Can I use yeast instead of baking powder? (+9 substitutes)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can I use yeast instead of baking powder?”, and what are the alternatives to baking powder in baking.

Can I use yeast instead of baking powder?

Yes, you can use yeast instead of baking powder as both of these are leavening agents. However, it is not an ideal substitute or one for another. It can change the recipe, taste, texture, and density of your final product immensely. There is a possibility your final product might look nothing like the one given in the recipe.

Read on if you want to find out more about the alternatives to baking powder

Alternatives to baking powder


Buttermilk is made by fermenting milk or cream and has a sour taste. It acts as an acid and when used in baking after combining with a base i.e baking soda, it serves the same purpose as baking powder.

Plain yogurt

Plain yogurt has a high lactic acid content. When combined with a suitable base like baking soda, it acts as a perfect substitute for baking powder.


Molasses is a sweet and thick by-product of sugar manufacturing. Molasses has considerable amounts of aconitic acid along with other acids in small amounts. When combined with baking soda, it can be used as an alternative to baking powder.

Cream of tartar

It is chemically known as potassium hydrogen tartrate. It is a by-product of the wine manufacturing process and is used as a stabilizer when making meringues. It is highly acidic and is used along with baking soda to replace baking powder.

Sour milk

Sour milk has enough lactic acid that can be used to neutralize the baking soda. This makes for an easy substitute for baking powder.


It is chemically known as acetic acid and is a product of fermentation. Apple cider vinegar has a characteristic flavor, on the other hand, white vinegar has a mild taste and can be used easily without worrying about the flavor of the end product. Combined with baking soda, this makes for a readily available baking powder substitute.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is highly acidic with a ph of 2. Replace baking powder with lemon juice and baking soda. It also adds a tanginess or a lemony flavor to your baked product.

Self-rising flour

It is the most convenient alternative to baking powder because it is a homogenous mixture of salt, all-purpose flour, and baking powder. It can be used to make biscuits, pizza crust, cookies by making necessary adjustments in the recipe.

Egg whites

If you do not have baking powder or any other alternative available, try experimenting with whipped egg whites. Do not overwhip or under-whip but just to the right extent. Fold gently into your dry ingredients to avoid popping the air bubbles that you incorporated during whipping.

This alternative works best for meringues and pancakes that require smaller volumes.

Other FAQs about Yeast which you may be interested in.

Can you bake bread with nutritional yeast?

Things to consider when using substitutes

  1. Always know what your end product should taste like. 
  2. Skip the vinegar if you do not want the vinegary flavor to overwhelm your finished product.
  3. Avoid using molasses for bread because you do not want to make it sweet. Instead, you are looking for a fresh yeasty aroma.
  4. When adding the substitutes in liquid form, you must always consider the desired consistency of the batter. Add in small amounts or adjust the consistency by adding more flour.

What is the function of baking powder and yeast in baking?

Baking powder

Baking powder acts as a leavening agent in baking. Baking powder has two main components, an acid, and a base. Cornstarch or wheat starch is added to baking powder to prevent a neutralization reaction. 

In baked goods, baking powder performs the leavening by a chemical reaction when it comes in contact with water. This reaction is a lot quicker than fermentation. The reactions result in the formation of carbon-di-oxide that makes the bread rise.

It neither adds to the flavor of the end product nor helps develop the gluten in the baked good. 

Baking powder can be either single-acting or double-acting. 


Yeast is a fungus that consists of a single cell. As the baking powder, it also acts as a leavening agent in baking. But the process through which it produces carbon-di-oxide is biological. The biological reaction, called fermentation, uses the starch in bread and ferments it to gas, alcohol, and water.

The alcohol evaporates during baking but helps develop gluten and add a lot of flavor to the bread, unlike baking powder. The gas produce helps raise the bread.


In this article, we answered the question “Can I use yeast instead of baking powder?”, and what are the alternatives to baking powder in baking.


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