic ingredient to leaven baked goods, baking powder does not.
Baking powder is more complicated and has more than one part. Let’s act like crazy scientists for a minute and talk about acids and bases. But don’t worry, I won’t hurt your brain, I promise!
*By the way, you might also be interested to know that I just wrote an article about whether Can You Substitute Cornstarch for Baking Powder.
Is baking powder the same as corn starch?
Corn starch is not the same as baking powder. Baking powder is a leavening agent, which means it helps a cake rise by making air bubbles. Cornstarch is a thickener that makes things like puddings and pie fillings thicker.
Cornstarch is a good thing to have in our kitchen cupboards. I love making pies with different fillings, like apple, blueberry, and lemon (which is my husband’s favorite!)
When my fillings aren’t as thick as I’d like them to be, I add cornstarch, whose main job is to thicken liquids.
Mixing a base, usually sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, with an acid is what makes baking powder work (usually cream of tartar). When these two are put together, something happens.
Let’s take vinegar and baking soda for example. Putting baking soda in a bowl and pouring vinegar over it will make it grow and fizz.
This reaction happened when the acid (vinegar) and the base (baking soda) were mixed together. You can see bubbles forming and growing. When we use baking powder in a recipe, the same thing happens.
Baking powder is used to give desserts height because it is a leavening agent.
Both the acid and the base in baking powder come in dry form. This means we can keep it in our pantries and it won’t change on its own.
As soon as we add the baking powder to the wet ingredients, the clock starts to run. The baking powder will slowly start to work, making bubbles that will help our cakes rise and impress your guests.
How can I Substitute Baking Powder?
The only things you need to make 1 tsp of baking powder are cream of tartar, cornstarch, and baking soda. You only need 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp of each of the other ingredients. If you want to make more, you can double or triple the amounts.