Does Baking Powder Have Gluten?

As someone following a gluten-free diet, you know it's important to pay close attention to ingredient labels. Gluten can sneak into foods you might not suspect. One common baking ingredient that leaves many gluten-free cooks wondering is baking powder.

Does Baking Powder Have Gluten

You've likely seen baking powder called for in countless recipes for baked goods like cakes, muffins, and cookies. But does baking powder have gluten?

The short answer is that pure baking powder does not contain gluten. However, there are a few things you need to know to choose safe gluten-free brands of baking powder.

What Is Baking Powder?

Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used in baked goods. It's responsible for making batters and doughs rise, resulting in baked goods that are light and fluffy in texture.

Without baking powder, your cakes, cookies, muffins, and quick breads would be flat, dense, and pretty unappetizing.

Baking powder works via a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. When you combine baking powder with a liquid in a batter or dough, it creates bubbles that expand when heated in the oven. As the bubbles expand, your baked good rises.

The ingredients in baking powder typically include:

The starch absorbs moisture, which prevents the premature reaction between the baking soda and acid. Meanwhile, the acid neutralizes the base in the baking soda. When mixed into a batter and heated, these ingredients create air bubbles that cause baked goods to rise.

There are two main types of baking powder:

  • Single-acting baking powder only reacts when heated. This means it starts to work when a batter is baked or fried.
  • Double-acting baking powder reacts in two phases. First when combined with liquid, and again at high temperatures during baking. This creates more rise than single-acting powders.

Now that you know what baking powder is made of, let's look at whether it contains gluten.

Does Baking Powder Have Gluten?

The ingredients that make up pure baking powder are naturally gluten-free. Baking powder does not inherently contain gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. None of these grains are used to produce pure baking powder.

However, some brands add starches like wheat starch as a filler ingredient to their baking powder. This means not all commercial baking powders are gluten-free. You have to read the label carefully.

Let's take a closer look at the main ingredients in baking powder and whether they contain gluten:

  • Baking soda is made from only sodium bicarbonate and is gluten-free.
  • Cream of tartar comes from grapes and is gluten-free. Other acid sources like sodium aluminum sulfate are synthetic chemicals and gluten-free.
  • Most brands use cornstarch or potato starch as the starchy filler ingredient in baking powder. Both corn and potato starches are naturally gluten-free.
  • Some brands use wheat starch, which contains gluten. This is less common nowadays but is still found in some baking powders.

So in summary:

  • Pure baking powder without added starches is gluten-free.
  • Baking powder with corn or potato starch filler is gluten-free.
  • Baking powder with wheat starch is not gluten-free.

Always check the ingredient list to be sure there are no gluten grains or wheat starch before using a new brand of baking powder in your gluten-free recipes.

How to Know if Baking Powder is Gluten-Free

When shopping for baking powder, here are some tips for checking if a brand is gluten-free:

1. Look for a "gluten-free" label on the packaging

This is the easiest way to identify a gluten-free brand. In the United States, foods labeled "gluten-free" must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This level is generally considered safe for those with celiac disease.

2. Scan the ingredients list

Make sure none of the ingredients include wheat, rye, barley or their derivatives like wheat starch. All ingredients should be naturally gluten-free.

3. Check for warnings about shared equipment or facilities

Even if the ingredients look gluten-free, cross-contamination is possible in manufacturing facilities. Look for advisory statements about shared equipment with wheat-based products. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer to ask if they test final products to ensure no gluten cross-contact.

4. Look for gluten-free certification symbols

Trusted gluten-free certifications like the Certified Gluten-Free logo from GFCO can help you identify products produced safely for celiacs.

By following these guidelines, you can easily determine if a brand of baking powder is gluten-free or not. Next, let's look at some recommendations for gluten-free baking powders.

Gluten-Free Baking Powder Brands

Here are some trusted gluten-free brands of baking powder:

  • Bob's Red Mill Baking Powder - Uses corn starch; labeled gluten-free
  • Arrowhead Mills Baking Powder - Uses tapioca starch; labeled gluten-free
  • Clabber Girl Baking Powder - Uses corn starch; labeled gluten-free
  • Anthony's Baking Powder - Uses tapioca starch; labeled gluten-free
  • Hain Pure Foods Baking Powder - Uses potato starch; labeled gluten-free
  • Dr. Oetker Baking Powder - Uses corn starch; labeled gluten-free
  • Rumford Baking Powder - Uses corn starch; labeled gluten-free
  • King Arthur Baking Powder - Uses tapioca starch; labeled gluten-free
  • Trader Joe's Baking Powder - Uses corn starch; labeled gluten-free
  • Kinnikinnick Foods Baking Powder - Uses rice flour, corn starch, or potato starch; labeled gluten-free

Always verify that the brand you buy is labeled gluten-free or certified gluten-free when possible. Also check that none of the ingredients contain wheat, rye, barley or oats.

With so many gluten-free options, you can easily find baking powder safe to use in your gluten-free recipes. Keep these recommended brands on hand for baking.

Why Use Baking Powder in Gluten-Free Baking?

You might be wondering if you can leave baking powder out of recipes and still get good results when baking gluten-free. Here's why baking powder is so important:

Gluten-free flours lack gluten, the protein in wheat flour that gives structure and elasticity to baked goods. Gluten allows air bubbles from leaveners to stretch and grow to make bread and cakes rise.

