Finding effective egg substitutes can be a challenge, especially for baking. However, the good news is that many egg replacement options can provide similar functionality to the real thing. This guide offers alternative egg choices and how to use them in recipes.
The most common reasons people look for egg substitutes are allergies, those following a vegan diet, personal health, perhaps you ran out, or just plain curiosity. There are many replacement options that range from commercial substitutes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy, and starches.
The challenge comes in that eggs are pretty miraculous in their function. They provide moisture, richness, binding, color, flavor, structure, volume, leavening, and emulsification properties in just one ingredient. It’s difficult to find an alternative that can 100% match up to egg performance. It’s just a fact. However, here is a handy guide with multiple options to experiment with and how to use them in cooking and baked goods.
Types of Egg Substitutes
When a recipe calls for eggs (because most of them do use eggs in baking!), here are some substitute suggestions and how to add them in to help with the texture, flavor, and appearance in products.
Tofu is a nutritional powerhouse made from soybeans, and besides being a plant-based protein source, silken tofu can also be used in baking. The flavor of tofu is neutral with a light nutty and sweet taste. The pressed bean curd comes in different textures depending on how much moisture remains after pressing and coagulant used. Silken tofu is higher in residual water and has a very delicate, custard-like consistency. It has very little resistance when broken down, creating a super smooth product to add to recipes.
Uses: Denser baked goods like quick bread, cookies, cakes, and brownies. Can make a product feel heavier or denser because of its higher moisture content and does not aerate.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg use ¼ cup (approx. 57g) pureed silken tofu.
If you’ve got some ripe bananas on your counter, you can use them as a replacer. Mashed bananas contain starches and fibers that help with binding. It will add natural sweetness and a subtle banana flavor. If this is something that complements the recipe, go for it!
Uses: Creates moist and dense textures in muffins, brownies, quick bread, cakes, pancakes, and waffles.
When substituting: To replace one large egg use ¼ cup (approx. 75g) mashed banana.
Grind up some nuts to make almond butter, peanut butter or cashew butter for adding to recipes. Since there’s a lot of protein and fat, the thick spread isn’t the best contender for lighter cakes. Also, be aware of nut allergies and the strong nutty flavor it can add. Use smooth and creamy nut butter for the best results.
Uses: Items that don’t have a delicate crumb-like cookies, brownies, pancakes.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg use 3 tablespoons (approx. 64g) nut butter.
If dairy can be added to the recipe, regular or Greek yogurt are excellent egg substitutes due to the protein and fat. You can use any flavor you like. Vanilla especially complements sweet products. However, I often use plain yogurt with full fat adding some richness, although non-fat yogurt can be used as well.
Uses: Cakes, muffins, quick bread, pancakes, waffles.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg use ¼ cup (approx. 75g) regular or Greek yogurt.
Flaxseeds are not only a source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, but it also has impressive binding power in recipes. When hydrated with water, ground flaxseeds (also known as flaxseed meal) creates a sticky coating with a similar texture to egg whites. It has an earthy flavor with a slightly fibrous texture. Do not use whole flax seeds as they do not get sticky in water.
Uses: Pancakes, waffles, cookies, quick bread and muffins. The “flax egg” is dense and sticky, so it helps with binding but not volume.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (7g) with 3 tablespoons (45ml) water, allow to sit and thicken for 5 to 10 minutes. The ground flaxseeds can also be added directly to the recipe if it contains some liquid.
Chia seeds are mini superfoods prized for their fiber content, being a sustained energy source, omega-3-fatty acids, protein, iron, antioxidants, and calcium. When hydrated with water, the whole seeds creates a clear sticky coating that swells and thickens. This process helps with binding ingredients, however, may make the product denser. They do not have much flavor, but the seeds do provide a crunch and add small black spots to the product.
Uses: Good for denser items like pancakes, waffles, quick bread, cookies, and muffins.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds (13g) with 3 tablespoons (45ml) water, allow to sit and thicken for 30 minutes. Chia seeds can also be added dry to a recipe with a liquid in it but should sit for at least 15 minutes to help hydrate and bind.
It’s not so much that actual chickpeas replace eggs, it’s the liquid left in the can to make aquafaba, so don’t throw it out! The bean starch that naturally settles on the bottom of the can should be shaken and then drained from the chickpeas. It’s then vigorously whisked until a stiff, white airy foam forms that looks just like whipped egg meringue. The trapped air in the aquafaba can be incorporated into a lighter cake to give structure and height. Most brands will make a successful aquafaba, however, according to America’s Test Kitchen, do not use Progresso brand because it doesn’t create a consistent foam.
Uses: Lighter cakes with a tender crumb, muffins, french macaron cookies, meringue cookies.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg use 3 tablespoons (approx. 45g) aquafaba.
The smooth and creamy avocado fruit packs nutrition from heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. The flesh can be mashed or whipped and added to products for a rich mouthfeel, more dense, moist and tender crumb. The flavor is very neutral and may give some green hue to light products.
Uses: Brownies, muffins, chocolate cakes.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg use ¼ cup (approx. 56g) mashed or pureed avocado.
This is one of my frequented butter substitutes for baking. Applesauce can also be an egg replacer from any type of apple puree. I always use unsweetened versions to give structure to baked goods and add a natural sweetness. There is no fat in eggs so make sure that the recipe has some so that it the product does not become too dry.
Uses: Quick bread, muffins, cakes, pancakes, waffles. The product may be more heavy and wet, depending on the recipe.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg use ¼ cup (approx. 61g) unsweetened applesauce.
Arrowroot powder, also known as arrowroot flour is an extracted starch from the tropical South American tuber plant. It’s a grain-free starch that has become popular in Whole30 and Paleo diets as a thickening agent. It’s also a great binder and structure builder for gluten-free baked goods.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg mix 2 tablespoons (approx. 18g) arrowroot powder with 3 tablespoons (45ml) water.
Leavening Agents and Acid
Sometimes baked goods just need a little extra lift from leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder, combined with an increased amount of acid, like lemon juice or vinegar. As you know from elementary school, sodium bicarbonate and acid react with water to create bubbles from carbon dioxide. The air gets trapped in baked goods, giving the product more lift and a tender, sturdy crumb. The difference between baking soda and baking powder is that an acid is already added to the baking powder. Just add a little extra lemon juice or vinegar like distilled white or apple cider vinegar for an increased bubbling reaction.
Uses: lighter baked goods like quick bread, cakes, cupcakes.
When Substituting: To replace one large egg and 1 teaspoon (approx. 10g) baking soda with a tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice or vinegar.
Commercial Egg Replacer
There are commercial egg replacers available that have been formulated with a mixture of ingredients to mimic the functionality of eggs. Popular products include Ener-G egg replacer, Organ, VeganEgg and Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free vegan egg replacer. The mixture may contain ingredients like whole soy flour, wheat gluten, corn syrup solids, algin, potato starch, soy powder, cellulose, tapioca flour, calcium lactate, calcium carbonate, or cream of tartar to name a few. Make sure to read the labels in case you’re sensitive to gluten, soy or wheat. Experimentation is needed for each recipe when using commercial egg replacer products.
Uses: Pancakes, quick bread, cakes, cookies, brownies. Depending on the brand the color may vary of the baked good and may have some lingering taste from the replacer.
When Substituting: Follow guidelines from the manufacturer on the package and experiment with each recipe.
Have you tried any of these egg substitutes and found them to be successful in your baking or cooking? Do you have a favorite egg replacer? I would love to hear what you’ve tried or any that I have missed in this guide. I can’t wait to share my testing results with you in new recipes!