Baking Powder

by Jeanne on November 9, 2012

(Thanks to readers KayeC, Pickles, Melinda, Susan K., Shirley, and Heather for their help in tracking down information for this post)

Baking powder: an ingredient that is so helpful to gluten-free baking and yet one that is often misunderstood.  I thought I would do a post to help answer the questions I’ve been getting about it.

There are two main issues with baking powder that need clarification.  One is the difference between single acting and double acting baking powder and the other is the fact that some baking powders include wheat starch as ingredient.

Baking powder, as you probably know, is what is called a “leavener” in baking.  Further, it is a chemical leavener, to distinguish it from yeast or steam as leaveners.  A leavener, as you might guess, is something that leavens—or raises—baked goods.  Without leaveners, baked goods would be flat and hard—because they would have no air holes.  Leaveners create the gas or steam that works on air pockets in baked goods during the baking (and rising ) process to lighten them.

Many gluten-free baked goods need a little (or a lot) of extra leavener because the gluten-replacer isn’t as elastic as gluten.  And double-acting baking powder is an important leavener when baking cakes, muffins, and even breads because it has a lot of strength.

Baking powder is not the same as baking soda—but it contains baking soda.  Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda, is an “alkaline” leavening agent.  If you remember your high school chemistry, you might remember that alkaline is the opposite of acid.   Baking soda needs acid to create the chemical reaction that causes it to bubble.   Remember school experiments where you mixed baking soda with vinegar (an acid) to create a bubbling mess that could be used as “lava” on a model of a volcano?  The combination of the baking soda and the acid in the vinegar releases carbon dioxide that causes the bubbling.  And it is this bubbling that causes baked goods to rise.

Therefore, baking soda is used in baked goods that have some sort of acidic ingredient, such as: buttermilk, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, citrus, or chocolate (not Dutch process).  It needs the acid in these ingredients to start the bubbling, gas-releasing process that raises the baked item.  Please note that Dutch process cocoa has had the acidity neutralized.

But, there are many baked items that do not contain an acidic ingredient and in which baking soda won’t work.  That’s where baking powder comes in.  Originally, baking powder was a combination of baking soda plus an acid.  In fact, most recipes for homemade baking powder contain baking soda mixed with cream of tartar for the acid.  This solves the problem of a recipe not containing an acid for the baking soda to work on—baking powder includes both items in one neat package.  This type of baking powder is called “single acting”—it contains one acid for the baking soda to work on.

In commercial forms of baking powder, a starch is also included to protect against premature reactions caused by humid storage conditions.  The added starch is something that can cause problems for gluten-free bakers.  Years ago, the most commonly added starch was wheat starch—making baking powder not gluten-free.  Nowadays, in the United States, the most common starch added is cornstarch (and sometimes potato starch).  This means that most baking powders in the U.S. are gluten-free (contrary to a lot of misinformation out there that is based on old research).  However, in the UK, there are still several baking powders that contain wheat starch.  Bleh.  This is why you always need to read labels and ask questions.

Single acting baking powder was a good beginning because it created a leavener that works on any type of baked good, regardless of whether or not it contains an acid.  But, once it is mixed with the wet ingredients and the baking soda and the acid mixes together, the chemical reaction starts.  Therefore, the item to be baked has to go into the oven right away, before the bubbling action stops.  This led to another baking powder innovation—“double-acting” baking powder.  Double-acting baking powders contain a second “high heat” acid that works more slowly and that is heat-activated.   This gives the baked item two leavening actions—one that creates a rise during the mixing process and one that creates a rise during the baking process.

This extra leavening power is what makes double-acting baking powder so important and helpful for gluten-free cakes, muffins, and breads (it’s not needed for cookies, which are usually fairly flat).   Therefore, I always advise folks to add a truly double-acting baking powder to their gluten-free baked items if they are finding that things are baking up flatter instead of fluffy.  The amount needed is a matter of trial and error for each type of recipe.

