Aquafaba is the starchy liquid that beans — especially chickpeas — have been cooked in. It is also the liquid in a can of beans. See how to make aquafaba, how to store it and how to use it. Jump to the Aquafaba Recipe or read on to see all of our tips for using it.
What is aquafaba?
Aquafaba is bean cooking liquid or the liquid in a can of beans. Most often, when we talk about aquafaba, we are specifically talking about the cooking liquid of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or the liquid in a can of chickpeas. Not too long ago, whenever Adam and I cooked chickpeas or opened a can of chickpeas, we tossed the liquid down the drain. Now that we know how useful that liquid can be in the kitchen, we are kicking ourselves!
When you cook beans or when cooked beans sit in liquid in a can, that liquid becomes very starchy. It’s this starchiness that makes aquafaba so interesting.
Is aquafaba only from chickpeas?
Technically, aquafaba is made when cooking other legumes. Chickpeas, however, have a tendency to create the best, most starchy liquid. That’s why it’s chickpea water that’s the most common when utilizing aquafaba in other recipes.
What can you do with aquafaba?
It was only in 2015 that Goose Wohlt, a software engineer looking for ways to make egg-free meringues, discovered the magic of bean water (source). We already know that it works as a thickener, stabilizer, binder and emulsifier, but it’s safe to say that uses for aquafaba are still being discovered. Here are the most common uses that we know of. If you know of more ways to use it, leave it in the comments!
- Egg white and whole egg replacer in baked goods like pancakes and muffins
- Make egg-free meringue or pavlova
- Make whipped desserts vegan, like chocolate mousse.
- Make vegan buttercream
- Make vegan whipped cream or ice cream
- Make vegan mayonnaise or aioli
- Make extra creamy hummus
- Make vegan butter
- Thicken soups
Another egg replacer: We also love flax eggs when replacing eggs in recipes.
How do you make aquafaba?
Draining and saving the liquid from a can of chickpeas is the simplest (and most foolproof) way to get aquafaba. Choose canned beans with low or no salt added so that the liquid is not overly salty. It’s also a good idea to shake the beans around the can a few times before opening it and draining. This extra step helps to add a little more starch to the liquid since the beans have bashed into one another inside the can.
You can also make aquafaba from scratch by soaking and then cooking your own dried chickpeas. This method is a little trickier since after your beans are cooked, you will need to simmer the cooking liquid down to the right consistency to match the results you get when using the canned liquid. After cooking the beans, remove them, and then simmer the cooking liquid until it reduces and has the consistency of the liquid that comes from a can. This consistency is also pretty close to what egg whites look like.
Making aquafaba from scratch
As I mentioned above, aquafaba from a can really is the most foolproof option, especially if you plan to whip it. If, however, you cook a lot of chickpeas at home and were wondering how to use that liquid left in the pot, here’s how:
- Soak 1 pound (2 cups) of dried chickpeas in water overnight. Make sure that you cover the beans with several inches of water as they do expand as they soak.
- Drain the soaked chickpeas, and then add them to a large pot with 8 cups of water. Do not use any salt or spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Here’s our detailed recipe for cooking dried chickpeas.
- Once the chickpeas are cooked, turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Allow the beans to cool down in the cooking liquid. This step leaves extra starch in the liquid, which is what gives aquafaba it’s egg-like magical properties.
- When cool, remove the chickpeas with a slotted spoon, and then bring the cooking liquid to a simmer and cook for another 30 to 45 minutes. In this time, the liquid should reduce and turn into a thicker, yellowish liquid resembling the liquid that comes out of canned chickpeas.
- Allow the aquafaba to cool, and then store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for months.
When making this from scratch, be careful not to introduce any oil or fats into the liquid. These can cause problems if you plan to whip the liquid later on.
How do you substitute eggs for aquafaba?
As you can see from the list above, there are lots of uses for aquafaba, but one of my favorites is as an egg replacer in pancakes and baked goods like muffins. It mimics many of the characteristics of eggs in baking. In fact, we use it to make these wonderful vegan blueberry muffins. Here’s a general rule when replacing eggs with aquafaba:
- 3 tablespoons of aquafaba = 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons of aquafaba = 1 egg white
How do you use it?
