Is baking powder 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.
Is Baking Powder Cornstarch?
No, the two are completely different things despite the similar look. The primary distinction between cornstarch and 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 you use baking powder instead of cornstarch? 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?
Is cornstarch baking powder? 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.
What can substitute Baking Powder?
To learn what baking powder substitutes actually work and why cornstarch is not a good replacement in recipes, we must first investigate the substitutes and the science behind them.
Baking Powder Substitutes
Substitutes for Baking Powder to Replace 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Baking Soda + 1/2 cup Yogurt
- 1/4 cup molasses + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Flour (Self-Rising) Replace all of the flour in your recipe.
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 cup buttermilk
You’ll notice that almost every single item on the table above requires some baking soda.
Can baking soda be used in place of baking powder? Baking soda, in general, cannot replace baking powder! Baking powder is distinct in that it has a dormant reaction as a result of the combination of an acid and a base. Baking soda is only a base; it requires an acid source from outside.
All of the ingredients listed above are ideal for combining with baking soda to produce the same reaction and effect as baking powder!
Substitutes for Cornstarch in the Kitchen
Cornstarch is a pure starch powder extracted from corn kernels by removing the outer bran and germ, leaving only the starch-rich endosperm.
Cornstarch has few health benefits unless you are underweight or a bodybuilder looking to bulk up. In such cases, cornstarch can significantly increase a person’s calorie intake.
Another advantage of cornstarch is that it is gluten-free. There are, however, risks. It can slow carbohydrate conversion and cause a spike in blood glucose levels if consumed in large amounts.
Consuming starches can also raise one’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Cornstarch lacks the nutrients found in whole corn, such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which slows the absorption of glucose.
Cornstarch is a common kitchen ingredient that is used for a variety of purposes. When heated, starch absorbs a lot of water, which is why cornstarch is used as a thickening agent in so many different sauces, fillings, and gravies.
We all know that thickening agents are an essential ingredient in making our favorite recipes more convenient, whether you’re making a delicious pie filling, frying for a crispy crust, or trying to perfect a gravy recipe.
If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, you might be wondering what a suitable cornstarch substitute is.
Check out our favorite cornstarch substitutes below to save yourself a trip to the store!
When in a pinch, wheat flour can easily be substituted for cornstarch. Wheat flour is the most commonly used flour in baking, so you’re more than likely to have this alternative on hand in your pantry or cupboard!
There are various types of wheat flour, and they are distinguished by the amount of gluten they contain.
When substituting wheat flour for cornstarch, keep in mind that while cornstarch will give the thickened recipe a glossy shine, flour will not have the same effect, resulting in a more matte final product.
You’ll need about 3 tablespoons of flour for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. It’s also worth noting that you’ll need to cook the recipe you’re thickening for a few minutes longer to ensure that the raw flavor of the flour isn’t present.
Rice flour is an excellent substitute for cornstarch! Rice flour is a highly versatile flour made from finely milled rice. It is a common ingredient used to thicken both sweet and savory sauces and is commonly found in Asian dishes.
Rice flour differs from rice starch, which is typically produced by soaking rice in lye. Rice flour, in general, is colorless when mixed with water, making it an especially useful ingredient to have on hand when thickening clear liquids and recipes.
Rice flour is gluten-free, readily available, and inexpensive! Unlike many gluten-free products, rice flour is reasonably priced, making it an excellent addition to your kitchen cupboard or pantry. It won’t break the bank as a cornstarch substitute, so you won’t feel bad about using it instead!
Rice flour, a common substitute for wheat flour, acts as a good thickener in the same way that wheat flour does, so use the same proportion as our previous suggestion: 3 tablespoons per 1 tablespoon cornstarch