Related: What does kansui do to dough in noodle making?

I'm looking to make my own 拉面-style noodles. I've read up a lot about kansui and making your own kansui with a powder mix of sodium and potassium carbonates. I've also seen some recipes that substitute kansui powder with baking soda.

Can I use baking soda to substitute for kansui? If so, in what proportions? If not, what other common ingredients can I use to substitute?

  • 1
    (Taking random guesses here) You could try McGee's baked baking soda. That'll actually get you sodium carbonate. Or alternatively calcium hydroxide ("lime"), which is sold with home-canning supplies; I've found it at the local Walmart before. Be careful with these, of course.
    – derobert
    Nov 2, 2012 at 6:50
  • It looks like it should be OK to substitute. See NY times and Chowhound, no idea on proportings
    – Stefan
    Dec 17, 2012 at 7:22
  • @derobert you should make that an answer as an alternative to the traditional kansui
    – Brendan
    Dec 30, 2012 at 14:26

5 Answers 5


Harold McGee tackled alkaline noodles a while back. He found that baking baking soda actually changes it from sodium bicarbonate to sodium carbonate. This is a reasonable substitute for the kansui called for in alkaline noodles and can be substituted 1:1 in recipes. The noodles may not get AS yellow as they would with both alkalines present in kansui but it's a small price to pay for not having to hunt down that ingredient.


The key part:

Just spread a layer of soda on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake it at 250 to 300 degrees for an hour. You’ll lose about a third of the soda’s weight in water and carbon dioxide, but you gain a stronger alkali. Keep baked soda in a tightly sealed jar to prevent it from absorbing moisture from the air. And avoid touching or spilling it. It’s not lye, but it’s strong enough to irritate.


I "baked" baking soda for about one hour, low oven. It changes its chemical structure to sodium carbonate which is simply more alkali.

Suggestion, kansui makes fabulous spaghetti and noodles (even some Italians add baking soda to their pasta mixture). I use 1/4 teaspoon per cup of regular all purpose flour, or 1 teaspoon per three cups, and the results are outstanding.

  • What do you mean by low oven? How many degree fahrenheit? Can I just put my dry baking soda in a tray over the sun instead in the oven?
    – user27166
    Sep 15, 2014 at 11:47
  • @marietan I suspect that the sun might not be hot enough. The first answer links to a nytimes article with much more detail - the key bit is 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. I've edited that into the answer so it's easier to find! :)
    – Cascabel
    Sep 15, 2014 at 21:30

No. Sodium bicarbonate isn't alkaline enough. You won't have traditional ramen unless you were to use sodium carbonate. You will end up with a noodle with less bite if you were to use baking soda.

Just bake the sodium bicarbonate at 400-425F (not in a low oven like another poster is claiming) for 30 mins to an hour till its all become grainy rather than fluffy. Stir this into the water you will use for the noodles and you will have a mock kansui.

  • This is much easier a faster. I've been making sodium carbonate for years to cleaning uses. It is pretty clear when it has converted as the texture is completely different. No need to wait the hour like others are suggesting.
    – Bob9630
    Aug 1, 2019 at 13:54

I'm not sure about the exact proportions, but nearly every recipe I've seen written in English just uses baking soda. This page seems to have a good looking recipe for ramen that uses baking soda, so maybe base your proportions off of it. 拉面 recipe


I too have tried several "recipes" all different. But I have found adding Bicarbonate of Soda to pasts and ramen does firm the bite up noticeably.

  • Hi Nick, welcome to Seasoned Advice! How much Bicarbonate of Soda did you use for best results?
    – Tinuviel
    Nov 26, 2019 at 8:00

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