Technically, the cream of tartar is tartaric acid in powder form.
Commercially available tartar acid, also known as potassium bitartrate, is a residual product of winemaking.
Tartaric acid is naturally found in many fruits, most notably in grapes, but also tamarinds, citrus, and bananas.
If you have run out of cream of tartar halfway through a recipe, don’t worry. Some of the replacements for it you may already have in your pantry.
This article tries to bring home to you the best substitutes for the cream of tartar.
What is the use of cream of tartar in baking?
Are you wondering what does cream of tartar do?
It has a couple of excellent usefulness in cooking. The acidic properties of this cream are useful in baking for three specific reasons:
- Stabilizes whipped egg whites
- Prevents sugar from crystallizing
- Acts as a leavening agent for baked goods.
This bakers’ cream helps cooked candy and desserts with egg whites like meringue to maintain its high peaks, even after a trip through the oven
Cream of tartar and baking soda is used in combination for fermenting the dough. It helps baked goods like pancakes and cookies to become fluffier and softer.
Adding a little cream of tartar to icings, syrups, and frostings can result in a creamier texture and keep the sugar from crystallizing.
What can I use if I don’t have the cream of tartar?
When you don’t have any cream of tartar in the pantry, don’t panic. It is really simple to find a substitution for the cream of tartar.
Here are 5 alternatives that you can confidently use:
1. Lemon Juice
Imagine that cream of tartar isn’t readily available to you then substitute it with lemon juice.
Lemon juice has a high-level acidity just like the cream of tartar. It helps to stabilize egg whites.
Adding a little lemon juice to your homemade syrups or frostings helps in preventing crystallization as tartar does.
For every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar in the recipe, use 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar.
2. Baking Powder
Some of the recipes contain both cream of tartar and baking soda. In such a scenario, you can comfortably substitute them with baking powder instead.
Both tartaric acid and sodium bicarbonate are present in baking powder.
While substituting, use about 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder to replace 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
3. White Vinegar
White vinegar is highly acidic like the cream of tartar. So if you are out of stock with cream of tartar, simply use white vinegar instead.
Next time try to use white vinegar for stabilizing egg white foam; works great for recipes like meringues and soufflés.
When you are whipping egg whites, use an equal amount of white vinegar in place of cream of tartar.
Warning, using white vinegar in baked goods like cakes and muffins may alter their flavor and texture.
I’m sure that you have got yogurt in your refrigerator. If so, the substitution becomes an easy affair.
The acidic content in yogurt makes it an effective replacement for the cream of tartar in some recipes.
Ideally, you should make the yogurt thin by adding enough milk to it and then use it in place of cream of tartar.
This substitution works best for baked goods. Using yogurt in your baked goods will make them incredibly moist. Therefore, reduce the use of other liquids in the recipe.
For every ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar using about ½ cup of yogurt that has been made thinner with milk. Please note, reduce ½ cup of other liquids from your recipe when using yogurt.
Just like yogurt, buttermilk also has acidity. Undoubtedly, buttermilk is a nice substitution for the cream of tartar in recipes that require a good bit of liquid.
Unlike the yogurt, no need to thin it out with milk. When using buttermilk instead of cream of tartar reduce the use of other liquids in accordance.
For ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar using about ½ cup of buttermilk. How much of buttermilk you use, reduce that much of other liquids in your recipe.
Why not leave out cream tartar from your recipe?
Before you look for substituting cream of tartar, check if it is possible to leave out this ingredient from your recipe. This cream may not be strictly needed in your recipe at all.
In some instances, it isn’t necessary to use the cream of tartar for stabilizing the whipped egg.
Similarly, it’s strictly not necessary to use the cream for tartar in making frosting, icing, or syrup to prevent crystallization. Normally, the crystallization of sugar does not take place unless you keep the baked goods in the freezer for long.
Crystallization in syrup can be neutralized by reheating it in a microwave or stove.
However, if you are using the cream of tartar as a leavening agent in your recipe then it’s necessary to use it or a substitute for it.
The Bottom Line
Cream of tartar is used in many recipes as a leavening agent or for preventing crystallization of sugar.
Nonetheless, if you have run out of this cream, it’s easy to find suitable substitutes for it. I would personally recommend lemon juice or white vinegar as the best substitution for the cream of tartar.
In some recipes, it’s even possible to leave out cream of tartar altogether.
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