Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder


A simple chocolate chip cookie recipe without baking soda or 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.

I aim to please, to today 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 1:2 ratio. 1 part baking soda and 2 parts 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!

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

Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder

This recipe is for simple chocolate chip cookie recipe without baking soda or baking powder. The cookies are soft in the middle and slightly crispy on the edges.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, (browned if desired)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I prefer at least 60% dark chocolate)
  • coarse salt for sprinkling if desired

Directions:

  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.
    Scoop cookies onto cookie sheets. I use a large scoop that is just barely less than 1/4 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)
  4. 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.)
All images and text ©.

 

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121 comments on “Chocolate Chip Cookies without Baking Soda or Baking Powder”

  1. II am just beginning to "search out" recipes for baked goods without baking soda and/or baking powder due to low sodium requirements for a friend with recent bypass surgery. I am going to try your recipe for the cookies but I cannot find any nutritional info re how much sodium is in the recipe or one cookie. I found one website that states white all purpose flour has 400 mg of sodium per 1/4 cup., without the sodium in the egg and the 480 mg per 1/4 tsp. of Kosher salt,. If I calculate that correctly . the recipe contains 2880 mg of sodium and 233 mg per cookie. Please let me know if I did not calculate if appropriately as I would like to make them for my friend but he is limited to 2000mg per day. Thanks for all the work you have done for this recipe.
    • Hi Sunny. Where are you finding that white all purpose flour has 400 mg of sodium? I have never seen that. According to my bag of flour and to all my research online flour should have 0mg of sodium. You can also use this calculator http://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/calculator to enter in ingredients for a recipe to find out the nutrition contents. According to my calculations of the recipe if you make it as stated (being 1/2 tsp of kosher salt) and you make 12 cookies, it should have 56mg of sodium per cookie.
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  3. Thanks for the info. I am developing my first cookie recipe. I was planning to make raw vegan kale chocolate chip cookies so I left out baking soda. When I tasted the batter, I decided to bake them so the chocolate would melt. in the middle of forming cookies on the baking sheet, I realized I might need baking soda. Oops! So i hopped on Google and found this comforting post. My cookies look good.
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  9. This is a super useful post, not just because I found myself craving cookies with no baking soda in the house. This is the first time I've had the difference between baking soda and powder explained. Great work!
  10. Instead of milk, try chocolate cookie and yogurt. It's really delicious
  11. Ok, so can I use this recipe with honey instead of sugar? Using whole wheat flour too? Trying to eat healthier AND observing Passover. Thus the reason for coming here, thanks. Leesa
  12. sodium bicarbonate It is the sodium that is my reason for looking for baking soda free recipes. I am restricted to a low sodium diet but love cookies. The sodium level in baking soda is 1280 mg per teaspoon i can have only 200 per meal so most baked goods are not allowed.
  13. Thanks for this post. I tried this recipe with an additional ingredient , Cocoa powder. I guess it reduced the sweetness a little bit too. Cookies were crisp and chewy. I was happy that it was not cakey. Absolute rich and delicious choco chip cookies!
  14. I just had a question can i make these without vanilla or chocolate chips? and instead use coconut and pineapple or peanut butter coconut? or brown sugar? I wanted to make it now but i just wanted to know can i use those ingredients :)
  15. I don't think it's always a question of "why don't you have baking soda in your pantry". I have baking soda in my pantry but I absolutely HATE the taste of bitter soda in my baking, not to mention I ABHOR cakey textured cookies and brownies, so I've given up using leavening agents except in cakes. Also it's partly a cultural norm to use baking soda/ powder, in every baked good recipe, that prevails in US/ UK/ Australia but not always the rest of the world. Germany, Austria and Switzerland, countries which are so mad about baking that it's a cultural custom to eat cake and other baked goods everyday at 4pm, rarely include leavening agents in their cookie / brownie / pancake recipes. My German in laws (who are also crazy about baking) always respond with derision regarding the widespread use of leavening agents in the US/ Australia.
  16. i listened to the recipe and browned the butter for the first time...i let it cool a few minutes and then added in the sugar...of course it did not 'cream' its all gooey and now i have no idea what to do :( i didnt realise you were supposed to let it cool back to a solid...you should probably add that in here so that others do not make this mistake!!!
  17. Great recipe! It turned out great. It tastes amazing. Altough I replaced powder sugar with brown sugar it's amazing. I made dough for 3 batches, the chocolate chip amount is too much. Better eyeball the chocolate chip amount.
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  23. These cookies were phenomenal. I did make two small changes to the butter (i used half Earth Balance Buttery Spread and half coconut oil) and I didn't use brown sugar (I used coconut sugar). I might double the recipe next time because 12 doesn't last long within my reach!
  24. I found your recipe because we are vacationing in a condo and I want to make chocolate chip cookies but forgot to bring baking soda or powder. So happy I can still make them! Thanks so much! Also, I knew the difference between baking soda & powder but didn't know that adding more brown sugar makes the cookies chewier! Yay!
