Aquafaba: It sounds like some kind of luxury skin lotion, a new water sport, or a couture swimsuit brand.

Actually, it’s a bit less fancy—but so much better—than any of that. The official term for the slightly viscous liquid left in a chickpea can (you know, the murky stuff we usually pour down the drain), aquafaba has proven to be an unexpectedly effective cooking and baking ingredient ever since it was discovered by a French singer (of all people) to work in an eerily similar way to egg whites.

Once others caught on, the experiments began, and as of today, aquafaba has been responsible for making traditionally non-vegan foods like omelets, vegan meringues, and egg-free French toast possible. So next time you crack open a can of chickpeas, bottle up that brine—you’ll need it for these 19 awesome aquafaba recipes.

Breakfast

Photo: Vegan Niinja

Aquafaba isn’t the only unlikely ingredient you’ll find here; there are also actual chickpeas in the batter, along with apple cider vinegar and lesser-used cardamom powder. While the recipe may not be familiar territory, don’t worry—the pancakes themselves taste like pure comfort food.

Photo: A Saucy Kitchen

Lots of vegan French toasts simply omit the eggs and use plant-based milk but don’t quite achieve that all-important fluffiness of the traditional recipe. This version, however, gets the texture just right thanks to whipped aquafaba, which soaks into the bread overnight and is responsible for the ideal custard-like richness once baked.

Photo: Vegan Richa

This recipe may blow your mind in more ways than one. Nutritional yeast and chickpea brine in the dough? Just one hour from start to finish? You’ll have to make it to believe it—and you’ll be so glad you did.

Photo: Veganopoulos

Who needs oil when you have aquafaba? The chickpea liquid does a great job of standing in for both the eggs and the added fat here, leaving you with perfectly risen (and perfectly vegan), coconutty breakfast muffins.

Photo: Fork Not For Pork

You’ve probably come across a dozen and a half banana bread recipes over time, but we’ll bet none of them have been quite like this one. A generous half cup of aquafaba gives the egg-free, nondairy recipe its rise and texture, while additions like cinnamon, ginger, and almonds take it to the next level in terms of taste.

Photo: The Pancake Princess

While using whole-wheat flour can potentially result in a brick-like final product, you don’t have to worry about that with these waffles. With aquafaba in the batter allowing for lots of volume, the recipe even gets away with adding dense buckwheat flour into the mix for extra fiber.

Savory Dishes

Photo: Catching Seeds

Omelets are so versatile, so convenient, and so not vegan—until now. Egg-free eaters, get in on the breakfast (or brunch or breakfast-for-dinner) favorite with this chock-full-of-chickpea version. Garbanzo bean flour and a full cup of aquafaba form pillowy folds that are all ready for all your favorite omelet fillings.

Photo: Veganosity

Its pale pink color may have you convinced that it’s made of beef, but we promise, this patty is 100-percent plant-based. Roasted beets explain its rosy appearance, while chickpeas add a protein punch, and aquafaba helps to hold the ingredients (there are only five!) together.

Photo: Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures

Zero crustaceans were harmed in the making of these cakes, but you’d never be able to guess. With chickpeas and hearts of palm forming the base, classic crab cake seasonings to lend authentic flavor, and aquafaba holding everything together, the resemblance to the original is pretty uncanny.

Photo: Seitan Beats Your Meat

You don’t need a ticket to Paris, a special griddle, or even eggs to enjoy super-soft crepes whenever you want. When you add aquafaba as the all-important binding agent for the flour and milk to a simple large skillet, you can whip these savory pancakes up in fewer than 15 minutes.

Photo: Olives For Dinner

Not only do these tots sneak in a serving of veggies by swapping the spuds for broccoli, but they’re also baked instead of fried and, thanks to aquafaba and dairy-free cheese, totally vegan. Oh, and that curry ketchup for dipping? Technically optional but a total game-changer.

Photo: Seitan is My Motor

Swapping the meat, eggs, and the traditional frying process for thinly sliced beets, aquafaba, and an oven-baked method, this recipe is a tasty vegan homage to the central European breaded veal. There’s even a tasty (and easy!) dairy-free almond cheese standing in for the usual cream sauce to give you a full schnitzel illusion.

Photo: A Virtual Vegan

Just because you’re cutting back on fried foods doesn’t mean you need to be deprived of crispy potato goodness. Coat the diced spuds in aquafaba before they go in the oven, and they’ll come out crunchy-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside without a single drop of oil.

Desserts

Photo: The Healthy Hunter

When dessert looks this irresistibly fudgy, you probably just want to devour it in ignorant bliss of how much butter and sugar is in it. But we’re thrilled to report that with ingredients like coconut sugar, spelt flour, and of course, aquafaba, these chocolaty squares are actually better for you than most brownies, which make them even sweeter.

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Egg whites are among the most important components of a perfect macaroon, so the idea of making these coconut bites without them might sound… well, kinda nutty. But that’s where aquafaba comes in—whisked to mimic whipped whites, the chickpea brine makes sure that neither the look nor the texture of these cookies is compromised.

Photo: Bo's Kitchen

Vegans aren’t strangers to putting beans in their baked goods, but chickpea water may be a whole different story. Only three tablespoons of the stuff go into these grain-free, peanut-buttery squares, but it’s enough to help give them the texture of blondies, not bricks.

Photo: Vegan Blueberry

Along with coconut milk and avocado, you can now add aquafaba to the list of ways to make a totally vegan chocolate mousse. Beaten and then folded into the mix, it helps the dessert hit that perfect balance between light and decadent.

Photo: Lauren Caris Cooks

This traditional English dessert may be called a “mess,” but we’d hardly call layers of coconut yogurt, meringues, and fresh strawberries a disaster. Aquafaba replaces egg whites for the lighter-than-air meringues that are crumbled into the mix so that vegans don’t miss out on the parfait-like treat.

Photo: Peppers and Peaches

Save that entire can of chickpea brine, 'cause it’s all going into this doughnut batter to give these baked breads their amazing cakey texture. Once you’ve poured the lemony icing on top, you’ll never go back to Dunkin’, Krispy, or any of the others.

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