Want to store baking powder long-term? Even though baking powder is considered non-perishable, it is actually one of the more difficult items to stockpile. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your baking powder stockpile stays good.
Does Baking Powder Go Bad?
Baking powder does not go bad in the same way that other foods do: it won’t grow harmful bacteria or mold. Thus, it’s safe to consume baking powder even years after it has expired.
However, if not stored properly, baking powder will undergo a chemical reaction. Over time, it will start to lose potency. In this sense, baking powder does go bad.
Expiration Date of Baking Powder
Unopened, baking powder will usually last for 4 years after its package date. Once opened, baking powder is usually only good for 6-12 months.
It will be safe to consume but won’t help baked goods rise anymore. For example, if you use old baking powder in a cake recipe, you risk ending up with a hard, flat lump of a cake.
Storing Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda
Baking powder contains baking soda, cream of tartar and (sometimes) cornstarch. So, baking powder is stored in a similar way to baking soda.
There’s a big difference though. Baking soda is primarily activated by acids, so it is shelf-stable for long periods of time even without any special packaging. By contrast, baking powder already contains an acid (the cream of tartar). It will activate once it gets wet. Even small amounts of moisture can activate baking powder and cause it to lose potency. In this sense, storing baking powder is more difficult than storing baking soda.
Personally, I don’t bother storing baking powder long-term. Instead, I only store baking soda. It can be used in place of baking powder in recipes and also has many other survival uses, like homemade cleaning products and toothpaste.
Baking Powder Substitute: For each teaspoon of baking powder, use ¼ tsp. baking soda + a splash of vinegar or lemon juice.
How to Store Baking Powder Long-Term
Baking powder is very sensitive to moisture. It’s very important to keep it dry so the ingredients don’t activate and lose their potency. Heat also can activate baking powder. Thus, the best way to store baking powder is in an air-tight container somewhere cool.
Below are some methods for storing baking powder long-term.
Because baking powder is so sensitive to moisture, a lot of brands package their baking powder in air-tight containers. If left unopened and kept in a cool place, baking powder can last for years like this. Metallic or plasticized sachets of baking powder are also good (you will need scissors to open these types of sachets).
If you don’t want to repackage baking powder, then look for baking powder in this sort of packaging. Even though it is cheaper, avoid baking powder which comes in plastic bags or paper-like sachets.
Tip: Don’t use a lot of baking powder? Choose sachets instead of larger containers. Then you won’t have to worry about the unused baking powder going bad.
Mason Jars or Air-Tight Plastic Containers
After opening a container of baking powder, you can put it into mason jars or other containers with a strong lid. These have a better seal than the cheap lids on the original packaging, so will do a better job of keeping moisture out of the baking powder. It’s not a good long-term solution but will help keep your baking powder good for a year or more. See these food storage containers.
Once they are sealed, Mylar bags won’t let any air through. This will protect the baking powder from moisture and keep it safe for years. If kept in a cool place, baking powder can last indefinitely this way.
There’s no benefit to putting baking powder in Mylar bags if it’s already in air-tight packaging. But, if you’ve opened the container or have bulk baking powder, Mylar is a great solution.
Cans – NOT recommended
Do not store baking powder in cans. As with baking soda, the baking powder can get a weird metallic taste if stored in cans. And, if moisture builds up in the can, the baking powder might react with the metal. Read about #10 cans here.
Vacuum Sealing – Not Recommended
Once you open a container of baking powder, you can vacuum seal it. This will help protect the baking powder against moisture in the air. However, vacuum sealer bags actually aren’t completely air-tight. They will allow some air and moisture through. Thus, vacuum sealing isn’t a good long-term storage method for baking powder.
Oxygen Absorbers – Not Recommended
Oxygen doesn’t cause baking powder to go bad, so there is no need to use oxygen absorbers with baking powder. There is also some concern that the oxygen absorbers might react with the baking soda in the powder, so it’s not recommended to use oxygen absorbers when storing baking powder.
Read more about using oxygen absorbers for storing food here.
Desiccants for Storing Baking Powder
Desiccants, such as silica gel packets, can be used with baking powder. They do seem to help control humidity in the container. However, since baking powder is so sensitive, this isn’t a good solution for long-term storage. It’s better to start off with low-humidity in the packaging then try to remove it with a desiccant.
Tip: If you are repackaging lots of baking powder (such as into Mylar bags), do it on a low-humidity day or turn on your dehumidifier at full blast.
How to Test Whether Baking Powder Is Still Good
Because baking powder contains both baking soda and an acid, it will immediately activate when you add water to it. To test baking powder:
- Put ½ cup of hot water in a cup
- Drop ½ teaspoon of baking powder into the water
- If the baking powder immediately starts making bubbles, it is still good. If it doesn’t bubble or the bubbles are slow and small, the baking powder has gone bad.