What Kinds of Sugars Work with Aquafaba Meringue?
A few months back, while I was working on my cookbook, I spent a day playing with different kinds of sugars.
There are lots of folks out there (especially in the vegan community) that are trying to avoid sugar, or at least cut down on it.
An additional note to make is that most people assume that granulated sugar (which is what I primarily use to make Aquafaba meringue) is vegan. I mean, why wouldn’t you?
But it turns out that some sugar is processed by filtering it through bone char, which would render it non-vegan for most, given that the sugar has come into contact with an animal product (despite the fact that it contains no animal products). If you live here in BC, our main supplier of sugar is Roger’s, and their sugar is indeed filtered through bone char.
Again, it all just depends on whether or not you are vegan–there are certainly lots of people who may use aquafaba for other reasons.
But let’s go with this–let’s say you are vegan and you’re trying to avoid granulated sugar–which, let’s face it, is the worst kind for you, anyway.
Want more Aquafaba recipes? I wrote a whole book about it: Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba (Bean Water)
You have lots of options! Basically any sugar that is unrefined, organic or raw, will not be filtered through bone char (here’s a list of vegan sugars). BUT if you’re making aquafaba meringue, will these sugars work?
Sugar is important to the process. When you’re making a meringue, sugar helps to stabilize the aquafaba, and of course, if you’re adding it to desserts, it adds sweetness. I’ve made aquafaba meringue without sugar (just some stabilizer like cream of tartar) and it worked fine for non-sweet recipes, but most of the time, I’m using it in sweeter interpretations, so I do add sugar.
I was curious to see what sugars worked best with aquafaba, so I did a little experiment.
I tried making meringue with aquafaba and 6 different kinds of sugars.
For these, I used the ratio:
- 3 tbsp aquafaba
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
I then fired all of that in my KitchenAid stand mixer and let it go for about 6-10 minutes.
(here’s the actual recipe, just FYI)
Organic: Organic sugar is less processed than white sugar. First off, it comes from organic sugarcane, and secondly, there are no chemical processes done to the sugarcane. So it’s a much purer result.
Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar has a lower GI (about 30-35) than regular sugar, which is why it’s becoming so popular right now. I actually like this one quite a bit.
Turbinado: this is “Sugar in the Raw” or raw sugar. It’s a coarser grain and a darker colour.
Brown Sugar: So, while it might seem less refined than white sugar (and to some degree it is), brown sugar is mostly white sugar with molasses added back in for flavor and colour. So, again, ideally buy the organic version of this to ensure it’s vegan, if that’s your deal.
Xylitol: made from the bark of birch trees (I know, sounds weird, right?) Xylitol is as sweet as sugar, so you can use it cup-for-cup, but it’s natural, and doesn’t have an aftertaste like stevia does. It’s also basically zero on the GI scale, so it’s kind of like sugar free sugar.
Monkfruit: It’s made from a tropical melon, and it’s pretty sweet, though it has a GI of zero. I’ve been using it for about a year. You have to be careful not to use too much. I put some in my coffee the other day and couldn’t drink it. Monkfruit was the only sweetener that did not work at all with the Aquafaba.
Conclusion: they all worked with aquafaba to some degree. Some formed better peaks than others. Surprisingly, Xylitol worked really well. The browner sugars changed the colour of the meringue, so if that’s an issue for you, stick to to organic white sugar.
16 thoughts on “What Kinds of Sugars Work with Aquafaba Meringue?”
Hello ! Thank you for all these information : it saves us a lot of time! Little question here : I was about to make the same experiment but I already beat the Aquafaba. I wanted to know if you could share the ratio of beating aquafaba/ sugar by any chance ? Merci beaucoup !!!
It really depends on how sweet you want it to be. I don’t think that there is a specific ratio for sugar to aquafaba. I mostly do 1/4 sugar to aquafaba–like if I have 4 tbsp AF, I would use 1 tbsp sugar.
Since organic sugar is thicker granules, did it affect the texture at all? Thanks!!
No, it seems to work fine. I use it all the time.
meringue is a bit of a challenge – thanks for sharing your results – I did not find erythritol [natvia] successful.
as it does not seem to have the pearly finnish that castor sugar leaves.The full crispy crunch came from the cooking time of 2 hours on 80-100 celsius – leaving door of the oven closed overnight.Natvia had a gritty texture and needed more tweeking – had a few FAILS.
Do you have a recipe for Xylitol Meringues/Macaroons?
I would just do regular recipe, but sub Xylitol for sugar in equal proportions. I haven’t tried baking them, just whipping.
Hi i made the one with coconut sugar and all of the three times i tried it just came down as i added the sugar. Should i had to added at the beggining or when it growed? Thanks
I would try that, yes. It’s what I usually do.
As I’m on a low Histamine diet and eggs are a problem and I’m also Keto (Sorry not vegan), I’m experimenting with Aquafabba using Erythritol and Stevia Mix or Allulose. So far my meringue is watery and has holes in like Florentines. I presume I’m undermixing it. Can you over mix it and it collapses like egg white? Is the sugar substitue affecting it as it obviously doesnt caramalise. As you failed with Monkfruit I’m wondering if Alcohol sugars are the same?
I’ve successfully use Xylotol to make the meringue, that’s an alcohol-based sugar. Are you using a stabilizer? Unlike egg whites, you cannot overmix aquafaba.
Thank you. I’ll try xylitol and see how that works. I’ve added cream of tartar. I also have sunflower lecithin . Can that be added? I’m glad to know I cant overwhip it so I’ll do it for much longer and hope it works. Thanks for your help
I”ve never tried Lectithin, but I have use Xanthium, especially when I need it to hold the whip.
Whipping works amazingly with Xylitol, but baking doesn’t at all, they just become chewy. I tried several recipe, it never worked.
Good to know! Thanks for doing that research and letting us know!
Thanks for doing these experiments. We whipped our aquafaba into stiff peaks but even though we added Coconut sugar gradually, the mixture became completely runny. Any advice?
Did you use a stabilizer of some kind? Aquafaba can be really flaky.