Note (added 11/12/12): single acting baking powder is often just fine for most baking.  It depends on the thing you are baking.  Don’t give up on baking just because you can’t find or can’t use commercial double-acting baking powder.  I always say try it and see what happens.  My husband often accidentally gets me a single-acting baking powder when he goes shopping and it is often just fine.

Unfortunately, some baking powders aren’t really double-acting, even though they claim to be.  These baking powders still only have one acid—and therefore they do not really work by being activated by heat.    As far as I can tell, there aren’t any laws guiding the labeling of baking powders in the US.  This causes bakers to wonder what the heck happened to the fluffy factor of their cakes and muffins.   To be truly double-acting in the way we need them to be double-acting, a baking powder needs to contain 2 acids.  And, before you ask: I don’t know of any way to make double-acting baking powder at home.  Some recipes claim to be double-acting, but they just seem to add extra cream of tartar.

Therefore, it is important to read the labels.  You need to see that the baking powder you’re using has two acids, as well as the leavening agent, and a starch.  This means that a truly double-acting baking powder has four ingredients instead of the three that single-acting baking powders have.

Unfortunately, there is a further issue with many kinds of double-acting baking powder.   The second acid that is often added to double-acting baking powders is sodium aluminum sulfate (SAS).  The problem with SAS (in addition to it being aluminum) is that it has a distinctive and bitter metallic taste that is unpleasant to many people.  You may notice it in your favorite baking powder biscuits or scones.  And this taste is especially noticeable in gluten-free baking where more baking powder is often needed.

Therefore, if you want to avoid this unpleasant taste, you should get a double-acting baking powder that is labeled “Aluminum-free” (or that does not have SAS on the label).  As far as I know, as of this writing there are only two double-acting baking powders in the U.S. that are labeled gluten-free, are truly double-acting,  and are aluminum-free: Bob’s Red Mill and Argo.

Two others, Watkins and Barry Farm baking powders are double-acting and are aluminum free, but don’t seem to be labeled gluten-free.  For what it’s worth,  I don’t see any gluten-containing ingredients on their labels (which means there might be cross-contamination issues).

Added 11/12/12: Another issue with baking powder is the potential presence of GMO ingredients.  Since most commercial baking powders contain cornstarch as the starch, there is a good chance that the corn used is GMO corn (most non-organic corn in the U.S. is GMO corn.  That’s scary).  If this is of concern to you (as it is to me), I recommend that you look for baking powders that list “organic” cornstarch or “non-GMO” cornstarch.  This will ensure that you are not getting GMO cornstarch. Apparently Rumford is now doing a GMO-free baking powder–look for the GMO-free label on the jars.

Please make a note of the expiration date on your baking powder container.  Your baking powder will stay good indefinitely in an unopened container.  But, it will start to degrade once the container is opened.  This is because every time you open the container, the moisture from the air in your kitchen gets in and causes a little reaction.  Eventually, this causes the ingredients to lose their power.  So, you need to be sure that you’re using your baking powder before its expiration date.

Below is the status of baking powders available in the United States, the UK and Europe (as of 11/9/12).  This list is to be used as a guide, not as a definitive word.  Please read labels before you use anything, as ingredients can change.   And note that if it is not expressly labeled “gluten-free,” you can’t be assured that the product is not cross contaminated with gluten.  D/S refers to Double/Single-Acting.


Baking Powders Labeled Gluten-Free (11/12/12)
Brand D/S Starch Alumin Free
* Bob’s Red Mill D corn yes
* Argo D corn yes
* Bakewell S corn yes
* Clabber Girl (Davis in UK) D corn no
* Rumford (owned by Clabber Girl) S corn yes
* Hain S potato yes
* Ener-G S none(?) yes
* Barkat (UK) S rice yes
* Dove’s Farm (UK) S corn yes
* Allergycare (UK) S potato yes
* Nutrifare (UK) S potato yes


Baking Powders Not Labeled Gluten-Free but w/GF ingredients (11/12/12)
Brand D/S Starch Alumin Free
* Watkins D corn yes
* Barry Farm D corn yes
* Calumet D corn no
* Frontier S corn yes
* Dr. Oetker S corn yes
* Weinstein (UK+Europe) S corn yes
* Steenburg’s (UK) S corn yes
* Magic (Canada) S corn yes
* Tesco (UK) ? rice ?


