Sodium phosphate is a buffering salt and an acid regulator, used in cakes, muffins and breads.

Sodium Phosphate

What is Sodium Phosphate?

Sodium phosphate is a food additive, buffering salt and acid regulator. It is a white crystalline powder with the chemical formula Na3PO4 .

It’s heavily used in bakery, meat and dairy products. Its reaction with sodium bicarbonate in bakery systems produces carbon dioxide gas essential for:1

  • Building volume
  • Improving appearance
  • Adding taste to baked goods


Sodium phosphate is made by reacting food grade mined phosphate rocks with sulfuric acid. This is followed by phosphoric acid extraction. This ingredient is rich in minerals, especially sodium.

Commercial production

Sodium phosphate is produced by an acid base reaction between phosphoric acid and sodium hydroxide or soda ash (sodium carbonate). Potassium hydroxide and sodium chlorate are added to initiate the reaction, stabilizing the crystallization process. Then, sodium chlorate is added as a bleach for processing.


In bakery products, this ingredient performs the following functions:2


As a component of baking leavening systems, sodium phosphate is used in cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes. Also, it’s used in refrigerated yeast dough.

In addition to its role in volume build up, it is commonly used as part of the dough conditioner system and  to control batter pH. In frostings and fillings, it may be used to stabilize the system.

Depending on the application, it is usually added to the dry mix at 0.1% to 0.5%. The exact amount is determined by the system’s neutralization value (NV)

FDA Regulation

Sodium phosphate is a GRAS  food additive and its usage is regulated by the FDA (21CFR182.1778).3


  1. Phosphates for baking products. Accessed. Nov 14. 2019.
  2. Sodium phosphate. Accessdata. Aug 29. 2014. Accessed Nov 14. 2019.
  3. “CFR – Code of Federal Regulations 21CFR182.1778”. Accessdata. Fda. gov. April 01. 2019. Accessed Nov 14. 2019.