What Is Aquafaba?

Buying, Cooking, and Recipes

Whipped aquafaba

Julie Rideout / Stocksy

Stop! Don't toss that clear viscous liquid in your can of chickpeas down the drain. Known as aquafaba, that liquid is a vital vegan cooking ingredient. 

What Is Aquafaba?

Aquafaba forms when legumes, such as chickpeas, are soaked or cooked in water for an extended period of time. You've likely tossed it out without a second thought, after draining chickpeas from a can, but you can use it to make airy vegan desserts, such as meringues and chocolate mousse, or even a vegan whiskey sour.

While aquafaba is a vital vegan cooking ingredient, it's a new one. Vegan French musician, Joël Roessel, began experimenting with cooking with water from canned beans and other vegetables, then writing about it on his blog, where it caught on with other vegan chefs as well as chefs looking to their reduce food waste. 

Fast Facts

  • Flavorless, when cooked.
  • The water from soaked or cooked chickpeas.
  • A popular egg substitute in vegan desserts. 
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

How to Cook With Aquafaba

You can use aquafaba in place of eggs or egg whites. Simply drain a can of chickpeas, and reserve the liquid. 

If your aquafaba seems watery (more common when using homemade aquafaba) you may want to thicken it up by reducing it on a stovetop. Place it in a saucepan without a lid, and cook on low for about 30 minutes. If you're baking with aquafaba, you can add a teaspoon of cream of tartar to help stabilize it (a lot of baking recipes will call for cream of tartar when egg foams are used anyway, so follow the amount in the recipe if it calls for it.). 

In general, you can sub 3 tablespoons of aquafaba for every egg, 1 tablespoon for 1 egg yolk, or 2 tablespoons for 1 egg white. 

What Does It Taste Like?

Don't worry, while aquafaba has a mild bean smell, once you bake with it, it won't taste like anything, especially not beans.

Aquafaba Recipes

Use aquafaba to make egg-free dishes such as pizza crust, vegan desserts, and more.

Where to Buy Aquafaba?

As aquafaba is a byproduct of chickpeas, the easiest way to buy it is by buying a can of chickpeas. You'll find cans of chickpeas widely available in your local supermarket as well as online.

You can also make your own aquafaba by cooking your own dried chickpeas and reserving the leftover liquid. 

Storage

Store your canned aquafaba in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Homemade aquafaba will only last for two to three days. You can also freeze aquafaba. The best way to do this is in an ice cube tray. Place about 1 tablespoon in each cube, and after it's frozen, transfer to an airtight container for storage. It will keep in the freezer for about two months.