What is Aquafaba? (+ vegan meringues!)

Aquafaba is a miracle worker in vegan cooking and baking. But what is aquafaba? And how do you use it? Here’s everything you need to know about this revolutionary ingredient.

Vegan meringues in a pink bowl

Egg is one of the hardest ingredients to replace in vegan cooking and baking. While you can use flax eggs, there are a lot of things they can’t do, like whip them to a fluffy, frothy consistency or form peaks. When aquafaba came onto the scene several years ago, it was a real game changer.

First things first: what is Aquafaba?

Aquafaba is made from the liquid usually found in a can of chickpeas, or the liquid left over after cooking dried chickpeas. It’s basically just bean water! But don’t let its humble origins fool you. This seemingly insignificant liquid has impressive cooking and baking properties.

The most popular use of aquafaba is as an egg substitute. Many vegan recipes call for it as a substitute for eggs, especially in baking. And the results are truly astonishing! You can whip it to stiff peaks like you would egg whites, and it also works wonders creating a light, airy texture in baked goods.

The use of aquafaba as an egg substitute was first discovered in 2015, which means we’re always finding new and exciting ways to use it in vegan foods!

Overhead view of liquid from a can of chickpeasOverhead view of liquid from a can of chickpeas

Is Aquafaba found in all canned beans?

Technically speaking, you could use the liquid in any canned bean, but the reality is that the liquid in canned chickpeas is much better. This is because chickpeas have a higher starch content, which contributes to the emulsifying and foaming properties of aquafaba.

So while you can use other types of canned beans to make aquafaba, just keep in mind that they won’t work as well or produce the same results. For example, you can make meringues, but they will be a little flatter.

Aquafaba in the blender bowlAquafaba in the blender bowl

How to whip Aquafaba?

Whipping the aquafaba is easy! You can use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer to whip the aquafaba into peaks. It will take a little more time than whisking egg whites, but the end result will be worth it. Some people use mixers to make their aquafaba, but I find a stand mixer easier because you can monitor the consistency more closely and know precisely when stiff peaks form.

You can also add cream of tartar or other stabilizers to help the aquafaba hold its shape better. I like to add cream of tartar, which helps with overall stability. Simply add 1/4 teaspoon for every 1/2 cup of aquafaba before whisking.

Overhead view of chickpea liquid in a small white bowlOverhead view of chickpea liquid in a small white bowl

Uses of Aquafaba

Now that you know the answer to the question “what is aquafaba?” ”, let’s talk about how to use it!

There are many ways to use aquafaba; you can incorporate it into baked goods like muffins and cakes to create a higher rise, or you can use it to make vegan meringue. I also use it in these recipes:

  • Vegan marshmallows get their chewy texture from the addition of aquafaba.
  • Aquafaba makes this sweet potato soufflé light and airy, just traditional egg-based soufflés.
  • I use aquafaba to make the ladyfingers in this vegan tiramisu recipe.
  • Aquafaba acts as a binder for these crispy, crunchy corn nuggets and also gives the dough a light texture.
Vegan meringues on baking sheet lined with parchment paperVegan meringues on baking sheet lined with parchment paper

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