Baking Powders Not Gluten-Free (11/12/12)
Brand D/S Starch Alumin Free
* Borwick’s (UK) s wheat yes
* Noel’s (UK) ? wheat ?
* Herbs Gardens+Health (UK) ? wheat ?

Let me know if you find out information that differs from the info I have here! Thanks!

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{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

nat power March 4, 2015 at 8:12 pm

We have one available in supermarkets in Australia that is McKenzies gluten free “double acting” made with Rice Flour, bicarbonate soda and sodium acid pyrophosphate. I read this article and all the comments because I was hating the metallic taste in my baking. Love your tip about checking if the other starches I am using are ‘off’. How would I do that when I am usually buying from a bulk store provider? No expiry dates on packaging.

Funnily enough it is the flavour in the raw mixture I cannot handle, probs shouldn’t be eating that anyway. The baked goods are mostly ok unless I am having a fussy tongue day. Other people can taste the metallic aftertaste however. I have tried using less. Nigella once wrote that if you don’t have GF baking powder to use then whip like crazy in the mixing ingredients stage to aerate well, this would be ok if eggs are separated for recipe or the recipe has eggs. I haven’t tried it yet.

Thanks for this post, it made me go check. I wrote the comment so that people looking for GF brand without corn have a new option to explore.


Jeanne March 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

Nat: Thank you so much for the recommendation! I will add it to the list! And yes, I also recommend that folks beat their fat and sugar and then eggs very well–definitely helps with the rise of baked things.


Jenn February 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

Hi there from cooooolllld Canada,

First of all, BIG Thank-you for this wonderful article, it finally makes sense why I repeatedly was ill from many reputable (clean) gluten-free recipes, as I’m allergic to corn – even worse than wheat for me.
Secondly, there is a wonderful baking powder by a local Canadian company that is very allergy aware & has a dedicted facility. The company is called Purest, & their line is both gluten & corn free. Their website is, with our (Can) dollar where it is, 4.50 for a big bag may beworth shipping costs. (their chocolate chip cookies are soooo yummy).

Thanks for taking the time to both publush these wonderful teaching articles, but also dilligently & compassionately respond to your commenters.


Jeanne February 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Jenn: Oh shoot–I’m so sad that you were reacting–that’s no fun! Also, I will check out the baking powder you recommend and add it to my list. And thank you so much for the comment and the kind words!


Denise January 23, 2015 at 9:49 am

I just wanted to add that Fleischmann’s Baking Powder is double-acting, gluten and aluminum free. It’s sold in bulk at Costco in Canada. It’s not labeled as aluminum free, but their website states that it is aluminum free. I bake with it and have found absolutely no metallic taste.


Jeanne January 23, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Denise: Oh,thank you! Good to know! I will look into that one!


Jeri January 2, 2015 at 4:48 pm

This is great information, I love the science behind baking. It is also very helpful as I am new to Gluten Free cooking. Thanks!


Jeanne January 5, 2015 at 10:04 am

Jeri: I’m so glad to help!


Alice July 20, 2014 at 7:45 am

Jeanne, this list has been super-helpful to me (as evidenced by the fact that I still reference it 1.5 years later).

But I’m commenting because I think I’ve found an option for those of us who want a “true” double acting, corn-free baking powder! Bakewell offers an option to buy plain sodium acid pyrophosphate. Since Hain’s baking powder has a different acid (monocalcium phosphate), I’m planning on combining the SAPP with the Hain powder to make a double-acting semi-homemade version. Since this is the combination of acids Argo uses, I’m hopeful.

The shipping from Bakewell is a fair bit for a little 8 oz package, so I don’t know if I’ll always find it worth it to keep it on hand, but I’m hoping it’ll have a long shelf life, since it’ll be packaged up on its own.


