In the last few years, a new discovery has been made – and I don’t think I’m overstating when I say it has revolutionized vegan cooking! Aquafaba, the leftover liquid from cooked chickpeas (not the soaking water on its own!), can be used as a vegan egg white substitute in your baking, putting recipes that were once off-limits, such as meringues, back on the menu. However, contrary to egg whites, it does not coagulate.
In this post, I’m going to share how to make homemade aquafaba using whole raw chickpeas and an easy recipe to make whipped egg white replacement. I’ll also share how you can use aquafaba in your cooking, as well as tips and tricks to get the most out of it. Beginner or not, you’ll be whipping up a storm in no time!
What is aquafaba, and how is it used in cooking?
Aquafaba is basically bean water: the leftover liquid from cooked chickpeas. There are two ways you can obtain it. One option is to drain a can of chickpeas and reserve the liquid. The other is to cook your own chickpeas and save the leftover cooking water.
For ease and reliability, the first option is best, especially once you’ve found a good brand. That said, aquafaba from cooking your own chickpeas is a great way to reduce waste and, when you’ve done it once, it will be second nature. Keep in mind that the thicker (more jelly-like) the aquafaba is, the better the results.
One thing to note is that using aquafaba at room temperature should stretch and create a higher volume than one that has come straight out of the fridge. Both will work, however.
There are several ways you can use aquafaba in your cooking.
- Un-whipped aquafaba can be used as a vegan egg substitute for baking (or egg binder) – like in my Serbian cheese pie;
- Whipped up into semi-stiff peaks, it can be added to recipes as a whipped egg white alternative – such as in my vegan lumberjack cake;
- Whipped into stiff peaks, it can be made into macaroons and meringues, or light and fluffy mousses – like this vegan chocolate mousse.
Is aquafaba only from chickpeas?
No, you have plenty of options! You can use the water from any cooked beans. However, chickpeas and white beans yield the most neutral-tasting (and looking) aquafaba, so they’re preferred in vegan baking and cooking. After all, you don’t want meringues that taste of kidney beans!
The other thing to remember is to choose beans that have been cooked in water only. Brands that use brine (salted water) won’t taste as nice, and they don’t whip up as well.
Aquafaba to egg ratio
How much aquafaba do you need to replace one egg? This will depend on the recipe, but as a general rule, the ratios are:
- 1 whole egg = 3 tablespoons aquafaba
- 1 egg white = 2 tablespoons aquafaba
- 1 egg yolk = 1 tablespoon aquafaba
Aquafaba should be of a similar consistency to egg whites to be a proper vegan egg replacement. This is why it’s a good idea to try several brands and see which one works best – the more gelatinous the aquafaba, the better the result.
If the bean liquid is too thin, you can cook it down to thicken it. Take care not to cook it down too much, because this also intensifies the bean flavour. Let it cool completely before using.
Can you freeze aquafaba?
Short answer: yes! This goes for homemade aquafaba and aquafaba from canned beans.
Whether you have some leftover aquafaba from a can of beans or chickpeas or have decided to reserve the liquid from cooking chickpeas, you can freeze it and use it at a later date. For convenience, use an ice tray or freeze it in handy 1 tbsp portions. It will keep for 3-4 months.
However, you can’t freeze whipped aquafaba—once beaten, aquafaba needs to be used immediately; otherwise, it turns back to liquid.
How to choose the best canned beans for aquafaba?
Pick an organic brand that contains water only (sodium and other additives can stop the aquafaba from foaming up properly).
Can you overwhip aquafaba?
If you are whipping just bean water and cream of tartar, it is very difficult to overwhip. However, if you are making aquafaba whipped cream, take care not to overmix after you add the oil, as this can make the whipped cream lose its stiffness.
What if the aquafaba doesn’t firm up?
There are a number of reasons this might happen. One is that the aquafaba was too thin, or it contained other ingredients (such as salt or additives). The other reason is that there may have been some grease in the mixing bowl or on the other utensils used.
How much aquafaba is in a can of beans?
Most canned chickpeas or white beans contain between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup of liquid.
How long can you store aquafaba in the fridge?
Unwhipped aquafaba will be fine in the fridge for 3-4 days, after which it can go bad and will need to be discarded. You’ll know by smelling it. Once whipped, you have to use it straight away; otherwise, it will turn to liquid again.
I don’t have cream of tartar at home, what can be used instead?
You can use lemon juice or ACV instead as it’s the acidity in the cream of tartar that is activated with the aquafaba to give it strength and stretch. Use 1:1 ratio swap.