What Does Baking Soda Do for Cookies?

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If you’ve ever taken a home economics class, you know that particular components interact together to generate certain effects in the meals we make, and this is especially true when baking anything in the oven.

Though only a scientist can explain you precisely what happens when you combine flour, baking soda, salt, and other ingredients and bake them, it is simple to understand that something spectacular is occurring and that each of those elements is required to get outstanding results.

What Is Baking Soda and How Does it Work?

Before we proceed, let us first discuss baking soda. What exactly is baking soda, and why is it in so many baking recipes?

Baking soda is a crystalline chemical component that is also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda. Before selling the compound in its present state, manufacturers crush it into a fine powder since it is simpler to measure and use that way.

People include baking soda in their recipes because it is an excellent leavening agent, even if they are unaware of it. Baking soda is an alkaline substance that must be mixed with an acid to get the desired outcomes.

When baking soda is combined with other substances such as lemon juice, cream of tartar, vinegar, or buttermilk, it generates a gas known as carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide causes microscopic bubbles to form in the batter, causing it to rise.

Baking soda also emits gas when heated to high temperatures, causing it to breakdown and emit the gas. This occurs if the baking soda and other components are exposed to temperatures exceeding 80 degrees Celsius, or 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

Baking Soda and Cookies

And if you believe baking soda isn’t necessary in your cookies, think again.

If you leave out the baking soda or the acid that goes with the baking soda in your cookie recipe, not only will the cookies not rise, but they will also taste soapy and metallic. As you can see, baking soda is an essential element in the preparation of cookies.

Without baking soda, your cookies will be hard and crumbly, and both their flavor and texture will suffer. Of course, baking soda can only accomplish this when paired with an acidic component like vinegar or lemon juice, which is another point to remember.

Baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable, therefore never use one when the other is called for in a recipe.

Furthermore, baking soda elevates the pH level of the mixture, allowing the cookies to brown just enough and give out a gorgeous hue. It also has an effect on the texture of the cookie, which is why cookie recipes nearly always ask for either baking soda or baking powder, or both.

Of course, in order to get these effects, you must use just the quantity of soda or powder specified in the recipe, no more, no less.

Tips to Remember When Using Baking Soda in Cookies

You’ll note that many cookie recipes and recipes for other baked products call for baking soda, and now that you know a few fundamental guidelines about this vital ingredient, you’ll understand why.

When baking soda is called for in a recipe, keep the following recommendations in mind to obtain the best results:

  • If you want your cookies to be chewy and soft, add a pinch of baking powder to the mixture. Some of the other ingredients cannot be omitted, but adding a little of baking powder to the mixture can make your cookies and other baked products even more delicious.
  • When using baking soda in a cookie recipe, be sure to combine the ingredients immediately and place them in the oven as soon as feasible. In other words, don’t let the mixture alone for too long since the desired reaction will not occur and the cookies will be flat.
  • Make certain to follow the recipe precisely as instructed. When you bake anything, a single change on your part, whether deliberate or unintentional, might lead the finished result to be overly fluffy, too crisp, or, worse, flavorless.

The Differences Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder

Baking soda and baking powder, contrary to popular belief, are not the same item, which is one of the reasons they cannot be used interchangeably. Baking soda is an alkaline that must be mixed with an acid to function as a leavening agent.

Acids have lower pH levels than alkallines, and when the two components combine, carbon dioxide is emitted in an effort to achieve a neutral pH value.

Baking powder, on the other hand, is baking soda that has already had two separate acids added to it, which implies that no acid is required to generate the leavening action.

In other words, baking powder is a leavening agent on its own, thus nothing else has to be added to it to achieve that effect.

If you don’t have baking powder and your recipe asks for it, you may manufacture your own by mixing one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar, which is an acid that works with the baking soda to provide the leavening effect.

Although soda and powder are not interchangeable, this combination can suffice in a hurry.

Final Thoughts

Baking soda is an essential element in cookie baking since it impacts the flavor, texture, and overall appearance of the cookies. You’ll get delicious, fluffy cookies every time if you follow the recipe precisely as given.


What happens if I don’t put baking soda in cookies?

What Happens to Cookies When Baking Soda Isn’t Used? If you leave out baking soda in a recipe that calls for it, your cookies will be exceptionally thick since there was no chemical reaction to introduce those gas bubbles and give it rise.

Is baking soda necessary for cookies?

In a pinch, you may omit baking soda from some recipes (such as chocolate chip cookies or pancakes), but the final product will not be as light and fluffy as the recipe intended. Unless you have no other choice, a leavening alternative should be used.

Does baking soda make cookies softer or harder?

When baking soda is added to dough, it produces carbon dioxide gas, which helps leaven the dough, resulting in a soft, fluffy cookie.

Is it better to use baking powder or baking soda in cookies?

Baking soda is often used in cookie and muffin recipes. Baking powder, on the other hand, already includes an acid and a base and has a more neutral flavor, making it ideal for baking cakes and bread.

Does baking soda make cookies rise or flatten?

When baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is mixed with an acid (such as buttermilk or lemon juice) and a liquid, it creates carbon dioxide, which aids in the rise of the dough or batter.

What happens if I leave out baking soda?

If you leave it out, the taste and texture of the meal will alter in an undesirable manner. While there are replacements, it is crucial to utilize baking soda whenever feasible if your recipe asks for it.

Does baking soda make cookies rise more?

They get up.

The baking soda then combines with the acidic components in brown sugar to produce fumes that enable the cookie to rise.

Does baking soda make cookies cakey?

Why are my cookies so cakey? Too much leavening (baking powder or baking soda) or too much egg are the two major causes of cakey cookies. If the dough contains too much baking powder or baking soda, the cookies will rise excessively when baked, resulting in a cakier structure.

Does baking soda make cookies soft?

Cookies and Baking Soda

As you can see, baking soda is an essential element in the preparation of cookies. Without baking soda, your cookies will be hard and crumbly, and both their flavor and texture will suffer.

What is the secret to chewy cookies?

Allow the Dough to Rest Resting your cookie dough in the fridge is a hidden baker’s tip. Resting it for at least an hour will assist to evaporate part of the water and boost the sugar content, keeping your cooked cookies chewy.

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