Cream Of Tartar Substitute

Cream of Tartar is an ingredient you may not use frequently. Luckily, with this list of 7 options to use as a substitute for cream of tartar, an easy swap is always within reach.

A Collage of images of ingredients that can be used to substitute for cream of tartar in recipes

Cream of Tartar is one of those pantry staples that you may not use as frequently as others, so it is easy to run out and not replace it. So if you ever need an easy Cream of Tartar substitute, look no further.

Each of these 7 options can be a substitute for cream of tartar. Many are readily available in your store cupboard or at your local grocery store, so you’ll always have a suitable swap within reach.

Friends, your question of what can you substitute for cream of tartar is answered in this post – I’ve done the research, so you don’t have to!

And if you’re looking for more kitchen substitution tips and tricks, you’ll want to check out my collection of Marjoram Substitutes, easy Cumin Substitutes, and my handy Mayonnaise Substitute ideas. #kitchenswapstotallyforthewin

What Is Cream of Tartar?

Now here comes the fun science bit. Cream of tartar, (aka potassium bitartrate), is the residue left over inside wine barrels during fermentation.

One of the main parts of cream of tartar is tartaric acid which is awesome for helping in various culinary applications.

You might be wondering why you would use cream of tartar in your recipes. Here are some common uses of cream of tartar:

  • Stabilizing egg whites – One of the main ways I use this. It makes an awesome stabilizer for meringues, soufflés, or whipped egg, as it helps you get your desired fluffy texture without it all collapsing.
  • Preventing sugar from crystalizing – It helps stop crystalization in caramel, candy-making, and frosting, giving you the smooth and consistent texture you desire.
  • As a leavening agent – Mix with some baking soda, and the resulting carbon dioxide helps dough and batters rise to perfection so you end up with light and fluffy treats.
  • Improving the Texture of Baked Goods In certain recipes like snickerdoodles and angel food cakes, cream of tartar lends a distinct texture and crumb to the finished product. This is achieved through the interaction of cream of tartar with other ingredients, contributing to the structure and appearance of these delicious treats.
  • Cleaning – Yeap, you read that right! Make it into a paste and use it for removing rust, grime, cleaning silver, and more. Amaaaaaaazing right?
Cream of tartar in a wooden spoon

Tips For Using a Cream of Tartar Substitute

  • While these suggested substitutes will work, for the very best results, I recommend using cream of tartar whenever possible.
  • It is important to understand the purpose cream of tartar is serving before choosing a substitution. Some ingredients may not be a suitable option for all recipes.
  • Depending on your recipe and the substitute you choose, you may need to adjust the ratio of other liquids used to accommodate the swap.
  • Using a substitute for cream of tartar may change the taste and texture of your recipe. The good news is that the difference is typically very minor and, in my experience, does not dramatically alter the final recipe.

So, are you ready to learn about the best ingredients to use as a substitute for cream of tartar? Then read on for…..

The 7 Best Substitute for Cream of Tartar

1. Baking Powder

A spoon taking a scoop of baking powder out of a glass bowl

Baking powder is a great stand-in for cream of tartar in many recipes. Especially since it is very common in all our store cupboards.

Plus, baking powder is a mixture of cream of tartar and baking soda (usually in a ratio of one part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar). So in recipes that call for both, baking powder is an easy swap in. Especially in baking recipes or for making frosting.

To substitute baking powder for cream of tartar, use 1.5 teaspoons (6 grams) of baking powder for every 1 teaspoon (3.5 grams) of cream of tartar.

And because baking powder already contains baking soda, you don’t need to add extra baking soda to your recipe. Win-win right?

2. White Vinegar

Overhead view of white vinegar in a glass bowl

Soooooo, did you know that white vinegar makes an excellent substitute? Especially since it is a common kitchen staple with a similar acidity as cream of tartar.

Do bear in mind, though, that since you are swapping a solid for liquid (aka vinegar), you may need to adjust the amount of other ingredients, especially when it comes to baked goods. For example, you may need to reduce other liquids in the recipe to balance it out.

To swap white vinegar for cream of tartar, use a 1:2 ratio. This means if your recipe requires 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar, you would use 1 teaspoon of white vinegar instead.

