Why use baking soda in cookies?

In this guide, we will address and answer the query, “Why use baking soda in cookies?” and answer other similar related questions like “How much baking soda to add to cookies?” and “Is baking soda healthy?”

Why use baking soda in cookies?

Baking soda is used in cookies to act as a leavener. Leaveners are used to help the dough rise as the cookies are baked on a baking sheet. 

Baking soda adds an acidic effect and releases carbon dioxide gas which as a result causes batter and dough to rise. If baking soda is not added, cookies come out dry and with a flat taste.

What is baking soda?

Baking soda is also called bicarbonate or sodium carbonate.  Baking soda is made up of bicarbonate and sodium ions. Baking soda is also called Nahcolite because it is also a mineral in nature.

Baking soda produces bubbles when added to acidic conditions as a result of carbon dioxide being produced. Baking soda is used in baking most foods such as cake because it helps the cake come out fluffy and soft.

Moreover, baking soda impacts the color of cookies, making them look brown due to the elevated pH of the batter and therefore have a beautiful color.

Is it healthy to use baking soda in cookies?

Baking soda helps in digestion, it makes digestion smoother and also helps in food absorption by the body. Baking soda also neutralizes acids in the body hence balancing body pH.

Most people take baking soda with water when having gas reflux and heartburn. Baking soda reduces acidity and makes the body neutral. 

Moreover, baking soda helps in removing dermatophytes from the body and also prevents infections on your nails and skin in general.Baking soda can also be added to an itching skin to relieve the irritation.

Must you use baking soda when making cookies?

Cookies require ingredients that are acidic and therefore it is best to always use baking soda to bring the dough to rise. 

In case you do not prefer adding baking soda, there are other types of cookies you can prepare such as sugar cookies that are firm but might have a soapy taste.

 Chocolate chips can also be made without the need of adding baking soda.  Traditional dense cookies are also made without baking soda and they turn out sweet and firm.

How much baking soda do you need to add to your cookies?

Baking soda is added depending on how the recipe is intended to be baked. If baking your cookies for 2 hours, then this will dictate how long the supply of carbon dioxide is needed to keep your dough fluffy and soft.

For five flour ounces, you can use one teaspoon. This amount will make thick cookies. For thin cookies, you should use less amount of baking soda.

When you use too much baking soda, however, the dough will rise to a point where there are cracks on it due to more carbon dioxide being produced. Such cookies have an aftertaste and give off the smell of baking soda.

Too much baking soda does not make cookies come out cakey. Too much baking soda will affect the integrity of your cookies making them crack easily.

How does baking soda differ from baking powder?

Baking soda is a leavening agent that contains sodium bicarbonate, while baking powder is a leavening agent that contains sodium bicarbonate and an acid. 

When baking soda is used in a recipe, it needs an acid to react with in order to produce carbon dioxide gas and cause the batter or dough to rise.

 Baking powder already contains acid, so it does not need another acid to react with. Baking soda reacts more quickly than baking powder, so it is often used in recipes that do not have a lot of time for rising (such as pancakes or waffles).

What can you use as a substitute for baking soda?

Baking powder can come in handy in case you don’t want to use baking soda but they both do the same leavening work. It’s just that baking soda is a stronger leavening agent.

Self-raising flours have come in to replace baking soda. Self-raising flour combines all baking ingredients including baking powder. All left for you is to add water and bake.

For more details on the difference between baking soda and baking powder. Click here


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Why use baking soda in cookies?”  We have also discussed “How do you store baking soda?” and “How much baking soda do you need to add?”

Hope you found this blog useful, if you have any questions, please let us know




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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.