Cream of Tartar and Its Uses

Cream of tartar is a white crystalline powder used as an acidity regulator in baking and cooking. It can also be found on your toothpaste, helping to whiten teeth naturally.

It can be substituted with other ingredients such as baking soda or cornstarch.

Cream of tartar may seem sophisticated, either because it’s created during the winemaking process or because anything creamy is always delicious. However, after using it once for that meringue dish, it might become trapped in the back of your kitchen cupboard.

One day you stumble across it and wonder, “How do I utilize cream of tartar?” This granular ingredient is not only good for baking but can also be used to polish surfaces and remove difficult stains, similar to baking soda.

It’s time to give this one another go if you’re ready to add another beneficial item to your kitchen for both baking and cleaning.

What Is Tartar Cream?

Cream of tartar is technically potassium hydrogen tartrate, commonly known as potassium bitartrate. It’s discovered in the sediment left behind after the winemaking process. The acidic residue in the barrels is filtered into a powdery white material after fermenting the wine.

This acidic powder is a tartaric acid derivative that stabilizes in baking. It’s a direct food ingredient that’s also utilized as a thickening, a pH control agent, and a processing aid.

What Is Its Purpose?

There are a few reasons why cream of tartar is used in the kitchen. It’s used as a stabilizing component in many baking recipes, and it acts to activate the alkaline in baking soda.

It has use outside of the kitchen as well. Here’s how to utilize this mysterious powder in a few simple and practical ways:

  1. Stabilizing chemical: helps egg whites stay strong and fluffy. In addition, it aids in the formation of the firm peaks desired in meringue.
  2. Baking powder substitute: It may be combined with baking soda to make baking powder, which can then be used in baked goods recipes as a leavening ingredient. Simply combine half a teaspoon of cream of tartar with equal amounts baking soda to produce baking powder.
  3. Prevents sugar crystals: It prevents sugar crystals from developing while creating frostings or syrups by preventing sugar crystals from forming when sugar is boiled.
  4. Stain remover: Use it to get rid of stubborn stains on your garments. Simply wet the area, add a tiny bit of cream of tartar, then scrape the area with a toothbrush. Then, as normal, wash the item of clothing.
  5. Prevents rusting: Cream of tartar may aid in preventing rust when coupled with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Make a paste using the components and apply it to the rusted area for an hour before cleaning it.
  6. Polish stainless steel appliances and silver: Combine 14 cups potassium bitartrate and one cup white vinegar to polish stainless steel appliances and silver. Wipe appliances and silverware with a sponge dipped in it.

Potential Advantages

The advantages of cream of tartar are primarily anecdotal and unsupported by scientific evidence. Some of these possible advantages need consuming levels more significant than those found in typical recipes, posing a higher risk of toxicity, which should be addressed before utilizing the food ingredient therapeutically.

The following are some of the possible advantages of cream of tartar:

1. It has antimicrobial properties.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that potassium bitartrate, when applied topically as a flavor, may help combat acne. This might be because of its antibacterial capabilities, although there isn’t enough data to back this up.

Bath fizzes and bath bombs may also include potassium bitartrate.

2. May assist in the relief of headaches.

Many of the advantages of cream of tartar are due to the potassium content, including the potential to alleviate migraine headaches. However, no scientific studies show this is safe or helpful, and too much potassium might have fatal adverse effects.

Consult your doctor before using this dietary item to treat headaches.

3. It functions as a natural laxative.

Potassium bitartrate is a natural laxative that may aid with constipation and other digestive disorders. Its potassium and magnesium levels provide this advantage.

However, case studies have shown that taking too much cream of tartar for its laxative effects might cause toxicity, so stick to tiny doses combined with water.

4. May facilitate smoking cessation.

Can cream of tartar be used to help you stop smoking? Unfortunately, although it is advertised for this purpose on the internet, there is no proof to back it up.

In principle, it replenishes potassium levels in the body while aiding the elimination of nicotine and other pollutants via its laxative actions. However, since too much of it might be harmful, it’s recommended to see a doctor before including it into your smoking-cessation diet.

Substitutes for Tartar Cream

Cream of tartar is utilized in recipes because of its capacity to produce an acidic response. Although a comparable reaction may be achieved using lemon juice or white vinegar, adding more liquid to the recipe may alter the consistency somewhat, resulting in a slightly different result.

If you’re searching for cream of tartar substitute, try any of the following foods:

  • A whole teaspoon of lemon juice is required for a half teaspoon of cream of tartar.
  • White vinegar: You’ll need a full teaspoon of vinegar for every half teaspoon of potassium bitartrate in the recipe, much like lemon juice.
  • Baking powder: If a recipe asks for both baking soda and cream of tartar, you may use baking powder instead of both ingredients. Use 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder for every teaspoon of cream of tartar.
  • Buttermilk: Because buttermilk is acidic, it may be used in lieu of cream of tartar. However, some liquid from the recipe will need to be removed in order for this to work. Half a cup of buttermilk may be substituted for a quarter teaspoon of potassium bitartrate, but half a cup of liquid (such as water) must be removed from the recipe.

Dishes (and Healthy Swaps)

Because cream of tartar is often used as a leavening and stabilizing element in baked products, you’ll have no trouble finding recipes for it. You’ll probably find it on the list of ingredients in any angel food cake, meringue, or light, floaty cake recipe.

You may produce buttermilk by mixing one tablespoon of cream of tartar with one cup of milk if you’re seeking a healthier alternative to the cream of tartar in baking recipes. It’ll provide you with the acid you need to make buttermilk.

Is cream of tartar perishable? On the contrary, it will keep fresh forever if kept in a cold, dark location.

Check to see whether it’s still a white powder with an acidic odor if you’re not sure how long it’s been sitting in your kitchen cabinet.

Side Effects and Risks

The potassium concentration of cream of tartar poses a concern and may cause adverse effects. According to a case study, potassium cream of tartar has caused life-threatening hyperkalemia or excessive potassium levels in the blood.

In two instances, patients were admitted to the hospital after consuming six tablespoons of cream of tartar mixed in liquid as a laxative and cleaning agent.

It may induce diarrhea, dehydration, and electrolyte loss since it operates as a laxative. Therefore, when eating potassium bitartrate for any purpose other than adding little quantities to recipes, remember to take it slowly.

If you’re going to use it for therapeutic purposes, it’s advisable to talk to your doctor beforehand.


  • Cream of tartar is a white powdered acidic material left behind from the winemaking process. Potassium bitartrate is another name for it.
  • It’s most typically used to keep eggs stable when beating them for baking. It also acts as a thickening and pH regulator.
  • In addition to eliminating stains, cleaning appliances, and polishing silverware, potassium bitartrate may be utilized in the household.
  • Although the scientific proof for the health advantages of potassium bitartrate is weak, the potassium content may aid in digestion, headache relief, acne treatment, and smoking cessation.
  • Consuming too much of the powdered material, on the other hand, might result in hazardous adverse effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of cream of tartar in a recipe?

A: Cream of tartar is a type of salt made by reacting milk and sugar with an acid in a pot. It is commonly used as a thickening agent because it binds to the water molecules on the surface, stopping them from floating away. In some cases, you may also use cream of tartar for its anti-yeast properties

Is cream of tartar the same as baking soda?

A: Cream of tartar is a white crystalline powder, while baking soda is an alkaline salt. They have different chemical compositions and properties that make them different items.

What is cream of tartar?

A: Cream of tartar is a natural food additive that has been used for centuries. It is primarily derived from fermented grapes but can also be derived from apples or berries. It may have some health benefits when combined with other ingredients and foods it’s added to.

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