There are times when I have accidentally mixed up baking powder and baking soda in a recipe resulting in a bitter, almost metallic tasting dough. However, my signature pancake recipe uses a mix of baking soda and baking powder and there is no issue with taste.

When does adding baking soda make something taste bitter? When you do mix up baking powder and baking soda in a recipe, is there anything that can be added to fix it if caught in time?

2 Answers 2


Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an alkaline compound. As such, it tastes bitter and metallic. It is often used in amounts where you can’t perceive that, but if you slip up it can be quite noticeable. There are various substitutions, the most common is to add cream of tartar to baking soda (1/2tsp cream of tartar + 1/4 tsp of soda to sub for 1 tsp. baking powder) to substitute for baking powder. A true fix if you already added the soda might be tricky.


I recently took a baking class and learned that baking soda and baking powder could add flavor to cookie dough. They add a depth that's almost like adding a squeeze of lemon juice over your salad to put it into the words of Christina Tossi (Mikbar Founder). Baking soda might make something taste metallic, but because it double activates (makes something rise with the heat and then when hit with acid can rise again as a part 2), you might be able to neutralize the metallic taste with something acidic like buttermilk, regarding why use baking soda vs. baking powder - think about using baking powder as giving rise/height' to the cookie and the baking soda as providing the spread of the cookie. If you bake a cake, you most likely want the baking soda to help the cake flour rise.

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