Is Baking Powder Vegan? And About Baking Soda?

Baking soda, or Sodium Bicarbonate, is one of the most common domestically used chemical ferment—either on its own or as part of baking powder. It’s also an ingredient that one may run across when glancing upon the ingredient section on food and product labels.

Baking soda is vegan because it (sodium bicarbonate) is produced from sodium carbonate which is extracted from the earth or manufactured from other substances that have been mined or excavated out (e.g., salt, limestone, kelp, etc.)

Therefore, it’s 100% vegan.

But, what about baking powder? After all, it contains several other components.

Yes, baking powder is considered vegan. It’s only a mixture of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), an acid, and inert filler like cornstarch4. The acid is generally in the form of mono-calcium phosphate or cream of tartar, both of which are vegan-friendly.

Although cream of tartar was once the most common acid in baking powder, it’s only one of numerous that can be used, and tend to be less common these days.

What we’ll do here is go over several reasons why baking powder and baking soda are considered vegan.

Why Baking Powder Is Considered Vegan?

Sodium Bicarbonate Is Vegan

While the presence of other ingredients can range quite a bit, sodium bicarbonate is consistently used as an alkali in baking powder. The only probable exclusion would be potassium bicarbonate, which is also vegetarian.

Similar to baking powder, pure baking soda is a white chalky substance used as a leavening.

It has other applications (besides leavening), and, is used in common everyday items like toothpaste and cleaning agents.

Sodium bicarbonate is considered vegan for the reason that sodium carbonate from which it’s industrially formed is never a resultant from animals.

Precisely, it’s produced from mining. It’s usually acquired from trona, tri-sodium hydrogen, di-carbonate, di-hydrate, which is mined in several regions throughout the US and provides for almost all domestic consumption of sodium carbonate in the States.

It is also unearthed from certain alkaline lakes via dredging.

Barilla and kelp also provide a possible source. Several salt-tolerant (or “halophyte”) plant and seaweed sorts can be processed to create a raw form of sodium carbonate.

Not all sodium bicarbonate emanates from industrial production utilizing sodium carbonate. Like sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate itself can also be mined from the earth (though it’s considerably less common).

Naturally occurring deposits of Nahcolite are found in Colorado. Nahcolite is a soft, white carbonate mineral composed of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3).

The Acid Component Is Vegan

To produce CO2, it’s not obligatory to increase an acidic constituent (for instance- molasses) to a flour mixture when baking powder is used as a contrast to pure baking soda.

This is for the reason that an acid source has, by this time, been added, usually in the form of calcium phosphate or cream of tartar.

Cream of tartar, or potassium bi-tartrate, used to be more frequent and continues to be used for homemade baking powder.

Baking powder is, time and again,home-produced by adding ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.

The Tartar cream is well thought-out as vegan, as it is produced in the course of grape juice fermentation. It is made industrially as a spin-off of the winemaking procedure.

At present, it is produced in vast amounts from industrial winemaking. In the past days, it was derived from the remains that every so often got collected on the underside of the wine casks5,8.

Yet again, in this day and age, it seems that most commercial baking powders use calcium phosphate. At least in my knowledge, Calcium phosphate can be procured from animal sources, but it is ordinarily derived from phosphate rocks, plants, etcetera.

It is mainly well-thought-out as harmless for vegan ingestion, and the Vegetarian Resource Group considers it a virtually vegan ingredient.

Why the acid? For instance, the minute a liquid source is poured to baking powder, the alkaline baking soda reacts with the acidic constituent, triggering the release of carbon dioxide gas. The gas then, inflates the dough or batter, to act as a leavener.

The Inert Filler Is Vegan

The inert filler in baking powder is standard, cornstarch. It obliges to absorb any additional moisture being contemporaneous in the air, which could, if not, cause the powder to cake and diminish its potency.

Yet again, cornstarch is the first filler. It’s solely the starch component of corn that’s being alienated from the germ and endosperm.

Hence, it’s 100% plant-based and, thus, vegetarian.

What About the Different Varieties? (Fast-Acting, Salt Substitutes, Etc.)

There are two critical categories of baking powder: the single-acting (fast) powder and the double-acting (slow) powder.

Conventionally, the fast or single-acting powder has simply been available to viable bakers, for the reason that flour made with the quick stuff has to be held swiftly and proficiently (i.e., positioned in the oven as soon as possible), since it produces CO2 right after commencing the jump.

Any interruption allows CO2 to leak, which reduces the ability of the dough or batter to enlarge.

A diversity of acids can be used to yield a fast-acting versus slow-acting powder, for instance, cream of Tartar, Calcium Phosphate, SodiumAluminumSulfateetcetera.

Sodium AluminumSulfate is prepared from minerals drawn from the earth.12 So, it’s herbivorous.

Salinealternatives like potassium bicarbonate are, at times, used for individuals on a low-sodium diet.13 Potassium and bicarbonate are both Lacto-vegetarian. Hence, potassium bicarbonate is also vegetarian.

Interestingly, some dedicated baking powders are used for definite purposes.

Such as, a baking powder comprising ammonium bicarbonate is typically used for confections that involve a relatively high surface area and pint-sized water—this allows the ammonia to disperse completely, which prevents a bittering flavor.

Ammonium bicarbonate is vegan, as it is just a combination of ammonia and CO2.

The calcium lactate is another common component which is a salt, formed when calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide reacts with lactic acid.

It tends to be an ingredient in baking powders that are comprised of sodium acid pyrophosphate. It’s used for slow-acting baking powders as it provides calcium, which delays the fermentation.

Unlike lactose, lactate plus lactic acid are classically well-thought-out to be vegan. Assuredsufficiently, calcium lactate is generally considered suitable for vegans.

Anyway, that’s it for the vegan prestige of baking powder. Thanks for reading.

You may also want to check out the following related articles:


  1. Christian Thieme (2000). “Sodium Carbonates.” Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.
  2. Sodium Bicarbonate.
  3. Sodium Carbonate.
  4. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 375). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011. ISBN-10: 0-538-73498-1
  5. Malgieri’s N. Nick Malgieri’s Perfect Pastry. Macmillan, 1998. ISBN 9780028623351
  6. Sodium sesquicarbonate.
  7. Nahcolite.
  8. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 378). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011. ISBN-10: 0-538-73498-1
  9. Vegetarian Journal’s Guide To Food Ingredients. By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS VRG Research Director.
  10. Cornstarch, Manufacturing.
  11. International Starch Institute.
  12. Sodium Aluminum Sulfate.
  13. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 379). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011. ISBN-10: 0-538-73498-1
  14. Heidolph BB. Designing chemical leavening systems. Cereal Foods World 41(3):118–126, 1996.
  15. Ammonium Bicarbonate.
  16. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 493). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011. ISBN-10: 0-538-73498-1
  17. E.J. Pyler (1988), Baking Science and Technology, Sosland Publishing (Page 933).
  18. Questions About Food Ingredients.


Recent Content