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Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder

Baker Bettie Back to Bake-sics, Baking Science, Cookies, Sweets 63 Comments

A simple chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses no baking soda and no baking powder. The cookies are soft in the middle and slightly crispy on the edges. You don’t absolutely need baking soda or baking powder to make chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder

I have always excelled at procrastinating. In case you haven’t mastered it for yourself, the secret to procrastination is to find anything that is something other than what you are supposed to be doing. And do that. For as long as possible. Becoming a blogger has made this infinitely easier on me. The effort I put into procrastination these days is minimal.

One of my new favorite procrastination activities is to look at my blog stats and read through the search engine terms people are using to find my blog. It can be quite entertaining, and also disturbing at times. There are some seriously perverted search terms bringing people to my blog. Those people are probably disappointed when they get here…

But I have been noticing a trend over the last few months. The top search term people are using to find my blog is “chocolate chip cookie recipe without baking soda.” People have found my blog by googling this in some form over 3000 times in the past few months. Either someone is REALLY trying to find the answer to this over and over again, or this is for some reason a hot topic for people. Why don’t you have baking soda people? It’s a staple in the pantry. But I’m not here to judge, just to educate. So I bring you a recipe today with no baking soda or baking powder. I’m assuming that my Science of the Chocolate Chip Cookie post has been the culprit bringing people to the blog up until now, but it really doesn’t go in depth about baking soda and powder and how to swap them or eliminate them. So I thought I would do a bit of baking science today about this!

Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder

Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents.  Meaning that they make your baked goods rise by creating air bubbles when mixed and baked.

Baking Soda (also known as Bicarbonate of Soda) is just sodium bicarbonate. In order for it to do it’s job, it needs an acidic component in the party. In baking, the usual acidic components include vinegar, yogurt, lemon juice (or other citrus juice), buttermilk, brown sugar, and chocolate (now you know why almost all chocolate chip cookie recipes call for baking soda). When the basic properties of baking soda mix with the acidic properties of one of these ingredients it starts to neutralize creating air bubbles (carbon dioxide). This raises the baked good and also makes it more tender. Baking soda is ideal to be used instead of baking powder if there is an acidic component because it is about 4 times more effective than baking powder. Another awesome thing about baking soda (did I just call baking soda awesome?) is that it has an indefinite shelf life. Baking powder, on the other hand, does not. (*see source note at the bottom)

Baking Powder is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) already mixed with an acid (usually cream of tartar). Therefore, baking powder on its own is used in baked goods that do not already contain an acid. It works in the same way baking soda does, by creating air bubbles which cause the batter to rise. If you find yourself without baking soda you can always substitute baking powder for baking soda. This is not true the other way around. But keep in mind that baking soda is much more effective so using more baking powder is needed. To make sure your baking powder is still effective, add about a tsp to a cup of hot water. If it is still good, it will start bubbling quite a bit. If it does not, time to throw it out and get some new. (*see source note at the bottom)

Here are a few scenarios to help you out:

My recipe calls for baking soda and I don’t have any?: If you have baking powder you can substitute using 2 or 3 times more the amount. I know I said that baking soda is 4xs more powerful than baking powder but I would only increase the amount by 2-3 xs. These ingredients can make your batter taste bitter.

My recipe calls for baking powder and I don’t have any? If you happen to have baking soda and some cream of tartar you can make your own baking powder! You mix the two together at a 2:1 ratio. 2 parts baking soda and 1 part cream of tartar= baking powder. You can also ask yourself if the recipe does have one of those acidic ingredients listed above in it. If it does, you can likely just use a little less baking soda in place of the amount of baking powder.

I don’t have either baking soda or baking powder: Determine how important is the rise of this baked good. Is it very important, like a cake? Or is it okay if they are a little flat, like cookies? How many eggs are in it because eggs will help with the rise? If there are eggs and it isn’t that important for the baked good to rise, you can probably leave both baking soda and baking powder out. Your baked good will most likely have a more dense crumb to it if you do leave both out, but that isn’t always a bad thing!

I made a cookie recipe without baking soda or baking powder and they turned out great! My husband told me they were his favorite cookies. They aren’t my absolute favorite, but they were really delicious!

Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder

If you have any other cookie science questions please do check out my post: The Science of The Chocolate Chip Cookie where I teach you how to customize a recipe to create your perfect chocolate chip cookie!

*Also check out The 2nd Annual Cookie Wars Contest that is currently open and accepting entries!*

Recommended Equipment: 

Really Good Chocolate Chips

Large Heavy Duty Cookie Scoop

Silicone Baking Mat

Half Sheet Pan

Non-Stick Cooling Rack

Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder

Note: I almost always brown the butter in my cookie recipes. It creates an incredible depth of flavor, but it is not necessary to make the recipe work. To brown butter, place the butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium/high heat. Stir constantly, do not step away. The butter will melt, turn murky, clear up, then begin to turn an amber color. Remove from the heat as soon as it is a medium amber color. Allow to cool for several minutes before adding to the batter. 

