Cream of Tartar Uses and Substitutes

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Cream of tartar, otherwise known as potassium bitartrate, is an acidic, powdery substance which is a by-product of wine making. Owning a package of this multifunctional powder will prove very useful. Here is what you can use it for:

  • Stabilizing egg whites to prepare amazing meringues
  • Preparing voluminous, foamy, and bright whipped cream
  • Acting as a leavening agent when combined with baking soda to make fluffy and airy baked goods
  • Preventing the formation of lumps in powdered and granulated ingredients
  • Preventing the formation of sugar crystals in syrups, frosting, and icings
  • Acting as a thickener in liquids foods like soups, stews, and sauces
  • Helping cooked vegetables keep their bright colors

cream of tartar

Cream of Tartar Substitutes

All the above-mentioned reasons are more than enough to persuade you to make this magical ingredient irreplaceable in your kitchen. But what happens if you run out of it? Will you have to run to the grocery shop to buy a new package even if you are in the middle of preparing the dish? Luckily, the answer is ‘no’.  Cream of tartar is, after all, replaceable. It should be noted, however, that substitutes produce similar results, but the final product might be a bit different both in texture and appearance. Still, it is good to know what to substitute cream of tartar with in emergency situations.

Baking powder and Cream of Tartar Substitute

Potassium bitartrate is often combined with baking soda in order to serve as a leavening agent and replace baking soda. Hence, when you run out of cream of tartar, just replace it with baking powder, leaving out baking soda from the recipe as well.

To be more precise, a teaspoon of baking powder substitutes a combination of 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

Acidic Ingredients as a Cream of Tartar Substitute

Cream of tartar is an acidic ingredient, so any other acidic ingredient can serve as an effective substitute. Vinegar and lemon juice are most commonly used, but there are other options as well like yogurt, kefir, sour milk, buttermilk, or even white wine.

Two tablespoons of any acidic ingredient combined with a ½ teaspoon of baking soda replace one teaspoon of cream of tartar.

However, if the recipe already makes use of an acidic substance, there is no need to add more; the already used amount is quite enough to activate the baking soda.

cream of tartar

Leaving Out Cream of Tartar from the Recipe

When it comes to substituting potassium bitartrate, there is a third option – just omit it from the recipe. the reason for this is that, according to many pro cooks, acidic ingredients commonly used as substitutes usually change the flavor of the dish.

Omitting this powdery ingredient may work in certain cases, like in beating eggs or whipped cream, but it will prove difficult to achieve the final product perfection in the case of baked goods that need a leavening agent. Not using a leavening agent will result in a flat and rubbery final product, so you must use either cream of tartar or baking powder.

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Written by Dario

My name is Dario, I’m 44 years young and I live in Croatia (at the moment). I’m not a writer, so please don’t expect any kind of up level stories or posts from me! 😉 I’m just trying to do my best to put a smile on everyone’s face whenever it’s possible.


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