Jeanne July 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Alice: I really commend your diligence in research. I’ve been looking into the individual acids, as well. As far as I can tell, sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) is used in tandem with monocalcium phosphate (MCP) in addition to baking soda to make a true double-acting baking powder. If I’m reading the research correctly, using SAPP without the accompanying MCP means that it doesn’t work like a double-acting baking powder. Bakewell itself has SAPP plus baking soda–which makes it work more like a single acting baking powder. Bob’s Red Mill Double Acting Baking Powder contains SAPP plus MCP plus baking soda, which means that it works like a true double-acting baking powder. That said, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try! Also, I’m not a chemist, so I’m not completely sure on how all of this works. Please let me know how it goes for you!! (Also, nice to “see” you! :) ).


GF Personal Chef July 4, 2014 at 3:16 am

Does anyone know about Trader Joe’s baking powder? It is aluminum free and double acting. The ingredients listed are: Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Cornstarch.

It seems to be gluten free, but it is not included on the TJ gluten-free products list.


GF Personal Chef July 4, 2014 at 3:19 am

I should say it claims to be double acting…

Also, I forgot to add that this is a wonderful article, and I appreciate your hard work in researching and writing.


Jeanne August 4, 2014 at 11:18 am



Jeanne August 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

GF Personal Chef: I think the Trader Joe’s baking powder falls into the “iffy” category. It’s my understanding that MCP is most often used with another acid to fully make it a double acting baking powder.


Zoe May 26, 2014 at 9:48 am

I just found a double-acting, gluten-free, corn-free (starch free), aluminum free baking powder at the link below. It’s by Bakewell.


Jeanne June 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Zoe: from what I can tell, Bakewell is one of those baking powders that claims to be double-acting but really isn’t. It only contains 1 acid rather than the 2 needed to be truly double-acting.


Zoe June 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm

But the ingredients on the starch-free Bakewell Cream Baking Powder list: Acid Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate. Aren’t both of those acids?


Jeanne June 16, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Zoe: No, sodium bicarbonate is baking soda which needs an acid to get it going–which is the acid sodium pyrophosphate. To be truly double acting, it would need another acid on top of that one. It’s very confusing.


KayeC May 3, 2014 at 5:53 am

Borwicks UK: Wheat Flour, Raising Agents: Acid Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate.

Herb Gardens Health is same as BestIn brand in the UK:
Wheatflour, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (E450i) Sodium Bicarbonate (E500ii)

For UK – From comparing ingredients:
Dove’s Farm looks similar to Rumford
Bob’s Red Mill looks similar to Argo

I think Herbs Gardens Health looks like own-branded product, so

Thanks for this level of detail – I was spending lots of time coming up with the same info when thankfully I found your site!


Jeanne May 4, 2014 at 8:41 am

Kaye: Wow! Thank you so much for the info! This is really helpful!!


kim May 1, 2014 at 5:48 am

gluten sensitive people may cross- react to corn products that have gluten-like proteins , so corn starch could be a problem for some.


Heather April 12, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I didn”t have time to read through all the replies, so someone else may already have mentioned it, but there”s a product now available in Canada, by US firm ACH, out of Memphis: Fleischmann”s gluten free double acting baking powder.


Jeanne April 15, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Heather: Oh, thank you so much for the info! I will integrate it into the post!


sandra January 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm

This site is great has a lot of geat information. New to gluten free baking and also allergic to all king of additives and such. Have been using this baking powder with no problems hope it helps. Hain /featherweight/baking powder, soduim free, gluten free, ingredientes monocalcuim phosphate, potato starch, potassuim bicarbonate. Its alittle pricey about 7.00 where I live.


Jeanne January 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Sandra: Yes, that is a good one. The only issue I have with it is that it is single acting. (see the chart)


Tara November 12, 2013 at 4:00 am

Hi Jeanne, thank you for all of your hard work an I’m sorry if this info is on your site but I can’t find a clear solution. I’m searching for if there can be a substitution for yeast, I have an intolerance. And now with this great baking pwd info I see where else my breads are going so horribly wrong. Maybe you have a recipe that will work better without yeast than others? I’m at my wits end and just about to give up and I already placed an order with all the flours, gum, and baking pwd to make your flour mix which may be a waste of time and money.


