Do Brownies Need Baking Soda/Powder? 


Baking powder and baking soda always seem to be the two ingredients that are mistaken for each other in baking. Since they both have the word baking in them, you would think that they would be interchangeable. 

While their names are similar, they are two very different dry ingredients used in baking. Which dry “baking” ingredient do you need when making brownies? 

You need baking powder to whip up a batch of brownies. Baking powder is the ingredient that allows your brownies to rise. It is also what helps to make brownies light and cakey instead of dense and fudgy. 

Brownies do need baking powder in them so that they will rise properly. If you leave out the baking powder the brownies will be very dense. 

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Can You Leave The Baking Powder Out Of Your Brownies? 

You forgot that you promised your child brownies for the class party. And of course, the party is tomorrow. You find the ingredients that you purchased when you first made the promise only to see that you don’t have any baking powder. 

Does this mean you have to go to the store and purchase some? Can you still bake brownies if you don’t have any baking powder? 

You can still make brownies if you do not have any baking powder. However, the brownies will look and taste a bit different as they won’t rise. 

The baking powder is what allows your brownies to rise so the brownies will just be a little bit flatter than normal. However, what they might lack in appearance can be made up for in taste. 

Since the brownies won’t have a chance to rise, this makes the brownies denser. A denser brownie means a fudgy brownie which you or your kids might like even better. 

What Happens If You Use Baking Soda Instead Of Baking Powder? 

You have already started mixing some of the ingredients for your brownies when you reach and see you grabbed baking soda instead of baking powder. Thankfully, you realized before it was too late that you needed baking powder. 

Unfortunately, you then see that you do not have any baking powder in the house. Is that a huge problem? 

Can you use baking soda instead of baking powder for your brownies? 

Baking soda is not a good baking powder substitute. If you use baking soda instead of baking powder, your brownies will not rise and they will be extremely flat. 

Here are a few other substitute suggestions that you can use as a rising agent for your brownies. 

You can use baking soda, but you need to have an acidic base to make the substitute work. The most common mixture is baking soda and cream of tartar. You need ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. This mixture equals one teaspoon of baking powder. 

If your recipe calls for 2 teaspoons, you just need to double the ingredients. 

If you have baking soda and no cream of tartar, you can then use another acidic substitute. It could either be something like lemon juice or white vinegar. 

If you are using either one of these liquids for the acidic base, the new mixture would be 1 teaspoon of the liquid and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. This mixture would then be equal to one teaspoon of baking powder. 

Is Butter Or Oil Better For Brownies? 

The first published recipe for brownies included flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and chocolate. Today the recipe has been enhanced and you can even make brownies with black beans and avocado (if you really want to). 

As the world evolves, so do health standards and diet trends. For a while, butter was considered an awful ingredient to use in anything; baking with oils was the way to go. A little later, the oils were bad and the world was back to butter. 

Even though we have changed and added a few ingredients to brownies, the base ingredients remain the same. However, an exception can be made for butter. 

So, which is better for moist and delicious brownies: oil or butter? 

If you are just looking at taste, butter is better in your brownie mix. Health wise though oil is normally better than butter. 

Here are a few differences in brownies when oil or butter is used. 

Butter Vs. Oil: Health

Oils are full of different health benefits. Some oils contain vitamins A and E and others contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These health benefits are important and something that our bodies need. 

On the other hand, there isn’t very much nutritional value in a stick of butter. The good news is that most brownie recipes call for unsalted butter; this helps lower the sodium in brownies. 

In the debate between which substance is healthier, the oils win. There are many benefits for our bodies that are in oil that just aren’t there in butter. 

This isn’t to say that butter is necessarily bad, it just doesn’t offer much nutritional value. 

Butter Vs. Oil: Taste

The big question, and most important one to many people, is which brownies would taste better; oil or butter? If you don’t care much for the health value of dessert, then taste is where it is at. 

Butter does provide a better taste in brownies. However, if you decide to add nuts, caramel, cream cheese, peanut butter, or other ingredients to your brownies, the taste of the butter might not be missed and you can opt for the healthier fat. 

Butter Vs. Oil: Texture

When you bake a batter using butter, you get a more cakey batter. If you prefer a gooey batter, then oil is an acceptable substitute for butter. 

The use of butter in the batter is to prevent clumping and allows the baking powder to do its job of making the brownies rise. Oil does the same, however, your brownie mixture won’t rise as much. 

This is why when you use oil in the brownie batter, the brownies come out more dense and gooey. 

What Happens If You Add An Extra Egg To Brownie Mix? 

Sometimes as you are baking you can get carried away. You’ve made brownies plenty of times and they always taste great. You look on the counter and see a few more eggshells than normal. 

You were so wrapped up in baking and got carried away with cracking and adding eggs. Is this a big problem? 

How will your brownies turn out now that you’ve added more eggs? 

Adding extra eggs to your batter does change the texture of your brownies. Your brownies will be more cakey instead of fudgy. If you are looking for a more gooey batter, then you can even reduce the number of eggs in your batter as well. 

The recipe will let you know if you need a small, medium, or large egg. If all you have is large eggs and the recipe calls for medium, you have two options. 

If you want a more cakey brownie, then use the number of eggs in the recipe. If you prefer a gooey brownie, then use one less egg than suggested. 

Final Thoughts

Baking powder is the “baking” ingredient to use in brownies. If you don’t have any at the time of baking, no worries. 

You will just have some extra dense, gooey brownies for dessert. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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