Is Cream of Tartar Gluten-Free? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Is Cream of Tartar Gluten-Free

You’re halfway through baking when you find out that your recipe calls for an ingredient called cream of tartar. Cream of Tartar, though an unfamiliar ingredient to many, is one of the most versatile ingredients in the baking aisle. It is a leavening agent that is used in a wide variety of baking recipes. Don’t be deceived by its name though. Cream of tartar is not creamy at all; it is a dry powder that is the byproduct of winemaking.

Yes, cream of tartar is gluten-free. The winemaking process doesn’t introduce any grains. Therefore, as its byproduct, cream of tartar does not contain any gluten elements. However, many of the food cream of tartar is used in may not be gluten-free. Some gluten-free alternatives to cream of tartar include baking soda, lemon juice, white vinegar, buttermilk, and yogurt.

In this article, we will discuss what cream of tartar is, what it is used for, and its nutritional content. We will also discuss some of the top brands of cream of tartar along with their ingredients and nutritional information. In addition, we will take a look at alternatives to cream of tartar. Let’s dig in!

About Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar, aka potassium bitartrate or potassium hydrogen tartrate, is a dry, powder-like, acidic byproduct of wine production. Grapes are a natural source of tartaric acid, the main component of cream of tartar. Tartaric acid is half neutralized with potassium hydroxide. This allows cream of tartar to be formed by crystallizing into a hard crust on the inside of wine barrels.

Functions of Cream of Tartar in Food

Cream of tartar is a highly skilled powder. For baking, it can be used as a leavening agent, tenderizer, or acidulate. It could also be used as a coagulant in cheese-making.

  1. Cream of tartar is most commonly used as a leavener. When it is combined with baking soda, the gas carbon dioxide will be produced. This is the same gas produced by yeast in bread baking.
  2. When added to egg whites, cream of tartar increases the strength of individual air bubbles. This slows down these bubbles’ natural tendency to deflate. In baking, this means mile-high meringue pies and angel food cakes that are very light and fluffy.
  3. Other than stabilizing egg whites, cream of tartar also can stabilize whipped cream by maintaining its texture and volume. It is also used to prevent sugar syrup from crystallizing. This particular function is ideal for simple syrups as well as for the chewy texture of cookies. In fact, cream of tartar is famously used for adding flavor to cookies.
  4. In addition, cream of tartar has anti-caking and thickening properties. It is also used to keep vegetables bright and colorful by reducing any discoloration.

You have probably used cream of tartar many times without even knowing it. It is found in baking powder, a combination of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and acid. Cream of tartar is also a component of sodium-free salt substitutes, in combination with potassium chloride.

Nutritional Content of Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is usually consumed in small amounts in food. It does not provide much macronutrients but is high in potassium. It is 20% potassium based on its chemical formula. Cream of tartar also contains trace amounts of other minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc.

Nutrition Information of Cream of Tartar (serving of 1 tsp, 3g):

  • Calories: 8
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 1.56mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1.84g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Potassium: 495mg

Many praise cream of tartar for its several alleged health benefits. These potential health benefits include relieving migraines, aiding in smoking cessation, lowering blood pressure, relieving constipation, etc. Despite the claims, the only benefit that is backed up by science is that cream of tartar might provide some constipation relief.

Some side effects might occur with overconsumption of cream of tartar. The most critical side effect is the risk of hyperkalemia, or excessive potassium levels in the blood.

Extreme ingestion of cream of tartar can also cause abdominal discomfort, abnormal heart rate, and muscle weakness. These are common to the symptoms of hyperkalemia. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies cream of tartar as a safe ingredient to consume in small quantities.

All-Natural Cream of Tartar, McCormick Gourmet

Having been in business for over 130 years, McCormick & Company, Incorporated is now a global leader in flavor. For many bakers, McCormick Gourmet Cream of Tartar is a pantry staple. This cream of tartar is a premium quality product that allows for superior performance. It is also an all-natural and non-GMO product.

McCormick Gourmet Cream of Tartar has a wide diversity of functions in the kitchen. It is used for its anti-caking, anti-crystallizing, and thickening properties. It is also useful for stabilizing egg whites in meringues and angel food cakes.


