What Is Aquafaba?

Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on July 13, 2023
3 min read

Aquafaba is an egg replacement usually made from chickpea water. Some people also use soybean water or water from other neutral-tasting beans. Not only is it a healthy alternative to eggs, but it is also vegan-friendly. 

Aquafaba was discovered by accident, and it has made a huge difference in the vegan community.

Egg whites are healthy for those who wish to eat them, but aquafaba is a great egg alternative for vegans or people with an egg allergy

Chickpeas are healthy, and some of the nutrients transfer into the water. Protein and fiber don’t transfer over, but you can still benefit from trace amounts of:

  • B vitamins
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Healthy fats, like linoleic and oleic acids

Without a suitable egg white replacement, people following a vegan diet could not make recipes that called for eggs. Cooking with aquafaba is easy to do. Because it can behave like an egg white, it can be used in particular dishes including:

  • Meringue
  • Mousse
  • Macarons
  • Marshmallows‌
  • Angel food cake

Taste. When first opened, the chickpea water may smell like beans. However, after being mixed into the recipe, that smell and flavor mellow, leaving a more neutral taste. If you use a different type of beans, or if the chickpeas are salted, your results may be different.

Consistency. Drain your can of chickpeas into a mixing bowl. If it looks more watery than egg whites, you can reduce it to a thicker texture on the stovetop. Simmer the liquid over medium-low heat until it is closer to the consistency of egg whites. 

Allow it to cool off completely before using it. Your chickpea water doesn’t need to be refrigerated before using.

Measurements. You can use three tablespoons of chickpea water for one large egg, or you can use two tablespoons of chickpea water for one large egg white.

Whipping aquafaba. If your recipe simply calls for egg whites, you can add the aquafaba to your recipe. If the recipe calls for whipped egg whites, measure out the amount of liquid you need for the number of eggs in your recipe. If your recipe calls for cream of tartar, you can add it in before whipping. Then follow these steps:

  1. For one minute, whip on low speed. The liquid should begin to foam.
  2. After three to four minutes it will thicken. Increase the mixer speed to medium. 
  3. After five to six minutes, you should see soft peaks form when you lift the mixer.
  4. After seven to ten minutes, the peaks will be stiffer, although they may not look quite the same as whipped egg whites.
  5. Now you can fold the whipped aquafaba into your other ingredients. 

If you are using aquafaba as a vegan egg alternative, there are some other important things to consider about the health of your diet. While vegetarians do not eat meat, vegans do not eat any animal products. This includes:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Honey‌
  • Seafood

Because of these limitations, people who follow a vegan diet often look for alternatives to traditional animal products. Vegan diets tend to be healthy, but there are some nutrients that may be missing. If you follow a vegan diet, be sure to get enough of the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin B12 is important for your metabolism, heart, nerve and muscle health. Take a supplement if vitamin B12 isn’t in the foods you eat.
  • Calcium is the key to strong bones and dental health. You can get calcium from fortified cereals and milk alternatives. 
  • Iron is important for your metabolism and heart health. Make sure you eat plenty of fortified whole grains, beans, lentils, and spinach. ‌
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your cardiovascular health. Eat plenty of flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts.