Yeast Substitutes – Get Baked Goods to Rise

Yeast Substitutes
Yeast substitutes include baking soda and an acid, baking powder, or whipped egg whites.

If you run out of yeast, use a yeast substitute already in your kitchen and save your recipes. Here are three simple yeast substitutes and a look at how they work.

Use Baking Powder as a Yeast Substitute

Using baking powder instead of yeast in a recipe is the easiest substitution because you use the same amount of baking powder as yeast. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of yeast, you use 1 teaspoon of double-acting baking powder. Be sure you include the liquid that would have been mixed with the yeast. Bake the recipe immediately instead of allowing rising time.

Both baking powder and yeast produce carbon dioxide bubbles that make baked good rise. The significant different is that baking powder produces carbon dioxide immediately upon mixing and during baking, while yeast releases carbon dioxide more slowly and only before baking. Baking powder also imparts a slightly bitter flavor, although whether or not it’s noticeable depends on other ingredients in the recipe.

Substitute Yeast With Baking Soda and an Acid

Combining baking soda with an acidic ingredient produces carbon dioxide that makes a recipe rise. For the acidic ingredient, choose between lemon juice, vinegar, or buttermilk. All work equally well, but they taste different from one another. The substitution for 1 teaspoon of yeast is:

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon acidic ingredient

Replace the appropriate amount of liquid in the recipe with the acidic ingredient. For example, if the recipes calls for 2 teaspoons of yeast, this means the substitution is 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of acidic ingredient. So, remove 1 teaspoon of the liquid used for activating the yeast (usually warm water).

Bake the recipe immediately after mixing it. Using baking soda and an acid instead of baking powder is less likely to add a bitter or metallic flavor, but it does alter flavor and texture compared with yeast.

Whipped Egg Whites as a Yeast Substitute

If your recipe includes eggs, separate the whites from the yolks. Mix the egg yolks in with the other ingredients. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (around 5 minutes). This substitution works because whipping egg whites traps air. Carefully fold the whipped egg whites into the other ingredients and bake the recipe immediately.

Summary of Yeast Substitutes

Here is a quick review of how much of a substitute to use in place of yeast in a recipe. A packet of yeast is ¼ ounce, which is 7 grams or 2-¼ teaspoons.

1 teaspoon yeast1 packet yeast
Baking powder1 teaspoon2-¼ teaspoons
Baking soda + acid1⁄2 tsp baking soda + 1⁄2 tsp acid1-1⁄8 tsp baking soda + 1-1⁄8 tsp acid
Egg whitesall the egg whites in the recipeall the egg whites in the recipe
Baking Powder and Baking Soda Substitutes

Baking Powder and Baking Soda Substitutes

If you run out of baking powder or baking soda, learn what you can substitute in a recipe.

When to Use Yeast Substitutes

Yeast substitutes change the flavor and texture of a recipe. You may like the change better than the original recipe, or not. Dough made using yeast substitutes may not rise as tall as it would with yeast. Some recipes work well with yeast substitutes:

  • Pancakes
  • Cakes
  • Cupcakes
  • Muffins
  • Pizza dough
  • Quick breads

However, avoid using yeast substitutes in a kneaded bread dough recipe. The bread may taste fine, but it won’t rise as it should. If you do use this substitution, bake the recipe immediately instead of proofing the yeast.


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  • Christian, Elizabeth W.; Vaclavik, Vickie (2003). Essentials of Food Science. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. ISBN 978-0-306-47363-0.
  • Simmons, Amelia; Mary Tolford Wilson (1984) [1958]. The First American Cookbook (1984 reprint ed.). Mineola, NY: Dover. ISBN 0-486-24710-4.
  • Young, Linda; Cauvain, Stanley P. (2007). Technology of Breadmaking. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 978-0-387-38563-1.