Aquafaba can be used as an egg replacer in three ways:
- Use a hand whisk and whisk until light and frothy then use as an egg binder in cookies, pancakes and muffins.
- Whip into soft peaks and fold into batters that benefit from added airiness like waffles, muffins and cupcakes.
- Whip into stiff peaks and use to make meringue, ice cream or vegan macarons.
How do you whip aquafaba?
The most foolproof method we’ve found for whipped aquafaba is to use a stand mixer and a small amount of cream of tartar. You can whip it using a hand mixer or even a food processor (as shown in our photos), but if you have one, the stand mixer with its large whisk attachment is best.
Is cream of tartar required to whip aquafaba?
You can whip aquafaba without cream of tartar, but we recommend adding the cream of tartar to help the foam stay whipped for as long as possible (a full recipe is below). Whipped aquafaba by itself will deflate pretty quickly. You can rewhip it, but who wants to do that? So instead, we add a little cream of tartar to help stabilize things. Once it is whipped, you can use it in your favorite recipes.
It can take a while for aquafaba to whip so please do not let that discourage you. If yours isn’t whipping as quickly as you’d hoped, just keep with it. Some people have noted that it took them 10 minutes of whipping! We usually see soft peaks within 4 or 5 minutes, but if that’s not true for you, keep going, it will eventually get there.
How long can you keep aquafaba?
Store unwhipped aquafaba in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze aquafaba for months. For ease, consider freezing it in tablespoons in an ice cube tray. When it’s completely frozen, pop the frozen aquafaba out from the tray, and then place into a resealable freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for months. When you are ready to use it, thaw the number of tablespoon cubes you need in the fridge, and then use in your recipes.
How to Make Aquafaba (Ultimate Guide)
Aquafaba is the starchy liquid that beans — especially chickpeas — have been cooked in. It is also the liquid in a can of beans. It can be used many ways. We use it most often as an egg replacer.
Aquafaba can be used as an egg replacer in three ways: (1) lightly whisked as a binder in cookies, pancakes and muffins, (2) whipped into soft peaks and folded into batters that benefit from added airiness like waffles, muffins and cupcakes, and (3) whipped into stiff peaks and used to make meringue, ice cream or vegan macarons.
When choosing which state to use aquafaba in, you are most likely going to need it lightly whisked or whipped into soft peaks. Lightly whisked aquafaba does a fine job in most recipes, but when you substitute that with whipped aquafaba, you will likely see even better results. The recipe below is for whipped aquafaba.
You Will Need
1 (15-ounce) can no salt added chickpeas or 1/2 cup chickpea cooking liquid, see notes
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1Vigorously shake the unopened can of chickpeas, and then open and drain the beans, reserving the liquid. If there are lots of little bits of beans in the liquid, pour it through a fine mesh strainer to remove them.
2Lightly whisk the liquid, and then measure out the amount of aquafaba you need. As a guide, when substituting a whole egg, you will need three tablespoons of liquid. When substituting one egg white, you will need two tablespoons.
3Choose how you would like to add the aquafaba to your recipe: lightly whisked or whipped.
4For lightly whisked, add the measured out liquid to a wide bowl and beat by hand with a wire whisk until it looks frothy, about 1 minute. You do not need to add the cream of tartar.
5For whipped aquafaba, add the measured amount to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar, and then turn the mixer on. Whip on high speed until your desired fluffiness. This takes some time so be patient. We usually stop mixing after 4 to 5 minutes. To tell when it is properly whipped, remove the whisk and turn it upside down, soft peaks will hold at first and then slowly melt back into themselves after a second. Firm peaks will hold and look more distinct, but the tips will still fold back on themselves. Be careful not to over whip as this can cause it to loose all of it’s airiness and deflate.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Canned chickpea liquid is the most fool proof option for aquafaba, however, you can make it using leftover cooking liquid from cooking chickpeas. If you are making it from scratch, you will need to remove the cooked beans, and then simmer the cooking liquid until thickened and it resembles the viscosity of the liquid that comes out of a can of beans. Tips for doing this are provided in the article above.
- Don’t have a stand mixer? Try a hand mixer or food processor instead. The stand mixer really is the best tool for the job, but the other two appliances will work in a pinch.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We used data from this website (all about aquafaba).