How Do I Choose the Best Substitutes for Cream of Tartar?

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  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2019
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Substitutes for cream of tartar include other acidic ingredients, such as vinegar or citrus juice. You can also try using baking powder. Choosing the best substitute depends on the finished product. Adding liquid such as vinegar to baked goods may change the texture of the food, for example, in which case using baking powder may be a better option. You should use baking powder only if the recipe also calls for baking soda, though.

One of the best substitutes for cream of tartar, especially when you are whipping egg whites for a meringue or for frosting, is vinegar. Use only a distilled white vinegar as a substitute, as you do not want the vinegar to add flavor to the dish. Red or white wine vinegars may not be acidic enough to act as an effective substitute. When using vinegar as substitutes for cream of tartar, use an equal amount if you are whipping egg whites. If your recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar, use 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar.

Other good substitutes for cream of tartar include lemon juice. The lemon won't add much flavor to your recipe, as you are using a small amount. As with the vinegar, use an equal amount of lemon juice in place of the cream of tartar to beat egg whites.


If you are baking cookies and the recipe calls for cream of tartar, you can try using vinegar or lemon juice as substitutes. In that case, triple the amount needed. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, use 3/4 teaspoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice. Always triple the amount if you need to make a substitution in any baked good recipe.

One downside of substituting cream of tartar in baked goods is that the finished product may not turn out the same way as the baked good would if you used the cream of tartar. Substituting lemon juice or vinegar may make the crumb of the baked goods coarse. Another substitution option is to use baking powder in place of cream of tartar.

Baking powder is typically made out of baking soda and cream of tartar. If your recipe calls for both baking soda and cream of tartar, use the baking powder in place of both. Add the called for amount of both ingredients to determine how much baking powder you'll need. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of each, use 1 teaspoon of baking powder.


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Post 3

I don't think that any of these are good cream of tartar substitutes. Cream of tartar is an interesting ingredient and nothing else seems to give the same exact result.

Post 2

@SarahGen-- Try lemon juice or baking powder. Vinegar is a close substitute because cream of tartar is an acid and it comes from grapes. You might want to reduce the amount of vinegar you use next time or just try lemon juice instead. Make sure that it's fresh lemon juice.

Sometimes, in baked goods, you may be able to leave out cream of tartar altogether without much difference to the end result. If the recipe is being ruined with a vinegar or lemon juice substitute, then you might want to to just leave them out and see what happens.

My preferred cream of tartar substitute is baking powder. I usually use a small amount of baking powder in frosting, or I just leave it out and whisk the eggs alone.

Post 1

I've tried vinegar in place of cream of tartar in a recipe before. It was for frosting. Unfortunately, it didn't come out as good as I had hoped and I'm attributing it to the vinegar because I followed the rest of the recipe exactly. Is there a better substitute for cream of tartar in baking? Unfortunately, I can't find this ingredient at all where I'm at.

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