*This post contains some affiliate links that as an Amazon Associate pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for helping keep me in flour and sugar. See my disclosure policy here.
It came up over the Christmas season, from a good friend of mine, that not everyone might know what meringue powder is. Considering it is a key ingredient in royal icing, it would probably be useful information to have.
What is meringue powder?
Meringue powder is basically powdered egg whites. (Not powdered egg yolks, which are also available in stores, which I know because I bought some thinking that I bought powdered egg whites…yeah, definitely not the same thing.) You use it instead of fresh egg whites in recipes that call for egg whites. It is shelf stable and safe to eat directly. It’s role in royal icing it is to make the icing dry hard.
What can be used in place of meringue powder?
You can use fresh egg whites instead. This works particularly well if you’re making meringue. However, if you’re making royal icing (which is what I use it for 99.9% of the time) it is SIGNIFICANTLY easier to just use meringue powder. Not to mention you don’t have to stress about the whole “eating raw eggs might give me salmonellae” thing.
If you are vegan or just don’t want to use an egg product, you can use aquafaba (the liquid found in a can of chickpeas) instead.
Can I use cream of tarter instead?
Short answer: no. Long answer: they are not the same thing. Like at all. Although they are a white powdery substance that you can buy in the baking aisle, cream of tarter is used to make beaten egg whites fluffier and more stable so you can use it ALONG WITH meringue powder if you’re making meringue but if you’re making royal icing, you don’t need it.
Where can I buy it?
I frequently buy mine at Michaels, but typically (in my area) Wal-Mart sells it too. Basically any store that sells cake decorating supplies should carry it. And of course Amazon.
Ways you can use meringue powder:
- Royal Icing-you can use royal icing to decorate sugar cookies, make cake decorations that dry hard (i.e. flowers), or make cupcake toppers that dry and taste like candy for the tops of your cupcakes.
- Meringue for Lemon Meringue Pie-simply swap out the fresh egg whites for meringue powder.
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream-again, simply swap out the fresh egg whites and use the dried stuff instead.
If you’d like a copy of my FREE baker’s pantry checklist, sign up below and I’ll send it to you. I like to print a copy and keep it inside my pantry so I know what I have and what I need from the store.