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How to substitute citric acid for tartaric acid

Updated April 17, 2017

If you are using a food or drink recipe that calls for tartaric acid, you can substitute the tartaric acid with citric acid. Tartaric acid, commonly known as cream of tartar, contains a stronger, more sour taste. It is found in grapes and is the dominant acid present in grape based wine. Citric acid is commonly found in lemons, limes, and pineapples. Tartaric acid and citric acids are available in liquid and powder-based forms.

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  1. Find a recipe that you would like to use. Tartaric acid tastes very sour compared to citric acid.

  2. Calculate the amount of tartaric acid used in the recipe.

  3. Divide the amount of tartaric acid used by 4. For example, if 10 grams of tartaric acid is used, divide 10 grams by 4. To substitute citric acid for tartaric acid, use a quarter of the amount of tartaric acid required, in this example 2.5 grams of citric acid.

  4. Tip

    Since tartaric acid and citric acids contain a low pH, pour baking soda over a spill to neutralise the acid.

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