Both are leavening agents, and are added to baked goods to make them rise. However, while baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, baking powder contains cream of tartar and a drying agent, which is usually starch, in addition to the sodium bicarbonate. Both produce carbon dioxide gas to make baked goods rise. What you use in a recipe depends on what other ingredients there are. Baking soda is basic, and needs something acidic in the recipe to activate it and prevent the recipe from tasting baking soda-y, while baking powder can be used in almost any recipe, and can also be substituted for baking soda.
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