Last Updated on February 7, 2023
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at meringue powder vs cream of tartar, and what are the differences and similarities between the two. When it comes to baking, there are many ingredients that can elevate your baked goods and both meringue powder and cream of tartar are great, versatile ingredients. But is there a difference between the two? Are they interchangeable? Let’s take a closer look at meringue powder vs cream of tartar.
What is Meringue Powder?
Meringue powder is another common ingredient when it comes to baking. Like cream of tartar, it often comes as a fine white powder. This is because its main ingredient is dehydrated egg whites. While egg whites are the main ingredient, most meringue powder also has cornstarch, vanilla flavoring, and sweeteners too.
What is Cream of Tartar?
In a list of ingredients, you’ll most likely have seen cream of tartar crop up time and time again, but what actually is it? We know it better as cream of tartar, but it’s better known as potassium hydrogen tartrate (or potassium bitartrate). It comes as a white powder, very similar in appearance to meringue powder, and is available in almost any grocery store. Cream of tartar is made as part of the winemaking process and you can most often find it in baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and meringue.
What is in Meringue Powder?
The most common ingredient when it comes to meringue powder is dehydrated egg whites. However, it typically includes other ingredients too such as cornstarch, sweeteners, and vanilla flavoring. Cornstarch helps with the texture when it comes to meringue powder.
What is in Cream of Tartar? – Meringue Powder Vs Cream Of Tartar
While it may seem as though there should be more than one ingredient in cream of tartar, that is not the case. The only ingredient you’ll typically find is potassium hydrogen tartrate (often listed as potassium bitartrate). It’s a similar acid to lemon and vinegar.
Nutritional Information of Meringue Powder
You may be curious as to what the nutritional value is when it comes to meringue powder. Each teaspoon contains the following:
- Calories: 10
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 2g
- Protein: 1g
Nutritional Information of Cream of Tartar
You may be curious as to what the nutritional value is when it comes to cream of tartar. Each teaspoon contains the following:
- Calories: 8
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 1.6mg
- Potassium: 495mg
- Carbohydrate: 1.8g
- Dietary Fiber: 0g
- Sugar: 0g
- Protein: 0g
Is Meringue Powder the Same as Cream of Tartar?
While they may look the same in appearance, they are absolutely not the same. Not only are they different in their ingredients, but they both have completely different functions when it comes to baking. While cream of tartar is used as a stabilizer in many recipes and can help to stop eggs from collapsing, for example, meringue powder is simply added to water to create a meringue.
Can You Substitute Cream of Tartar For Meringue Powder?
Unfortunately, you can not use meringue powder and cream of tartar interchangeably. They both have completely different functions when it comes to baking. While cream of tartar is a stabilizer in baking, meringue powder is simply an ingredient mixed with water to make meringues.
If you’re looking for an effective substitute for meringue powder, gelatin is a great alternative. If you use around one tablespoon of gelatin powder, with three tablespoons of warm water, this is the same as two teaspoons of meringue powder.
If you’d like to find out more substitutes for meringue powder, Food 52 have a great article with many alternatives to try.
Can You Use Cream of Tartar in Meringue?
Absolutely! In fact, cream of tartar is a fantastic ingredient to use in meringues. This is because it helps to stabilize the egg whites. When using cream of tartar, it helps to make light and glossy meringues. Whether you’re using in cake, cookies, or as a topping, cream of tartar is ideal for meringues.
Meringue Powder Substitutes
While cream of tartar isn’t a substitute for meringue powder, there are plenty of other great alternatives. Some of my top picks include:
- Egg whites. This is the most simple substitute as it’s one you’ll likely always have in your pantry.
- Agar powder. Similar in appearance, but agar powder needs to be boiled before use. One tablespoon of agar powder and one tablespoon of water is all you need for a replacement to one egg white.
- Ground Flaxseed. A great vegan alternative. You’ll just need one tablespoon of flaxseed, to 3 tablespoons of water. This is the same as two tablespoons of meringue powder.
Cream of Tartar Substitutes
Meringue powder can not be used as a direct alternative for cream of tartar, but there are a plethora of other options. A few of my best options include:
- Baking Powder. Use around 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder to replace 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar. This is by far the easiest substitute.
- Vinegar. You’ll need around one teaspoon of vinegar for each 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
- Lemon Juice. You’ll need around one teaspoon of lemon juice for every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
It’s worth noting that this is just a small selection of alternatives to cream of tartar and meringue powder. There are so many more options available if none of these are suited to your dietary profile or lifestyle.
Conclusion – Meringue Powder Vs Cream Of Tartar
I hope this post has helped you to get a clearer understanding of meringue powder vs cream of tartar. It’s important to note that the two are not interchangeable in any recipe, and if you’re looking for a substitute for either of these ingredients, it’s best to refer to the list above for suitable replacements.
Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to using meringue powder or cream of tartar? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Sharing is caring!