Tara November 12, 2013 at 4:18 am

Also I should let you know that I have been using cream of tartar and baking soda. I have a moderate corn intolerance so it looks like double acting Bp is out. But I also have many factors that I haven’t figured out yet, such as, is my bread machine on its way out, oven temp, mixing by hand, etc. again all info and tips from you so thank you again.


Jeanne November 16, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Tara: I’m glad to be a help!


Jeanne November 16, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Tara: There really isn’t a good substitute for yeast in terms of making actual bread that tastes like yeasted bread. Therefore, you need to stick with things like biscuits, muffins, and “quick” breads.


Terri December 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I never use yeast in my bread and my husband loves it. I use baking powder and baking soda. I also use 1 tbsp of vinegar. I use 4 eggs and 2 egg whites. Makes a terrific loaf of bread. I use a mxture of flours including almond.


Jeanne December 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Terri: That’s great!


Marcia January 24, 2015 at 9:36 am

Terri, could we have your bread recipe? We gluten-free newbies are wandering around in the dark! Would love to know what flour mixture and how much of rising agents you use.


Jeanne January 26, 2015 at 10:24 am

Marcia: This site has a lot of bread recipes. Check out my Gluten-Free Recipes page.


Becky B September 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

This is pretty much exactly what I was looking for! It’s like the cooks illustrated for gf :). I have a question I didn’t know if you could answer… I’m converting a cake recipe to gf.. it currently contains soda and buttermilk. Should I add powder or make it as is this time to see how it goes? Thanks a lot.. again, super informative and now I feel smarter!


Jeanne September 23, 2013 at 9:34 am

Becky: I would make it as is and see how it goes. If it seems too dense or flat to you, then do it again with baking powder. :)


Christie Cho August 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Thank You For This Wonderful Information. Sorry It Took Me So Long To Find It. Can You Advise In Gf Baking A Ratio For Baking Soda And/Or Baking Powder To Flour?


Jeanne August 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Christie: I haven’t really found a “one size fits all” ratio. So far, it seems to be a recipe-by-recipe kind of thing.


Jen June 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Awesome article. Will pass it on to my g/f friends.

I have a question: Made a g/f corn muffin recipe that called for 2T baking powder, and 1 t baking soda for 12 muffins (1c g/f a/p flour, and 1c corn meal). I used Bob’s Red Mill double-acting Aluminum Free BP. The muffins fluffed up beautifully, but the metallic taste is strong! The sides of my tongue are buzzing. The after taste is STRONG.
I can’t share these with anyone. So sad.
Would you say to reduce the amounts of baking powder or go back to single action?


Jeanne June 14, 2013 at 9:15 am

Jen: Yeah, that sounds like too much baking powder. I would reduce it to 1 TBL and see what happens. Also, be sure that the baking powder hasn’t expired–the starch in it might have gone off. Also, make sure that any other starch in the recipe hasn’t gone off (tapioca starch, corn starch). I also get the metallic taste when I eat starch that has gone “off.”


bellaflor May 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

To those looking for gf flours, I recently learned that coconut flour and almond flour are glutn free and great for weightloss as well. I tried a microwavable recipe from the Dr. Oz show and found that it tasted a bit bitter. It used both baking soda and baking powder. Could it be the combination of the two to give the cake that bitter flavor?


Jeanne May 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

Bellaflor: Well, it could be the flours. But the aluminum in baking powder has a distinctive bitter flavor that people don’t like.


Tamra May 15, 2013 at 7:29 am

This is hands down the MOST informative piece on baking soda and baking powder I’ve ever read. Thank you, thank you! I often find myself wondering why the heck I have to put either or both in my baking, and why sometimes I taste it and sometimes I don’t.

Is Single-Acting or Double -Acting better for a bread machine?


Jeanne May 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Tamra: Thanks! And double-acting is always the best, no matter what the setting.


