6 Baking Soda Substitutes for Banana Bread

Can you make banana bread without baking soda?

Do you want to know what is the best baking soda substitute for banana bread? Well, you might be pleased to learn there are plenty of options you can choose from – and most of them you may already have in your pantry. Try using: Self-raising flour, Baking Powder, Vinegar, Yogurt, Whipped Egg Whites, Cream of Tartar.

Baking soda is used as a leavening (raising) agent, so you will need to use an alternative when baking your banana bread if you want it to rise up. The leavening agent works by causing a foaming action, think of tiny gas bubbles, in the doughs and batters, which then helps lighten and soften them.

So now you understand why you should use a leavening agent let’s find a suitable alternative for baking soda.

What can I substitute for baking soda in banana bread?

Here are some of the best ingredients to substitute the flavor and role that baking soda provides when baking banana bread.

  • Self-raising flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Vinegar
  • Yogurt
  • Whipped Egg Whites
  • Cream of Tartar

Baking soda in banana bread substitutes

Self-raising flour

Banana bread is typically made with plain flour with a raising agent added to it. However, you could choose to use self-raising flour as it already contains baking powder, so you don’t need to add an additional leavening agent.

Flour comes in three different strengths, Weak Flour, Medium Strength Flour, and Strong Flour. These are defined by the ‘W Index’. The W Index is a reference to the overall strength of the flour. Now whilst most flour packs do not list the W Index, you can actually work it out by looking at the protein content, by weight. This can be helpful when you are deciding which flour to use.

Weak Flour has a W Index of 90 – 60. Its protein content is roughly 9% to 10%. This type of flour is suitable for baking biscuits and also cakes.

Medium Strength Flour has a W Index of 160 – 150. Its protein content is roughly 10% to 12.5%. This type of flour is suitable for baking Pizzaa, focaccia, and baguettes.

Strong Flour has a W Index of above 300. Its protein content is above 13%. This type of flour is suitable for baking sourdough bread.

So now you can choose the best flour for your recipe.

Self-raising flour as a substitute for baking soda in banana bread.

Baking Powder

Baking powder is not as strong as baking soda, so you will need to adjust the quantities. I recommend you use about three times as much. So if your recipe suggests using 1 teaspoon of baking soda, then you should use 3 teaspoons of baking powder.

Baking powder is used to add volume to baked goods. It is made from a mixture of carbonate, or bicarbonate, and a weak acid. In order to ensure the acid and bicarbonate do not react in the container, there is another ingredient added, such as cornstarch, which works as a blocker.

Add the baking powder into the other dry ingredients and mix well. My top tip is to always add the baking powder into the dry ingredients, before incorporating with the wet ingredients. And don’t overmix, or else you could end up with a tougher texture.

As baking powder already contains acid you do not need to add any further acidic ingredients.

Measuring spoon


Using white vinegar as a replacement for baking soda may sound a bit strange – but it does work! And don’t worry your banana bread won’t taste like something out of the chip shop!

Combine all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. In another bowl add the wet ingredients together, such as bananas, eggs, oil, etc. Then add in the vinegar. I would recommend using about 1 teaspoon of vinegar per each cup of flour in your recipe. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Remember not to overmix as your bread could become too tough. Then just bake as usual.

Note: If you use brown vinegar, your banana bread will have a darker colour and a malty flavor. You could also consider using apple cider vinegar which will give the bread a slightly tart flavor.

Vinegar white as an alternative for baking soda in banana bread.


Using yogurt as substitute for baking soda in banana bread can add both mositure and a nice tangy acidity to it. I would always go for a plain, unsweetened yogurt. And I would also choose full-fat yogurt, as the low-fat yogurts tend to be a bit runnier.

Reduce the amount of other liquids slightly to account for the moisture added by the yogurt. For example if your recipe calls for 1/3 cup of milk or oil, then you should replace a portion of it with yogurt. Try replacing about half of the liquid ingredient with the yogurt and see how that goes. Just add enough to form a loose, but not runny, batter.

Combine the mashed bananas, eggs, and yogurt mix before adding to the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix. Then simply transfer the batter to a greased baking tin and bake according to the recipe’s instructions.

Yogurt as a substitute for baking soda in banana bread.

