I’ve been interested in trying out vegan meringue for awhile. Eggs are a staple in baking (and of course meringue!) so finding ways to replace them without sacrificing taste or texture seems like a fun experiment.
Vegan meringue is also a great jumping off point for other desserts — if you can replace egg whites in meringue of all things, it should be possible in other recipes. The most obvious examples are things like macarons, lemon meringue pie (god yes), angel food cake, etc. And meringue cookies on their own are pretty damn good.
Traditional meringue is pretty straightforward — egg whites, sugar, vanilla (or other flavoring), and some recipes throw in cream of tartar.
Of course, the non-vegan part of this is the egg whites. This means we’re gonna use aquafaba, or chickpea liquid instead. Most meringue recipes I’ve seen use a ratio of 1 part egg whites to 2 parts sugar, so that’s what I’ve done with mine.
Note: sugar isn’t always vegan either, since it can be processed with bone char! Many vegans don’t worry too much about it, but if you do you can find vegan sugar brands here (https://ordinaryvegan.net/vegansugar/)
As with anything, I recommend trying to get the taste down first, then worrying about appearances. This I’d say is especially true with meringues, considering how finicky getting them to look perfect can be. A cracked meringue can still be a delicious meringue. You can see above, mine frequently turn out bumpy just because the store closest to me sells a thicker sugar!
The process of making a meringue is relatively simple, but don’t confuse simple for easy! They can be tricky to get right. The idea is you whip the absolute hell out of your aquafaba, adding sugar and flavorings at the soft peaks stage, and then bake it low and slow. You can adjust the baking temperature and time based on what particular texture you like, but I found making them drier was my preference since they just melt in your mouth at that point. I found that leaving them chewier inside made them get stuck on my teeth and was ultimately unpleasant to eat.
I haven’t made egg-based meringue in awhile, but it definitely seems to take longer to whip the aquafaba. But don’t give up until you get stiff peaks!
After making way too many batches of these, I found the recipe that works best for me. But please, experiment! Because of their simplicity they can be fun to play around with, trying out new flavors or testing out different baking times to get the exact texture you want. They don’t need to be perfect, just delicious to you.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe If found that worked for me:
1/4 cup aquafaba
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or sub for whatever flavor you want to use)
- Preheat oven to 250F/120C
- Whip aquafaba, starting on low and gradually working up to high speed.
- When soft peaks start to form, turn down the speed to medium and add the sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time
- Add the vanilla, and turn the speed back up
- Keep whipping until it’s glossy and stiff peaks form
- Either put the meringue in a piping bag, or use a spoon to put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. A piping bag helps make sure they’re the same size and will bake evenly, but if you don’t have one eyeballing it with a spoon works (trust me, even with a piping bag mine aren’t terribly uniform)
- Bake for 45 minutes, then turn the oven off and let rest for at least an hour (but they can rest overnight!)
- Eat ‘em! The meringue should crunch when you bite into it and melt in your mouth
And that’s it! Who knew bean water and sugar could turn out to be so good?
Have any tips, tricks, or suggestions? Do you think aquafaba works just as well as egg whites? Sound off in the comments below!