Awhile back I purchased cream of tartar because I wanted to start making our own baking powder. Baking powder can get expensive if you use a lot of it and try to find a form with the least amount of additives, so I figured I could make a cleaner, cheaper version at home.

Well, I found the cream of tartar the other day and realized it had been probably a year-and-a-half since I stowed that bottle away. Not coincidentally, we just ran out of baking powder so I figured this was the day! And the process could not be simpler so I have no good reasons for procrastinating that long.

Baking powder is a leavening agent made with a combination of acid and alkaline ingredients which, when combined with moisture, produce the rise you want in pancakes, biscuits, etc. Baking soda is the alkaline ingredient and cream of tartar, an acidic byproduct of the fermentation of grapes, lends the acid. Together they produce carbon dioxide.

One interesting point of difference between this baking powder and the “double-acting” baking powder most commonly sold is that it does not contain calcium acid phosphate. This compound produces additional carbon dioxide when heated but I am more than fine omitting something like that from our food. And, after using this in pancakes, biscuits, and tamale pie, I am not convinced that this “single-acting” baking powder is at all inferior.

Homemade Baking Powder


  • 1 part baking soda
  • 2 parts cream of tartar


Whisk ingredients together until well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and seal tightly.

Use 1:1 in any recipe calling for baking powder.