Potassium Sorbate2019-03-26T14:39:49-07:00

Potassium sorbate (K-sorbate) is a food preservative commonly used in the baking industry to prevent mold, yeast, and microbes.

Potassium Sorbate

Also known as sorbic acid potassium salt

What is Potassium Sorbate?

Potassium sorbate (K-sorbate) is a food preservative commonly used in the baking industry to prevent mold, yeast, and microbes. It is often used in cakes and icings, beverage syrups, cheese, dried fruits, margarine, pie fillings, wine, etc. at concentrations dependent on the specific application.

It is a water soluble ingredient with molecular formula, C6H7KO2. K-sorbate is commercially available in the form of powder or pellets. It is effective at pH up to 6 but drops rapidly at higher levels.


Potassium sorbate is produced by combining potassium hydroxide and sorbic acid to create a potassium salt. Sorbic acid is naturally present in the lactone form in berries such as rowan berries, Sorbus aucuparia L,1 which it was first isolated from. Some fruits such as cranberries, currants, strawberries naturally contain sorbic acid.

Commercial production

Sorbic acid is commercially produced using the ketene–crotonaldehyde condensation method. It is purified by treating sorbic acid with sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and activated carbon. The potassium salt can be produced from batch or sorbic acid production streams prior to drying. It is further granulated by extrusion and palletization.1


Similar to other sorbates, K-sorbate can:

  • Inhibit microbial growth by changing the cell membrane morphology and integrity.
  • Disrupt the transport functions and metabolic activity.2
  • Be more effective than other preservatives, such as calcium propionate and sodium benzoate in inhibiting mold growth in bakery products.3
  • Increase the product shelf life with limited impact on food quality. If used at very high concentration, it can have an undesirable effect on taste and flavor.


K-sorbate is typically used in chemically-leavened products (dry blended with the flour) at a level of 0.03% to 0.4% of the batter weight. Because of its deteriorative effect on yeast cells, K-sorbate can reduce loaf volume and generate a sticky dough that is difficult to process, therefore, it is not suitable for bread baking. K-sorbate can also be sprayed onto product surfaces after baking such as the case with tortillas.

FDA Regulation

In the United States, sorbic acid and potassium sorbate are considered GRAS (generally recognized as safe) (21 CFR 182.3089; 21 CFR 182.3225; 21 CFR 182.3640; and 21 CFR 182.3795).


  1. Additives, E.P.o.F. and N.S.a.t. Food, Scientific Opinion on the re‐evaluation of sorbic acid (E 200), potassium sorbate (E 202) and calcium sorbate (E 203) as food additives. EFSA Journal, 2015. 13(6): p. 4144.
  2. Sofos, J.N., Sorbate food preservatives. 1989: CRC Press.
  3. Saranraj, P. and M. Geetha, Microbial spoilage of bakery products and its control by preservatives. International Journal of Pharmaceutical & biological archives, 2012. 3(1): p. 38-48.


  1. Danielle February 2, 2018 at 10:10 am - Reply

    If I am using it in a baked donut, I am to use .03% to .4% … am i supposed to dissolve it in water? Or add it straight to batter?

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck May 24, 2018 at 10:00 am - Reply

      It’s listed in the Application section: “dry blended with the flour”

  2. Kayden wong August 27, 2018 at 4:32 am - Reply

    How long will it preserve the food, especially in pastry type of food?

  3. Piero September 13, 2018 at 5:30 am - Reply

    I’m using it in a cookie made out of white eggs and almond flour what’s the ideal dosage ?

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck September 19, 2018 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      As explained in the text: 0.03% to 0.4% of the batter weight.

      • Awj October 19, 2018 at 9:13 pm - Reply

        0.03% to 0.4% is a wide range. What do we base our amount on? Taste? Wanted shelf life? Type of baked good?

        And if so, what are the differentiations?

  4. Hrishikesh November 2, 2018 at 6:36 am - Reply

    I Make hand tossed Pizza Like domino’s I keep fresh dough ball in refrigerator for 6days with we’ll covered. But problem is dough ball wich exceed The shelf life Of 3days That rise properly but does not bake well at All.
    I have convear pizza oven, i bake Pizza at 245dc For 6 Minute.plz Help Me

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