Best Substitutes for Cream of Tartar

Top 5 Best Substitutes for Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a useful ingredient in many baking recipes, but it’s also an expensive one. There are plenty of substitutes that can still get the job done. We’ll talk about what cream of tartar is and give you five cream of tartar substitute you should use instead to get the same results without spending too much money.

What is Cream of Tartar?

Cream of tartar is a by-product of winemaking. It is found in many different types of baking powder, including some store brands. Cream of tartar helps leaven dough and stabilize the eggs as they cook giving them a finer, more tender texture. It’s also used in confectionery and is one of the main ingredients in baked goods. The name comes from the expression “to make cream of the tartar”.

What does cream of tartar taste like?

It’s only found naturally in small quantities in most fruits and vegetables. It has a mild but distinctive sour taste which many people find a bit metallic, especially on sour foods.

How much do I need?

In baking, you need relatively small amounts. In pastry cooking, you can use more. Normal baking recipes require about 2–3% (percentage) by weight of cream of tartar, so for every 1kg (2lb) flour, you’ll need about 200g (7oz).

Cream of Tartar vs. Baking Powder

Cream of tartar is a kind of thick, white powder that is the main ingredient in making whipped cream. Cream of tartar can be used to make other foods, too, like mayonnaise and onion dip. Baking powder needs to be mixed with another ingredient before it can be used in baking or cooking.

Cream of tartar is used as an ingredient in recipes to add tart flavor and to help food hold its shape when it is whipped. Cream of tartar is also used in place of baking soda or baking powder when you are not sure whether you have an acidic or non-acidic batter. In that case, cream of tartar will only react with acids, giving off carbon dioxide gas and keeping your batter from going flat.

Cream of tartar has a shelf life that depends on how much air was let in the jar when it was sealed. If a jar has less than ¼ inch of space between the cream of tartar and the cap, it will last more than a year. But if there is more air in the jar, it will only last for about 6 to 8 months.

Cream of tartar is used in recipes when you need stiff peaks that hold their shape, like frostings. Baking powder is used to make items puff up (like biscuits) because baking powder includes baking soda, which makes things puff up when they are heated. Cream of tartar cannot be substituted with baking soda or baking powder because cream of tartar does not contain any acid. It is made from a mixture of tartaric acid and potassium bitartrate.

To substitute cream of tartar, use ¼ cup cream of tartar for every ¾ cup of baking powder called for in the recipe. If you want to add more sourness or sweetness to the recipe, you can use more or less cream of tartar, depending on your taste.

The Best Cream of Tartar Substitutes

1. Baking Powder

Baking Powder

While baking powder can’t completely replace the leavening action of cream of tartar, it will help make your baked goods more light and fluffy.

Baking powder is composed of a combination of cream of tartar, baking soda and cornstarch (or other acidic ingredients). So, in addition to cream of tartar you need to replace the other two ingredients in baking powder.

To determine how much you need to use add together 1/2 teaspoon of each ingredient (baking soda and cornstarch). Then substitute your total amount for 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar.

2. Buttermilk


Buttermilk is a great alternative for cream of tartar when you’re making recipes such as frostings, cakes or biscuits.

This replacement works since buttermilk contains acidity, which is what helps the recipes to set and bake as they should.

In fact, the acidity levels are almost identical to those of cream of tartar. This makes buttermilk an amazing way to sub in your ingredient and get a similar end result.

You can find more details on this topic in the section which discusses how to substitute buttermilk in baking.

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a great substitute for cream of tartar when making frosting or other sauces. It provides a similar taste and has the same effect on desserts.

One thing to keep in mind is that, with use, lemon juice will start to taste slightly acidic and this may change the flavor of some pestos or dressings.

Therefore, we recommend using lemon juice as a substitution for cream of tartar in these types of recipes once you’re used to the new taste.

4. Yogurt


Yogurt is a great substitute for cream of tartar when making a lot of different desserts, as well as some types of sauces.

It provides the exact same effect on the desserts and dishes, which is due to the fact that yogurt also contains lactic acid.

