Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a mystery ingredient to many. You might have it on your shelf or maybe have seen it in the spice aisle, but what the heck is it?

Cream of tartar

What is cream of tartar?

Listen, I could paraphrase this, but Wikipedia said it well and scientifically, so here is what they have to say:

“Potassium bitartrate, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, with formula KC₄H₅O₆, is a byproduct of winemaking. In cooking it is known as cream of tartar. It is processed from the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid. The resulting powdery acid can be used in baking or as a cleaning solution.”

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What is cream of tartar used for?

I associate cream of tartar most with making meringue or whipping egg whites. It works as a stabilizer to help it stay light, fluffy and stiff.

It can also be used for cleaning much like baking soda.

Cream of tartar is also loosely associated with nicotine cessation and used as a laxative.

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What can be substituted for cream of tartar?

For every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar in the recipe, use 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar.

Recipes that use cream of tartar:

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