These chewy almond cookies are made with little more than almond flour, sugar, and whipped aquafaba (chickpea liquid), making them entirely vegan and perfectly pantry friendly.
A regular reader favorite, my original amaretti cookie recipe uses whipped egg whites to give the cookies a chewy texture. But did you know that the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas (also called aquafaba) is a perfect vegan substitution for egg whites? It may sound weird, but I promise it works!
Have you ever baked with aquafaba before?
Aquafaba is the liquid leftover from a can of chickpeas.
And for some reason (magic? science? a bit of both?) it whips up almost exactly like egg whites.
Which got me to thinking… would it work in my amaretti cookies?
Turns out, it does. And quite well in fact (you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference!)
Using aquafaba instead of egg whites produces the same delightfully chewy texture, but the result is completely vegan (assuming you use vegan sugar, of course, but that’s a discussion for another day).
Does it taste like chickpeas, though?
No! Despite the fact that the aquafaba smells a little bit funky in liquid form, once whipped and baked you cannot taste a thing. I promise, these cookies don’t taste anything like falafel (lol).
I’m sure if you compared the original to this vegan version, you may notice a slight difference in flavor, but unless you are tasting them side by side you really won’t notice a difference.
The aquafaba does behave a little bit differently than egg whites (the cookies will likely take a bit longer to bake and are slightly more irregularly shaped and prone to spreading), so I’ve tweaked the proportions of the original amaretti cookie recipe ever so slightly to accommodate.
If you find your dough is too sticky and/or your cookies are spreading too much, feel free to add a bit more almond flour to help stiffen up the dough.
I do get asked often about reducing the sugar in the original recipe, and I opted to do so here for a slightly less sweet final product (I always feel like almond flavor amplifies sweetness, which is one reason amaretti cookies always taste extra sweet). Overall it has about 25g less sugar, but also 40g more almond flour, so overall it’s about 25% less sugar than the original.
That said, I don’t recommend reducing the sugar much more than that, as I found too little sugar produced a drier, less chewy cookie (they were good the day they were baked, but they dried out much quicker than the batch with slightly more sugar).
Whipping aquafaba is almost exactly like whipping egg whites, though I did find it took a little longer to get it going and to reach stiff peaks. You want to be sure you beat it thoroughly, when it reaches true stiff peaks you should be able to flip the bowl over and it’ll stay put; if it starts to slide out keep beating.
You’ll drain off around 1 cup of aquafaba from a single can of chickpeas. This recipe only needs 1/4 cup of it, so unless you plan to make a quadruple batch, I recommend portioning out the leftover and freezing it, either in ice cube trays or freezer-safe bags.
Like the originals, I recommend using a double cookie sheet (two identical, heavyweight cookie sheets stacked on on top of the other). This provides an extra layer of insulation on the bottom, allowing the cookies to bake longer without the bottoms getting too brown. The longer, slower baking allows the outsides of the cookies to get nice and chewy while the insides stay perfectly soft.
If you don’t have two identical cookie sheets, just keep an eye on your cookies as they’ll likely be done sooner and you don’t want the bottoms to burn. Cooking them like this just means the bottoms will be slightly crunchy while the centers will be much softer, more like raw marzipan.
These aquafaba amaretti cookies can be transformed into the same fun flavors as my original cookies, namely matcha, raspberry, chocolate and pistachio.
Matcha: add 1 tablespoon (5g) matcha powder to the almond/sugar mixture.
Fruity: add a few tablespoons finely ground freeze dried fruit powder (about 1 ounce worth). Finely grind the freeze dried fruit in a clean coffee or spice grinder (add a spoonful or two of the sugar to help it grind smoothly). You can use dried raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or even mango!
Chocolate: add 3 tablespoons dark or Dutch-process cocoa powder.
Pistachio: replace 50-75% of the almond flour with pistachio flour by weight (pistachio flour is super expensive and you can achieve similar results by using part almond flour). You can also make a similar swap with hazelnut flour! Optionally, replace the almond extract with pistachio extract for a more intense pistachio flavor.
