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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Baking Powder for Keto



keto muffins pan
Replacing baking powder for keto diet can make baking sweet things easy. These delicious muffins are ketogenic.

We know that the Keto Diet is low-carb, which means cutting out many things from your diet. This also requires us to find substitutes for most of the ingredients we use each day.

Is baking powder allowed on the Keto Diet? We’re going to help you understand what baking powder is, why it’s needed in baking, and how you can substitute regular baking powder with a lower carb version.

The Difference Between Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Most people confuse baking powder and baking soda. While they both are leavening agents, they’re not the same.

Baking soda is primarily used in muffins, cookies, and cakes. Its scientific name is sodium bicarbonate, and it’s a white powder that’s basic or alkaline. You must combine it with an acid and liquid to activate it, which produces carbon dioxide in the baked good so that it rises and becomes lighter.

You also have baking powder, which is a full leavening option. It already contains the base and acid to make dough rise. Sometimes, cornstarch is added to the baking powder to prevent the base and acid from getting activated before it is used.

The processes for each are similar. With baking powder, the acids within react with its sodium bicarbonate to release the carbon dioxide when it gets combined with liquids.

What happens here is that the baking powder creates two different reactions. The first happens when it gets combined with the liquid, which often occurs at room temperature. Then, another one begins when the mixture gets heated up in the oven.

Carb Content in Most Baking Powder Brands

Is baking powder keto-friendly?

You are on a low-carb diet, so you’ve got to ensure that you’re cutting carbohydrates wherever possible.

Baking powder has only 1.3 grams of carbs in each teaspoon, and most baked goods need that amount or even less. Therefore, it should be okay to use baking powder. Keto-friendly diets aren’t going to suffer much, so if you’re a lazy keto diet fan, you are likely fine.

We know that some people are strict with their Keto diet, especially if they require a low-carb diet for health reasons. Therefore, using baking powder on Keto might not be ideal if you are very serious about cutting down on carbs or even omitting them altogether.

If you’re baking and do not want even just the 1.3 grams of carb per teaspoon in your food, we have the solutions.

We’re going to tell you how to make Keto baking powder and also offer options for a Keto substitute for baking powder.

measuring spoon white powder
Now you can love your baked goods made with keto friendly baking powder!

How to Make Your Own Baking Powder Keto Friendly

Most people on a low-carb diet prefer to make things themselves to control the amount of carbohydrates they’re eating. We have a Keto-friendly baking powder recipe you can make yourself. It has no aluminum, grains, or starches, so this will work for Keto dieters.

Some Keto dieters ask: can you use cream of tartar as a replacement for baking powder? Yes, but even though cream of tartar is Keto-friendly, it adds too much acid for most recipes.

The problem with skipping the baking powder is that you can’t just leave out the starch. If you make a keto friendly baking powder from most recipes found on the internet, you will need 2/3 teaspoon of the replacement for each teaspoon of baking powder called for in the recipe. That said, figuring out the new ratio while you’re in the middle of baking can be a headache.

To make the whole process easier, you can substitute some fiber for the starch regularly found in baking powder. This creates the bulk of your low-carb, homemade baking powder and measures exactly like the commercial product without adding more acid, as you would if you used cream of tartar.

We prefer to use inulin fiber because it doesn’t get broken down into sugar by the body. Instead, it goes through your small intestine without getting digested.

What is Inulin Fiber and How do I Get Some?

Although you may never have heard of inulin fiber, you’ve probably already eaten it! It’s a prebiotic fiber found in foods you love like onions, asparagus, wheat, and bananas. Commercial inulin fiber is typically extracted from chicory root.

Inulin fiber stimulates the “good” bacteria that grows in our guts and helps us absorb nutrients while aiding our digestive and immune systems.

Scientists have found inulin to be good for you. It’s a great source of fiber, containing 9 grams per tablespoon. Inulin also has the added benefit of curbing your appetite, too!

You can find inulin powder in health food stores, grocery stores, and even big box chain stores such as Walmart. You will find inulin in the organic or vitamin and supplement aisles.

You can also find inulin powder online. Remember, you want to buy inulin powder, not pill supplements, to use in baking.

Inulin is slightly sweet in flavor, but so little is needed as a baking powder ingredient that you don’t taste it. Plus, we’ve used it in savory items that call for baking powder and don’t get a hint of sweetness. That means you can make low-carb biscuits and many other non-sweet dishes.

We do want to add that inulin works very quickly as a leavening agent, so make sure that you get your mixed ingredients into the oven as soon as you can after mixing in the homemade baking powder. This is more of a single-acting powder, so it doesn’t continue activating with heat as double-acting baking powders do.

Micro Ingredients Organic Inulin FOS Powder

Organic Inulin FOS Powder (Jerusalem Artichoke), 1KG (35 Ounce), Inulin for Baking, Prebiotic Intestinal Support, Colon and Gut Health, Natural Water Soluble Fibers for Smoothie & Drinks, Vegan

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Micro Ingredients’ Inulin Powder is great for using when making a baking powder substitute for Keto diets. It comes with a scoop for perfect measuring and is a certified organic and vegan product. You can also add it to smoothies, coffee, or just in a glass of water if you like the health benefits that inulin powder provides for your digestion.

