The Ingredient You Need For A Stable Aquafaba Meringue

If you're a vegan, or if you're simply well versed in baking techniques, then you've undoubtedly heard of aquafaba, the liquid from cooked or canned chickpeas that can be frothed into a remarkably stable, animal product-free meringue. According to Minimalist Baker, this miraculous substance is great not only for making cookies, but it can also act as a vegan stand-in for whipped egg whites in recipes such as waffles and cornbread. When unwhipped, it's perfect in vegan mayo and as a binder in many baked goods.

So how does it work? According to Serious Eats, the chemical makeup of the cooking liquids of chickpeas and other legumes makes them really good both at foaming and being able to retain that peaked structure. Chickpea foam is particularly stable among legumes, which, along with its mild and adaptable flavor, has made it a favorite among bakers. Better yet, there's one ingredient you can add to aquafaba to make it even more stable, producing a longer-lasting foam that, in turn, makes better baked goods.

Add a pinch of cream of tartar to your aquafaba

If you've ever made traditional meringue using egg whites, then you most likely added a bit of cream of tartar to the mix. According to Cook's Illustrated, the ingredient — which is a white powder also called potassium acid tartrate — causes a chemical reaction with the beaten egg whites that strengthens the bond between the air and water in the foam. This produces a stable meringue that doesn't weep moisture once it's, say, piped onto a pie.

Serious Eats explains that the powder plays the same role in vegan "egg whites," stabilizing aquafaba both in its uncooked form as well as when it's baked into meringues. As a plus, aquafaba with cream of tartar produces a smoother meringue, and one that doesn't brown so fast in the oven. King Arthur Baking recommends using ⅛ teaspoon of cream of tartar per 2 tablespoons of aquafaba — unless, that is, you've selected chickpeas that are canned with kombu. Some brands of canned chickpeas use the seaweed when cooking the legumes, and aquafaba from these beans is already stable.