For my gluten free baking, I "have to"* make my own single acting baking powder. I use 2 parts cream of tartar and 1 part baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). It's been fairly successful.

I would like to know if ascorbic acid powder (pure - just vitamin C - nothing else) could be used in place of the cream of tartar. If so, is the Ascorbic acid stronger? Do I need to change ratio to baking soda?


*Why I "have to": Baking POWDER - I react to something in commercial baking powder. Maybe the sodium acid pyrophosphate or monocalcium phosphate. So I make my own single acting powder to avoid this problem - and have had no health issues so far with that.

Thanks for your help on this baking powder question!

  • 1
    BTW, just as a future note: you don't need to explain your health issues; it's enough to say that you can't eat this or that. Or, heck, just pose it as an interesting question, which it is.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 0:22
  • 1
    Ah - thank you. Old habit - I'm used to being asked "why". I removed the unnecessary rambling from the middle. Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 2:12
  • 1
    GFM: yeah, I've just found that adding too much background results in folks trying to discuss your health issues with you instead of answering the question
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 1:21

1 Answer 1


This answer suggests that you can substitute ascorbic acid for cream of tartar at a 0.75:1 ratio. However, the answer does not cite how it arrived at that ratio. It's not an unreasonable idea though, since the pH of ascorbic acid is much lower than that of tartaric acid -- that is, it's more acidic. I lack the chemistry math to say if the 75% substitution is the right number, though, so you may need to just test it out.

  • 1
    That seems about right. The extra carboxyl group on citric acid isn't going to contribute much, as its pKa is too high. You might want to do a small scale taste test before going to a full loaf. Citric is more sour than tartaric, and that might be noticeable in your recipe. Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 23:30
  • Thank you both, FuzzyChef and Wayfaring Stranger. I'll test out the ascorbic with the .75:1 ratio (C to cream of tartar). Should get to try in about 5 days. Will report back. I hadn't realized the pH difference. And I certainly didn't have the knowledge either one of you have. This was very helpful and appreciated. (Off to google what carboxyl groups and pKa mean - curiosity always gets me). Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 2:16
  • By the way - the note about it possibly contributing to sour factor of taste .... would it? If the acid is matched well enough against the bicarbonate ... wouldn't they nullify each other ... and thereby nullify any lingering sourness that acid may have had? Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 2:18
  • @WayfaringStranger I assume your introduction of citric acid is because that's a more common substitute. I know enough chemistry to know what you mean, looking up the structures, I think.
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 7:13
  • @GlutenFreeMe sodium citrate tastes sour as well as salty. That's what you get if you neutralise citric acid with sodium bicarbonate
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 7:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.