They look same and are commonly used as rising agents. Often people use these in exchange of each other missing out the difference between the two.

What is Baking soda?

According to Susan Reid, chef and food editor of Sift magazine, baking soda is a base mineral, which, when combined with something acidic, produces carbon dioxide. “Usually this happens in liquid, and the results you get are bubbles,” says Reid. “Think of the volcanoes you see at every 5th grade science fair. Those bubbles can lift stains or act as a surfactant (meaning they will clean things).”

It is a rising agent use in different baking recipes like pancakes, cookies and in Indian Breads like Naan & Bhatura. It activates when it is mixed with acidic nature ingredients like butter milk (chaach), curd, lemon, vinegar etc.

Keep this one line in mind Baking Soda will start rising batter or dough just after it is mixed with it, and secondly, Baking soda is used to spread. Sometimes baking products have a bitter taste….that is when you put more baking soda. So always read recipe carefully and keep baking soda quantity accurate.


  • If you want brown colors in your cookies or cakes then a little amount of Baking soda can work for you.
  • When it comes to cleaning, you can use baking soda for pretty much anything you can imagine, from unclogging drains to deodorizing the carpet. It’s even been used to remove heel marks from linoleum floors.
  • As for what it’s made of? That may surprise you: Baking soda is basically ground up rock, according to Reid, and as long as it stays cool and dry, it lasts indefinitely. (Hence why your mom’s had the same box of it in her pantry since what seems like 1975.)

What is Baking powder?

It is also a rising agent and a popular one just like baking soda. It is made up of baking soda & acidic nature ingredient like cream of tartar/ cornstarch. It is a double acting rising agent, once it will activate while you mix it with batter or dough and after that it will rise when batter or dough will be heated. In cakes baking powder is used to raise it. It is also used in recipes in which we don’t use acidic nature ingredient like vinegar, lemon juice or curd.

But just like baking soda, Reid says baking powder can lose its lifting power over time if it’s not stored in a cool dry place. If you can, keep it free from humid conditions, since extra moisture in the air can allow the reaction between acid and base to happen.

Pay close attention to the label when you buy a new box, since there are actually two different kinds of baking powders out there: single-acting and double-acting. Single-acting powders react fully when you combine them with another liquid. But double acting baking powders work in two stages: Once when combined with a liquid, and again when combined with heat. “Since the balance of the base (soda) and acid is calculated for you, it’s easier to get a final product that has no aftertaste when used in proper amounts,” says Reid.

When one can use both??

Sometimes one agent is not enough to raise cake therefore, we have to use both. I used baking soda to raise batter of cake and give it a brown color, and I use baking powder to raise it while cake is heating.

Baking powder: Puff with heat Baking soda: Bubbly with Acidic