Baking powder vs cornstarch: You need baking powder in your recipe but all you have in your pantry is cornstarch. I know they look and feel the same, and it’s tempting to just add it in and move on to the next step.
However, even though baking powder contains cornstarch, it cannot be used in place of cornstarch and vice versa.
In this article, I’ll explain what baking powder and cornstarch are, whether they’re the same, and how you might be able to substitute one for the other.
Let’s start baking!
What exactly is Baking Powder?
Baking powder is a dry leavening agent that is commonly used in baking. It’s made with baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate), cream of tartar, and cornstarch.
When the base (sodium bicarbonate) and acid (cream of tartar) are combined with water, a chemical reaction occurs that results in the production of carbon dioxide. This reaction aids in the expansion of baked goods in size and volume.
What role does cornstarch play here?
We want the above-mentioned reaction to occur when we want it to. This is where cornstarch comes in handy. Its purpose is to prevent the acid and base from reacting too quickly. It accomplishes this by absorbing any moisture that the mixture may be exposed to.
What exactly is cornstarch?
Cornstarch, also known as corn flour, is a starch powder derived from corn endosperm. Cornstarch, like many other starches, is used to absorb moisture.
Cornstarch is commonly used as a thickening agent in cooking because it thickens sauces and stews when heated.
Baking Powder Vs Cornstarch
The primary distinction between cornstarch vs baking powder is that the former is primarily a thickening agent, whereas the latter is a leavening agent. When combined with other ingredients, they serve entirely different functions.
Can Cornstarch be used in place of Baking Powder?
Can we use cornstarch instead of baking powder? Cornstarch cannot be used to replace baking powder, but it can be used to make baking powder. Here’s a simple homemade baking powder recipe I like to use:
- 2 tbsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp corn starch
4 teaspoons baking powder is produced by this recipe.
Can Baking Powder be used in place of cornstarch?
Because baking powder contains cornstarch, you might think it can be used as a substitute. This, unfortunately, is not the case.
The amount of cornstarch in baking powder is insufficient to produce the same thickening effect as regular cornstarch.
Even if you add it in larger amounts, the taste of your food will be greatly affected because the other ingredients in baking powder give it a bitter, slightly salty, and sour flavor.
Is it possible to make your own baking powder?
Make your own baking powder by combining two parts cream of tartar, one part baking soda, and one part cornstarch. This ratio enables you to make your own baking powder, which is extremely effective. Baking powder is easy to make and less tangy than store-bought.
We’ve all figured out what baking powder is by now. The reaction is a straightforward acid-base reaction. We’ve seen a lot of acidic substitutions for baking soda that can help create the same effect that baking powder has on desserts.
Cream of tartar is a powder that can be used to make your own baking powder. Baking soda is the base required to aid in the reaction with the acid. Cornstarch is an important ingredient in this recipe because it absorbs excess moisture in the homemade baking powder and extends its shelf life.
Substitutions for Cornstarch
In a pinch, arrowroot, granular tapioca, or flour can be used in place of corn starch. Use an equal amount of arrowroot but double the amount of tapioca or flour called for. Keep in mind that these ingredients will change the flavor of the dish slightly and may require different cooking times. In cold water, flour, for example, does not blend as smoothly as corn starch. It is frequently mixed with butter to make a roux before adding liquids. If not thoroughly cooked, it has a raw flour flavor.