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Vegans rave about aquafaba, but does this egg substitute actually work?

Everything you need to know about baking with the liquid from canned chickpeas

31 March 2019 - 00:08 By hilary biller
Aquafaba can be whipped up just like egg whites. The secret is to add a pinch of cream of tartar to make the mix more stable.
Aquafaba can be whipped up just like egg whites. The secret is to add a pinch of cream of tartar to make the mix more stable.
Image: 123RF


For all the world the word aquafaba could easily be thought of as something associated with water, swimming maybe, yet it's a fairly new cookery term used to describe the starchy liquid found in canned chickpeas (and other pulses) that can successfully be used as an egg-white replacement in baking and emulsions like mayonnaise.

The liquid, an almost egg-white consistency, contains carbohydrates and proteins leeched out during cooking. It is valuable in that it's a great binder that magically whips up to a foam that holds its shape (adding a pinch of cream of tartar makes it more stable).


Aquafaba can be used to make meringues, muffins, macarons, chocolate mousse and brownies - even marshmallows.

Experienced "aquafabas" even make an acceptable, so they say, vegan mozzarella-style cheese.

Experts say the liquid from canned chickpeas (or chickpeas cooked up at home) works best, even delivering a good crumb and lift, usually provided by raising agents, in baking.


Shake the can well then drain the contents (use brine without any added salt) through a sieve into a container.

One 400g can offers about 180ml of brine.

To replace one medium egg white in a recipe use 30ml (2 tbsp) of aquafaba, and to replace one medium whole egg - yolk and white - use 45ml (3 tbsp) of the liquid.


I was inspired by two websites that offer a variety of recipes using the magical brine, lovingitvegan.com and asaucykitchen.com, to make meringues and chocolate brownies (see recipes below).

When making the meringues, I discovered that if you whip the aquafaba with a pinch of cream of tartar it turns from a beige murky liquid into a super white glossy mixture with soft peaks — just like egg whites.

I made the mistake of leaving the meringues out to cool down and by the morning they had softened but returned them to the oven for 10-15 minutes to dry out. Tip: Store them in an airtight container.

The brownies were a great success. Moist and delicious they could easily pass off as a normal brownie.


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