Also a note about sugar. Granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and dark brown sugar are all interchangeable in this recipe. I wanted a bit of chew, but a mostly crunchy cookie so I used mostly white sugar with some brown sugar. If you want more chew, use all brown sugar. If you want more crisp, use all white sugar. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder

*I have learned most of this information by watching endless episodes of Good Eats with Alton Brown. I also read a lot of baking articles and a few that you should check out if you want to learn more about baking soda and baking powder are:

The Food Lab: Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda at Serious Eats

Baking Powder and Baking Soda (Bicarbonate) by Joy of Baking

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 12 Large Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, (browned if desired)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I prefer at least 60% dark chocolate)
  • coarse salt for sprinkling if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars until fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, and beat until combined.
  3. Add the salt and then the flour in small amounts, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop cookies onto cookie sheets. I use a large scoop that is just barely less than ¼ cup of dough. Do not overcrowd them. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of each, if desired. (you should. it brings the cookies up a level)
  5. Bake at 350ºF for 8-12 minutes, until the edges are just set. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets (cookies will continue cooking and finish setting.)

 


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Comments 63

  1. Cait

    Love this, thank you for the science lesson! If it weren’t for your amazing cookies, I would have never known how delicious browned butter makes them! I’d say your teaching is a success! I’m sure this post will help many!

  2. Rachel

    These cookies look so good! I often don’t use bicarb or baking powder in cookies unless I’m making vegan ones. I loved your science bit, it’s fascinating! I think once you can get to grips with some of the science baking becomes so much easier and instinctive. X x x

  3. Alyssa Graber

    I have ALWAYS wondered what the difference was. Thanks for clearing that up! And I’m excited to try browning the butter next time I make cookies!

  4. Pingback: The Science of The Chocolate Chip Cookie

  5. Dulcet Devotion

    I love talking baking science! And thanks so much for covering this topic 'cause we've all been in the mood for cookies and when that's the only ingredient you don't have, sometimes you wish you could just do without it. Glad to know I can!

  6. Melanie

    Oops! I got so excited I posted my comment in the wrong place!

    I love talking baking science! And thanks so much for covering this topic ’cause we’ve all been in the mood for cookies and when that’s the only ingredient you don’t have, sometimes you wish you could just do without it. Glad to know I can!

  7. Laura Dembowski

    This is such an interesting and informative post! I am an avid baker and it is great to now have all this info! My favorite tidbit is that baking powder can be used for baking soda. So cool!

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  9. Eloise Almeida Ferrell

    These are great cookies!!! I love choc chip cookies, but hate the soapy taste of baking soda. This is definitely a keeper!!!

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  11. NancyLa

    I have both baking soda and baking powder and I have used both over the years. I left out both ingredients one time and I did not like how they looked. The taste was great but they were not appealing to the eye; I sell the cookies at the time so the look is just as important as the taste.
    I haven’t been too succesful lately with my receipe and I can’t remember if it’s because I’m using both or if I’m using the wrong one (bks or bkp) and I can’t find my original receipe. I changed them both out for news one in case that was the problem but not the case. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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      Baker Bettie

      Hi Nancy,

      It is hard to know the problem without seeing the recipe, but I am going to go guess you need to be using baking soda. Chocolate is acidic and therefore it will acivate the baking soda on it’s own. Baking powder would be a secondary leavener if you use them together. I find that if you chill the dough before baking you will get a more even spreading and browning on the cookie, with or without baking soda or powder.

      1. Nancy

        Thank you for responding so quickly..I’m making cookies tonight so your quick response is very helpful. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal my ingredients (lol) they might make me famous…like Famous Amos (lol)…just kidding. But I see what you’re saying about chilling the dough. I too believe the last time I used baking powder instead of baking soda and as mentioned either way the taste is great I just don’t like the look of flat c.c.cookies, they tend to be too crispy and not a nice chew.

        Totally appreciate your feedback. Happy Baking!!

  12. Melanie

    What I’d like to know is how the texture & spread of a batch of cookies would be affected by using:
    – no baking powder,
    – baking powder, and
    – baking soda?
    From what I’ve read, I suspect that the no baking powder cookies would be flatter, harder and spread less.
    The baking powder would be fluffier, lighter, spreading more but with a crispiness.
    And baking soda would be just fluffier, ligher and spreading more but without crispness.
    Have I surmised correctly?

    1. Tampa Flamingo

      I baked chocolate chip cookies this weekend and I used bk soda but less butter and those were the best looking and best tasting cookies I’ve ever baked. Crunchy on the edges, soft and chocolately on the inside. The color was perfectly browned.

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  13. Jilly Maddock

    We do not have baking soda in UK, that is why we search on Google for alternatives! We have baking powder or bicarbonate of soda.

