Pinterest can be a bit overwhelming with holiday ideas, but I found a tip on my friend Lisa’s Snappy Gourmet Pinterest Page that I thought was worth sharing if you’re going to be baking this season: If your baking soda and baking powder has been sitting in the cabinet for a while, give them a quick test to make sure they’re still active.

What does active mean as it pertains to these baking ingredients? Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents and help baked goods rise. If they are active, they will release carbon dioxide when they come in contact with moisture, making the baked good rise. If they are old and become inactive, they won’t release carbon dioxide and your baked goods will be flat.

No one wants to start out baking for the holiday season with a batch of flat loaves of pumpkin bread. Fortunately, there’s a quick test to make sure the leavening agents you use are active.

Testing Baking Soda

Put a couple of ounces of vinegar in a glass and add half a teaspoon of baking soda. The ingredients in the glass should start to fizz. If they fizz, the baking soda is still active. If they don’t, the baking soda is no longer good for baking with. Don’t throw it away, though. It’s still useful in cleaning and deodorizing.

Testing Baking Powder

Put a couple of ounces of warm water in a glass and add half a teaspoon of baking powder. If the ingredients in the glass start to fizz, the baking powder will still make your baked goods rise. If they don’t, use the baking powder for another use like creating a homemade roach motel.

Taking a few minutes to test your leavening agents can save you a lot of wasted time in the kitchen and a lot of money on ingredients this holiday season.

Have you ever baked something, only to realize your baking soda or baking powder was past its prime?

Also on MNN

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.