Aba March 13, 2013 at 4:21 am

I got tired of reading too much info. Complicated…already too complicated to have a toddler with gluten intolerance, milk intolerance soy intolerance, etc etc to have to read all this page to find out if I can or not use baking powder is a waste of time! Good try, but I will check other pages… I was thinking if I should write this. But I am tired of people that says “your new haircut looks great on you” when is the opposite.


Jeanne March 13, 2013 at 7:05 am

Aba: I understand your frustration with having a toddler with so many food issues–my daughter is the same way. That said, this is information I provide to my readers free of charge and after a great deal of research. Also, I’m not sure what the haircut remark means.


Appreciative Reader May 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Aba… No one forced you to read this. Perhaps in the future you should keep your unhelpful and negative comments to yourself.

I thought this was an invaluable piece about something that apparently a lot of us were curious about. Thanks Jeanne for wading through the research and doing the leg work for us! Keep up the good work!


Jeanne May 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Appreciative: Thank you for the support–I really appreciate it!


Sandi November 19, 2014 at 10:14 am

Thank you for doing the research and sharing this great information! I’ve avoided wheat since 1996, and I’ve recently had to avoid corn also. This list is invaluable to me!

Aba – why complain? Why not just move on? My son was a toddler when we had to avoid 55 foods and one environmental toxin to restore his health. He’s now 20 and doing great, but I do know how hard it is to wade through the information. Be thankful you have the internet. I only had the library and books.


Jeanne December 8, 2014 at 8:50 am

Sandi: You’re welcome!


Alison March 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

This was truly helpful information. Do you have advice on what to substitute for the cornstarch in baking powder? I have yet to find baking powder where I live here in the US that does not contain cornstarch. I am going to attempt the use of cream of tarter and vinegar in order to get the necessary reaction – obviously combined with the baking soda. Have you tried this? Thanks for your insightful information!


Jeanne March 4, 2013 at 8:52 am

Alison: If you make homemade baking powder, you don’t really need to put in the starch. But if you do, you can use potato starch or arrowroot starch. Also, homemade baking powder is fine–but be aware that it’s not “double-acting”–meaning it isn’t as powerful as the commercially made double-acting baking powders.


Sarah March 2, 2013 at 12:37 am

This is so so helpful! As new to the gluten free world, I find the lists above very useful… thank you.


Jeanne March 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

Sarah: Yay! I’m so glad!


aubrie March 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I am searching for a Certified Organic Baking Powder that is Gluten FREE. Does this exist ???
Any help would be appreciated.


Jeanne March 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

Aubrie: You need to do a search for this. I’m not sure how do-able it would be–I don’t know how they would determine the organic-ness of the chemicals. But the starch can be certified organic.


Olaf February 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

What an excellent source for good information! It was really helpful.
But I also wanted to post here that if you live in London, the Bob’s Red Mill is available in Whole Foods Market close to Piccadilly Circus. I Found it there today and I’ve been searching for it for a few days now and finally found it there! :)


Jeanne February 28, 2013 at 6:54 am

Olaf: Ah, good to know! Thank you so much for the information!


shana January 19, 2013 at 5:32 am

Thank you so much on the baking powder & cornstarch, I feel very confident to bake more & bake wise. Thanks.


Jeanne January 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Shana: I’m so glad!!


Camille DesLauriers January 10, 2013 at 3:52 am

What a fascinating article on baking powder and so much info!!!! I will definately try the double acting in my flower scones : ) Thank you so much for taking the time to write Jeanne, you just became my hero : ) WArmly, Camille


Jeanne January 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Camille: I’m so glad it is helpful!! Yay!


Pickles December 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Magic baking powder in Canada is gluten-free and sooo easily available. There’s also a gf and corn-free baking powder available here made by El Peto (in Cambridge, Ontario). I believe they ship to stores in the US so they may ship to a personal address. Hope this helps :D


Jeanne December 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Pickles: Thank you so much for your info!


