Egg allergy is the second most common food allergy in infants and young children (1). It often begins in the child’s first year of life and in some cases lasts into the teenage years – or even into adulthood for a small number of people. I am often asked for baking substitutes for eggs and thought it was about time to create a guide.
Reasons To Why You May Need Baking Substitutes for Eggs
Having an egg allergy is only one of the reasons people are looking for egg substitutes. You may be vegan, avoiding eggs for health reasons or simply can't seem to keep enough eggs stocked in your fridge! Whatever the reason, the next time you are halfway through a recipe, that calls for eggs, I hope this guide will help to provide a solution.
The Role of Eggs in Baking
It seems like nearly every baking recipes call for eggs, they play an important role in everything from cakes and cookies to meringues and custards. Often referred to as "the cement that holds together the castle of cuisine” they are a binder, leavening agent, thickener, emulsifier and provide moisture, richness, colour, flavour and structure.
There is no one substitute that can match up to an eggs performance and for that reason, when looking for baking substitutes for eggs, you need to try and understand their role in the recipe. To determine the role, simply take a look at the ingredient list and study the recipe. If the recipe:
- Has no other liquids then the eggs are most likely to be used to add moisture.
- Has no leavening agents (such as baking powder/soda) then the eggs are most likely being combined with acidic ingredients to help make the recipe rise.
- Has enough liquid and leavening agents but no “glue” that holds the mixture together (flour / breadcrumbs etc.), then the egg is likely to be used to bind the ingredients together.
- Uses egg for glazing, then you can probably skip a substitute as the egg is being used for appearance only.
In general, it is recommended not to try and replace more than 2 (sometimes 3) eggs at a time.
Baking Substitutes for Eggs
Below you will find a number of baking substitutes for eggs, how to prepare them and what they are best used for.
When flaxseed meal is mixed with water it produces a sticky and gelatinous mixture. Flax eggs are great in recipes where the egg is used to bind ingredients together. It will, however, give your baked goods a slightly nutty, earthy taste and so works best in recipes that complement that. NOTE - Make sure to use ground flaxseed as whole seeds will not work.
- Substitution - To replace one egg, whisk together 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed) with 3 tablespoons of water until fully absorbed. It will take at least 10 mins and should be jell like and thickened.
- How it Works: Good emulsifier and binder.
- Suggested Uses - Try using in pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, meatballs.
Similar to flaxseed meal, you can also use chia seeds to replace eggs in baking. Made the same way as flax eggs are made, the chia seed and water mixture turns thick and gelatinous. It is a good binder but although chia eggs are tasteless, the seeds are usually detected and can be off-putting for some.
- Substitution - To replace one egg, whisk together 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water until fully absorbed. It will take at least 5 mins and should be jell like and thickened.
- How it Works: Good emulsifier and binder.
- Suggested Uses - Try using in pancakes, waffles, muffins and cookies.
Fruit puree is great for adding moisture to recipes but can also help with binding. Mashed banana and apple puree is most commonly used but other suggestions include pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree, pear puree or mashed avocado. They will add flavour to your baking, especially banana, so this should be taken into consideration when using as a replacement. Depending on the recipe the end product may be wetter and denser in texture.
- Substitution - Use ¼ cup (approx 65g) of fruit puree for one egg. It is often recommended to increase your leavening to compensate for the thicker consistency. If you want a little extra leavening power, add ½ teaspoon of baking powder.
- How it Works - Adds moisture, can help to bind
- Suggested Uses - Try in Banana bread, muffins, cakes, pancakes, brownies. Avocado is great for brownies, muffins and chocolate
- Substitution - To replace one egg, use 3 tablespoons of the liquid. (whip as you would an egg white. Learn more here)
- How it Works - Can be used as a binder (unwhipped) or adds structure and height when whipped.
- Best Used for - cookies (unwhipped), meringue, mousse, waffles, recipes that call for just egg whites (whipped)
The creamy texture of nut butter works great as a binder, however, due to the high protein and fat content, nut butter is not a good replacement for lighter cakes. Make sure to use a creamy, not chunky, nut butter so it mixes properly and be aware that it can give a strong nutty flavour.
- Substitution - Use 3 tbsps of nut butter to replace one egg
- How it Works - Binder
- Best Used for - Cookies, pancakes, and brownies
Silken tofu has a high water content and custardy texture, it is perfect when an egg is required to make a baked good denser, richer and to add moisture.
- Substitution - For 1 egg, use ¼ cup (60g) silken tofu, blended until smooth and creamy.
- How it Works - Adds density and moisture
- Best Used for - Cheesecakes, creamy tarts, brownies, and some heavier cakes.
If you are not avoiding dairy then yoghurt can be a good egg replacement as it provides good moisture. Use plain yoghurt unless you wish to alter the flavour of the recipe with sweetened and flavoured yoghurts.
- Substitution - Substitute ¼ cup (65g) of plain yoghurt for one egg.
- How it Works - Adds moisture
- Best Used for - Muffins, cakes, bars
Baking Soda and Acid (vinegar/lemon juice)
Baking soda and acid react with each other to form bubbles that expand during cooking to provide lift and a light, airy texture.
- Substitution - To replace one egg mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (white or apple cider works best)
- How it Works - leavening
- Best Used for - cakes, cupcakes and quick bread
Arrowroot, cornflour and chickpea flour can all be used in place of eggs to bind and to thicken.
- Substitution - For arrowroot/ cornstarch use 2 tablespoons mixed with 3 tablespoons water for 1 egg and for chickpea flour mix 3 tablespoons with 3 tablespoons of water.
- How it Works - binds and thickens
- Best Used for - cookies, meatballs and nuggets
There are many egg substitutes available but they don't all work in the same way. Some are great for adding moisture, others are good binders and some provide leavening.
The trick to having success with egg substitutes is to determine the purpose of the egg(s) in the recipe. You might even need to test a few alternatives or combine a couple of substitutes, before finding the right result for each recipe
What is your go-to egg replacer? Have you used one that isn't on the list? Please leave a comment below and let me know.
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