These cookies keep quite well in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days; beyond that they are still delicious, just not quite as soft.
Vegan Amaretti Cookies
These soft and chewy almond cookies are completely vegan, made with whipped aquafaba (chickpea liquid) in place of the typical egg whites.
- 2 1/2 cups (240g) almond flour or very finely ground almonds, sifted
- 3/4 cup (170g) granulated sugar*
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup (60g) aquafaba*
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- confectioners’ sugar, as needed
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Stack two matching, heavyweight, light to medium colored cookie sheets one inside the other (stacking two cookie sheets together keeps the bottoms of the cookies from getting too brown). Line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, sugar and salt until evenly incorporated.
- In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip aquafaba and lemon juice until they hold stiff peaks (it should stay in the bowl if you flip it upside down; if it starts to slide, keep beating it a bit longer).
- Add aquafaba and almond extract to dry ingredients and stir until mixture forms a soft, sticky dough, kneading with your hands if necessary.
- Lightly dust your hands with powdered sugar. Use a small cookie scoop to portion dough into 1-inch balls. Roll into a smooth ball, then roll in powdered sugar. Arrange on parchment or silicon-lined baking sheets, leaving 1 inch of space between cookies.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until tops are cracked and bottoms are just starting to darken (if you are NOT using doubled cookie sheets your cookies will brown more quickly, so start checking after 25 minutes or so). Remove from oven; let cool a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- Cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight bag or container for up to 5 days.
* If you are serving these to vegans, be sure to buy organic sugar or sugar that is specifically labeled as vegan. Most non-organic white sugar and powdered sugar is processed with bone char which makes it decidedly not vegan.
* Aquafaba is the liquid drained off from a can of chickpeas. Be sure you shake the can well before you drain it off to ensure the proteins are distributed evenly. I have not tested this recipe with chickpeas cooked from dried beans, just the liquid from canned chickpeas.
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
Leave a Comment below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #loveandoliveoil.
OMG these are firm family favourites – I am under strict instructions about making sure they are soft (not crunchy) so I take them out of my oven at around 30 minutes. I love being able to use up the aquafaba – the rest of the tin will be used to make vegan chocolate mousse :)
The recipe did not work for me. I swear I measured correctly, but there was enough aquafaba to barely moisten the almond meal and sugar.
I have a feeling different brands of chickpeas probably have different protein levels in the liquid (though I haven’t tested this theory myself). I’ll often whip a bit more than I need, then weigh out the whipped mixture into the bowl. That way there’s extra if I find I need it (keep in mind too much will cause the cookies to spread).
They didn’t spread so well but were delicious! I added cocoa power to half of them and grated lemon rind to the other. I also didn’t have almond essence so used vanilla essence instead. Yum. I am going to try to tweak them a bit with toasted coconut and a bit more aquafaba.
Thank you, delicious
I made these today and they came out beautifully! In my oven 20 minutes and then a final 5 minutes on the lower deck seemed to be enough. Thank you for such a quick and easy recipe, Lindsay! Am I right in thinking these are also suitable for my gluten-free friends? Best wishes from London, Lucy x
Yes, these are naturally gluten free cookies!
These were fabulous! I say were because I made them this afternoon and they are nearly gone already! So yummy! They are chewier than I remember store bought amaretti cookies being, but I really liked them this way! Huge hit—will make again. My husband has already asked me to order more almond flour!
These were absolutely lovely and very easy to make. I’ve made both recipes. The original one with egg whites and the vegan one. I prefer the vegan version. Probably because it’s not as sweet. In any case, it was hard not to eat these all in one setting.
Can we use a sugar substitute like swerve ir similar?
I do not recommend sugar substitutes in this recipe.
This recipe is amazing!! I am vegan and my sister is gluten free. Sometimes it’s hard to find good recipes that bridge that gap, especially for some odd gluten free baked goods.
