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Cream of Tartar vs. Tartaric Acid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on December 20, 2023
Cream of tartar is potassium bitartrate, a byproduct of winemaking, used in baking and cooking, whereas tartaric acid is a natural acid found in many plants, essential in winemaking.

Key Differences

Cream of tartar, or potassium bitartrate, is a potassium salt derived from tartaric acid. Tartaric acid, a natural organic acid, is found in grapes and several other fruits.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023
Cream of tartar is a white, powdery substance often used in baking. Tartaric acid, in its pure form, is a white crystalline organic acid.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023
Cream of tartar is used in baking to stabilize egg whites and prevent sugar from crystallizing. Tartaric acid is used in winemaking for balancing the wine's acidity.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023
Cream of tartar is obtained from the sediment left in barrels after the winemaking process. Tartaric acid is either extracted from these sediments or synthesized in laboratories.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023
Beyond cooking, cream of tartar is used for cleaning and in playdough. Tartaric acid has wider applications, including in tanning, textiles, and as a leavening agent when combined with baking soda.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Formula

KC₄H₅O₆
C₄H₆O₆
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Physical Form

White powder
White crystalline
Huma Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Primary Use in Cooking

Stabilizing agent, preventing crystallization
Acidifying agent in winemaking
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Source of Production

Winemaking byproduct
Extracted from grapes or synthesized
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Other Uses

Cleaning, playdough
Tanning, textiles
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023
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Cream of Tartar and Tartaric Acid Definitions

Cream of Tartar

It prevents sugar from crystallizing in syrups.
Use cream of tartar to keep your syrup smooth.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Tartaric Acid

Used as a souring agent in some foods.
Tartaric acid can sour candy and other confections.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Cream of Tartar

When combined with baking soda, it acts as a leavening agent.
Cream of tartar and baking soda are used in many cake recipes.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Tartaric Acid

It's a natural acid found in many fruits.
Grapes contain high levels of tartaric acid.
Huma Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Cream of Tartar

It's effective as a household cleaning agent.
Mix cream of tartar with vinegar for a natural cleaner.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

Tartaric Acid

It's used in textile dyeing and tanning.
Tartaric acid aids in setting dyes in fabrics.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar stabilizes whipped egg whites.
Add cream of tartar to stabilize the meringue.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Tartaric Acid

Tartaric acid balances the acidity in wine.
Tartaric acid is added to adjust the wine's pH.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar gives playdough its consistency.
Cream of tartar is essential for homemade playdough.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

Tartaric Acid

Combined with baking soda, it acts as a leavening agent.
Tartaric acid is used in some baking powders.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

FAQs

Is tartaric acid natural or synthetic?

It can be both, naturally found in fruits or synthetically made.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

What is cream of tartar used for in baking?

It stabilizes egg whites and prevents sugar crystallization.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

How is tartaric acid used in winemaking?

It balances the wine's acidity and taste.
Huma Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Can cream of tartar be substituted for tartaric acid?

In some recipes, but the results might differ due to potency.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Is cream of tartar vegan?

Yes, it's a byproduct of winemaking and is vegan-friendly.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Is tartaric acid harmful?

In large amounts, it can be, but it's generally safe in food.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Can tartaric acid be used in baking?

Yes, especially as a souring agent or in baking powders.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Is tartaric acid the same as citric acid?

No, they are different acids with distinct properties.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Are there any allergies associated with cream of tartar?

Allergies are rare but possible due to its sulfite content.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

What's the shelf life of cream of tartar?

It has a long shelf life if stored in a cool, dry place.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Is tartaric acid good for the skin?

It can be used in skincare for its antioxidant properties.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

How does tartaric acid affect wine flavor?

It imparts a tart, acidic taste, crucial for wine balance.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

Can cream of tartar be used as a solo leavening agent?

No, it needs to be combined with baking soda.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

What are the environmental impacts of tartaric acid?

Minimal when produced and disposed of responsibly.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

What happens if you consume too much cream of tartar?

It can lead to hyperkalemia due to high potassium levels.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

Is tartaric acid present in all wines?

Most wines contain it, but levels vary depending on the grape.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Can cream of tartar clean metals?

Yes, it's effective in cleaning stainless steel and copper.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Is tartaric acid used in any medications?

Yes, in some over-the-counter medications and supplements.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

Does cream of tartar have health benefits?

There are no significant health benefits known.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Can cream of tartar spoil or go bad?

It doesn't spoil, but can lose potency over time.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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