If you aren’t familiar with this magical powder, then we highly recommend reading up on it some more!
This powder is a life-saver and not only works as a substitute for whipped egg whites but also saves you a ton of time making meringue from scratch.
This powder is also a great option to keep on hand for emergencies. It is completely dehydrated, so will keep for years if stored properly.
However, many people are asking whether or not meringue powder expires? The short answer is yes. But, if you keep it inside of an airtight container in a cool dry place (you know the mantra) then the powder will last for up to 2 years.
In this jam-packed article, we will explore exactly what meringue powder is and what will make it go off quickly. Then, we will also look at how to recognize any spoilage signs and how to avoid these.
What Is Meringue Powder?
Meringue powder is an extremely underrated product that many professional chefs and foodies often use in the kitchen.
Essentially, as you may have guessed from the name, meringue powder is a dried form of ingredients used to make meringue.
“But meringue is made from eggs? How does that work?” We get these questions a lot! But meringue powder is very simple. It is made of a combination of cornstarch, egg whites, and sugar.
The mixture also contains additives to help preserve the quality and shelf life of this powder.
It can include anything like thickening gums, preserving agents, powdered flavoring ingredients, and anti-caking agents (that prevent the powder from clumping).
The cornstarch and gum-like ingredients are added to help absorb additional moisture and to thicken the meringue. The sugar sweetens the product and gives it that unique meringue flavor.
And the egg whites. Well, they are the base of the entire item and help give the product volume. The dehydrated powder simply needs to be re-hydrated to activate and become fluffy.
Meringue powder has a very large variety of uses and functions. Naturally, it is often used to create a meringue. But meringues themselves are often added to recipes to create specific consistencies and flavors.
A meringue can be used to replace whipped egg whites if you don’t have any on hand. They will naturally add a lot of sweetness, but that won’t change the recipe too much.
Furthermore, meringues are used to create a variety of frostings and icings. Royal icing, which is used to decorate cookies with, is made with a meringue base. And frosting for lemon meringue pies is also meringue-based.
It can be used to make macarons, foamy treats, and pavlova desserts. The number of uses is endless which is why so many people have come to love the alternative powdered form.
Does Meringue Powder Expire?
Despite being a dehydrated product, meringue powder still has a due date. There is a surprising amount of factors that can cause meringue powder to spoil. This includes moisture, mold, and age.
The biggest element that ruins this powder is moisture. Although virtually all meringue powders contain anti-caking agents (even if that is just cornstarch), when exposed to a lot of moisture, the mixture will start to clump.
Once clumped, it cannot be saved and has to be discarded. Otherwise, you could open up the door for mold to start growing.
To prevent an excessive amount of moisture in your meringue powder, it is best to store it in a cool and dry area. We will get into more specific do’s and don’t’s later.
Because you have eggs, even if they are dehydrated, once they come into contact with some moisture, they will become nutritious again. This provides bacteria with an optimal temperature and a food source.
Once they only have one of these, they will rapidly start multiplying and eventually form mold. Once mold forms, the meringue powder is beyond saving.
Even if you have stored the meringue powder in the best possible conditions, it can still go off. However, you are roughly looking at a 2-year time frame before it goes bad.
And, considering meringue powder is often sold in small quantities, you will most likely use it all before then.
Just make sure that you always buy “fresh” meringue powder. Not those that have been sitting on the shelf for ages. Unless you know you will be using everything at once!
How To Tell When Meringue Powder Has Gone Bad
Because there are so many factors that can ruin meringue powder, the list of signs for off powder is also relatively broad.
We will give you a summary at the end, just to compact everything, however, we will also discuss the signs in more depth.
Lumps And Clumps
Naturally, when your meringue powder absorbs moisture, it will start forming clumps of powder. This makes it lose its effectiveness and renders it useless.
What you can potentially do, depending on the severity of the clumping, is to separate the dry powder from the rest.
You might be able to still use it, especially in an emergency. However, the clumps won’t foam or thicken as they should.
Meringue powder should have an off-white color unless it is sold as a colored powder. For lighter-colored powders, it is very easy to notice any changes.
There are two ways in which the powder can discolor. The first is by forming spots. These spots are a type of mold. The second is when the entire powder discolors, which is a sign of aging.
Even though aged meringue powder is still safe to eat (if no other spoilage signs have presented themselves) it won’t be as effective as fresh meringue powder.
So, regardless of the type, any discoloration is a sign of bad meringue powder. It is better, and safer, to use fresh ones.
This unique powder does have a smell. Most people describe it as being marshmallows and at the very least “like something sweet”.
So, if anything starts to change in the aroma department, it means that the quality of the powder has also changed in some way. Even if it doesn’t smell like anything anymore, it is likely the powder has gone bad.
If you smell any acidic or rancid odors, naturally the product should be safely discarded.
Recommended Expiration Date
If your meringue powder has reached the recommended use-by or expiration date on the package, it is best to use it immediately (if it is close to the date) or discard it.
The date isn’t necessarily set in stone, but it is an indication of when the powder has lost its effectiveness.
Can You Use Expired Meringue Powder?
We don’t recommend using meringue powder that has reached its expiration date. This is because the powder contains eggs. Sure, it is dehydrated, but even then at the end of the day, it remains eggs.
Spoiled eggs are very dangerous to consume, so it is best to steer clear of using any expired meringue powders.
Furthermore, if your meringue powder has gone bad and shows any of our above-mentioned signs, you should discard it. It will either make you extremely sick or not work at all.
How To Properly Store Meringue Powder
It is very easy to store meringue powder and make it last for up to two years! The key is to keep it away from moisture and heat. Here’s why;
Moisture, as we have discussed, creates clumps in the powder. This includes physical water droplets, but also high humidity areas. The more difficult challenge is to keep the powder away from any heat.
When the package or container is exposed to too much heat, it starts creating condensation on the inside. This, in turn, creates water droplets, which ultimately cause the powder to clump.
So, to store meringue powder, always place it inside an airtight container (such as these ones).
You can also use a re-sealable bag, as long as it is completely airtight. Then, place the container away from any heat sources and direct sunlight.
The best storage area for meringue powder is the pantry or a food cupboard. You don’t have to store meringue powder in the fridge or freezer. In fact, we highly recommend that you don’t!
Now that we’ve gone over whether or not meringue powder expires, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Can you freeze meringue powder?
You don’t need to refrigerate or freeze meringue powder. But, if you need to, you definitely can. Just keep in mind that if your container isn’t completely airtight, the powder will absorb moisture and clump together.
In the freezer, the meringue powder will last for much longer than 2 years.
How do you use meringue powder to make meringue?
Meringue powder often only needs water to be made into a fluffy meringue. You can have a look at the specific product’s package instructions.
Then, the wet mixture is beat with an electric hand or stand mixer at very high speeds. Finally, it will create a meringue-like consistency, which is then ready to be used.
How should you store meringue powder products?
If you have made meringue using meringue powder, it can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days.
But, it should preferably be kept inside the fridge for up to 2 weeks. And, if you made it correctly, it will even keep its consistency.