Mine also didn’t spread very much (sounds like I should add a little more aquafaba based on your response to pervious comments) but I just pushed them down a little with my finger before they finished cooking and they spread out and cracked nicely.
I have tried this recipe with both coconut sugar and granulated sugar. I have more of a sweet tooth, so I like the granulated sugar since it’s a little sweeter, but the coconut sugar does nicely too! I doesn’t really impact the texture, but it does change the color quite a bit (much more brown in color).
Overall amazing! One of my new favorite cookies, and so easy with just a few ingredients! I’m so happy I have a use for the aquafaba when I make chickpeas in my crock pot :)
Made these today and they turned out delicious! The only thing was they didn’t spread at all – they stayed in the ball shape even after 35 min baking time (used double sheets plus silpat mat). Also, I got very little crackle effect. I didn’t want to keep them in longer than 35 min as they started to brown all over. The texture was lovely though – nice and chewy. Would just appreciate any advice on how to get them to look more like your photos. Thank you!
If you make them again, try adding a little more aquafaba, which will make them spread out a bit more. The aquafaba is more prone to spreading than the egg white version, so I imagine the opposite is true as well? Also be sure you whip the aquafaba sufficiently.
Made these today! Yummy and chewy. My aquafaba wasn’t standing up after about 6 minutes it beating so I got impatient and added it even though it was still sliding, but they still turned out nicely. Next time I might add almond extract or maybe even a touch of paste, as the flavor is subtle.
I’ve been making different flavours and varieties of amaretti for years and with some family members now vegan i really wanted to be able to still cook and share my amaretti with my family . I tried this as an experiment and I am extremely happy with the results! They are delicious 😋 all I did is also add a teaspoon of honey 🍯 the only difference I find is it does spread more than if with egg whites so shaping them without flattening them much prevents a cookie that’s too flat. Thank you 😊 for sharing a very good animal free alternative ☘️
Can these be frozen?
You can freeze the rolled and unbaked cookies if you like. Bake them straight from frozen (give them a quick roll in some more powdered sugar to refresh the coating), and add a few minutes to the baking time.
I’ve just made these and they went completely flat. What did I do wrong? I wiped the aquafaba until it stayed in the bowl when tipped upside down.
I found the aquafaba to be more prone to spreading than egg whites for sure. Next time try using a bit less aquafaba; after whipping, add just enough to give you a workable, slightly sticky dough.
Hi! These look amazing. Do you think I could use part all purpose flour and part almond flour? Or does it need to be all almond? Thanks!
No, using wheat flour would change the character of the cookie entirely. Other nut flours are really the only suitable substitute for almond here.
I was really looking forward to trying these out, and then found out that I have my first in-person meeting in MONTHS today – with my research director, who happens to be avoiding gluten. It also gives me an excuse to make a nice chickpea salad for lunch, so this seems to be a win-win-win situation! They’re in the oven now, and I’ll be sure to update with how they come out!
Update: they were DELIGHTFUL. Everyone loved them!
I made these at the weekend and they were a total success. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed them and couldn’t believe there was no egg in them. Excellent recipe and very easy.
These cute cooks seem satisfying my eyes xD Tbh, I’ve never tried many vegan cookies recipe so I’m really curious about this recipe. Added in my to-do list!
I was wondering if you can use anything other than lemon juice? Cream of Tartar???
Sure, a pinch of cream of tartar should work here too. It just adds a bit of acid to help the meringue stabilize.
Thanks for this recipe, it looks so good!
interesting about aquafaba, had never heard of it, I imagine it has a decent amount of protein if it’s chickpea based? Just wondering, almond flour is great too for that vs grain carbs (for me at least) and really appreciate the 25% less sugar, thank you for all!
I’m not sure about the protein content of aquafaba, but I’d imagine it’s probably similar to egg whites in that respect (so you probably can’t claim these to be healthy ‘protein bites’ or anything, lol).