Baking soda in cookies what does it do?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “baking soda in cookies what does it do” with an in-depth analysis of what baking soda does to cookies. Moreover, we are going to discuss different leavening agents that are used in baking.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Baking soda in cookies what does it do?

Baking soda is the one that not only helps to make the cookies fluffy and lifted but also helps the cookies to spread more during the baking process. 

Thus the addition of baking soda is really necessary to get your hands on light and fluffy cookies or else you will have for yourself cakey, chewy cookies and no one wants that to happen, Right?

Baking soda is a chemical leavening agent and when it is added to the cookie mixture, it delivers the carbon dioxide that helps in leavening the batter and accomplishing that fleecy, light surface when the cookie is heated. 

It is worth mentioning here that an acidic ingredient like sour cream, buttermilk, lemon juice, and so on ought to be added alongside the baking soda in the cookie batter. The reason behind the addition of an acidic substance is that baking soda is basic in nature and it requires some acidic substance with which it can react to liberate out carbon dioxide, which is responsible for leavening the cookie, thus making it light and fluffy.

Thus, in the event that you are adding the baking soda without adding any acidic ingredient in the mixture, then your cookies won’t be fleecy and won’t ascend as there won’t be any carbon dioxide liberation which in any case is responsible for leavening the cookies. 

What are different leavening agents that can be used in baking?

Different leavening agents can be used in baking. They include yeast, baking soda, and baking powder.


Yeast is utilized as a leavening agent for quite a while. Yeast is a biological leavening agent and feeds on the sugar present in the mixture. At that point, it frees out carbon dioxide that is liable for making the cushy and fluffy buns. 

That is the very reason that it is encouraged to first and foremost add yeast in a bowl of warm water containing sugar so the yeast can activate. Subsequently, when the activated yeast is added to the mixture what happens is that the yeast produces carbon dioxide and alcohol because of the fermentation. 

The carbon dioxide ascends to the outside of the batter and makes it fluffy and light. Besides, yeast is additionally responsible for that specific flavor and fragrance that the bread develops after fermentation.

Baking soda

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate and is a white crystalline powder that has a wide array of uses ranging from baking and cooking (as a leavening agent) to cleaning and it is also used as an odor absorber and stain remover. 

While specifically talking about its use in baking and cooking, when it mixes with any acidic substance, being an alkali, it reacts with the acid and liberates carbon dioxide. 

This gas is responsible for that risen and fluffy texture of the bread, cookies, etc. that you add baking soda to. Moreover, this is the very reason that many recipes call for adding lemon juice or buttermilk in them.

Baking powder

When it comes to baking powder, it is explicitly utilized for baking purposes and is a complete leavening agent as it has both the acidic and basic components present within. 

It varies from baking soda because of the additional fixings that are included in its formulation like starch and cream of tartar. 

Hence, it has both the acidic (cream of tartar) and basic (baking soda) components present in its formulation and doesn’t need the addition of any extra acidic substance for activation. 

Along these lines what happens is that when the baking powder comes in contact with a liquid, the acidic and the basic part of the baking powder reacts with one another and frees out carbon dioxide that gives a feathery and light surface to the cookies or biscuits wherein baking powder was utilized. 

To wrap things up the corn starch present in the formulation of the baking powder is neutral in nature and its work is to block the acidic and the basic components present in the baking powder to react with one another.

You can read more about different leavening agents here.

Other FAQs about Baking Soda which you may be interested in.

How long does baking soda last?

Can you cook with pure baking soda?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “baking soda in cookies what does it do” with an in-depth analysis of what baking soda does to cookies. Moreover, we discussed different leavening agents that are used in baking.


Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.