Is Baking Powder Gluten Free?

Baking Powder

Baking powder is one of the most commonly found ingredients in kitchen pantries all over the world. And although it’s incredibly common, most people don’t know exactly what it is. You might think that baking powder is just another name for baking soda, right? Well, not exactly. First, we’ll explain what baking powder is, what it’s made of, how it differs from baking soda, and finally, how to know whether or not yours is really gluten-free.

What Exactly is Baking Powder?

Baking powder is a mixture of a few different ingredients that actually tend to vary. It’s pretty much the perfect combination to make bread or cakes rise and have a fluffy consistency that everyone loves. Without it, cakes and various other baked goods would be flat and not nearly as yummy.

The composition of baking powder is typically as follows:

    • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
    • An acid or two such as potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar)
    • Corn starch (as a base or filler and to keep it dry)

When combined with carbon dioxide and water or the moisture in other substances, a chemical reaction takes place that produces bubbles. These bubbles are what is responsible for bread or cakes having that nice fluffiness.

Baking Soda Vs. Baking Powder

Baking soda is a very useful substance that is sometimes used for baking, cleaning, and even removing odors. It’s the main ingredient in baking powder. They are both leavening agents, but baking powder contains extra ingredients that are not added to baking soda.

If your recipe asks for baking powder and you only add baking soda, the results may come out differently. Be mindful of this when you are at the grocery store picking up ingredients for your recipe.

But you may be able to make your own baking powder from other ingredients in your kitchen, so if you have a good supply already, see if you can whip some up. All you’ll need is cream of tartar, baking soda, and corn starch or some other type of starch (not wheat starch of course!).

Is Baking Powder Actually Gluten-Free?

If you are looking at baking soda then the answer is always going to be yes. But baking powder is a different story and it will depend on what kind.

As mentioned above, there are different variations of baker powder. If the one you bought has slightly different ingredients, that’s normal. But, you will have to check to make sure that it is gluten-free.

It Depends on the Starch Used by the Manufacturer

Some manufacturers do use wheat starch instead of cornstarch, although corn starch is the norm. So on the package, check the back of the label to see what is used in the one you have.

You also have to be careful if anyone who will be eating the dish you are preparing has a corn allergy. If they do, then you may need to find an alternative baking powder that doesn’t contain corn either. Luckily, there are still a few different options you can choose from.

You can even make corn- and gluten-free baking powder yourself by combining sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and something called arrowroot starch, which you should be able to buy at your local supermarket. If you can’t find it there, it is available for purchase at various online marketplaces.

Creative Uses for Baking Powder

Other than for baking, baking powder has plenty of random uses you may not have known about. Although baking soda has many more uses, baking powder still can be used in many ways.

It is a very absorbent substance, so you can use it to help get oil out of rugs or cloth, or help get odors out of pretty much anything. From making your shoes smell better to cleaning hard surfaces, baking powder is extremely handy to have around the house.


Good news! The vast majority of baking powder brands are, in fact, gluten-free. Not all of them are though, so make sure you check the label to make sure that wheat starch wasn’t used in place of corn starch as most other brands normally use.

Also, be sure to check that the rest of the items in the recipe are gluten-free if you or someone you are baking for hasa sensitivity to gluten. It’s common for baking mixes to contain gluten, so do be careful.

Thanks for reading and enjoy whatever it is that you’re baking! We hope that it turns out super delicious and, most importantly, totally gluten-free!

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