Without gluten, your gluten-free baked goods can end up very dense and heavy. This is why it's crucial to use leaveners like baking powder. They produce air bubbles that still allow gluten-free flours to expand and provide lift.

Using the right amount of baking powder helps compensate for the lack of gluten in gluten-free recipes. Your muffins, cakes, scones, and more will have a fluffier crumb and better rise.

Some tips for using baking powder in gluten-free baking:

  • Use about 1.5-2x more baking powder compared to regular recipes
  • Stick to double-acting baking powder for more lift
  • Allow your batters to rest briefly after mixing to allow the baking powder time to start working

With the proper leavening, your gluten-free goodies will come out light and fluffy. Baking powder helps make the texture much closer to non-gluten-free recipes.

Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda

Another common baking ingredient is baking soda (otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate). It's important not to confuse baking soda and baking powder.

While both can provide lift to baked goods, they work a bit differently:

  • Baking soda must be combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, yogurt, or buttermilk to produce carbon dioxide bubbles.
  • Baking powder contains both the base (baking soda) and the acid needed to produce bubbles immediately when liquid is added.

Recipes will specifically call for one or the other leavener based on the ingredients and chemistry needed. Some tips:

  • Baking soda is ideal when a recipe already has an acidic ingredient. The acid reacts with the baking soda to leaven the batter or dough.
  • Baking powder is a more direct leavening agent. The acid component is already included so you just need to add liquid to activate it.
  • Don't substitute baking soda for baking powder at a 1:1 ratio. Use 3 times as much baking soda and add an acidic ingredient like lemon juice.
  • You can replace baking powder with baking soda at a 1:3 ratio. So use 3 teaspoons of baking soda + 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar for every 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Both work well in gluten-free recipes. But be sure to use baking soda and baking powder as directed in recipes for best results.

Substituting Baking Powder in Recipes

Some gluten-free recipes may use different leaveners that you'll need to replace if following a strict gluten-free diet. Here's how to modify recipes:

To replace 1 teaspoon of baking powder:

  • Use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • Use 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt

To replace 1 teaspoon of yeast:

  • Use 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

To replace 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder:

  • Use 1 teaspoon single-acting baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

With these substitutions, you can easily adapt recipes you find to be gluten-free. Baking powder gives the best lift, but you can mimic its leavening power with baking soda and an acid too.

How to Make Gluten-Free Baking Powder

Worried about cross-contamination with store-bought brands? You can easily make your own gluten-free baking powder:

Gluten-Free Homemade Baking Powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar or white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, arrowroot starch or tapioca starch

Whisk all ingredients together thoroughly. Store in an airtight container away from moisture.

To test efficacy, add 1 teaspoon to hot water and look for bubbling/fizzing.

Use 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of flour in recipes.

Make sure your ingredients are certified gluten-free for safety. This easy homemade recipe gives you total control over the ingredients.

Types of Baking Powder

Only reacts when heatedReacts when liquid is added and again when heated
Produces less riseProduces more rise
Better for recipes baked right awayBetter for recipes resting before baking

Gluten-Free Baking Powder Brands

BrandFiller IngredientNotes
Bob's Red MillCornstarchLabeled gluten-free
Clabber GirlCornstarchLabeled gluten-free
RumfordCornstarchLabeled gluten-free
Dr. OetkerCornstarchLabeled gluten-free
Anthony'sTapioca starchLabeled gluten-free
Arrowhead MillsTapioca starchLabeled gluten-free
Hain Pure FoodsPotato starchLabeled gluten-free


Is baking powder gluten-free if it doesn't say so on the label?

No, unless you check the ingredients and contact the manufacturer, you can't assume it's gluten-free if not labeled. Always verify gluten-free status before consuming.

Can baking powder contain traces of gluten from cross-contamination?

Yes, it's possible. Some brands are made in facilities that also process wheat. Look for advisory warnings or contact the company to check their procedures.

Is baking powder safe for celiac disease?

Yes, pure baking powder without wheat starch is generally considered safe. But those with celiac should only use brands that are third-party certified gluten-free to the less than 20ppm level for extra assurance.

Can I use baking powder with my gluten-free flour blend?

Yes, baking powder works well with all kinds of gluten-free flour, just as it does with regular wheat flour. Use baking powder to help your baked goods rise and get a better texture.

Why can't I use as much baking powder as a recipe calls for?

Too much baking powder can give a chemical or metallic taste. Start with 3/4 of the amount listed and add more next time if needed. A light hand prevents over-leavening.


Following a gluten-free diet means closely monitoring the ingredients you cook with. Even common baking staples like baking powder need a closer look.

Pure baking powder starts out gluten-free. However, some brands add wheat starch or pose cross-contact risks. Always verify the product is labeled gluten-free before using.

Check for gluten-free symbols, read the ingredient list, and contact manufacturers with any questions. With so many gluten-free options available, you can easily find baking powder safe to use in all your favorite recipes.

Baking powder helps add lift and lightness to gluten-free baked goods. With the right brand and amount used, it can vastly improve the texture of your cakes, muffins, cookies, and more. Keep this essential ingredient stocked in your pantry for delicious gluten-free baking success.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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