If you’re a baker creating decadent desserts, you know meringue powder is an essential ingredient for making royal icing.
But, what if you’re out of meringue powder? Don’t worry — there are plenty of easy substitutes.
You can make delicious royal icing without ever having to leave the house.
Read on to discover the best meringue powder substitutes in baking.
What is Meringue Powder?
Meringue powder is a dried egg white product used reverently in baking and cooking.
It consists of pasteurized egg whites, sugar and stabilizers, creating a safe-to-use alternative to fresh egg whites for those who still want to work with meringue.
Meringue powder can be used to make tasty and more professional-looking baked goods, desserts, glazes and more.
When baking, meringue powder can act as a leavening agent when mixed with other ingredients like sugar or fat such as oil or butter.
As the eggs contained in the meringue powder break down during baking, air bubbles will form and create lighter baked goods.
This makes it an ideal substitute for fresh egg whites when using recipes that require whipping them up into soft peaks or stiff peaks — such as with mousses or angel food cake — while keeping food safety in mind.
Many bakers prefer to use meringue powder instead of fresh eggs in their royal icings because it is easier to prepare: all you need is water.
In this type of recipe, the powdered form also provides less risk of contamination since it doesn’t contain raw eggs that might have been exposed to salmonella and other bacteria found naturally on shells.
In addition to its use in creating enjoyable treats, meringue powder also has sterilizing properties when used heated together with sugar at 190 °F — making for an especially nice gluten-free substitute for traditional breadcrumbs which often contains gluten from grains like barley and wheat.
Always use room temperature ingredients when making royal icing; adding warm liquids will result in flat frosting; use electric beaters instead of handheld beaters; add 1 tablespoon lemon juice per 1/4 cup royal icing for a lighter texture; if royal icing is too thin , add powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved; if royal icing begins to harden before you complete your baking project , heat over low heat until softened then continue working with it again.
5 Best Meringue Powder Substitutes in Royal Icing
Though it’s not easily found in most grocery stores, meringue powder can be purchased online or from specialty baking suppliers.
For those who are unable to get their hands on meringue powder or would rather make their own royal icing without it, the following five substitutes will work just as well:
1 – Egg Whites
Egg whites are the most commonly used substitute for meringue powder in royal icing recipes.
Using egg whites instead of meringue powder to make royal icing produces a texture that is smoother and less dense.
To make a cup of eggwhite-based icing, you will need three large egg whites and one and a half cups of powdered sugar.
Beat successively with an electric mixer set on high speed until your mixture forms glossy peaks.
Be aware that using raw egg whites may carry a risk of foodborne illness and should be avoided, if possible.
2 – Egg White Powder
Egg white powder is made from dehydrated egg whites and used in many cake and cookie recipes to provide structure and stability, including meringue powder.
It is typically available in the form of a fine white powder.
Typical ingredients in egg white powder are dried egg whites, cornstarch, gum arabic (an emulsifier), and a small amount of preservatives such as potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate.
Egg white powder can be used as a substitute for fresh egg whites in some recipes, including meringue.
In addition to providing structure in recipes, dried egg whites have several other advantages: they have a longer shelf life than fresh eggs; are easier to store; are free from salmonella; keep better than liquid egg whites; can be whipped like regular eggs even though they’re already dried out; and don’t require refrigeration.
When substituting for meringue powder with egg white powder, be sure to check the label to ensure that the product contains no additives that might affect your recipe negatively.
Note that it may produce slightly different results compared to using meringue powder since it lacks some of the stabilizing ingredients found in commercial meringue powder products.
Further, when using clear products such as sugar syrup or royal icing with an egg-white-free mixture—e.
, another type of vegetable oil—it’s important not to overbeat since this can cause undesired coalescence of the fat particles with water present in the icing formulation leading to an unstable emulsion with an unstable texture.
3 – Unflavored Gelatin
Unflavored gelatin can also be used as a fantastic meringue powder substitute in royal icing.
Unflavored gelatin is a food-grade product made from the collagen of animals and is available in powder or sheets at most grocery stores.
To use, just add one tablespoon of unflavored gelatin to three tablespoons of hot water before adding it to your royal icing recipe.
Gelatin behaves differently than meringue powder when it comes to hardening — it will not form rock hard peaks, but will give you good structural stability.
Keep this in mind and adjust your expectations according when using unflavored gelatins as a sub.
4 – Aquafaba
Aquafaba is the liquid from cooked or canned chickpeas.
It’s popularly used to make vegan piping meringue for desserts and beneath a layer of buttercream.
Thanks to its recent popularity, you might have some sitting conveniently in your fridge.
To use aquafaba as a substitute for meringue powder in royal icing, simply whip the liquid until it forms stiff peaks (3-4 minutes) and use it as an egg white substitute.
Remember that because this option tends to be much runnier than egg whites or meringue powder, you may need less liquid in your recipe overall.
5 – Vegan Meringue Powder
Vegan meringue powder is a plant-based, egg-free alternative to regular meringue powder.
Made from ingredients such as tapioca starch and pea protein, this vegan version has all the qualities of its traditional counterpart.
It’s easy to make with just three ingredients that you can find at any health food store.
This vegan substitute for meringue powder works great for making royal icing or other desserts that call for whipped egg whites; it whips up beautifully and holds air bubbles like traditional egg whites.
However, be aware that it’s not quite as stable as regular meringue powder and may discolor slightly over time.
In order to get the desired texture, you may need to adjust the measurements of other ingredients in your recipe so that it sets properly.
In conclusion, there are multiple potential substitutes for meringue powder in royal icing and it is important to select the one that will work best for your recipe.
All five substitutes have their own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to take into consideration your desired color, texture, flavor, and stability when making your choice.
Egg white powder is generally considered the closest substitute to meringue powder but, as with all options, it can affect the texture and consistency of your icing.
Ultimately, any of the five suggested substitutes can be used to create a tasty royal icing suitable for decorating cakes and cookies.