How to Adjust a Recipe for Self-Rising Flour

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How to make the needed adjustments in a recipe when substituting self-rising flour for all-purpose flour.

Different baked good recipes require different kinds of flour. The two main types of flour used for baking are all purpose and self-rising. These two kinds of flour are not interchangeable without adjustments being made to other parts of the recipe. The adjustments are simple and make sense when thought about but without making these changes cakes and cookies will not come out the way they were intended to.

Baking Powder

One of the biggest differences between self-rising and all purpose flour can be seen in the names of each. Self-rising flour already contains a chemical leavener that is absent in all purpose flour, which cannot rise without a leavener being added. Self-rising flour is capable of rising without the addition of baking powder.

When making a recipe that calls for baking powder and all-purpose flour, self-rising flour can be substituted if the baking powder is also eliminated. If self-rising flour is used in addition to baking powder, over-leavening and over-rising can happen. Over-risen cakes can spill over the sides of a cake pan and the texture will be highly crumbled and dry. One must simply skip the baking powder step in the all-purpose flour based recipe when using self-rising flour.

  • All-purpose flour = add baking powder
  • Self-rising flour = no baking powder


Self-rising flour is also different from all-purpose flour in that it already has a saltiness to it that is not present in the all-purpose variety. The saltiness is due not only to actual salt levels present in the flour mixture but also the chemical leavener that allows it to rise without the addition of baking powder. 

When preparing cookies, cakes or other baked goods with a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour and salt self-rising flour can be substituted with an adjustment to the salt level. In order to substitute self-rising flour for all-purpose flour simply leave out the salt. Be prepared to taste a small amount of the batter, however, if the recipe called for more than two to three teaspoons of salt as some amount of salt may need to be added. 

  • All-purpose flour = add salt
  • Self-rising flour = no salt

The differences between self-rising and all-purpose flour make it essential to adjust a recipe when substituting one for the other. Self-rising flour not only has a leavener pre-included in its flour blend but has a saltier taste than other flour varieties. In order to avoid an overly risen, leavened and salty-chemical taste in cakes, cookies and other baked goods one must simply leave out the baking powder and salt. Those two small adjustments can ensure the substitution results in successful finished products.

Primary image provided by Morgue File user Cohdra


Roberta Baxter
Posted on Jun 10, 2011
Sharla Smith
Posted on Jun 10, 2011