  • Cream of Tartar

Nutrition Information (per serving of 1/4 tsp):

  • Calories: 2
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0.25mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1.25g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Potassium: 124mg

Cream of Tartar, Good and Gather

Good & Gather is Target’s largest owned brand. They have more than 2,000 products that range from pantry items and sauces to fresh produce.

Cream of Tartar from Good & Gather is used for its ability to stabilize and add volume to egg whites. This ingredient, thus, facilitates making desserts lighter and fluffier. It is a must-have for many recipes. It can also be combined with baking soda to replace baking powder. This cream of tartar is Non-GMO Project Verified.


  • Cream of Tartar

Nutrition Information (per serving of 1/4 tsp):

  • Calories: 0
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Potassium: 158mg

Cream of Tartar, Spiceology

Spiceology was founded in 2013 and is chef-owned and operated. They guaranty freshness as they make their products in small batches and ship them directly. All Spiceology’s spices, herbs, and blends are non-irradiated, have no preservatives, are all-natural, and contain no MSG.


  • Cream of Tartar

Nutrition Information (for serving of 1/4 tsp):

  • Calories: 0
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Cream of Tartar, Badia

Established in 1967, Badia Spices is proud to offer organic and gluten-free products. The cream of tartar from Badia is used by many. It is MSG-free and has no known allergens.


  • Cream of Tartar

Nutrition Information (for serving of 1/4 tsp):

  • Calories: 2
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Potassium: 165mg

Alternatives to Cream of Tartar

If you don’t have any cream of tartar in your pantry, there are plenty of alternatives. The following replacements are also gluten-free.

Baking Powder

As mentioned earlier, baking powder is made from baking soda and cream of tartar. So, if your recipe calls for baking soda and cream of tartar, you can simply substitute both with baking powder.

This modification is ideal as it does not affect the taste or texture of the final product.  It could be a substitution used in any recipe. Every 1 teaspoon, or 3.5 grams, of cream of tartar can be substituted with 1.5 teaspoons, or 6 grams, of baking powder.

Clabber Girl, Baking Powder Double Acting

Clabber Girl: Double Acting Baking Powder, 22 Oz Clabber Girl Double-Acting Baking Powder has been on the market for over 100 years. Clabber Girl ensures that their product is high quality for a pleasurable food experience. The baking soda’s leavening action starts when it is mixed with moisture and again when it is heated.

Clabber Girl Baking Powder is certified gluten-free, kosher, and vegan-friendly. This baking powder has a shelf life of two years after the manufactured date.


  • Corn Starch
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Sodium Aluminum Sulfate
  • Monocalcium Phosphate

Nutrition Information (for serving of 0.13 tsp):

  • Calories: 0
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 60mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is an easy and good substitute for cream of tartar. Both cream of tartar and lemon juice can provide the necessary acidity for a recipe. This means that lemon juice can replace cream of tartar and still achieve stiff peaks when whipping egg whites.

Lemon juice could also replace cream of tartar in syrups or frostings as it also prevents crystallization. Cream of tartar can be replaced with an equal amount of lemon juice.

Concord Foods, Lemon Juice from Concentrate

Concord Foods | Lemon Juice from Concentrate | 4.5 fl oz/ 133 ml If you would like to by ready lemon juice from the store, Concord Foods Lemon Juice is an option. This ingredient is often used in sweet and savory recipes. 3 tablespoons of Concord Foods Lemon Juice are equal to the juice of 1 medium lemon.


  • Lemon Juice from Concentrate (Filtered Water, Lemon Juice Concentrate)
  • Sodium Bisulfite and Sodium Benzoate (As Preservatives)
  • Natural Lemon Oil

Nutrition Information (for serving of 1 tsp, 5ml):

  • Calories: 0
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: <1g
  • Protein: 0g

White Vinegar

Like cream of tartar, white vinegar is an acid. White vinegar can be used as an alternative to cream of tartar when you’re in a pinch in the kitchen. Keep in mind that it may alter the taste and texture of your recipes.