Whipped Egg Whites

Using whipped egg whites as a substitute for baking soda in banana bread can add a touch of lightness and lift to the bread. Here’s how to incorporate whipped egg whites into your banana bread recipe:

Start by separating the egg whites from the yolks. You’ll only be using the egg whites for this substitution. You can use the leftover yolks to make a delicious omlette, caesar salad dressing, or use them as an egg wash.

Next, in a clean, dry mixing bowl, whip the egg whites using a hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. This means that when you lift the beaters, the egg whites should hold their shape without collapsing.

Just before baking gently fold the whipped egg whites into the banana bread batter. Use a spatula to carefully incorporate the egg whites and don’t mix too much or you will knock all the air out of the whipped egg whites.

Transfer the batter to a greased loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake the banana bread according to the recipe’s instructions, adjusting the baking time if necessary.

By incorporating whipped egg whites into your banana bread batter, you can achieve a lighter texture and improved rise without relying on baking soda. Just be sure to handle the whipped egg whites gently to maintain their volume and airiness.

Egg whites

Cream of Tartar

Whilst cream of tartar and baking soda may look similar, they are both completely different ingredients. Cream of Tartar is a fine white powdery substance that helps increase volume in desserts such as merinugues. It also acts as a stablizing agent when added to whipped egg whites and can prevent sugar syrups from cystallizing. It can be used in both sweet and savory bakes.

Cream of tartar, on its own, is not a leavening agent as it requires the addition of an acidic ingredient for it to activate. I recommend for every 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda called for in the recipe, you can substitute it with 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar.

This adjustment accounts for the differences in potency between the two ingredients. Cream of tartar is often used with baking soda in recipes to create a leavening effect, but when used alone, it requires less volume to achieve a similar effect. And remember to mix it with an equal amount of a liquid in your recipe to activate its leavening properties.

Be careful when measuring the cream of tartar as adding to much can produce an unpleasant aftertaste.

Did you know that Cream of Tartar has many uses, and not all of them are to do with baking? You can use it to remove stains, unclog blocked drains, or even brighten up your white laundry.

Cream of tartar as a substitute for baking soda in banana bread.


What happens if you don’t add baking soda to your banana bread?

Well, it’s not the end of the world. You will still bake a great bread, but it will just be a bit flatter than normal. So if you don’t have baking soda, and you don’t want to use an alternative, you can still try baking some banana bread.

What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder?

Whilst they both look the same, they are very different ingredients. Baking soda requires an acid liquid, such as vinegar, lemon juice, etc. to activate it. Baking powder however, already has a dry acid powder added to it, and only requires a liquid to become active. Also, baking powder is not as strong as baking soda so the recommended swap is 3 times as much.

Banana Bread recipe

All this talk about banana bread has got me hungry, so here’s a quick and easy recipe for classic banana bread:


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Optional Add-Ins:

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork or potato masher until smooth.
  3. Add the melted butter or oil to the mashed bananas and stir to combine.
  4. Add the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract to the banana mixture. Mix well.
  5. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the banana mixture and stir to incorporate.
  6. Gradually add the flour to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
  7. If using, fold in any optional add-ins such as chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or ground cinnamon.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread it evenly.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  10. Remove the banana bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Summary for Baking Soda in Banana Bread substitutes

Okay – that’s you all sorted with suitable substitutes for baking soda in banana bread.

Here’s a quick re-cap on substitutes for baking soda when baking banana bread.

  • Self-Rising Flour: Simple swap, no additional leavening adjustment needed.
  • Baking Powder: An effective leavening agent. Use 3 teaspoons of baking powder for every 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Vinegar: Adds acidity which can react with baking soda already in the recipe.
  • Yogurt: Acidity can help activate baking soda. Remember to choose plain, full-fat, un-sweetened yogurt.
  • Whipped Egg Whites: Not a replacement for baking soda but can make the bread fluffier.
  • Cream of Tartar: Requires an acidic ingredient for activation. Can affect the tatse.

We have gathered together a lot more facts on ingredients such as herbs, spices, oils, nuts, etc. if you would like to learn some more.

Or if you need to swap out another ingredient have a look at our Substitutes section.