WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Blog

What Is Cream of Tartar?

Cream of tartar, or potassium hydrogen tartrate, is a byproduct of fermenting grapes for wine. This acidic compound is what’s left behind on winemaking barrels once the grapes are removed. It is commonly used in baking and cooking for leavening, stabilizing, and color retention. To learn more about where you can find cream of tartar and what to use it for, keep reading.

Where to Find Cream of Tartar

You can find cream of tartar in the spice aisle of most grocery stores. Bakeries can also buy cream of tartar in bulk wherever they buy baking supplies.

Shop All Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar Uses

Cream of tartar is a versatile ingredient that you can use for a variety of recipes and applications. Here are some of the most common uses for cream of tartar:

cream of tartar in Snickerdoodles
  • Making Smooth Meringues: Cream of tartar helps to stabilize egg whites and speed up the foaming process when making meringue. To give your egg whites more stability, add 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar per egg white.
  • Baking Snickerdoodle Cookies: Most traditional snickerdoodle recipes include cream of tartar to give these cookies their signature tangy taste and chewy texture.
  • Substituting Baking Powder: Baking powder is made by combining baking soda and cream of tartar. If you’re in a pinch, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of baking powder with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar.
  • Reducing Discoloration of Vegetables: When boiling or steaming vegetables, add 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar to the water to keep them bright and colorful.
  • Preventing Sugar Crystals in Candy Making: Adding cream of tartar to your cooking sugar can help stop the formation of crystals that ruin the texture of your candy.
Lemon Juice cream of tartar substitute

Cream of Tartar Substitute

If you need a quick substitute for cream of tartar, use 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to replace every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar in your recipe. These ingredients will replace the acidity of cream of tartar in your dish.

How Long Does Cream of Tartar Last?

Cream of tartar does not expire so long as you store it in a cool and dry space. When in doubt, check for a powdery, white appearance and a slightly acidic smell. Discard your cream of tartar if it has become discolored or if it has a strong smell.


If your entrees and sides feature boiled vegetables and your desserts incorporate a lot of meringue, cream of tartar is a great ingredient to keep in your pantry. This acidic substance brings tanginess to your baked goods, stabilizes egg whites, keeps vegetables colorful, and pairs with baking soda to leaven your batters and doughs.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | Bakeries | By Christine Potts
Leave a Comment

A WebstaurantStore account is required to comment. Already have an account? Log In Here or Create an account.

Webstaurant TVProduct demonstrations, how-to's, & descriptions ArticlesIn-depth information and tips for running a successful restaurant Buying GuidesTools to help you find the perfect product for your business