First and Foremost and most importantly, thank you to Goose Wohlt, Rebecca August and the 35,000(!) members of the Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses Facebook page and everyone who has embraced, experimented and revolutionized the world of egg-free cooking.
AQUAFABA (definition from www.aquafaba.com):
“Generally, the term aquafaba refers to liquid from cooking legumes, like the liquid in a can of chickpeas, or liquid from cooking dried beans at home. The liquid is very close to the consistency of raw egg white and can be used in many recipes in very much the same way. You can bake with it, whip it and make meringues, make marshmallows with it, or use it as a raw fluff. The term aquafaba also generally refers to an idea… an idea that the billion dollar egg industry should be worried. It is a community, a revolution, and perhaps someday a brand of standardized or powdered aquafaba for bakers and home cooks.”
My own baking has changed dramatically since chancing upon the Facebook page last March (has it only been a year??). For one, I eat a lot more beans now as I buy chickpeas by the boatload for that precious liquid! Aquafaba is my go-to egg replacer in all my new dessert creations. It’s so simple and accessible and rarely leaves an aftertaste like my previous go-to, flax seed, can. If you are egg-free by choice or by necessity, I highly recommend you try this.
At the end of this post, I’ve included links for a variety of recipes using aquafaba – it’s not just for making meringues. You can use it to make cheese, cakes, roasted nuts, cookies, macarons, omelets, and more. The possibilities are still being explored, the experiments are still happening and if you want to know if it works in something, give it a try! That’s what we’ve all been doing, just seeing what works and what doesn’t and playing around in the kitchen until we have a hit.
I am by no means an expert on all things aquafaba. I will not be able to answer all your questions as some may not even have answers yet, but I will try :-).
Ok! Are you ready to learn how to make egg-free meringues? Before you start, please read through the notes. I know it seems like a lot, but believe me, this is not recipe that you can just ‘wing’ or change as you see fit [unless you are experimenting, then go for it but I won’t be responsible for what happens, good or bad :-)]. There are important things in play here if you want your efforts to be successful. I want you to be successful!
Check out my new YouTube channel, christened with a Vegan Meringue Tutorial!
The Video is in Real Time so you can see it go from soft, to medium, to stiff peaks.
Meringues have few ingredients and each one is incredibly important and serves a very important purpose!
Types of Beans
- Chickpeas work the best for making meringues. I’m not sure of the science behind it, but I’ve used brine from lots of other beans and had very varied results. With chickpea aquafaba, I always get good stiff fluffy peaks. Don’t throw away the brine from your other beans though – it is still good as an egg replacer in pancakes, breads, cakes and so much more (see the collection of recipes at the end of this post for more aquafaba ideas).
- Unsalted is best. Salted is fine if you are using a strong flavoring, like orange or peppermint. The salt taste will be covered up. I have used salted aquafaba with just vanilla extract as flavoring and I couldn’t taste any beaniness but others have noted that they can.
- The best sugar to use is just plain regular granulated cane sugar.
- Do not decrease (or increase) the amount of sugar. It is there for a reason. I know we are all trying to be healthier, or get away from refined sugar, or what have you, but the sugar provides the structure for the meringues. Without it, you will not get stiff peaks, or any peaks at all and your meringues will probably collapse.
- Now, since I just said that, there are other awesome bakers out there who have been using other sugars and different quantities with varying amounts of success. I am including links for some of them, but please search the Facebook page or do a google search to find more information. I have never used any other sugars besides plain ol’ cane sugar so I will not be able to answer any questions regarding the effectiveness of any of them. I am providing these links merely as a resource since it seems to be the most common question people ask.
- Lemon Meringue made with Icing Sugar from The Vegan Lass
- Meringues made with Maple Syrup from Soy Division
- Vegan Meringue made with White & Brown Sugar from The Dish and The Spoon
- Salted Caramel Meringues made with Coconut Sugar and Raspberry Matcha Meringues made with Xylitol from Fragrant Vanilla Cake
- Vegan Meringue Nests made with Icing Sugar from Wallflower Girl’s Plant Based Kitchen
- Meringues made with Powdered Sugar & Xantham Gum from The Frosted Vegan
- Use a machine with a whisk attachment. Kitchen Aid mixers are the best. A handheld electric mixer with a whisk attachment is great. You can use regular beaters but you will not get the peaks as stiff as they can be and your meringues may collapse.
- Do not do this by hand. Seriously. Unless you have something to prove. Then go for it.
- You cannot use a blender, food processor, immersion blender, or anything else that doesn’t have a whisk.
How to Bake
- 200F (100C) for 2 hours. Do not open oven.
- After 2 hours, turn off oven. You can open it now to check on them. They’ll probably be a little soft. Let sit overnight or a minimum of 2 hours.
- You will know they have dried sufficiently when they peel off the parchment paper easily (no sticking).
- Only use parchment paper or super clean Silpat baking sheets. Do Not Use wax paper and do not grease your pans. Any type of grease, oil or wax will cause your meringues to collapse.
- Do not bake at any higher temperature or your meringues will turn into sad little pools of goo.
- You can make these in your dehydrator as well, 115 degrees for 15-20 hours, depending on the size you make them. They are done when they peel off the sheet easily.
