Does Meringue Powder Expire?

Meringue powder is a popular ingredient used by bakers and pastry chefs to make light and fluffy desserts like meringues, macarons, royal icing, and buttercreams.

Does Meringue Powder Expire

But many wonder, does meringue powder expire?

What is Meringue Powder?

Meringue powder is a shelf-stable powder made by dehydrating a mixture of sugar, cornstarch, egg whites, and sometimes gums or other ingredients. It can be substituted for fresh egg whites beaten to stiff peaks in recipes where the eggs are not cooked.

The main benefit of meringue powder is that it has been pasteurized, eliminating the raw egg safety issue. It also saves time over separating eggs and whipping whites by hand.

Key Takeaway: Meringue powder is a shelf-stable dehydrated egg white product used as a time-saving substitute for fresh whipped egg whites in recipes.

Meringue Powder Ingredients

The basic ingredients in meringue powder are:

  • Egg whites - The base of meringue powder. When rehydrated, they provide volume and structure.
  • Sugar - Sweetens the powder and helps stabilize the whipped egg proteins.
  • Cornstarch - Absorbs moisture and thickens the meringue mixture.
  • Gums or stabilizers (optional) - Help maintain the whipped texture over time.

Brands may also add preservatives, flavorings, or anti-caking agents. Egg whites are the key perishable ingredient that can eventually expire.

Does Meringue Powder Go Bad?

Yes, meringue powder does expire and go bad eventually. The shelf life of unopened meringue powder is generally around 2 years when stored properly in a cool, dark, and dry environment.

Once a container is opened, the powder is more vulnerable to moisture and should be used within 6 months to a year.

How to Tell if Meringue Powder is Bad

Watch for these signs of expired meringue powder:

  • Clumping - Exposure to moisture causes the powder to clump up. Discard clumped powder.
  • Off odors - Stale or unpleasant odors mean it has likely spoiled.
  • Discoloration - Gray, yellow, or brown spots indicate mold growth.
  • Past expiration date - Meringue powder lasts about 2 years unopened.

If in doubt, it's safest to discard old meringue powder and purchase a fresh container. The dried egg whites become more vulnerable to spoilage over time.

Key Takeaway: Signs of bad meringue powder include clumping, off odors, discoloration, and expiration dates over 2 years old.

How To Store Meringue Powder Properly

Follow these tips to extend the shelf life of your meringue powder:

  • Store in a cool, dry location away from heat and light. The pantry is ideal, not the fridge.
  • Keep the container tightly sealed to prevent moisture exposure. Close after each use.
  • Transfer to an airtight container if opened packet gets damaged.
  • Write the opened date on containers and use within 6-12 months.

The key is protecting meringue powder from moisture, which causes deterioration in the egg whites over time leading to clumping and spoilage.

Can You Freeze Meringue Powder?

Freezing is not required or recommended. The cold freezer air introduces unwanted moisture which can cause clumping when thawed.

If freezing meringue powder, use an airtight container and thaw completely before opening to prevent condensation. Thawed and properly stored powder should last over 2 years frozen.

Substitutes for Expired Meringue Powder

If you discover an old container of clumped or spoiled meringue powder, don't worry. You can still bake your recipes using a couple simple substitutions:

  • Whipped egg whites - Separate fresh eggs and whip the whites to stiff peaks. More time-consuming but works.
  • Whipping cream - Sweetened whipped cream makes a decent substitution in some recipes. Won't work for all.
  • Marshmallow creme - Adds sweetness and a similar airy texture in a pinch.

Getting a fresh container of meringue powder is still the best and easiest option for most recipes. But when you need an immediate alternative, try whipped egg whites first.

Uses for Meringue Powder

Aside from sweetening and stabilizing egg foams, versatile meringue powder has several popular uses:

  • Royal icing - Creates a smooth, shiny icing for decorating sugar cookies.
  • Buttercreams - Lightens the texture of frostings and fillings.
  • Macarons - Helps the French sandwich cookies achieve their signature "feet".
  • Meringues - Building block for light desserts like lemon meringue pie.
  • Whipped cream - Stabilizes whipped cream to hold its shape better.

So before you toss old meringue powder in the trash, consider whipping up a fluffy royal icing or silky buttercream while you await your replacement!


Is powdered egg white the same as meringue powder?

No, pure powdered egg white is 100% dehydrated egg white, while meringue powder contains sugar, cornstarch, and other ingredients too. Powdered whites work well for boosting protein but won't whip the same.

Can you use expired meringue powder?

We don't recommend using expired meringue powder. While the other ingredients likely won't make you sick, egg whites from meringue powder can still carry bacteria even when dried. Play it safe and use a fresh container.

Does opened meringue powder need refrigerated?

No. To extend shelf life, an opened container of meringue powder should be stored in an airtight container in the pantry, not the fridge. The fridge introduces unwanted moisture.


Properly stored, unopened meringue powder lasts about 2 years at room temperature. Opened containers should be used within 6 months to a year and kept sealed in a cool, dry spot to prevent moisture exposure leading to clumping and quicker spoilage of the egg whites.

Watch for clumps, odors, discoloration, and expiration dates to determine if your meringue powder is still fresh. Discard old powder and substitute whipped egg whites or other alternatives like sweetened whipped cream in a pinch.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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