Be aware that white vinegar has a distinct taste compared to cream of tartar. It is sooooo subtle, so I find that most people really do not notice.

3. Lemon Juice

A glass bowl of lemon juice next to sliced lemons on a cutting board

If like me, you always have a lemon or three in your pantry, then you are in luck. As lemon juice makes a great stand-in.

It has a similar acidity as cream of tartar, so it reacts with other ingredients in the same way. It works well for beating egg whites or preventing sugar crystallization.

To swap, simply start with a 1:1 ratio in most recipes. However, when whipping up your baked goods, use twice as much lemon juice in place of cream of tartar for the best results.

For the best results, try to use fresh lemon juice. But you can also use bottled lemon juice in a pinch. You may notice a subtle lemon flavor in your final dish (for my fellow lemon lovers, that’s considered a good thing!).

4. Buttermilk

A glass pitcher of buttermilk sitting on a kitchen towel

Buttermilk makes a fantastic replacement, especially when making baked goods. You can use store-bought buttermilk or easily make your own homemade buttermilk.

It is a great swap in cake or cookie recipes, so you end up with a deliciously delicate crumb whilst preserving moistness. Perfect right?

To replace cream of tartar with buttermilk, you’ll need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe accordingly. So that the consistency is not affected.

For each 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) of cream of tartar needed, remove 1/2 cup (120 ml) of liquid from your recipe and replace it with 1/2 cup (120 ml) of buttermilk.

5. Yogurt

two jars of plain yogurt with two spoons sitting beside them

So I’ve got some great news for you. Your refrigerator staple yogurt is also another great substitute option.

Especially as it is acidic, like cream of tartar, which works well in baked treats. Especially for leavening (when combined with baking soda) and helping to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

For each quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar in a recipe, replace it with a half cup of yogurt. But do remember to adjust the amount of liquid in your recipe. So be sure to remove half a cup of another liquid from the recipe to balance it out.

Some tips for ya –

  • Make sure you use plain, unflavored yogurt. Flavored versions will change the taste of your food.
  • For the best result, you may need to thin out the yogurt with a bit of water before using it. If this is the case, you may need to adjust the amount of yogurt you use depending on how thin it is. So start with a little less and add more as needed.
  • You may be unable to sub in yogurt for recipes that call for large amounts of cream of tartar – as a lot of extra liquid will affect the texture of your food.

6. Corn Syrup

A glass carafe of corn syrup with a sliced fresh corn cob sitting beside it

Got some corn syrup lurking about in your store cupboard? Then dust it off and use it as a substitute in some recipes.

Because corn syrup is great at preventing the crystallization of sugar, it is a good stand-in for recipes like caramels, syrups, and other candy recipes that call for boiling sugar. it’s also a great option for making frostings.

It is important to note that corn syrup is definitely sweeter than cream of tartar. If you don’t want to end up with a sweeter dish, you will need to adjust the amount of sugar used to compensate.

If your recipe frosting recipe calls for 1 cup of granulated sugar, use 1/4 cup of corn syrup and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar instead. 

Do NOT try and swap in corn syrup when baking cookies or delicious cakes.

7. Butter

A stick of butter on a round cutting board with a knife resting on top of it.

It may seem a little unusual, but in some cases, using butter in combination with baking powder can be a suitable substitute.

This swap works only if the cream of tartar is being used as a leavening agent in your recipe. Using this substitute is a two-step process;

  • Step 1: use baking powder instead of the cream of tartar and baking soda combination.
  • Step 2: replace the amount of baking powder the recipe calls for with the same amount of butter.

For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, substitute that combination with a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder. Then, replace the amount of baking powder called for with an equal amount of butter.

Note that this may result in slightly denser baked goods. And, using butter instead of cream of tartar may slightly alter the texture and flavor.

General Tips for Using Substitutes

  • Please keep in mind that results may vary when using substitutions.
  • Think of the ratios and measurements included here as suggestions; you may find that additional adjustments are needed for your particular recipe.
  • There may be some trial and error to determine which substitute works best for your needs.

More Kitchen Tips You May Like

Thank you for reading my Cream of Tartar Substitute recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

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