Cream of tartar’s real name is potassium bitartrate.
It’s a byproduct of winemaking, used as a stabilizer in baking, most commonly when whipping up heavy cream or an alternative.
You might be worried that it comes from the winemaking process, because not all wine is vegan, but I’ll walk you through why it’s not an issue.
How Cream of Tartar Is Made During Winemaking
Potassium bitartrate crystallizes during the fermentation process of grape juice, and is then extracted.
There are 5 main stages of winemaking:
- Crushing and pressing
- Fermentation – Where potassium bitartrate is formed and extracted
- Clarification – Where animal products are sometimes used
- Aging and bottling
The reason that some wine isn’t vegan, is that animal products like gelatin and isinglass are often used during the “clarification” stage in order to remove unwanted particles that remain at this stage.
If potassium bitartrate formed and was removed at this stage, you could argue that it wasn’t vegan.
However, it’s removed before that stage, during fermentation instead.
Verdict: Cream of Tartar is Clearly Vegan
Despite having “cream” in its name, cream of tartar is vegan-friendly.
It comes straight from grapes, and is never in contact with an animal product (yeast, used during fermentation, is considered vegan).
You can buy cream of tartar from just about any grocery store in the baking aisle, and don’t need to buy a special vegan one, since I’ve never seen one with any added ingredients.