Find out what cream of tartar is, what it’s made from and used for, plus what you need to know about how it fits into a gluten-free diet.
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If you’ve ever made an angel food cake, snickerdoodle cookies, or a meringue, you have probably encountered cream of tartar. This ingredient is often mysterious for folks who don’t bake frequently and you may wonder what it’s really for in your recipes.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, you know that every ingredient that goes into your food matters. Even the smallest amount of gluten can trigger some people’s bodies to have a huge reaction.
That’s why we’re taking on one of the teeniest ingredients you’re likely to find in recipes and talking about how it fits into a gluten-free diet. Find out in this post what cream of tartar is, what it’s main uses are (one of them might surprise you), and if this ingredient is safe for folks on a gluten-free diet.
Of course, we’ll go over a list of a few gluten-free cream of tartar brands so you can feel confident next time you’re shopping for this ingredient in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
Read on: Is angel food cake gluten-free?
What is cream of tartar?
Cream of tartar is a baking ingredient that is used to help stabilize recipes.
It’s often used to stabilize egg whites in meringues and cakes, and is a main ingredient in snickerdoodle cookies and angel food cake.
It has a flavor that is a little tangy, but other than snickerdoodles, I’ve not seen it used as an ingredient that gets used enough to taste in a recipe.
Cream of tartar is a surprising replacement for baking soda, and can be substituted using ¼ tsp of baking soda plus ½ tsp of cream of tartar for every one teaspoon of baking powder in a recipe.
Even though we might know it mostly as a baking ingredient, it can also be used in cleaning. It functions similarly to vinegar and lemon juice in acidity, so it can replace either of them in your homemade cleaning products for polishing metal and copper and cleaning sinks, tubs, and toilets.
Read on: Is baking powder gluten-free?
Read on: Is baking soda gluten-free?
Read on: Gluten-free snickerdoodles
What is cream of tartar made from?
Cream of tartar is made from potassium bitartrate, a byproduct of wine fermentation. This ingredient is high in acid, functioning as a dry alternative to an ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar in recipes, and aids in leavening in breads, cakes, and other baked goods.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Especially in processed foods, gluten can be added as a stabilizer or thickening agent.
Is cream of tartar gluten-free?
Cream of tartar is made as a byproduct of winemaking, therefore this ingredient is considered gluten-free. Since no gluten is included in the production of making wine, we can assume that generally this ingredient is safe for folks on a gluten-free diet.
That said, if you buy cream of tartar from a brand that also manufactures ingredients that contain gluten, there is a possibility of cross contamination. You can look for a brand of gluten-free cream of tartar that uses gluten-free labels on their products if you know for certain that trace amounts of gluten can give your body a reaction.
We’ll go over some brands of cream of tartar that offer gluten-free labels below.
Gluten-free cream of tartar brands
If you’re looking for a cream of tartar option that is gluten-free, be sure to check out one of these options below. While cream of tartar is generally considered to be gluten-free, if you are sensitive to gluten at the trace level or are celiac, looking for one with a gluten free label is a good idea.
If you have been looking to find out if cream of tartar is safe for you to add your favorite recipes and stay on a gluten-free diet, I hope that this post has helped you get the answers you’ve been looking for.
Though cream of tartar is generally considered gluten-free, be sure to choose a brand with a gluten-free label if you know you are sensitive to trace levels just to be on the safe side.