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Meringue-Powder-Substitutes

The 5 Best Meringue Powder Substitutes

When we hear the word meringue, the first thing that may come to mind is egg whites. This is the traditional method of making meringue, but it is not the only one. Meringue powder is a substitute for the egg whites traditionally used in meringue and is often used for baking and decorating cakes. It is a convenient powder that is shelf-stable and easy to measure so that you can keep it around for much longer than egg whites.

What is meringue powder
Meringue powder is an alternative to fresh eggs, which need to be brought to room temperature and separated before they can be used. It does not require any preparation to be added to your favorite baked goods. The fact that it is dehydrated means it can last for a long time without going bad. This can make it a great buy even if you are only using it on an irregular basis. When kept in a dry, cool location, it can last as long as two years.

How healthy (or unhealthy) is it?

Meringue powder does contain pasteurized egg whites, which contain many beneficial nutrients. While it doesn’t contain many vitamins or minerals, it does include calcium in many cases, which can help with building healthy teeth and bones. It also contains a small amount of protein. Meringue powder also contains little to no fat, so it’s not something you need to be too concerned about if you’re on a diet.

Nutritional Breakdown

Meringue powder

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

333 kcal

16%

Total fat

0 g

0%

Saturated fat

0 g

0%

Carbohydrates

67 g

24%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

500 mg

26%

Protein

33 g

65%

Calcium

0 mg

0%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

0 mg

0%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA.)

What recipes are meringue powder used in?

There aren’t a whole lot of recipes that require the use of meringue powder, but it can be used as a substitute in some recipes for egg whites. It’s best-known use is as a significant ingredient in the creation of royal icing. It helps add stability to the icing, which is used on wedding cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. It can also be used for desserts like some mousses and angel food cake, which is mostly egg white with some extra flour.

Why do we need meringue powder substitutes?

One of the biggest reasons you may want to go for a meringue powder substitute is because meringue powder simply isn’t available everywhere. It also may not be the best substitute for traditional meringue in some kinds of baked goods. If either of these situations sound familiar, there’s no need to worry. There are many meringue powder substitutes that you can use instead. Below, we’ll go over five of the best and what they offer that make them similar to, or even better than, traditional meringue powder.

Note:

 🌱 = vegan

1. Egg whites

Best for: meringues, cakes, cookies, macarons, and pavlova.

Egg whites

Overview

Egg whites are simply the part of the egg that does not include the yolk. This ingredient has been used for creating meringue for many years and will often work well for whatever recipe you are creating. Making meringue from egg whites works best when used with a stabilizer like lemon juice or cream of tartar. You will want to replace two tablespoons of meringue powder using the egg white from a single egg.

Advantages

The most significant advantage of substituting with egg whites is that you will achieve the same flavor as the powder. It is a bit more time-consuming to whip up a batch of egg whites, but it will create a substitute that works well with most baked goods. In fact, the end result will often be even better than if you’d have gone with meringue powder, so it can definitely be worth the extra effort.

Disadvantages

Of course, there are also downfalls to using egg whites as a meringue powder substitute. For one thing, making the egg white into a meringue takes more effort and will require more time. To cut down on some of the time needed for a recipe using egg whites, you can also choose to use pasteurized egg whites instead.

Nutritional breakdown

Egg whites

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

52 kcal

2%

Total fat

0.2 g

0.3%

Saturated fat

0 g

0%

Carbohydrates

0.7 g

0.3%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

166 mg

9%

Protein

11 g

22%

Calcium

7 mg

0.7%

Vitamin B-12

0.1 ug

4%

Potassium

163 mg

4%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA.)

2. Egg white powder

Best for: macarons, meringue, muffins, granola, and cookies.

Overview

Egg white powder is an ingredient that offers only the egg white portion of meringue powder. Sometimes, depending on the manufacturer and brand, this can also be marketed as dried egg whites. The most considerable difference between meringue powder and egg white powder is that the latter is created to replace egg whites as a specific ingredient. Meringue powder is different in that it offers a replacement for all meringue-based ingredients.

Advantages

Even though the ingredients are different when using this meringue powder substitute, egg white powder can provide most of what you’d want from meringue powder. It can be used in all the same dishes in the same way. Since it is pasteurized, it also offers no food safety risks, which can be an issue with raw egg whites. It can be reconstituted easily and used as a meringue powder.

Disadvantages

Some things make egg white powder unideal for certain situations. For example, it can't simply be mixed into a recipe to create a meringue. Instead, you will also need to add sweeteners and stabilizers that are found in meringue powder. You may also need to add additional ingredients in order to achieve the same kind of meringue flavors you are used to.

Nutritional breakdown

Egg white powder

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

376 kcal

18%

Total fat

0 g

0%

Saturated fat

0 g

0%

Carbohydrates

4 g

1%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

1238 mg

65%

Protein

82 g

161%

Calcium

89 mg

9%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

1116 mg

27%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA.)

3. Aquafaba🌱

Best for: meringue, pavlova, mousse, nougat, and pie.

Aquafaba

Overview

For those who adhere to a vegan diet, another great option to replace meringue powder is aquafaba. This uniquely named ingredient simply refers to the liquid that is used for cooking chickpeas. You can quickly drain it from a can of legumes before using the chickpeas for some other purpose. The liquid can be whipped up into a stiff foam just like egg whites and is likely the most popular vegan meringue powder substitute on the market.

Advantages

One of the perks of using aquafaba instead of meringue powder is that it’s easily accessible. You can get it by draining a can of chickpeas or use the water you cook the legumes in if you prefer to make them yourself. Another advantage is the fact that aquafaba is a vegan ingredient, so a larger group of individuals can use it to feed anyone who lives by a vegan diet. It's a versatile option that leaves you with drained chickpeas which you can use to make other dishes.

