Meringue powder is one of the most convenient ways to add meringue to your recipes. It is also a safer option when compared to fresh egg whites, which may come with a risk of salmonella contamination. However, meringue powder is not available everywhere and is not a perfect meringue substitute in all dishes. If you need to use something else, consider one of the meringue powder substitutes below.
Your best bet: Egg whites
When it comes to flavor, egg whites are actually a superior option when compared to meringue powder. Egg whites were used for many years before the invention of meringue powder and will most likely work well in your recipe. While it is not as easy to whip up large amounts of meringue from egg whites as it is from meringue powder, egg whites can be used to make a slightly better end product.
To make meringue from egg whites, it is recommended that you use cream of tartar or lemon juice to stabilize it. Both stop egg whites from collapsing by preventing the formation of overly strong protein bonds that force water out. It is this process that causes the collapse of whipped egg whites. Your options for using egg whites include separating whole eggs or using pasteurized egg whites. Separating whole eggs may involve a lot of waste unless you intend to use the yolks.
Use one egg white to replace two tablespoons of meringue powder. If you are using pasteurized egg whites, use 3 tablespoons to replace two tablespoons of meringue powder.
A decent second choice: Egg white powder
Egg white powder provides the egg white part of meringue powder. You may also see it sold as dried egg whites, depending on the manufacturer. The big difference between egg white powder and meringue powder is that egg white powder is formulated to replace egg whites specifically, while meringue powder is meant to replace all of the ingredients in meringue. Meringue may include corn starch and other ingredients.
Even so, egg white powder has the ability to provide most of what you want from meringue powder. You can use it in the same applications. Not only does it pose no food safety risks since it is pasteurized, it is easy to reconstitute and to use exactly as you would use meringue powder. Of course, you will need to add stabilizers and sweeteners as well as any other ingredients that you would get from meringue powder.
In a pinch: Aquafaba
If you need a meringue powder substitute that omits eggs altogether, this exotic-sounding ingredient might just be able to do the job. Aquafaba is the term for the liquid in which legumes are cooked. It is the water that you might drain from a can of chickpeas before using them for hummus. It can be whipped to a stiff foam exactly like egg whites and is a popular vegan egg white alternative. You can use it in place of the egg white component of meringue powder. You can even make it yourself by reserving the water in which you cook legumes.
Use 1 1/2 cups of aquafaba in place every cup of meringue powder in your recipe. You can use it exactly as you would use egg whites, which means that you will need to add sweeteners and possibly vanilla to it.
Agar is a gelling agent derived from seaweed and that sold in powdered form. Among its many uses is the fact that it can be chilled and whipped to stiff peaks much like egg whites, which means that it can be used in place of egg whites when making a meringue powder alternative.