If you are making a recipe that calls for cream of tartar but you don’t have any, no need to fear! There are multiple replacement ingredients you can use no matter what you are making.
Cream of tartar is an acid that is called for in many different recipes. It is a popular ingredient used in baked goods to help create structure and texture.
It is usually paired with a base like baking soda to create height. This combination creates little air bubbles that are needed for rise and texture.
When you are out of cream of tartar you can replace it with another acid and still create that needed lift in your recipe.
So what are the best cream of tartar substitutes?
The top replacements for cream of tartar are baking powder, lemon juice, vinegar, Greek yogurt, and buttermilk.
Make sure to read on to learn how to use each of these alternatives in your particular recipe for a similar flavor and texture.
Cream of Tartar Alternatives
Cream of tartar plays an important role in recipes that call for it. It provides acidity which aids in texture and flavor.
When used alone, the acid heightens the other flavors in your dish while paired with a base, like baking soda, it creates lift as a leavening agent.
As you can see, it’s important to select the right replacement when making a recipe without cream of tartar.
Now, let’s learn how to substitute for cream of tartar so that we can maintain our flavor and texture.
Baking powder is the best overall substitute for recipes where it is used to create height and texture. Baking powder is composed of baking soda and cream of tartar so it’s the best way to achieve the same flavor and texture in any recipe.
If your recipe calls for baking soda and cream of tartar, you will replace both of them by using baking powder.
Use equal amounts baking powder as the combined amount of called for cream of tartar and baking soda. Otherwise, use the replacement ratio below.
Equivalent1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder equals 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Lemon juice is another great ingredient for incorporating acid without cream of tartar. It can be used alone or with baking soda.
With baking soda, lemon juice creates height and texture and when used alone, it heightens the other flavors in your recipe.
Lemon juice is particularly well suited for baked goods such as cakes and cookies. Use fresh lemon juice if possible for the best flavor.
Related: How long does lemon juice last
Equivalent1 teaspoon of lemon juice equals 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Vinegar is another common ingredient that can be used instead of cream of tartar. It provides the necessary acidity to create lift in recipes that use baking soda.
White distilled vinegar has the least intense flavor so it’s my preferred type to use. You can use just about any type of vinegar instead of cream of tartar though. Apple cider vinegar is another popular option.
Equivalent1 teaspoon of vinegar equals 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Greek yogurt is a great cream of tartar substitute for baked goods. It provides acidity while adding a flavor that goes well in many types of recipes.
Plain Greek yogurt also imparts a subtle flavor boost that pairs particularly well with sweet recipes.
You will need to reduce other liquids in your recipe to account for the added moisture in yogurt. For each half cup of Greek yogurt used you will want to reduce other liquids by a total of half a cup.
Related: Greek yogurt alternatives
Equivalent2 cups of Greek yogurt equals 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar (Remember to reduce other liquids)
Buttermilk is another great cream of tartar replacement in baked goods. The acidity it provides will create structure and flavor without clashing with other flavors in your dish.
You can use store bought or homemade buttermilk and it works particularly well in sweet recipes.
Just like with Greek yogurt, you will need to reduce other liquids in your recipe to account for the moisture level in your buttermilk.
Reduce an equal amount of other liquids for the amount of buttermilk used.
Related: Non dairy buttermilk replacement
Equivalent2 cups of buttermilk equals 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar (Remember to reduce amount of other liquids used)
Cream of Tartar Replacement FAQ
Can you skip cream of tartar in a recipe?
Because cream of tartar contributes to the flavor and texture of a recipe, it is not recommended to omit it. Instead, use an appropriate substitute such as baking powder, lemon juice, or vinegar to achieve a similar flavor and texture.
Is baking powder the same as cream of tartar?
No, most baking powder varieties are composed of baking soda and cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is an acid while baking soda is a base. So cream of tartar alone is only an acid while baking powder contains a base and acid which creates lift when introduced to moisture.
Can I substitute cornstarch for cream of tartar?
No, cornstarch is not a good replacement for cream of tartar. Cream of tartar contains acidity while cornstarch does not. Using cornstarch instead of cream of tartar in a recipe will produce disappointing results.
Can you substitute baking powder for cream of tartar in meringue?
You can use baking powder instead of cream of tartar in most meringue recipes. If your recipe calls for cream of tartar and baking soda, replace it with equal amount of baking powder.
For example, if your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda, use 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
What is a good cream of tartar substitute in cookies?
The best way to replace cream of tartar in cookies is to use baking powder, lemon juice, or white distilled vinegar. If you are baking snickerdoodles, this guide will provide all your substitution option.