Nat June 16, 2013 at 7:01 am

Thank you, pickles! New born to the world of gluten free I’ve been researching ingredients like crazy. I make most of our food from scratch as it is. I am very happy to find sites, conversations and lists like this one from people who have put their time into serious research. I was getting a little concerned about most products being talked about are from the US and UK in terms of their availability in Canadian grocery stores. Magic is my brand of baking powder so I am happy to read it is gluten free. Fleishmann’s corn starch also says it is gluten free on the package near the nutrion table. Please note however, it is a statement “corn starch is gluten free”. Not an actual claim. I don’t want to get fleishmanns in trouble.


Nicci December 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

Hi Jeanne:

Thanks for your post. I am baking a gluten-free and sugar-free carrot cake for my husband’s birthday. I got the recipe from (plan on replacing the all-purpose with GF flour). The recipe calls for both baking powder and soda, but I’ve heard that yeast (and proofing the yeast) can be used as a leavining substitute for powder. Is that accurate? Thanks!


Jeanne December 21, 2012 at 10:35 am

Nicci: No, yeast has very separate qualities that make it unsuitable as a substitute for baking powder/soda. I would just go ahead and use the baking soda and baking powder. Happy baking!


Sherry Fredley November 28, 2012 at 6:37 am

What a great post with tons of info! Thanks!


Jeanne November 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Sherry: Yay! I’m so glad to be of help!


Priscilla November 19, 2012 at 7:55 am

I have a question:) I’ve just started my process of gluten free baking, so I’m new to this. I made gluten free cinnamon rolls and I added baking powder instead of yeast, they did rise but not like they should have. They were spread out and very dense, is that normal? They tasted great. But weren’t the prettiest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever made. Does anyone have any guidance?


Jeanne November 19, 2012 at 8:54 am

Priscilla: Yeast and baking powder react in fundamentally different ways. You can’t substitute baking powder for the yeast and get the same result. Yeast works by converting the starch in the flour to carbon dioxide, which raises the bread. Yeasted breads usually go through at least one rise before they go into the oven–where they get another rise. The yeast is a living thing, so it keeps working until the yeast runs out of food or until they are baked. Double acting baking powder goes through 2 distinct rises–one when it comes into contact with the liquid and then another when it comes into contact with the heat. The raising actions are not as sustained or long lasting as those of yeast. This is why bread uses yeast for its leavener versus baking powder or baking soda.


Lori January 28, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Hi Priscilla! I made some healthy g-f cranberry/pecan muffins the other day following a “banana bread” recipe I’ve been using for years. They were delicious, but not light and/or fluffy. I remembered, these are NOT cupcakes; however, I made them again today and added baking powder instead of baking soda, and they were much lighter. Baking banana bread is fine with baking soda, so you can slice it nice and thin…more dense. With baking powder, for muffins, fluffier and so much better!


Jeanne February 1, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Lori: Who’s Priscilla? ;) Also, baking with baking soda requires the presence of acid for the soda to work. And you’re right, baking with double acting baking powder makes most cakes and muffins lights–because it’s more powerful and works twice in the process instead of once.


Lori February 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Priscilla made a comment on November 19, 2012 at 7:55 am; she’s new to baking g-f.


Jeanne February 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Lori: Oh, right, duh. I’m a little slow here :). When I am approving comments, I don’t see the whole list. Thanks for helping out!

Brandae November 16, 2012 at 8:26 am

Are there any GF double acting baking powders without aluminum and without corn?


Jeanne November 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Brandae: Not that I know of. Let me know if you find one.


Shirley @ gfe November 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

Jeanne and Brandae–I just came across a double-acting gluten-free baking powder that contains neither corn nor aluminum. It’s called Starch-Free Bakewell Baking Powder. (Scroll down until you see it.) Woohoo! :-)



Jeanne November 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Shirley: Thanks so much! Although I don’t think this is double-acting–there’s just one leavening agent in there.


Shirley @ gfe November 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Jeanne, you’re welcome. :-) I was just going by what the product itself shows. If you click on the larger view, it shows “double-acting” right on the package. I certainly see your point though! It sounds like a good question for the company.


