What is aquafaba? You’ve heard the term, seen it in recipes but aren’t sure what it is or how to use it? In basic terms, aquafaba is chickpea water. This can be water from a can of chickpeas, or the water left in the pan that you’ve cooked dried chickpeas in and it can be used extremely effectively in place of egg whites, or even whole eggs, in most vegan recipes. Sounds pretty darn weird, but the science is sound.
Now for the Science Bit…
If we’re being technical, aquafaba actually means “bean water” so feasibly you could use the water from other cans of beans or legumes, but chickpea seems to be the one that works the best. I agree that to begin with it seems like a really weird ingredient to use in place of egg, but it’s all to do with the protein. Egg whites are high in protein, and beans are high in protein. As the chickpeas or beans sit in their water some of the protein inevitably is absorbed into the water, making the bean water (aquafaba) also rich in protein.
What is Aquafaba Used For?
So, how do you use this water as a vegan egg substitute? It can successfully be used in place of egg in most recipes, but it is perhaps more effective used just as an egg white substitute when you need them whipped up to peaks, so for recipes like meringues, mousses, and macarons, aquafaba is definitely the ingredient of choice for a vegan baker. If using this way you definitely need a stand mixer as it takes a lot of whisking to get it to the soft or stiff peak stage–up to twenty minutes is common.
And yes, you can do the upside-bowl trick with stiff-peak aquafaba just as you do with using whisked up egg white. 😀 To make sure your aquafaba is whisked to the right consistency, you can tip the bowl upside down and if it stays put in the bowl then it has reached the stiff peak stage. If it starts to move as you tilt the bowl then it needs further whisking–unless you fancy giving your hair an egg white treatment!
Make a Quick Egg => Aquafaba Conversion
If you want to make a direct conversion from a non-vegan recipe then two tablespoons (30 ml) of aquafaba is approximately equivalent to one egg white, and three tablespoons (45 ml) is roughly equivalent to one whole egg.
What to Make with Aquafaba
Obviously it can’t be used as an egg substitute for all recipes–you aren’t suddenly going to get delicious vegan scrambled “egg” or perfect custard from using aquafaba, but it can be effectively used in other baking recipes such as cookies.
There are other vegan egg substitutes that you can try if aquafaba isn’t suitable for your recipe, such as flaxseed, chia seed, banana, and even avocado! And I’ll cover those in another post. In the meantime, give aquafaba a go with one of my recipes below: