Is Baking Powder Gluten-Free?

Baking Powder
Getty Images / skhoward

Gluten-free baking recipes frequently call for "gluten-free" baking powder, and some products are labeled "gluten-free." Why is that?

Learn what's in baking powder and even make your own fresh gluten-free baking powder at home.

Not all brands of baking powder are gluten-free.

Baking powder is made from baking soda, cream of tartar (a by-product of wine production) and a "moisture absorption agent" which is usually, but not always, cornstarch.

Other starches including potato starch (gluten-free) and wheat starch (contains gluten) can be used in baking powder products. Therefore, not all brands of baking powder are gluten-free.

According to manufacturer information, the following baking powder brands are gluten-free. Most of these products are available at large and small grocery stores in the United States.

Product freshness is extremely important when using baking powder. Unlike baking soda, which has an indefinite shelf life, baking powder is only good for 6 months to a year because of its sensitivity to moisture and humidity.

Baking powder is a "leavening agent," which means it helps baked goods rise. Old, inactive baking powder won't give baked goods the necessary lift as active, fresh baking powder. We can't have flat as a pancake cookies!  Always check the expiration date on the tin before buying baking powder. 

If you aren't sure if the baking powder you have in your pantry at home is still active, try this simple test.

Edited by Stephanie Kirkus, July 2016.

Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans, and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.