For recipes like soufflés and meringues where the stabilization of the egg whites is necessary, this substitute could work. For this alternative, use an equal amount of white vinegar in place of the cream of tartar.

Heinz, All Natural Distilled White Vinegar

Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar, 5% Acidity, 16 Fl Ounce (1 Pint) Heinz All Natural Distilled White Vinegar is well known and is used by many. It has a crisp and fresh taste as it is made from sun-ripened grain and crystalline water. This vinegar can be used in salads, sauces, marinades, etc.


  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Diluted with Water To 5% (50 Grains) Acidity

Nutrition Information (for serving of 1 Tbsp, 15ml):

  • Calories: 5
  • Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 0g


Buttermilk is liquid leftover after churning whole milk to make butter. This liquid is thick and acidic and is often used in baking. It adds richness without adding fat.

Since buttermilk is acidic, it can replace cream of tartar in some recipes. In baking, some liquid might need to be removed when buttermilk is added in place of cream of tartar. For every 1/4 teaspoon, or 1 gram, of cream of tartar, 1/2 cup, or 120 ml, of liquid should be removed. You should then add 1/2 a cup of buttermilk to the recipe.

Darigold, 3.5% Bulgarian Buttermilk

Darigold Bulgarian Style 3.5% Buttermilk is rich, thick, and full of flavor. This buttermilk contains vitamins, minerals, and Lactobacillus Bulgaricus.  It is added to several different recipes, such as pancakes, biscuits, and even fried chicken.


  • Cultured Milk
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Salt

Nutrition Information (for serving of 1 cup, 240ml):

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 35mg
  • Sodium: 260mg
  • Carbohydrates: 13g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0g
  • Total Sugar: 12g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Calcium: 304mg
  • Iron: 0mg


Yogurt is a fermented milk product. It is acidic and could be used as an alternative to cream of tartar in some recipes. This replacement requires the removal of other liquids from the recipe when it’s applied.

Before replacing yogurt with cream of tartar, thin it out with milk so that it matches the consistency of buttermilk. For each 1/4 teaspoon, 1 gram, of cream of tartar, remove 1/2 cup, or 120 ml, of liquid. Then, add 1/2 a cup of thinned-out yogurt.

Yoplait, Original Mixed Berry Low Fat Yogurt

Yoplait Original Mixed Berry Yogurt has a sweet mixed berry flavor. It is made with real raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries. It is gluten-free and comes in a cup container, making it an easy on-the-go snack. Yoplait Original Mixed Berry Yogurt contains no artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup or colors from artificial sources.


  • Cultured Grade A Reduced Fat Milk
  • Sugar
  • Blueberries
  • Water
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Contains 1% or less of:
    • Blackberries
    • Corn Starch
    • Tricalcium Phosphate
    • Pectin
    • Natural Flavor
    • Vitamin A Acetate
    • Vitamin D3

Nutrition Information (for serving of 1 container, 170g):

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 2g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 90mg
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0g
  • Total Sugar: 20g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Calcium: 260mg
  • Iron: 0mg

Final Thoughts

Cream of tartar is gluten-free as it is a byproduct of winemaking. Winemaking doesn’t use ingredients that contain gluten.

If you do not have cream of tartar, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. All the mentioned alternatives in this article are also gluten-free.

Related Questions

Is Cream of Tartar Vegan?

Yes, cream of tartar is vegan. It is vegan-friendly because it is not made with any animal-derived ingredients or processes.

Is Cream of Tartar Paleo?

Yes, cream of tartar is okay to eat on Paleo. It is a common baking ingredient used in several paleo recipes as a replacement for ingredients that are not paleo-friendly.

Is Tartar Sauce Made from Cream of Tartar?

Cream of tartar is not an ingredient in Tartar sauce. This sauce is a popular condiment that is made with mayonnaise, pickles, capers, lemon juice, and herbs. Some variations might add ingredients like olives, apple cider, parsley, onions, or shallots.

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Tina Sassine

I am a nutritionist that started writing in hopes of helping people become the healthiest version of themselves. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition, I went on to gain experience in both clinical and healthcare settings. As I continue to expand my knowledge, I strive to educate others with me.

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