This adds acidity, giving the dessert or sauce a similar taste and texture to puff pastry or other recipes that require cream of tartar.

5. White Vinegar

White Wine Vinegar

White vinegar is another great option for substitution in baking recipes that you may consider trying out. It’s great for pies and other desserts, as well as some types of sauces or marinades.

It’s also a great alternative for cream of tartar for people who don’t like the sour taste on their lips after eating certain recipes.

As a side note, we do strongly recommend using white vinegar for recipes that you want to be kept fresh.

That is, we cannot guarantee the same effect as cream of tartar or buttermilk or yogurt if you don’t use the vinegar immediately after mixing it with the recipe.

One more thing to keep in mind is that vinegar will likely have a stronger smell and flavor than cream of tartar or buttermilk.

Cream of Tartar Uses

So far, Cream of Tartar has been a helpful tool in cooking. You can use it as an ingredient in many different recipes like deserts and cakes, or you can use it as a step to get rid of tough stains like dried coffee on your refrigerator’s interior.

Cream of tartar is also useful for removing stains from your sink and tub. Just make a paste of two teaspoons of cream of tartar and one cup of liquid. Using a sponge douse the stain with the paste and leave it to dry. This will help you get rid of stubborn stains in your kitchen or bathroom.

If you have problems with your carpets and rugs, use this as well to remove stains and odors. Just try to loosen up the carpet, sprinkle a solution on it, brush them and then vacuum them out. If this is not practical, add four teaspoons of cream of tartar to one cup water in a spray bottle for removing stains on fabrics like carpets or curtains. Spray your fabric and let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing with cold water.

Cream of tartar is an excellent tool to fix perfume. For doing so, add one tablespoon cream of tartar and one teaspoon alcohol into a spray bottle filled with ten ounces of water. Shake the spray bottle well and then spray the perfume on your clothes, furniture or in your room. This will help you keep your home smelling fresh for a long time without much effort.

Finally, Cream of tartar is also recommended as an ingredient in homemade cleaning solutions for your house. You can use this for cleaning ovens, kitchen appliances, windows and floors among others.


What does cream of tartar do?

cream of tartar is a byproduct of wine-making made from the acid found in some grapes. In cooking and baking, cream of tartar is used as a component in making whipped cream. It also helps meringues to hold their shape, preventing them from becoming soft. They also prevent foaming when an acidic component such as buttermilk or lemon juice is added.

Where can you get cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar can be found in most grocery stores and it is generally located in the spice section. They usually come in a small glass jar. Cream of tartar lasts a long time and will likely last through many different uses, which makes it very cost effective to buy this product.

How to use cream of tartar?

When you are using cream of tartar to make whipped cream, mix 2 tablespoons with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Use a whisk to mix up the cream and then beat it until it is stiff peaks form. This will take about 10 minutes. If you are using it in baking recipes, then you can also use this cream as an alternative to other types of baking soda

Why use cream of tartar in whipped cream?

Whipped cream has a very short shelf life, which means that it must be made up with fresh ingredients constantly. Cream of tartar helps prevent the whipped cream from becoming too soft. Thus, when the load is coming to the end point, you can put in some more cans of whipping or chilled heavy whipping and keep on going until the whipping is complete.

Why use cream of tartar in baking?

Baking soda is alkaline when it is mixed with water. This means that it will accelerate the browning of some items and make other ingredients taste bitter. Some cakes, cookies, and biscuits contain acidic ingredients such as buttermilk, molasses, or chocolate to maintain a neutral pH and to keep the batter from turning and tasting like badly-cooked potatoes. The presence of cream of tartar allows you to add these acidic substances without having a negative effect on your recipe. Thus you can make delicious baked goods.


In general, these substitutions are some of the best creams of tartar substitutes you can find.

Moreover, with a bit of practice and a good reference guide which explains how to substitute cream of tartar, these alternatives will help you tackle any baking challenges you may face.  If this article was helpful we’d love to know! Let us know in the comments section below!​

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