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How and Why To Use Baking Soda in Meatballs

How and Why To Use Baking Soda in Meatballs

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate (NAHCO3), is considered nontoxic and used as a kitchen ingredient (edible and mild enough).

It is a white crystalline powder that is naturally alkaline and undergoes decomposition when heated. Baking soda is commonly used as a leavening agent to raise baked goods and tenderizing meats.

Baking soda in meatballs
Baking soda in meatballs

How to use baking soda in meatballs

Baking soda creates a chemical reaction within the food, and this is the primary reason it is a common ingredient in the kitchen. When preparing a meatball recipe, baking soda comes in hand for the purposes highlighted below:

When it comes to cooking, ending up with tender, mouthwatering meatballs is always the goal. Achieving the tender texture isn’t so easy, and that is why using baking soda is a highly recommended trick.

When added to ground beef, baking soda neutralizes the acid in the meat and raises the PH level on the meat’s surface. This means that it alkalizes the meat’s surface, making it hard for the proteins to bond.

  • Add ¾ teaspoon of baking soda to 2 tablespoons of water to make a solution.
  • Add your ground beef into a bowl and drizzle the baking soda solution while gently breaking apart the beef with your hands to distribute the solution evenly.

Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Why use baking soda in meatballs?

Briefly, soaking the meats in baking soda solution helps create a tender product. This is especially necessary given the lack of bread crumbs which usually provide starch that physically interferes with protein linking helping retain moisture in the meat hence producing a tenderer meatball.

¼ tsp. Baking soda and tablespoon water poured into ground beef stop dryness. Protein molecules seize up the high heat as soda changes the PH of the protein, thus allowing it to cook over high heat without the rubbery texture we get so often.

Adding baking soda to meatballs promotes browning. The baking soda treatment makes the ground beef lose less liquid making it have a deeper, richer caramelized flavor and most definitely juicier.

Can You Use A Baking Powder Solution For Meatballs?

If you want to tenderize your meat fast, soak it in a baking soda solution. Your meat will be tender within about 15 up to 20 minutes.

The best thing is that even if you leave the meat in the solution for too long, it will not harm it. This is why it is a better option than brine, which tends to make your meat mushy and stringy if soaked for too long.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can baking soda make my meat crispy?

Baking soda is a common ingredient in poultry and beef stir-fries and it can make meat a little crispy. However, do not use more than a teaspoonful of baking soda for every pound of ground meat. It can be used as a mixture with salt and rubbed on the meat or mixed with ground beef.

  • Should I wait for the meat to cook before adding my sauce?

No, you should brown the meat first before adding your sauce. It leaves your meatballs with an incredible texture but ensures the juices of your meats are retained. It also enhances the taste of your sauce.

  • How do I make my meatballs tasty with baking soda?

Start with lean meat to ensure that when you add baking soda, they become tender while maintaining moisture.


Baking soda is one of the best ways to tenderize your meatball meats. It does require a little pre-planning. It is, however, easy to use and always gives you excellent results. Baking soda is a must in most meatball recipes.

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