Can You Make Cookies without Baking Powder?

So you’re making your favorite cookie recipe and you’ve gone to look in the pantry only to find…*ominous music* that you’re out of baking powder!

Can you even make cookies without baking powder?

Is baking powder an essential ingredient in cookies?

Can you just leave out baking powder and not ruin your cookies?

In this guide, we’re talking about what happens if you don’t have baking powder for your cookies, as well as some options to either get around the lack of baking powder or embrace it.

Don’t forget to check out more cookie troubleshooting tips in our cookie troubleshooting guide on how to fix every cookie problem.


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Is it Possible to Make Cookies Without Baking Powder?


It is possible to make cookies without baking powder if you don’t have any on hand and don’t have any substitutions, though it will change the texture of your cookies which may impact the flavor.

Read on to find out what happens if you leave baking powder out.

The important thing to note, though, is that it is possible to make cookies without baking powder.

It’s not dangerous or something that plenty of bakers haven’t done before, whether by accident or by choice!

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What Does Baking Powder do in Cookies?

Wondering what happens if you make cookies without baking powder?

Well, let’s start with what baking powder does in cookies when it is included.

Baking powder is a chemical leavening agent that combines an alkali and an acid (don’t worry if you don’t follow the scientific terms, we’ll get to the “baking powder for dummies” version in a second!).

This creates a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas, which inflates your cookies.

In other words, the baking powder provides the puff in your cookies and makes them fluffy and not so dense.

An example of cookies made with baking powder.

An easy way to remember is that baking Powder = Puff! (and baking Soda = spread)

If you leave baking powder out of your cookies, your cookies will be edible, but they’ll be denser and won’t rise or puff because they won’t have the chemical reactions necessary to do that.

Your cookies may be flatter than expected, chewier, less soft, and probably won’t change size that much from when you put them in the oven.

Substitutions for Baking Powder in Cookies

For a full guide to substitutions for baking powder and which one might work best for you, check out our full guide on what to substitute for baking powder, but here are some basic options:

  • add in a mix of baking soda and cream of tartar (this is basically homemade baking powder)
  • substitute in baking soda with your dry ingredients and buttermilk with your wet ingredients
  • add in a mix of baking soda, cornstarch, and cream of tartar
  • substitute in baking soda with the dry ingredients and yogurt with your wet ingredients

How to Make Cookies without Baking Powder

If you realize you don’t have any baking powder, you have a few options when it comes to making your cookies.

1. Find a Recipe that Doesn’t Call for Baking Powder

There are plenty of cookie recipes that don’t call for baking powder as part of the ingredients.

This will mean you’ll end up with a delicious batch of cookies with no chance of ruining them, because you didn’t even need baking powder in the first place.

No baking powder was used in the making of these cookies!

2. Leave it Out and Accept Flatter Cookies

If you’re set on your cookie recipe that you want to make, but don’t have baking powder or any substitutions, go ahead and leave it out and just accept you’ll have denser and flatter cookies.

They’ll still taste great!

3. Use a Substitution

Try one of the substitutions above to make your cookies without baking powder if you happen to have some of the other ingredients listed.

It’s never going to be exactly as good as baking powder that comes straight from the package, but with some of the substitutions like a blend of baking soda and cream of tartar, you’re going to get pretty dang close!

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