If you’re planning a baking extravaganza, but are unsure what role meringue powder plays in royal icing, you’re not alone.
Many bakers find themselves wondering how they can use this special ingredient.
Luckily, understanding how to use meringue powder in royal icing is surprisingly simple – and there are also options if you don’t have any handy.
Explore your options for the perfect royal icing by taking a look at how to use meringue powder and the five best substitutes for it.
What is Meringue Powder?
Meringue powder is a great way to get the same delicious taste and texture of traditional meringue without all the fuss.
It’s perfect for dairy-free and vegan recipes or for when you’re short on time.
Made from dried egg whites, sugar and other stabilizers, meringue powder is incredibly versatile.
Easily whisk with water to make a batch of fluffy, airy meringue to top pies, cakes or cupcakes.
Or mix with hot sugar syrup for a glossy, melt-in-your-mouth fondant icing.
Not only does it give treats an attractive shine, but it also locks in freshness so it won’t dry out as quickly as some icings.
Meringue powder has an almost undetectable flavor; slightly sweet yet neutral enough so as not to overpower the sweet treat underneath.
Usually added as part of a recipe, simply follow instructions and measure accordingly — generally two teaspoons of powder mixed with two tablespoons of warm water per each egg white needed — to add structure and stability to your desserts.
The 5 BEST Substitutes for Meringue Powder in Royal Icing
Meringue powder is made from egg whites, sugar and cornstarch and is often used in baking recipes such as royal icing.
Though it has a mild flavor and adds a lightness to certain recipes, meringue powder can be difficult to find in stores.
If you are looking for an alternative, here are five common substitutes for meringue powder in royal icing.
1 – Egg Whites
Egg whites are a popular and easy to access substitute for meringue powder.
To replace one tablespoon of meringue powder, use two tablespoons of egg whites, which can be immediately incorporated into the royal icing recipe.
Note that the egg whites need to come from a clean bowl or container and can contain no yolks in order to provide a safe working environment.
Additionally, if you use cold or frozen egg whites instead of room temperature ones, they will require longer mixing time in order to obtain stiff peaks when whipped.
If your recipe calls for it, you can adjust the amount of liquid used in the royal icing recipe with extra water or pasteurized lemon juice so that the consistency of your icing is correct.
2 – Egg White Powder
Egg white powder is made from pasteurized egg whites and can be used as a substitute for fresh egg whites in certain recipes.
It is also a suitable alternative to meringue powder in royal icing recipes.
Unlike fresh eggs whites, egg white powder has already been pasteurized, so it doesn’t carry the same health risks associated with uncooked, raw eggs.
It has a longer shelf life than fresh egg whites and will save you time when making royal icing since you no longer have to separate the eggs and wait for the whites to come to room temperature.
When you’re ready to use it, simply measure out the amount needed (according to your recipe) and whisk it into the other ingredients like meringue powder.
In terms of proportions, we recommend using an equal weight of egg white powder and powdered sugar at one-eighth of an ounce for every cup of icing sugar that’s called for in your recipe.
The advantage of using egg white powder over meringue powder is that it will produce a fluffier and more stable royal icing with improved drying qualities — which means that it will set up faster while still maintaining its form over time.
3 – Unflavored Gelatin
Unflavored gelatin is a suitable substitute for meringue powder in royal icing, but it needs to be handled a bit differently than meringue powder.
Unflavored gelatin comes in sheets or in powdered form and needs to be bloomed and lightly cooked beforehand.
As long as you follow the instructions on the packet, you can use unflavored gelatin instead of meringue powder with success.
When working with unflavored gelatin, you’ll need to use warm water, not cold water as if using meringue powder, since the warm liquid helps to bloom the granules.
Additionally, make sure that you stir the mixture regularly throughout icing production because it tends to settle at the bottom of your bowl.
Keep an eye on this ingredient – it won’t provide any extra sweetness but will have a similar effect as meringue powder on your royal icing’s structure.
4 – Aquafaba
For those looking for a completely vegan option, aquafaba is a great substitute for meringue powder in royal icing.
Aquafaba is the thick liquid extracted from canned chickpeas that can also be used to make vegan meringues and marshmallows.
In order to use aquafaba as an egg white replacement in royal icing you need to follow specific instructions and ratios so that the mixture takes on a white, creamy consistency and form peaks when whisked.
As with any recipe involving egg whites, you must take extra precaution when preparing the ingredients and handling your implements to avoid any cross-contamination with salmonella.
However, once correctly prepared, aquafaba can make for a deliciously sweet vegan royal icing that will look very similar to one made using meringue powder.
5 – Vegan Meringue Powder
Vegan meringue powder is a great alternative to egg-based meringue powder, but it doesn’t quite have the same properties as its traditional counterpart.
The most common vegan substitutes for meringue powder are aquafaba, pineapple juice, powdered peanut butter, agave nectar and apple cider vinegar.
Aquafaba is made from the liquid inside of canned chickpeas, can be whipped into peaks similar to those from meringue powder.
It is also high in protein and can be used to replace eggs in many recipes.
Pineapple juice contains enzymes that help it to develop stiff peaks when whipped and is a good option for royal icing recipes as well as other baking needs such as angel food cakes.
Powdered peanut butter works similarly to aquafaba with the added benefit of more protein and fiber than egg whites.
It can be purchased in health food stores or online and should be mixed with warm water before using in recipes like royal icing.
Agave nectar helps create a glossy shine on royal icing without adding flavor or much sweetness, but it will add volume while whipping up peaks similar to those created by traditional meringue powder.
Apple cider vinegar helps give royal icing its signature taste without becoming overwhelmed by sweetness or altering texture too much due to being mixed with sugar during the recipe process.
Meringue powder is a popular ingredient in royal icing recipes and can be used to achieve a smooth, fluffy texture.
It’s relatively easy to find at most specialty baking stores and provides the perfect balance of sweetness and texture to royal icing.
However, if you don’t have meringue powder on hand or don’t want to use it in your recipe, there are some great substitutes that can replace it.
The five best meringue powder substitutes for royal icing are pasteurized egg whites, cream of tartar, Italian meringue, Swiss meringue powder, and marshmallow cream.
Each ingredient offers unique advantages that can be used to create an attractive and delicious icing.
No matter which substitute you choose for your recipe, the most important thing is to keep an eye on the consistency of the frosting throughout the process.
Whether you’re using meringue powder or one of these replacements, make sure your frosting is stiff enough before adding decorations or spreading it over cakes.
With these tips in mind, you can easily make a delicious batch of royal icing without using meringue powder.