- Store in airtight container. I’ve kept meringues for up to a month in a hard plastic container with a tight fitting lid.
- Meringues can also be kept in the refrigerator indefinitely in an airtight container.
- Any exposure to air will cause the meringues to get sticky. How fast that happens depends on the weather where you are. If it is hot and humid, they will get sticky and soft fast. At cooler temperatures, you may be able to leave them uncovered for an hour or so.
- If they get soft or sticky, a stint in the refrigerator will harden them.
- Oils normally will deflate a meringue but by mixing the extract into the sugar first, you can add small amounts of extracts that have a little oil, but you can not use oiled based extracts.
- Only extracts that are alcohol based will work. Extracts that are alcohol-free and therefore oil-based will cause the meringue to collapse during whisking.
- Vanilla flavored – mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract into the 1 cup sugar
- Peppermint flavored – mix 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract into the 1 cup sugar
- Orange flavored – mix 1/2 teaspoon orange extract into the 1 cup sugar
- Almond flavored – mix 1 teaspoon almond extract into the 1 cup sugar.
- Freeze dried fruits can be ground into a powder and added to the meringue for flavoring and also coloring. Add approximately 3-4 tablespoons powdered freeze dried fruit at the end. How much you add depends on what you want for flavor and color.
- Flavor additions with any kind of fat or oil generally will not work. This includes: cocoa powder, peanut butter powder, nuts of any kind, orange or lemon zest.
- For a stable, pipe-able meringue, you need to add a stabilizer. I always use Cream of Tartar (available at any grocery store in the US, not sure about other countries). You can also use 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar or 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Canned vs. Homemade
- Aquafaba can be from a can of beans or from your own homemade beans.
- I have only used the brine from canned beans because, well, I’m lazy 🙂
- Please visit the Vegan Meringue Hits & Misses page, do a search of the page or visit the pages File sections, and you will find loads of information about how to use aquafaba from home cooked beans.
And Finally, The Recipe!
- Liquid from one can of chickpeas (2/3 – 3/4 cup. If your chickpeas have more or less liquid, please adjust to make it in this range)
- 1 cup granulated cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or other flavoring of your choice, please see notes)
- Make sure your mixing bowl, whisk and all utensils are super clean and free from any residual oils. Don’t use plastic bowls.
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. This recipe makes a lot! Really, however many baking sheets your oven can hold is how many you should prep. I usually do an additional parchment lined brownie pan or any other pan that will fit in my oven with the baking sheets.
- If you are going to be piping them, prepare your piping bag and tips. You can also just scoop dollops onto the prepared sheets.
- Mix the vanilla extract into your sugar and set aside.
- Add your chickpea liquid to the mixing bowl.
- Turn mixer to med-high [so the liquid doesn’t spray out of the bowl – learned that by experience :-)] and beat for 1 minute.
- Add the cream of tartar and beat until medium peaks (whisk leaves a trail through the mixture but not so stiff it stands upright) with the mixer on the highest speed.
- Slowly, one tablespoon at a time, waiting at least 30 seconds between each addition, add the sugar while the mixer is still going. Do this until all the sugar is gone, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl so no sugar is left there.
- You will notice the change in consistency in the meringue. It will now be super thick and glossy and have tripled in size.
- Stop the mixer and take a little bit of the meringue and rub it between your fingers. If there is any graininess, the sugar has not been fully incorporated. Beat it for as long as necessary to eliminate the graininess. Don’t worry, you can’t over-beat aquafaba meringue!
- Pipe or scoop your meringue onto the prepared baking sheets and put in the oven for 2 hours. Do not open the oven.
- After the 2 hours is up, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there to dry for at least another hour (you can open the oven and look at them now, but don’t let too much heat escape – they still need to dry). Two hours is better, overnight is good too. They are done when they are completely dry and peel off the parchment paper easily.
- Dip in chocolate, eat plain, crumble for an Eaton Mess, layer like a Pavlova, make into Ice Cream Sandwiches or create a new awesome meringue dessert :-).
- Store in an airtight container.
What else can you do with aquafaba? I’m so glad you asked!
AquaFaba Cheddar Cheese from Avocados and Ales
Lime Tarts with Meringue from Veganosity
Cranberry Orange Quickbread from The Lazy Vegan Baker
Rosemary Party Mix from Cupcakes & Kale
Lavendar Gin Strawberry Shortcakes from Healthy Slow Cooking
Cranberry Orange Clafoutis from Fettle Vegan
Vegan Candied Nuts from A Virtual Vegan
Cinnamon Squash Bread from Veggie Inspired Journey
Cinnamon Glazed Apple Fritter Muffins from The Lazy Vegan Baker
A Foolish Mess from Quite Good Food
Vegan Omelette with Asparagus, Spinach & ‘Cheese’ from A Virtual Vegan
Herb Garlic Flatbread from Vegan Richa
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins from Avocados and Ales
Asian Lentil Burger Lettuce Wraps from Veggie Inspired Journey
Eggless Aioli from Quite Good Food
Red, White & Blue Meringue Stacks with Coconut Cream from The Lazy Vegan Baker