Peak Performance Organic Inulin Powder

Organic Inulin Powder - Natural Prebiotic Fiber for Gut Health. USDA Organic Raw Whole Food Plant Based Vegan Prebiotics FOS Supplement from Jerusalem Artichoke. Better Than Chicory & Agave Powders

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This organic Inulin Powder by Peak Performance is a good choice if you are allergic to chicory root. Made from Jerusalem artichoke, this inulin is vegan and allergy-free and will work just as well in your baking powder substitute.

NAMANNA Pure Inulin FOS Powder

NAMANNA Pure Inulin FOS Powder,1.18 KG(41.6 Ounce) – Natural Fiber from Chicory Root, Prebiotic Intestinal Support, Digestive Health Promoting, Unflavored

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NUMANNA’s inulin powder is not organic, but is 100% pure with no other additives. This inulin powder is slightly less sweet than other brands, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking for something to use while baking savory items like biscuits and breads. It also comes with a scoop for easy measuring.

The Recipe for Keto Friendly Baking Powder

  • One tablespoon of fresh baking soda
  • One tablespoon of inulin powder
  • One tablespoon of cream of tartar

Mix everything together and then use it as you normally use baking powder.

This ratio makes three tablespoons. If you need less, simply use a teaspoon of each ingredient.

We recommend that you keep it at room temperature in an airtight container. To be honest, though, it’s best not to make a large batch of the baking powder because it doesn’t store easily; we make only the amount called for in our baking recipe.

Keto-Friendly Baking Powder Products on Amazon

The above recipe will work for you even if you’re a lazy Keto dieter. If you prefer to buy Keto baking powder, Amazon has you covered. There are many available, but we like these two products the best:

I’m Free Baking Powder

I'm Free Perfect Gluten Free Baking Powder/Vegan/Non GMO/OU Kosher Certified, 8 oz.

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Gluten-free foods contain as few carbs as possible, a reason we like the I’m Free brand of baking powder. It contains no aluminum and is certified to be Kosher. You don’t have to figure out measurements, as it’s a one-to-one replacement for those on the Keto diet.

Unlike when you make your own baking powder replacement, the I’m Free baking powder can be stored safely, making it easy to always have baking powder on hand instead of making your own every time you bake.

Rumford Baking Powder

Rumford Baking Powder, NON-GMO Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Double Acting Baking Powder in a Resealable Can with Easy Measure Lid, Kosher, Halal

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The Rumford Baking Powder comes in a small canister with an easy-measure lid. There’s no added aluminum, and it’s a non-GMO-verified product. It contains no trans-fat and is gluten-free.

This double-acting baking powder is designed to get activated with liquid and in the oven, making it similar to traditional baking powders for home use. Although it does contain small amounts of cornstarch, the net carbs per serving for those on a Keto diet are 0 grams.

Baking Powder Substitutes

What if you do not have inulin powder and don’t want to run to the store to find it or wait and order it online? There are a few other baking powder substitutes, and you may already have them in your home.

Did you know that if your baking recipe calls for chocolate, you can use cocoa powder instead of baking powder? However, this only works in recipes that do not require an acidic ingredient like lemon or buttermilk.

Of course, you can use cream of tartar in a pinch. You’re going to require a two to one ratio with two parts baking soda. If you need a teaspoon of baking powder, you should use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. You can use all the baking soda you want because it doesn’t have carbs. Also, the cream of tartar is relatively safe for a Keto diet, as well, as it contains a mere .9 grams per 1/2 teaspoon.

If you run out of cream of tartar, you may also use vinegar. We recommend choosing white vinegar because it will not change the taste or color of your baked goods. To substitute, replace a teaspoon of regular baking powder with 1/4 teaspoon of your baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of the vinegar.

Lemon juice is another alternative. You will only need 1/2 teaspoon of the juice mixed with 1/4 teaspoon of the baking soda. Although lemon juice does contain carbohydrates, 1/2 of a teaspoon of lemon juice contains only .33 grams of carbs.

It is also possible to use club soda, which contains no carbs and has sodium bicarbonate in it. However, it isn’t going to work in cakes or any other baked goods that you want to end up being light and fluffy. Instead, you can add a touch of club soda to your pancakes to make them moister and add some height. Instead of milk or water, try club soda in your pancake mix.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Baking Powder Even Allowed on the Keto Diet? What about the Paleo Diet?

Yes, and no.

If you’re following a low-carb diet and can have 20 carbs each day, you can use baking powder.

However, each teaspoon contains over 1 gram of carbs. This could throw you off for the day’s goal.

It’s usually best to make your own baking powder or buy one that is Keto-friendly.

For those on the Paleo diet, no; commercial baking powders aren’t allowed. Typically, baking powder contains aluminum, cornstarch, and gluten, all of which aren’t Paleo.

Is Baking Soda OK on the Keto Diet?

Yes, baking soda is Keto-friendly because it contains no carbohydrates at all.

Therefore, you can use it as a substitute for baking powder with some of the methods we listed earlier. Popular ones include lemon juice, vinegar, and cream of tartar.

We also have a recipe for a homemade baking powder that contains baking soda.

Additional Resources:

Healthline: What is a Ketogenic Diet?

Delish: 34 Easy Keto Dessert Recipes

Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons: “Low Carb Muffins” (CC BY 2.0) by oonhs

Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons: “Now, add baking powder..” (CC BY 2.0) by Bianca Moraes.

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Bryce Heitman

Bryce is not a real professor, but he's real nerdy in the kitchen. He's been barbecuing, chopping, and generally blazing food for many decades. He thinks there's definitely a better spatula or utensil out there that hasn't been invented yet.

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