If you choose not to eat eggs for dietary reasons or are dealing with an egg allergy, you could benefit from finding good healthy substitutes for eggs. It can be a challenge to find an egg replacement that isn’t a powdered processed product that comes in a package or plastic container.
Baking and cooking without eggs is no easy feat, especially if you’re a beginner. In any given recipe, the specific role of eggs will vary depending on what you’re making. For the most part, eggs provide structure, emulsify, bind, and leaven. They’re key to texture, as well as appearance and flavor. So while many alternate ingredients can mimic these properties, nothing will be able to fully capture all of the wonderful work that eggs do in baking. But that doesn’t mean that with a little forethought and creativity, you can still make delicious food egg-free.
Many bakers and cooks have been experimenting for years with a range of interesting ingredients to create egg-free options for cooking and baking. They have used everything from fruit to seeds to determine what works best as a replacement for eggs.
Which egg substitute you use is highly dependent on the type of recipe you are making. You are trying to replace the egg without creating much change in the characteristics of the final product. This may take a little trial and error on your part, but the more you experiment, the better you will become at creating vegan versions of your favorite baked goods.
You should only try to replace 1-3 eggs with an egg substitute. Any more than that, and you risk compromising the integrity of the original recipe. If a recipe calls for more than 3 eggs, it’s going to get more complicated to make the recipe work and you are likely going to need other binders in the recipe
If you require 1/4 cup egg substitute for 1 egg and your recipe calls for 3 eggs you would triple the amount to be 3/4 cup puree.
If you are looking to add that egg colour to your recipes a little turmeric is a great option. Use sparingly though as it has a slight spicy taste but will add that perfect yellow/orange colour.
In terms of achieving the right texture in both savoury and sweet recipes, our guide will give you a good reference as to which egg substitutes to use for baking and cooking, how much you need and which recipes they are best suited for.
Are eggs healthy? Read on here to find out.
You can make a “flax egg” by mixing one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Combine the water and flax together then let it stand for a few minutes to thicken up.
It can be used in anything from cookies, bread, and pancakes in both sweet and savory recipes. It can have quite a strong nutty/bran like taste so bear that in mind when selecting recipes.
Chai is a well-known superfood that makes a great egg replacer. One tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with 2.5 tablespoons of water creates a “chia egg”.
Once mixed, let it stand just for a few minutes to thicken. It’s most suited to cookies, biscuits, bread, crepes and pancakes.
Chia doesn’t have a nutty flavor like flax, but does have a seedy texture. To avoid this texture you can pulse it into a finer consistency in a small blender.
Mashing up half a large banana makes an excellent egg replacer in cakes, bread, muffins and brownies. Choose overripe bananas because it adds both a deeper flavor and a little extra sweetness to your baked goods.
Be mindful that whatever you are making will have a banana flavor.
Apple puree works well as an egg substitute and adds a lightly sweet taste to your recipe. Simply combine 4 tablespoons of puree with half a teaspoon of baking powder (which is useful as a raising agent) to recipes for cakes, cookies, and breads.
This substitute is not suitable for frying or if you are looking to create a hard or crispy texture.
Other pureed fruits you can use include:
- Pumpkin or other squash
- Strawberries or other berries
Any pureed fruit option will most likely result in a denser bread. Adding an extra 1/2 tsp of baking powder to the recipe will create a lighter, fluffier texture. This is only when choosing fruit as a replacement, there is no need to add baking powder to a vegan recipe!
Aquafaba is the liquid drained from canned chickpeas. It is possible to use the cooking liquid from dried chickpeas but this would require a lot of reduction and using the canned version is definitely easier.
Add 3 tablespoons of this liquid to a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 8-10 minutes. It will become stiff and have peaks.
Aquafaba has a relatively neutral flavor for most people and works well for meringues, cakes, pancakes and muffins.
Read more on properly preparing legumes here.
The silken version of tofu works well as an egg replacement in vegan desserts. Combine 4 tablespoons of tofu ½ teaspoon of baking powder. Similar to apple puree, silken tofu as an egg replacer is better suited to moist recipes and is perfect for creating cheesecakes, muffins and bread.
To make dairy-free buttermilk, add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 250ml (1 cup) of dairy-free milk. Whisk it briefly with a fork and let it sit at room temperature. After a few minutes, it should be a bit thicker and slightly curdled. Give it another quick mix and it’s ready to use! Vegan buttermilk works best for cakes, cupcakes and muffins.
Read on here for our Dairy-Free Milk Guide
Approximately ½ cup of dairy-free buttermilk will replace 1 egg in a recipe but this measurement is not always precise. Add vegan buttermilk slowly to your batter until it looks similar to the traditional version. A little more or a little less may be the right amount.
For perfect results, the recipe must also contain baking soda which is needed to create a chemical reaction with the acidity of the buttermilk. This is what will make the cake fluffy.
(You can also use traditional buttermilk if you choose to include dairy in your diet)
Baking Soda & Apple Cider Vinegar
One teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one tablespoon of cider vinegar can be added to any baking recipe as a substitute for one egg. This works well for cakes, muffins, and breads.
Oil and Water
2 tablespoons of mild flavoured olive oil combined with 1 ½ tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons of gluten-free baking powder (not baking soda) works for recipes that need to rise well and have a lighter texture. this combination works as a leavening agent and creates a soft and light texture
Nut butters can be used to replace eggs in certain recipes for cookies and quick breads. You can try home-made or store-bought natural almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter or even sunbutter if you have an allergy to nuts.
3 tablespoons of nut butter will replace 1 egg. The final product will take on the taste of whatever nut or seed butter you decide to use.
Gelatin Or Agar-Agar
Gelatin or agar-agar can be used as a binding agent instead of eggs, however it is likely to create a more solid consistency in your finished product. To replace one egg, mix one tablespoon of gelatin or agar-agar with one tablespoon of boiling water. This option works best when used for cakes, brownies and cookies.
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For best results, remember to stick to substituting in recipes that call for three eggs or fewer. Trying to replace 6 eggs in a recipe will most likely end in disaster. Replacing eggs can take some trial and error but you will find yourself quite surprised at how easy it is to bake egg-free. A great thing about egg substitutions is how many different options there are. Use our guide to experiment and create some new favorites. Happy eggless baking!