Aquafaba, the viscous liquid that comes from a can of chickpeas or beans, has become a popular egg substitute for vegans and those with egg allergies. But how long does aquafaba actually last in the fridge or freezer? Here’s a quick overview of aquafaba’s shelf life and how to store it to maximize freshness.
Fresh aquafaba will keep for:
- 1-2 days in the refrigerator
- 1 month in the freezer
For optimal freshness and performance, store aquafaba in an airtight container and use within 1-2 days. It can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw frozen aquafaba in the refrigerator before using.
What is Aquafaba?
Aquafaba refers to the viscous liquid that chickpeas or beans are packed in inside cans. It’s the water the beans were cooked in along with some starch and protein from the beans themselves. When whipped, aquafaba takes on a light, fluffy texture similar to beaten egg whites. This makes it a popular vegan substitute for eggs in recipes like meringues, macarons, and even mayonnaise.
How Long Does Aquafaba Last in the Fridge?
Fresh aquafaba will last for 1-2 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. The starch begins to lose moisture over time, causing it to become runny. It will also lose some of its whipping capacity and develop an off flavor after 2 days.
Here are some tips for maximizing refrigerator life:
- Pour aquafaba into an airtight container, leaving 1 inch of headspace at the top.
- Push out any excess air before sealing and store in the refrigerator.
- Use within 1-2 days for optimal texture and freshness.
- Do not store aquafaba at room temperature as it will spoil quickly.
How to Tell if Aquafaba Has Gone Bad
Here are some signs that aquafaba has gone bad and should be discarded:
- It becomes very thin and runny.
- An unpleasant sour smell develops.
- You see any mold growing on the surface.
- It fails to whip properly into stiff peaks.
Can Aquafaba Be Frozen?
Yes, aquafaba can be frozen for longer term storage. Freeze in an airtight container, leaving 1 inch headspace at the top. Frozen aquafaba will keep for 1 month before quality deterioration.
Make sure to thaw aquafaba completely in the refrigerator before using. Thawed aquafaba may be a little thinner and require extra whipping time. But it can still be used as a swap for fresh aquafaba in recipes.
Tips for Freezing Aquafaba
- Pour fresh aquafaba into a freezer-safe container, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
- Label container with date and contents.
- Lay container flat in freezer to freeze quickly.
- Once solid, container can be stored upright.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
- Use within 1 month for best quality.
Why Does Aquafaba Go Bad?
There are a few reasons why aquafaba has a relatively short shelf life compared to other pantry staples:
- Microbial growth – The aquafaba is likely not fully sterile after canning, allowing mold and bacteria to grow over time.
- Enzymatic breakdown – Enzymes naturally present break down starches into simpler sugars, thinning out the liquid.
- Loss of moisture – The starch network that gives structure begins to lose moisture, causing runniness.
That’s why it’s important to use aquafaba within a couple days for the best performance and to inhibit extensive microbial growth.
Does Salt, Acid or Sugar Help Aquafaba Last Longer?
Adding small amounts of salt, acid or sugar may help extend the shelf life of aquafaba slightly by inhibiting microbial growth. However, the impact is minor. Even with additions, aquafaba should still only be kept 1-2 days in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer.
Here’s a more detailed look at how each addition affects shelf life:
A pinch of salt can help slow the growth of mold and bacteria. However, it won’t stop enzymatic or moisture loss. Use no more than 1/8 tsp salt per 1 cup aquafaba.
A splash of lemon juice or white vinegar adds acidity to slow microbes. But acid also begins to breakdown starches. Only add 1⁄2 tsp per cup aquafaba max.
A small amount of sugar can also inhibit microbial growth by binding with water molecules. Use no more than 1 tsp sugar per 1 cup aquafaba.
Does Heating Aquafaba Extend its Shelf Life?
Heating aquafaba can extend shelf life slightly by killing microbes. However, it can also accelerate loss of moisture and breakdown of starches with prolonged heating. So any extension will be minimal.
Here are some guidelines for heating aquafaba:
- Bring aquafaba just to a simmer, do not boil.
- Simmer for 1-2 minutes, no more than 5 minutes.
- Let cool and pour into airtight container.
- Refrigerate and use within 2-3 days.
Heating can impact whipping, so only heat the amount needed for a recipe rather than the whole batch.
How Should Aquafaba Be Stored?
To get the most out of your aquafaba, be sure to store it properly:
- In an airtight glass or plastic container.
- Pushed out as much air as possible before sealing.
- Refrigerate at 40°F or below.
- Label container with date.
- Use within 1-2 days of refrigeration.
- Freeze remainder for longer term storage.
What Happens If You Use Spoiled Aquafaba?
Using spoiled aquafaba can lead to poor outcomes when cooking and baking. Here are some things that can happen:
- It may not whip up properly, leaving you with a runny mess rather than stiff peaks.
- Baked goods may spread too much or collapse.
- Off flavors like sourness come through in the finished dish.
- Food safety could be compromised from microbial growth.
Your best bet is to always use fresh aquafaba within 2 days of refrigeration. Discard any that smells unpleasant or looks extra thin and watery compared to fresh.
Can You Make Aquafaba Last Longer?
There are a few tricks that may extend the shelf life of aquafaba slightly longer than normal:
- Freeze in ice cube trays – Freeze 1-2 tbsp portions so you can thaw just what you need.
- Re-whip – If it starts to separate, re-whip before using.
- Simmer – Gently heat to improve whipping capacity of older aquafaba.
- Add a pinch of salt – Salt can help inhibit microbial growth.
- Stir in vinegar – The acidity of vinegar prevents microbial growth.
But for best results, it’s recommended to use aquafaba within 1-2 days of refrigeration whenever possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze aquafaba multiple times?
It’s best to only freeze aquafaba once. Each freeze/thaw cycle causes more cell damage and breakdown of starches. Aquafaba frozen twice is likely to whip poorly.
Does aquafaba need to be covered when refrigerating?
Yes, aquafaba should always be covered tightly or transferred to an airtight container before refrigerating. This prevents it from picking up odors and drying out in the fridge.
Can you use aquafaba after opening the can?
It’s safe to use aquafaba within 1-2 days of opening the can, provided you promptly refrigerate it in an airtight container. Don’t leave it sitting out.
Is it safe to eat aquafaba raw?
Raw aquafaba can harbor harmful bacteria and should always be cooked before consuming, rather than drinking it straight from the can.
Does aquafaba need to be pasteurized for safety?
Aquafaba straight from a can is generally considered safe to consume and does not need any further pasteurization or processing before use.
Can you substitute fresh bean liquid for aquafaba?
The liquid from cooking dried beans can work in place of aquafaba in some recipes. However, consistency and whipping ability may be different compared to aquafaba.
Getting the most out of your aquafaba comes down to proper storage. Refrigerating in an airtight container and using within 1-2 days is ideal for freshness. Freezing extends the shelf life for up to 1 month. Add just a pinch of salt or splash of acid if you want to maximize the shelf life a bit more. But no matter what, don’t keep aquafaba longer than 2 days in the fridge or it will start to break down. With proper handling, aquafaba can retain its whipping properties and provide a great base for vegan recipes.