These vegan meringue cookies are light, crisp, and sweet with absolutely no beany taste at all. And they're simpler to make than you'd think!
The secret to perfect vegan meringues is aquafaba, the liquid from canned beans. Aquafaba is a great egg replacer, and it works like a charm in meringue recipes!
Why white bean aquafaba?
Chickpea aquafaba is the most popular, but you don't have to use the liquid from canned chickpeas. For recipes with a more delicate flavor, white bean liquid is your friend.
Chickpea liquid whips up more quickly than white bean, but it definitely has a bean-y flavor. That's fine in something like a brownie or cake, where other strong flavors overpower it. In something like a meringue, though, that flavor comes through.
White bean aquafaba has a more neutral flavor, so you end up with a meringues that tastes like meringues, not like beans.
A bit of fun cooking science
Wondering how thin, runny bean liquid whips up into luscious, creamy peaks? It's science!
Just like egg whites, the liquid from canned beans contains protein. When you whip the liquid, you actually change the structure of the protein, wrapping it around tiny air bubbles. The sugar and acid -- in this recipe's case, cream of tartar -- help stabilize those protein-wrapped bubbles.
If you have kids, this is a fun, edible science lesson to do with them!
I definitely recommend that you use an electric hand mixer for this recipe. This is a smaller batch situation, so a stand mixer may not be able to reach the liquid enough to whip it up.
A crank hand mixer will work in theory, but since you have to whip vigorously for an extended period of time, it's not the best option.
White bean liquid takes a bit longer to form peaks than chickpea does. Expect a good 15-20 minutes of beating on high. The chickpea meringue takes closer to 10.
But that extra time is so worth it for the improved taste!
Before you start whipping, you want to make sure that your bowl is squeaky clean. Oil is the enemy of stiff peaks, so make sure that there's no residual oil in your bowl from a previous recipe.
Wondering how to know when you have soft peaks? It takes about 15-20 minutes to get the soft peaks you need for these cookies. You've reached the soft peak stage when the batter is no longer runny. When you take the beater out and hold it up, the batter shouldn't run off. It should hold its shape, but the peaks will be a bit droopy on top.
Don't skip the sitting time. This recipe calls for leaving your cookies in the oven for at least two hours after you turn it off. This additional drying time will help the cookies stay crisp for longer. If you skip it, they will soften within just a few hours of baking.
Store cooled meringue cookies in an airtight container on the kitchen counter or in the pantry. They will keep for two to three days.
Your meringue cookies will soften over time, because they will absorb moisture from the air. How long they keep depends a lot on how humid your kitchen is.
What to do with the leftover white beans
When you make meringues with aquafaba, you're left with lots of beans. If you need a recipe for your white beans, try these!
Vegan meringue cookies recipe
- 1 15 ounce can white beans - drained, liquid reserved. You can set those beans aside, because we are done with them!
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar - or ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup organic sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200° F.
- In a large, high-sided bowl, combine the bean liquid, cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and a heaping tablespoon of the sugar, and whip with an electric hand mixer on high, adding sugar by the heaping tablespoon until it's all incorporated. Continue whipping until your aquafaba forms soft peaks. This can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes.
- Scoop tablespoons of your meringue onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake each batch for two hours. Your cookies are ready when they’re crisp all the way through. If they look runny at all, give them 10 extra minutes, then check again.
- Turn the oven off, but leave the cookies in there for another 2 hours to cool before removing your vegan meringue cookies from oven.