Should You Use Baking Powder or Baking Soda In Fried Chicken?

Fried Chicken Baking Powder or Soda?
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Fried Chicken, Baking Powder Or Baking Soda?

Baking soda and baking powder are two kitchen staples and many home cooks confuse the two. Some people even think that both of them are the same but that’s not so.

Since their functions and roles are different, it’s important to talk about which one is best to use for your fried chicken batter – baking powder or baking soda.

If you want crispy fried chicken, it’s essential to use the correct ingredient to make sure it turns out just right.

So, let’s check out the differences and see which one is better for fried chicken!

Baking Powder Or Baking Soda for Fried Chicken

Baking Powder

Baking Powder
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Baking powder is basically an alkali – baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) – that is mixed with a dry acid, namely, cream of tartar. It also contains some filler such as cornflour or rice flour to absorb moisture.

When baking powder is mixed with a liquid such as water, it releases carbon dioxide bubbles which cause baked and other goods to rise. This reaction occurs as soon as the liquid is mixed in so it is important to cook whatever the food is immediately to achieve maximum benefit from the bubbles.

You can purchase double-acting baking powders. These are activated once the liquid has been mixed in and again when the mixture has been heated.

For the most part, baking powder is used for recipes where there are no acidic ingredients such as lemon, buttermilk, or yogurt. For example, you can use baking powder in cakes, brownies, and cookies. However, baking powder can still be used together with acidic ingredients.

A rule of thumb for quantities is to add 1 teaspoon of baking powder for every cup of flour. Too much baking powder will give your finished product a bitter flavor, so make sure you follow the recipe.

Given these characteristics, baking powder makes a great addition to dumplings and chicken batters.

If you don’t have any baking powder and need some, you can make it by mixing half a teaspoon of cream of tartar with a quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). This will make the equivalent of a teaspoonful of baking powder.

If you need to make self-raising flour, simply add a teaspoonful of baking powder or your homemade equivalent to 110 g of plain flour.

Baking Soda

jar of baking soda on the white background
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The biggest difference between baking powder and baking soda is that the latter doesn’t contain any acid. This means that it needs to be mixed with acidic ingredients to start its bubbling reaction. For this purpose, you can use vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt, or lemon juice.

The chemical reaction will raise the food when it’s being used in a baking recipe. Keep in mind that baking soda is three to four times stronger than baking powder.

Given its strong nature and flavor, it needs to be used in limited amounts only. Also, excessive baking soda will result in a soapy, metallic flavor in the food. However, too little and the batter won’t rise so be sure to follow the recipe carefully.

When baking soda is mixed with an acidic ingredient, it releases carbon dioxide gas. The resulting bubbles will cause the food to rise. Baking soda will make cakes fluffy and cookies crispy.

It can be used to make soda bread, cookies, and cakes. Baking soda deteriorates over time so be sure to use a fresh batch.

Making Chicken

Baking Powder, Baking Soda, And Vanilla
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When it comes to frying chicken, either baking powder or baking soda can be used but it depends on the other ingredients. If your batter contains buttermilk, go ahead and use baking soda. However, if your batter contains nothing acidic, you will need to use baking powder.

For instance, if you want to make crispy chicken wings, you can use aluminum-free baking powder which results in extremely crispy skin. Using baking powder will not interfere with the chicken’s flavor yet it will make the skin crispy.

On the other hand, baking soda has an alkaline nature which breaks down the chicken’s peptide bonds. This will initiate the browning process for chicken which means the chicken will become crispier and browner quickly as compared to baking powder.

Also, baking soda will create small air bubbles when the chicken is placed into the hot oil. As a result, bubbles will expand on the chicken’s surface leading to a crispy, light crust on the chicken.

Try Our Recipe for Crispy, Succulent Chicken Strips/Tenders

Your family is going to love these chicken breast strips. They contain baking powder, so you get to put the principles we’ve just spoken about into action and your family gets a treat.

crispy golden brown chicken breast crispy tenders
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  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 3 cups vegetable oil to fry

Bread Mix

  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Batter Mix

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Use 2 separate bowls – one for the breading and one for the batter.
  2. Dip each chicken strip first into the dry breading, then into the wet batter, then back into the breading.
  3. Shake off any excess and repeat with all the strips.
    Heat the oil in a big, fairly deep pot.
  4. Fry the chicken strips a few at a time until they are golden and crispy.
  5. Drain on paper towels. Serve them hot with your favorite sweet dipping sauce. We hope you enjoy them.

To Sum Up

Either baking soda or baking powder can be used in the batter when cooking fried chicken. However, if you are going to use baking soda, ensure that the batter contains some form of acids such as buttermilk, yogurt, vinegar, or lemon juice to initiate the chemical reaction that makes the bubbles.

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