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You’ve gone to make a fresh batch of pancakes, but now you’re frantically googling, “can you make pancakes without baking powder?” because you can’t find any anywhere and going to the store is out of the question.
What to do?
First of all, your pancakes are going to be okay so wipe that frown off your face and tell the family that breakfast is saved.
You can make pancakes without baking powder, but it’s important to know your options and understand how baking powder actually functions in pancakes and what to do instead.
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What does baking powder do in pancakes?
Think of baking powder as the chemical agent that makes your pancakes fluffy.
For an easy way to remember it, the “P” in “powder” is also for “puffy.”
Baking powder in pancakes provides the rise of the pancakes, first when it comes into contact with liquid in the batter, and secondly when it is exposed to heat as you cook it.
Do you need baking powder for pancakes?
If you want fluffy pancakes, the easiest way to get that rise is to add in baking powder.
However, you have some other options so technically you do not need baking powder for pancakes.
How to make pancakes without baking powder
Whether you just leave the baking powder out entirely and don’t change the recipe or want to mix and match ingredients to create a pancake recipe that doesn’t need baking powder, here are some of your best options for making pancakes when you’ve run out of baking powder.
1. Leave it out completely to make a crepe
If you leave baking powder out of a pancake, you should end up with a more crepe-like consistency.
The pancake will not be fluffy, but it will still be delicious and you can eat it just like a pancake.
If you don’t have time to mess around with other ingredients or substitutes, this is going to be your best option. Carry on anyway, and accept a flatter and perhaps more dense pancake.
Dress it up with some syrup and fruit and chocolate drizzle and you’ll have a wonderful breakfast anyway.
2. Use baking soda instead with an ingredient swap
If you have baking soda, but not baking powder, you’re in luck!
You can use baking soda instead of baking powder in a pancake to act as that leavening agent, but you need to make one other substitute to make it work: sour milk or buttermilk.
Baking soda, unlike baking powder, needs the acidity from sour milk or buttermilk to activate.
So swap out your regular milk in the recipe for sour milk or buttermilk and let the baking soda do its thing.
3. Make your own baking powder
Did you know that you can actually make your own baking powder?
If you have baking soda and cream of tartar, you’ll simply combine 1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar.
So if you need one tablespoon of baking powder in your recipe, that’s 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar.
Equally, if you need just one teaspoon of baking powder, that’s 1/3 teaspoon baking soda and 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar.
Using this method, no other ingredients have to be substituted.
Baking powder substitute for pancakes
Let’s say you don’t have baking powder or baking soda and just want a baking powder substitute for pancakes that’s going to make them still fluffy.
There is an option for no baking powder pancakes!
There’s a “souffle” style pancake that uses whipped egg whites to replace the impact of the baking powder.
All you need to do is to use the same eggs you would use for your pancake recipe, but separate the yolks and the whites to start off with.
Then, whip the egg whites on medium speed.
As they thicken, pour in sugar (1/4 cup per 3 egg whites) and beat until you have stiff peaks – this means that you can turn the mixer right side up and there will be a “peak” of foam on the end that does not fall down.
Gently fold the whipped egg white into the rest of your normal pancake batter and then cook as usual.
You’ll get a slightly different texture than baking powder pancakes, but they are delicious and fluffy all the same.