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  27. I just made these and OMG they are amazing!!! I added a little bit of cinnamon with the vanilla and it was quite a nice taste! I would recommend this recipe to anyone! This will be my go to cookie recipe from now on! Love it!
  28. I'm fond of making giant cookies in cast iron skillets. When you pack the entire bottom of the pan with cookie dough, the dough expands but it has nowhere to go except up. So, it rises and produces a thick cake-like cookie, often an inch and a half thick. Now, the only thing wrong with that is that it's more of a cookie-cake than a cookie. So, I tried the recipe without baking soda as you write here. The result was a batch of very soft, gooey cookies. :)
  29. Thank you so much, Baker Bettie. I just moved into a new place and in the midst of all the moving, shopping, wine drinking, etcetera - I completely forgot to pick up an essential in the kitchen. And at midnight when all you want to do is bake cookies, there is not much one can do about it. I loved the science lesson and appreciate all the tips and tricks! Browning the butter? Stick, please. Salting the tops? Dat rise, dough! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Also. You writing is quite witty. :) -Sarah
  30. This is an awesome post.
  31. If you were to add peanut butter and cocoa, how much would you add?
  32. Just to add some interest to your day, I live in a country in South America, and here, baking soda is apparently NOT a common pantry ingredient. I asked my neighbors here if they had any on hand, and they said, "No, sorry." They apparently don't often use it in baking. You can't even get it in grocery stores. If you want it, you have to get sodium bicarbonate at a pharmacy!
  33. Thank you for sharing.
  34. I followed the recipe and all the steps to the tee, but my cookies kind of just melted down filling the whole pan nice and soupy like. Is there something I'm missing? Everything was spaced right, it was just that the cookies literally melted into just a liquid.
  35. Your question,"Why don't you have baking soda, baking powder in your pantry?" The answer is restricted low sodium diet due to chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and or diabetes. Your search engine has so many hits due to people, yes, not having these pantry staples on hand but also due to what I said previously. Living with these restricted diets is extremely hard. Processed foods are out. Finding foods and trying to convert recipes for Low sodium life isn't easy for a lot of people. That's why we thank you for the lesson and for the recipe.
  36. One site suggests potassium bicarbonate as a sub for baking soda, equal amounts.
  37. I just took these cookies out of the oven and tweaked the recipe a tad. I simply added a half a cup of chopped walnuts (since I had walnuts on hand and like them in cookies) and 1 tsp of baking powder (since I only had this and not baking soda and I still wanted a little rise in the cookie). I was fortunate enough to have 60% large Ghirardelli's dark chocolate chips, too. I like the amount of vanilla called for, especially since I had organic vanilla. I especially liked the technique of browning the butter beforehand and agree this made the batter taste extra scrumptious. I had coarse sea salt on hand and sprinkled it on the tops before baking and thought this was a great idea as this will definitely amp the flavor up! So I ended up making 1 dozen cookies, using a 1/4 measuring cup, but filling it about 2/3-3/4 full and the cookies ended up the perfect size. I might eat some warmed up with some vanilla ice cream on top, like a pizookie (BJ's, lol) . Thanks for this recipe!
  38. The cookies came out so goopy! Eww!
  39. My cookies didn't flatten in the oven, so they came out as balls. Do you have any idea what may have caused it and how I can make them flat next time?
  40. Thank you for recipe :) yet to try it. I read the first part of your blog and I thought I would answer your question regarding the baking soda. I have the soda in my pantry - but I can taste it in cookies so prefer not to use it.
  41. Hi I just wanted to say that this was very helpful and I have been looking for recipes without the baking soda part in them and I couldn't really find any so I just wanted to say thank you. (Writing while I am eating the cookies I just made from this recipe)
  42. Made this cookie, great base recipe, I made a few changes or rather additions, I used butter at room temperature, added 1 teaspoon of cocoa as I thought the cooikes in the image here was too white, used only the egg yolk of one egg with 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, and finally I added 1 table spoon of almond flour, just becauseI thought the dough was way too soft. Then I put the dough in my freezer to stiffen up a bit, while the oven pre heated. I WANTED and Got a crunchy cookie. They are awesome. So this is my new go to cookie recipe. No baking powder or soda! Thanks so much.
  43. Praise the Lord for these delicious cookies! For some reason mine don't flatten as much as the ones in your picture but they are so delicious! My husband and I just got married and haven't picked up baking soda/powder at the store so these have been a life saver for those sugar cravings.  Thanks for sharing!!!!
  44. I just made these cookies and have to say they have been quite disappointing :-( the batter did not taste good when I tried it before baking, but felt hopeful that the cookies just needed a good bake. However, now that the cookies are out and cooled, the taste of the flour in the cookies is so prominent you can hardly enjoy anything else in them. Maybe need to add more sugar and butter or something.
    • Hi Briana, So sorry to hear these didn't work out for you. It sounds like you may have over-measured your flour, as this is a common issue in baking. Can I ask how you measured your flour? You want to lightly spoon it into your measuring cup without packing it down at all and then level it off. I am going to update the recipe and include weight measurements as well as this is the most accurate way to measure your ingredients.
  45. Thank you! I've been looking for this simple answer for EVER. I think using powder might help my flat cookie syndrome so I'll start at 2 1/2 times of powder per the called for soda. And yes, I have tried ALL the other 'tricks" to reduce spreading. Thanks again, Louis
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