Did you know that baking soda is an underrated yet one of the most versatile ingredients you can have in your pantry?
In addition to being a baking and cooking powerhouse, baking soda also doubles as a cleaning agent, laundry booster, deodorizer, whitener, and many more. (*)
Since we use it not only in the kitchen but also in different parts of our home, we must make sure that the powder inside that bright orange box is still safe to use.
With that said, does baking soda go bad?
Yes, it does go bad. But unlike other food items, it won’t get spoiled or moldy. Instead, it will lose its potency.
So how would you know if it is still good to use? This article will tell you how!
When you read this article, you’ll also learn the answers to the following questions:
Are you ready to discover all the answers? If so, let’s dive right in!
What is Baking Soda?
Chemically, it is sodium bicarbonate. It’s used as a leavening agent in baked recipes and is the ingredient responsible for helping dough and batter rise while they bake.
Here’s how it works: it is alkaline, so it reacts with the acidic ingredients (like buttermilk, lemon juice, and vinegar) in the recipe.
This chemical reaction yield carbon dioxide which is a compound that causes the baked goods to rise and lift.
- Fun Fact: The fresher baking soda is, the more effective it will be for cooking and baking purposes.
Does It Go Bad?
As we’ve mentioned, baking soda can go bad over time. But instead of getting spoiled or becoming moldy, baking soda goes bad in the sense that it will start to lose potency.
Once it does, it will not be able to deliver the desired result in your recipes, especially in baked goods.
- Fun Fact: While it has gone bad may no longer produce the expected leavening action, it’s still safe for consumption.
How Long Can Baking Soda Last?
If baking soda is stored properly, it can definitely stay safe and good even past its best date.
Here’s the rule of thumb to follow when it comes to determining the shelf life of baking soda:
- An unopened package of Baking Soda: 2 years
- An opened package of Baking Soda: 6 years
How do you know if baking soda went bad?
Many things can cause the baking soda to lose its potency fast. The two most common causes would be heat and moisture.
With that said, how can you tell if baking soda still has an excellent leavening action? Here’s the test that you can try:
- Step 1. Spoon a small amount of baking soda into a bowl.
- Step 2. Add a few drops of any acidic liquid. For example, you can choose between vinegar or lemon juice.
- Step 3. Watch how it reacts to it.
If the baking soda fizzes vigorously right away, it can still work well on your baking recipes. If not, it means that the baking soda has already lost its potency and may no longer be effective in making your baked goods rise.
Did you know?
Even though your baking soda has already lost its leavening properties, you can still use it for cleaning purposes. For example, you can mix it with water following a 1:3 ratio to make a scrub for kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Check Out These Tips On Storing Your Baking Soda!
The best way to keep your baking soda fresh and potent is to store it properly. Here are some tips that you can follow:
1. Place it in an airtight container or resealable plastic.
The biggest enemy of baking soda is moisture. When it comes in contact with water or any other type of liquid, it will form clumps. Not only that, but the ingredients in baking soda will also oxidize, causing it to go bad faster.
That’s why you should transfer the baking soda from the box to either an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to label the bag or container with the date of storage, so you determine how long it has been stored.
2. Store in a dark, cool, and dry place.
Heat and moisture can also cause the baking soda to degrade faster. To prevent this, it’s recommended that you store baking soda in a kitchen cabinet or pantry that’s not located near heat sources (oven or stove) and kitchen windows.
3. Keep it away from smelly food items.
Another thing you should understand about baking soda is it can easily absorb odors. To avoid this, ensure that you won’t store it near smelly food items like spices.
4. When scooping out, make sure to use clean and dry spoons.
Dirty utensils will cause bacterial contamination. On the other hand, wet scoops will activate the baking soda, reducing its shelf life.
The Bottom Line
While baking soda is a shelf-stable ingredient, it will go bad. In addition to becoming clumpy, it may lose its potency, rendering it ineffective in helping doughs and baked goods rise.
The best way to avoid this is to store baking soda properly. But more than that, we highly recommend using it all up before it goes bad. Lucky for you, it is not just for cooking and baking purposes. You can use it for home, cleaning, and your health. (*)