Can You Use Self-Rising Flour Instead of All-Purpose Flour?

When it comes to baking, it is important to follow the recipe exactly to ensure the baked goods turn out perfectly. However, what can you do when after rummaging through the pantry, you’ve realized you’re all out of a key ingredient: all-purpose flour. Believe me, we’ve all been there. 

It may seem acceptable to use a different kind of flour, but a small switch can actually have big consequences for your baked goods, and nobody wants ruined cakes for dessert.

However, there may be a way to replace all-purpose flour with self-rising flour. Self-rising flour is a great alternative to have in the pantry. However, it must be swapped correctly if you want to pull the switch off.

Read on to find out everything there is to know about the two different flours, and how you may be able to swap one for the other. 

What Is All-Purpose Flour?

All-purpose flour is the most common kind. It is suitable for baking all kinds of things – from cakes to cookies, pie crusts to pizza doughs. It is an essential ingredient for aspiring bakers everywhere.

When baking with all-purpose flour, you will also need a leavening agent, like yeast or baking powder so the baked goods can rise.

Can You Use Self-Rising Flour Instead of All-Purpose Flour

What Is Self-Rising Flour?

Self-rising flour usually contains leavening agents like salt and baking powder. These leavening agents will make the batter or dough rise. The combination of added water and heat activates the leavening agents which helps them to rise. 

In one cup of self-rising flour, there are approximately one and a half teaspoons of baking powder. 

How Do Leavening Agents Work? 

Leavening agents make baked goods rise, such as the yeast in bread. A common leavening agent is baking powder, which contains baking soda and acidic salts. 

 Sometimes, recipes will need a combination of the leavening agent and something acidic for the baked good to rise. The leavening agent, in this case, will typically be baking soda, and the acidic ingredient can be anything from sour cream to citrus juice or even buttermilk.

These work together to create a chemical reaction. 

Some baked goods require both baking soda and baking powder to rise. 

Can You Use Self-Rising Flour Instead Of All-Purpose Flour?

In short, yes. But only for certain baked goods and recipes. It all depends on the amount of baking powder, baking soda, and salt a recipe calls for. It is understandable to assume that you can swap self-rising flour and all-purpose flour at any time.

However, because self-rising flour contains leavening agents it may change the texture and flavor of the baked goods – and not for the better! Here are some examples of baked goods and what to do if you find yourself without all-purpose flour. 


It is possible to swap all-purpose flour for self-rising flour in cakes. It works best if the cake recipe you’re using requires only 0.02 cups of baking powder (the equivalent of one teaspoon) per one cup of all-purpose flour. 

However, making the switch does not work as well if the recipe requires only baking soda as a leavening agent. 

You will also need to make changes if the required amount of salt is more than a quarter teaspoon. If the recipe requires less, then you cannot successfully swap the flours. You will also struggle to swap the flours if the baking powder needed is less than about half a teaspoon. 

Pancakes and Cookies

It is relatively easy to swap self-rising flour and all-purpose flour when it comes to making pancakes and cookies. If the recipe requires around one half or one teaspoon (tsp) of baking powder, then you can use self-rising flour.

You would also be able to substitute an equal amount of self-rising flour for all-purpose flour. 

Additionally, if the salt in the recipe is a quarter of a teaspoon, then it is better not to include it in your mixture. If the recipe calls for more salt than this, then you must adjust it to work with the self-rising flour. Self-rising flour will normally require less salt than all-purpose flour. 

Quick Bread 

Usually, quick bread recipes will use no more than one tsp of baking powder. If this is the case, then it is possible to use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour. Like with pancakes and cookies, you should omit salt from the recipe if it calls for only one-quarter of a teaspoon.

If the recipe calls for more salt, then feel free to add the salt provided you have adjusted it to work with self-rising flour.  

Self-Rising Flour


Unfortunately, you cannot swap all-purpose flour for self-rising flour if baking bread. This is because the leavening agent in bread is yeast, and when mixed with the self-rising flour may cause the bread to rise unevenly or over-rise. 


You cannot use self-rising flour in pizza because it does not contain enough of a leavening agent to ensure the pizza dough will have a light crust. It will also make the pizza taste noticeably different. 

Why Do You Need To Omit The Salt When Using Self-Rising Flour?

When it is possible to swap all-purpose for self-rising flour, you may need to adjust the required salt quantity a recipe calls for. This is because self-rising flour contains less sodium than all-purpose flour, so less salt is needed when it is used in recipes. 

Final Thoughts 

All-purpose flour is an essential ingredient in many recipes. Self-rising flour is similar to all-purpose flour, but it contains leavening agents. When you find yourself without all-purpose flour, it is sometimes possible to use self-rising flour in place of it.

However, this is only possible for certain recipes, so always check and adjust the measurements of the other ingredients before you make the switch. For example, when baking with self-rising flour you will need to use less salt than all-purpose flour. 

After you have made these adjustments, all that’s left to do is put the baked goods in the oven and enjoy!

Jess Smith
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