Uses for Cream of Tartar and an Easy Substitute {For When You Run Out} | Kid Friendly Things To Do

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a recipe only to find that you don’t have Cream of Tartar? It happens more often than you’d think. Don’t worry, I have a couple of easy replacements that you can use as a Substitute for Cream of Tartar. Come on in and I’ll show you what I’ve used and some other ideas for you…

Cream of Tartar Substitute and Uses

I found myself in that exact situation. I was knee-deep into baking cookies for Santa with the kids when I realized that I did not have Cream of Tartar. Now, what would you do in that situation? There is no way that you would stop and tell the kids, “Well, it looks like Santa won’t get any cookies this year.” No…you press on! Thank goodness for the internet and substitutions. 

substitute for cream of tartar in a recipe

I will tell you that the ratios on the internet are all over the place, and a bit confusing. I’ll first tell you what I did. Then, I’ll point you in the right direction for more ratios, so you can check those, as well.

uses for cream of tartar in a recipe

Baking Cookies and other typed of Bread & A Cream of Tartar Substitute…

I found myself wondering what Cream of Tartar as needed for in a baking recipe like cookies, and found out that it was acid. So, why do we need acid in baking? It reacts with other ingredients like baking soda and causes stuff to rise. Have you ever made volcanoes with the kids out of baking soda and vinegar? The vinegar reacts with the baking soda and causes a volcanic eruption. 

So, what if we don’t have Cream of Tartar and we need our cookies to rise? 

The answer in short – Use a baking powder instead. 

I ultimately used baking powder in place of Cream of Tartar. I found that if you replace Cream of Tartar with baking powder, you need to also take out the baking soda in the recipe. You need to use Baking Powder alone in the place of Cream of Tartar & Baking Soda. You see…Baking Powder already has Baking Soda in it and it also has Cream of Tartar. That’s what the acidic ingredient is in Baking Powder – it helps make the bread or cookie rise. 

Substituting baking powder for cream of tartar



My original cookie recipe needed 1 tsp. of Baking Soda and 1 tsp. of Cream of Tartar. I took those out of the recipe altogether and used 1 tsp. of baking powder in their place. Let me tell you they were the best sugar cookies that Santa had ever received from us and my recipe has changed forever – for the better. 

My baking plans involved cookies+cream of tartar. If your baking plans involve whipping egg whites into a meringue (thus the need for Cream of Tartar), then check out my substitute for that specific circumstance. 

What about a Meringue Recipe or something that involves whipping eggs? What do I use to Substitute Cream of Tartar? 

  • When Cream of Tartar is added to whipped egg whites, it acts as a bonding agent. It basically keeps them from deflating like a balloon and leaving your recipe flat. 
  • In this circumstance, you’ll want to – use 1 tsp. of acid in the form of Lemon Juice or White Vinegar per 1/2 tsp. of Cream of Tartar 
  • *So, if your recipe calls for…
  • 1 tsp. of Cream of Tartar, then that is = to 2 tsp. of Lemon Juice or White Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. of Cream of tartar = 1 tsp. of Lemon Juice or White Vinegar


Now, back to baking cookies for a moment…you can use my substitute ratio – 1 tsp. of baking powder per 1 tsp. of cream of tartar & 1 tsp. baking soda – or – you can investigate further at these sites. They really get into the science of it all, which I do not. – explains the chemistry and gives very precise amounts

What’s Cooking America – Another ratio for you



Happy Baking!

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. M. Walker

    Thank you for this, it was very informative. I love the way you explained the difference in the baking powder and vinegar-lemon juice in recipes. I googled it and it said to use vinegar or lemon juice and I didn’t want that in my cookies.