Disadvantages

As with some of the other alternatives for meringue powder, aquafaba does not have all the ingredients that are in meringue powder. It can be used exactly like egg whites but without the animal-sourced ingredients. This means that you are going to want to add additional ingredients before whipping it into a meringue. Some of the most common additions include vanilla and sweeteners of your choice.

Nutritional breakdown

Aquafaba

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

18 kcal

0.9%

Total fat

0.2 g

0%

Saturated fat

0 g

0%

Carbohydrates

3 g

10%

Cholesterol

0 g

0%

Salt

3 mg

0%

Protein

1 g

2%

Calcium

7 mg

0.7%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

0 mg

0%

(Based on nutritional information from CalorieKing.)


4. Agar🌱

Best for: pudding, jelly, vegan gelatin, food decorations, and cake.

Agar

Overview

Another vegan option for making meringue if you prefer to avoid meringue powder is agar, also referred to as agar-agar. This product is made from seaweed and can be used for gelling purposes. You will often find agar sold as a powder. The ingredient is made of galactose particles and is semi-translucent and white. It acts as an alternative to gelatin but in a plant-based form.

Advantages

Often sold in health food stores and Asian supermarkets, agar is a source of iron, calcium, and fiber. While powdered agar is the most common variety, it can also be purchased as a flake or bar, depending on your needs. It is used in many vegan and dairy-free recipes to thicken and stabilize the dish. Some of the most common uses include vegetarian marshmallows, puddings, sauces, and custards.

Disadvantages

When using agar as a meringue powder substitute, you may need to add additional sweeteners and other ingredients. It can also be one of the more challenging ingredients to find, as you may need to seek out a specialty grocery store to purchase it. However, when chilled, it can be whipped into peaks, which can be used for baked goods that call for the use of meringue.

Nutritional breakdown

Agar

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

26 kcal

1%

Total fat

0 g

0%

Saturated fat

0 g

0%

Carbohydrates

7 g

3%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

9 mg

0.5%

Protein

0.5 g

1%

Calcium

54 mg

5%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

226 mg

6%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA.)

5. Gelatin

Best for: molded salads, jelly desserts, ice cream, cakes, and cereals.

Gelatin

Overview

Gelatin is a non-vegan ingredient that can be used to recreate the effects of using meringue powder in recipes. It is derived from collagen and is considered to be a protein product. It is made by cooking collagen, which has several amino acids that offer health benefits. Collagen is the most common protein in animals and humans and is typically found in the bones, ligaments, skin, and tendons. It is extracted through boiling collagen in water.

Advantages

Gelatin is primarily made up of protein but is considered an incomplete protein because it does not contain all the essential amino acids. However, it does contain glutamic acid, glycine, hydroxyproline, valine, and proline. It can be made into an egg substitute without much effort. All you need to do is place unflavored gelatin into hot water and let it set to create a meringue powder substitute for your favorite baked goods.

Disadvantages

A disadvantage of gelatin, especially when compared to agar or aquafaba, is that it is not vegan since it is derived from animal products. This is also a meringue powder substitute that has no flavor associated with it. To get the taste of meringue that you are used to, you are going to need to experiment with adding sweeteners and other flavorings to recreate that classic meringue flavor.

Nutritional breakdown

Gelatin

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

350 kcal

17%

Total fat

0 g

0%

Saturated fat

0 g

0%

Carbohydrates

80 g

29%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

1100 mg

58%

Protein

10 g

20%

Calcium

0 mg

0%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

0 mg

0%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA.)

The Bottom Line

Meringue powder is a wonderful ingredient for making royal icing, angel food cake, and other dessert dishes. The issue is that it can be hard to find in some places, and you can be left wondering what you could use in its place once you run out. The five alternatives above all have their pros and cons, but each can successfully be used to recreate the effects of meringue powder.

Top vegan picks

Since meringue powder makes use of egg whites, there aren’t a whole lot of vegan-friendly substitutes. However, there are two that can do when making vegan desserts or icing. Both agar and aquafaba are made of only vegan ingredients and can be substituted for meringue powder. It’s hard to differentiate between them on which is the better vegan choice, as its mainly a matter of preference. However, aquafaba may be easier to find if you have a can of chickpeas at hand.

Top healthy picks

One of the healthiest options to use instead of meringue powder is agar, but many of the ingredients used as substitutes have minimal nutrients. Gelatin is another option that has several amino acids to help maintain a healthy body. Those who want to limit their calorie intake and gain a small boost in nutrients may also want to use aquafaba as an alternative to meringue powder. Egg white powder also contains a large number of nutrients such as potassium, but be aware that it also contains a high amount of sodium.

Top convenient picks

In terms of which product is the most convenient, egg white powder is probably the answer. It can be used in the same way as meringue powder, but you might need to add extra ingredients to it to achieve your desired flavor. Traditional egg whites have the same thing going for them but do require a little extra effort in terms of separating the eggs and creating the meringue. Aquafaba is also convenient if you have chickpeas in your pantry.

Top convincing picks

If you want a meringue powder substitute that is so similar that it could be the same thing, egg whites are probably the one for you. This ingredient is not the same as meringue powder, but it is the most authentic alternative. If you want a second option that can produce the same feel and taste, egg white powder also makes a great choice here.

Sources:

https://sweetopia.net/2012/10/can-you-use-anything-besides-egg-whites-or-meringue-powder-in-royal-icing/

https://www.mybluprint.com/article/using-meringue-powder

https://www.spiceography.com/meringue-powder/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-agar-agar-p2-1000960

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gelatin-benefits

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