High Altitude Baking



I am sure many of you bakers living at higher altitude have a disaster story to share. Most of the times I hear about cookies, that are as flat as the baking sheet itself or cakes that puff up while baking and then deflate and end up like the biggest mess you have ever seen, almost like a volcano explosion.
Here is a picture of a cake that failed.  Baked at our house.


Here are a few adjustments that worked for me and I would like to share with you.

* decrease sugar, 1-3 tablespoons per cup of sugar
* decrease baking powder or baking soda by 15% to 25 %.
* increase liquid; add another egg or 3-4 tablespoons of water per cup of flour
* beat egg whites only to a very soft peak consistency
* raise your oven temperature 20 to 25 degrees
* decrease baking time
* use room temperature ingredients
* I bake with unsalted butter
* buy yourself a baking scale for accurate measurements (this is mine)

I hope this helps. Often sea level recipes work without any adjustments. It just depends. Check out King Arthur Flour’s great info here.

Good luck and Happy Baking!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail August 25, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Hi Kirsten–

Your recipes look amazing! I just picked nectarines and want to try your Nectarine Cake, but I live at only 300 ft above sea level. Do you think I need to make adjustments to your baking recipes?



Trish December 11, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Thanks so much for the high altitude adjustments. We moved in October to 7000 ft and we’re loving it, but baking has really been an issue. I feel like a newbie starting out all over again after 30 years of successful baking! Quick question…when cooking, it seems as you must increase temperature and time (for instance, potatoes). Does it affect more than just baking? Cooking, too? If so, any hints that way? Thanks again!


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Susie November 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Hi, I just moved to 8400ft! My cookies taste okay, but they look awful. I didn’t try to adjust the recipe the first time but will have to next time. Do you have any suggestions since I’m higher than 5000ft? My recipes worked at 5000 ft, but not so well now. Thanks for your help.


Kirsten November 9, 2013 at 11:06 am

Hi Susie,
These are King Arthur Flour’s recommendations. They really helped me. Good luck. Kirsten
~ Changes when baking at high-altitude ~ What to change, How to change it and Why
Oven temperature: Increase 15 to 25°F; use the lower increase when making chocolate or delicate cakes. Since leavening and evaporation proceed more quickly, the idea is to use a higher temperature to “set” the structure of baked goods before they over-expand and dry out.
Baking time: Decrease by 5-8 minutes per 30 minutes of baking time. Baking at higher temperatures means products are done sooner.
Sugar: Decrease by 1 tablespoon per cup. Increased evaporation also increases concentration of sugar, which can weaken the structure of what you’re baking
Liquid: Increase by 1 to 2 tablespoons at 3,000 feet. Increase by 1 1/2 teaspoons for each additional 1,000 feet. You can also use extra eggs as part of this liquid, depending on the recipe. Extra liquid keeps products from drying out at higher temperatures and evaporation rates.
Flour: At 3,500 feet, add 1 more tablespoon per recipe. For each additional 1,500 feet, add one more tablespoon. In some recipes, a flour with a higher protein content may yield better results. Additional flour helps to strengthen the structure of baked goods.


Rosemarie September 13, 2013 at 5:38 am

Thanks for the useful tips! We live at a slightly higher altitude in South Africa
and I have certainly come across some problems with baking! Love your blog!


Tracy November 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

How do I convert our recipes for regular altitude baking? I am specifically interested in the gluten free walnut apple cake.


Kirsten March 31, 2013 at 11:34 am

Tracy, all the recipes work at sea level. Only at high altitude you have to follow the special directions mentioned in parentheses.


Marnie June 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Any suggestions for converting british recipes, which are measured in weight? I cannot seem to get things like scones and a Victoria Sponge to turn out at a Rocky Mtn Altitude! Thanks for the suggestions already posted!


Kirsten July 14, 2012 at 8:20 am

Yes, Marnie. I recommend using a scale that converts your British measurements. You still will have to adjust to the altitude after converting. Hope that helps.


Susan F April 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Are your baking recipes for High altitude with no adjustments needed?
All your recipes look wonderful! I will be trying quite a few of them. :-)


Kirsten April 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Yes, no adjustments needed. Sometimes I have the adjustments added in parentheses.
Happy Baking!


Susan F April 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Thanks for the quick answer! Have a great day!


Wifey February 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

Hello neighbor! I love your high altitude baking tips! I neeed these all the time. Beautiful blog too!


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