Melissa November 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Magic Baking Powder is a Kraft product.



Jeanne November 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Melissa: Thank you so much!


Christine B. November 12, 2012 at 3:45 am

I’m allergic to corn, so your list is disappointing. No double acting, corn-free baking powders out there. *sigh* It’s not even hard to replace the cornstarch with potato either. I have yet to get homemade baking powder to really work for me and gave up bread for a while because of it (before my corn allergy diagnosis I was an avid gluten-free bread baker). I’ve now started dabbling in sourdough as a way to circumvent the need for baking powder in bread, but was really hoping to find a baking powder that would work for me in the long run. Plus I have a daughter who will soon need an allergy-friendly birthday cake and I have no idea how to get around needing baking powder to make that.


Jeanne November 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Christine: I don’t think you need to give up on baking because you can’t find double acting that is good for you. Use one with potato starch or make your own and go. Many recipes will work just fine with single acting. The problem is that some recipes really–really–need double acting and if you don’t use double acting, they are flat. But, most recipes are OK with the single acting. For example, the Fast, Easy, Elegant Chocolate Cake on this site does not use baking powder at all–and it is one of the most delicious and requested cakes I make!


Linda J-H November 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

King Arthur Flour offers a double acting, non aluminum, gluten free baking powder.


Jeanne November 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Thanks, Linda! I will add that to the post!


Wendy November 10, 2012 at 4:49 am

Jeanne, this is great, thank you! When I was working as a cook in Italy, it was impossible to find baking powder that wasn’t vanilla-flavored. I wonder if that’s changed in the last ten years.


Jeanne November 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Wendy: Thank you!


Amanda November 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm

What a fascinating article. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that making GF bread at home (I live in the UK) is always so disappointing. I’ll look forward to the day that double acting baking powder finds its way onto UK shelves.


Jeanne November 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Amanda: It does seem like the UK has a serious gluten-free baking powder shortage. I think it would be worthwhile to write to the manufacturer of the baking powder you can find in your local store and ask them to consider to go gluten-free. Also, keep in mind that the main leavener in bread is yeast–so you should still be able to make good gluten-free bread!


Heather November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Rumford has a new GF (stated clearly on front of label) baking powder that is truly double acting! It is about half the size as the red tin and has a silver label. It is sold as “Rumford, Reduced Sodium, Premium Aluminum Free, Baking Powder.”

The ingredients are: calcium acid pyrophosphate, cornstarch, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate (made from non-genetically modified cornstarch).

Below the ingredients it states processed in a peanut free facility.

I’m so happy to find this! I like Argo’s formula, but was unable to purchase it again, since the one store that had it stopped carrying it. This one is nearly identical, except for the potassium bicarbonate, but who cares? It’s only a little more expensive, so in my book, it’s totally worth it! Hope this helps!


Jeanne November 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Heather: Oh, good to know. Will add the new information to the post. Thank you!


Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies November 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Jeanne, this is a fabulous post! Every baker should read it, gluten free or not. Understanding the chemical reactions caused by certain ingredients makes us ALL better bakers.


Jeanne November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Amber: Thanks! I even learned stuff while researching this post!


Jeanne November 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Shirley: Yeah, I think I need to contact the company. I’m wondering if this is the same thing as the old recipe Rumford, which says double acting but is actually single acting. Sigh.


Shirley @ gfe November 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

Jeanne–I had emailed the owner of the company on the website asking if the baking powder contained corn before I discovered the starch-free one further down on the page, so when he replied today, I went ahead and asked about the “double acting” description. His reply was: “The acid sodium pyrophosphate is double acting.” I don’t know if that makes sense (you are the expert on this topic!) or if you agree, but thought I’d pass it on.



Jeanne November 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

Shirley: Thanks for the research. I am intrigued. I don’t know enough about the science here to know if one acid can serve as both a fast acting and slow acting acid–which is what you get with other double acting baking powders. I think this is worth a try for folks who can’t do cornstarch. If people do try it, let me know how you think it works. Thanks!


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