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      1. Britt

        Got a good laugh at your comment about getting so many hits by people looking for chocolate chip recipes without baking soda. I live overseas and thought I had baking powder in the cupboard versus baking soda and after reading your blog decided to verify exactly what I had given that when I bought it, I had to ask for assistance and describe what I was looking for in broken french. Well, I learned something new today after translating on the internet – the German word for baking soda is backpulver (we tend to get food products in many different languages except english!). So I’m in luck and it explains why my biscuits have been off. LOL.

  14. Anne

    Misread the ingredients and put in too much salt… Cookies came out looking good until I tasted it lol. Next time I should read it properly…

  15. Tonya V

    I just made these but they seemed to not be browning like a usual cookie. The bottom browned up but the tops no. They just seem pale. Is this normal..

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  16. Janna Diderich

    These are fantastic!! These cookies are so flexible and delicious every time. I brown the butter and use Pamela’s gluten free all purpose flour and absolutely must sprinkle coarse salt over the top.. (and a little more once they come out of the oven just to make them more beautiful. Once I didn’t have any extract, so I left it out and they were still super delicious. My favorite way to make these is to use almond extract and mix mini chocolate chips with some large chunks of chocolate, too. The large chunks turn into a sort of surprise cookie truffle. So fantastic, quick and easy. I’m never going to loose weight now that I have discovered these.

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      Baker Bettie

      This comment makes me so happy Janna! The way you make them sounds absolutely fantastic! Thanks for following and trying my recipe!

  17. nrrdgurl

    LOLZ! Google search of “cookies without baking soda” brought me to your page —- because my son is studying this (for whatever reason) in 8th grade science, and I needed a recipe. Thank you for the lesson! Maybe that is why others are coming here as well…..

  18. jessica chen

    Hi! Thanks so much for this recipe. I’m living in a college apartment and I didn’t have any kind of baking soda or baking powder on hand so I figured I might as well give this recipe a shot. This new oven is a little temperamental (hah!) so they turned out a bit doughier than expected. However they still taste amazing!

  19. Joey

    Hey Bettie – just wanted to say thanks for the awesome recipe. I’m up at my country home, was jonesing for a Saturday night project (wild times!) and realized we had no baking soda. Thanks for saving the day!

    …Browning the butter is definitely worth the extra step :-)

  20. Elisabeth Mason

    Thank you for the recipe without soda or powder! I laughed out loud at "why do you not have baking soda people?"! I tried browning the butter and found it to be delicious. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and the meta intro

  21. Jen Rusbult Campbell

    I have the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies, doesn't need baking soda or powder… Just go to the refrigerated section at the store and look for this new invention called cookie dough. It even comes in a tube, bucket, or even break apart cookies! It's ingenious! I haven't messed them up yet!

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      Baker Bettie

      That is a great invention Jen for those who don’t like to bake. But for those of us, like me, who absolutely love the process of baking it sort of defeats the purpose. I love the art of baking from scratch! It is my art.

  22. Christy

    Been looking for a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with no baking soda. Though I do have baking soda and sodium free baking powder on hand, I wanted a recipe that omits the baking soda for a low sodium diet. Can’t wait to try them.

  23. Themis Thomas

    This was a witty and thoroughly enjoyable blog post and I love the recipe (I hardly ever look up recipes) so I was totally surprised to look up a recipe, and experience a great blog post to boot! Thanks for sharing. LoL

  24. Nickita Rhoades

    Hi, I can explain partly why people search for recipes with no baking powder and or baking soda. It makes some people ill. I can use an all purpose flour that has it already mixed in commercially just fine for some reason (though would rather not– reason explained now) but if I try to make a cake or cookie recipe that calls for it to be added separately, I will get sick. And what I mean by sick as in worshiping the porcelain alter sick. Not pleasant. Baking soda/powder does horrible things to my GI tract and I think it all stems from some Baking Soda biscuits I made in home ec when i was in the 4th grade. One of the most violent purgings Ive ever had in my life was from these. My BFs mother made some cookie once that had baking soda and she didnt mix it well enough. I ate a couple and tasted the baking soda and…. yup.. got ill. I appreciate the research you did explaining why both are used in recipes. Knowing that now I will just omit the offending leveling powders in my future baking. Thanks!! ^_^

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  26. Debbie

    was looking for a non leavening receipes for Passover this is a feast of 7 days with no leavening. I will be giving this a try

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  27. Shannon M Coleman

    My reason for looking for "no leavening" cookie is this is Passover week & I'm trying to keep away from any leavening for the week. No we're not Jewish but trying to keep with God's holidays. It has been frustrating finding leavening in Everything!

  28. Tina

    To answer your question, the reason I’m searching “chocolate chip cookies without baking powder” is because I live in Western Mongolia, where there is no baking powder to be found, but I really want cookies!

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