To be honest, I was very leery of aquafaba at first. I’m not a fan of bean-based baked goods, so the idea of using bean liquid didn’t really appeal. But I couldn’t resist the science behind it and decided to experiment. It didn’t take long for me to understand the hype behind this odd but effective egg substitute. In fact, I decided to dive into some experiments and do a little research to create this extensive guide with frequently asked questions, tips, and step by step pictures.
Eggs are not dairy, so some of you might be wondering why I am covering this egg substitute here on Go Dairy Free. First, eggs are the most common secondary allergen for people with milk allergies. Second, many dairy-free consumers are also vegan or like to experiment with plant-based options. Third, you might need to bake for someone who is on an egg-free diet. Fourth, sometimes you just run out of eggs! All combined, it means that a lot of Go Dairy Free viewers need or want egg-free options. And this is one of the best egg substitutes I’ve tested.
What is Aquafaba?
It’s the viscous water in which legumes, like chickpeas, have been cooked. It’s often referred to as “bean liquid” or “bean water.” During the legume cooking process, proteins, carbohydrates, and other water soluble plant solids migrate into the cooking water. It results in a thick, slightly gelatinous liquid that has properties similar to egg whites.
Do I Have to Make My Own Aquafaba?
A lot of people swear by the process of cooking their own beans. They say that the resultant aquafaba is superior. But many use the bean liquid from canned beans with stellar results. In other words, the bean liquid from canned beans works just fine.
Can I Use the Aquafaba from Any Beans?
Technically, you can use the liquid from any legume. Chickpeas have become the default aquafaba legume for a few reasons. One is that the liquid from cooked chickpeas is clear with a yellow tinge. It looks very similar to egg whites, and does turn white when whipped. Many other beans have murky or a more deeply colored bean liquid. Chickpea liquid also tends to be relatively reliable in thickness, and often produces the best results when whipped. Finally, many of us just love chickpeas and always have some on hand. But when I made the Chipotle Black Bean Burgers recipe in my cookbook, Eat Dairy Free, for example, I just use a little of the leftover black bean liquid as a binder. The color isn’t an issue in that recipe, so there is no reason to open a whole can of chickpeas!
What If the Aquafaba is Too Thin?
If the bean liquid appears too watery, you can reduce it on the stove top. Simply simmer it in a pan over medium-low heat until it has thickened to more of a runny egg white consistency. This is cooked liquid, so there is no harm in cooking it a little more. But let it cool completely before continuing with your recipe.
Does it Taste Beany?
The first time I whipped chickpea aquafaba I was scared because it smelled very beany. The taste was a touch pronounced, but it seemed to mellow and meld perfectly once sweetened or added to a recipe. No one noticed any beaniness in the aquafaba meringues I made, which contained just chickpea liquid, sugar, and vanilla. But the flavor could vary based on the type of bean liquid that you use and if it is salted or unsalted.
How Much Aquafaba Equals 1 Egg?
Use a full 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per 1 large egg. Use 2 tablespoons of aquafaba per 1 large egg white.
Can I Use Aquafaba to Replace Eggs in Any Recipe?
It has emulsifying, binding, thickening, and even rising properties. So bean liquid seems invincible as an egg substitute. And it does work well in almost all baked recipes, including as an egg wash. But it isn’t the best stand-alone egg substitute for scrambles, quiches, egg salads, or other applications where egg yolks are integral. But it can still be a helpful component in some of these recipes. For example, I use aquafaba in the Impossible Vegan Quiche recipe in my cookbook, Eat Dairy Free, but I don’t rely on it alone for the structure.
Should I Use Salted or Unsalted Beans?
I’ve read many times to only use the aquafaba of unsalted beans. However, I have used the aquafaba of salted beans with good results. And sometimes the salt boosts the flavor a little. But if you are concerned, or if salt could negatively effect your recipe, stick with unsalted beans.
Do I Have to Whip Aquafaba?
You only need to whip it if your recipe calls for whipped egg whites. Otherwise, you can use the bean liquid as is.
Do I Need to Refrigerate the Aquafaba First?
I was once told to refrigerate it first, but have never seen any difference in the results. Room temperature chickpea liquid will still whip nicely and should work in recipes just fine.
How Can I Store Leftover Aquafaba?
It can be refrigerated in an airtight container for at least a few days. But many people opt to freeze the leftover bean liquid for extended storage. I recommend creating 1 tablespoon (measured) frozen cubes. This way you can defrost as may cubes as you need at a time: 2 tablespoons per large egg white, 3 tablespoons per whole large egg.
How to Whip Aquafaba (Step by Step Pictures)
Bean liquid takes longer to whip than egg whites, so it requires a little patience. If you have a stand mixer, this is a good time to use it.
Drain a can of chickpeas into a mixing bowl. This should yield about 1/2 cup of aquafaba. If your recipe calls for cream of tartar, you can add it now.
Begin mixing on low speed. It will become foamy within the first minute. Contrary to belief, bean liquid was found to be extremely low in saponins. So what causes it to foam isn’t completely known.
At 3 to 4 minutes, it should start to look just a little thicker, almost like a fluid cream but not as rich. You can turn the mixer speed up to medium, at this stage.
At 5 to 6 minutes, you will probably see it thicken to the soft peak stage. When you remove the mixer, soft little mounds will remain.
At 7 to 10 minutes, it will finally reach the firm, semi-stiff, or stiff peak stage. If your starting bean liquid was a little thin, these stiff peaks might not seem quite as stiff as whipped egg whites. But it still works well in recipes.
At this point, you can follow your recipe and fold the “whites” into your recipe or blend in other ingredients. Here I blended in sugar and vanilla bean paste to make meringues.
Special Diet Notes: Aquafaba
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and top food allergy-friendly.
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (see post above about other legumes)
- Drain the chickpea liquid into a container. Use 3 tablespoons of the liquid per whole large egg called for in your recipe. Use 2 tablespoons of the liquid per large egg white called for in your recipe.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze to use later.
- Drain the chickpea liquid into a mixing bowl. Reserve the chickpeas to enjoy in another recipe.
- If your recipe calls for cream of tartar, add it now.
- Begin mixing the liquid on low speed with a hand mixer or stand mixer. It will start to foam very quickly. After a few minutes it will begin to thicken.
- Optionally turn the mixer up to medium speed. It will continue to thicken, and will usually reach the stiff peak stage at about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Now use the whipped aquafaba in place of whipped egg whites in your recipe. This usually means folding it into your batter, or mixing in additional ingredients.