Avoiding eggs doesn’t mean sacrificing the flavor of your favorite foods. There are many options for egg substitutes when cooking or baking.
Whether an allergy or sensitivity necessitates that you substitute eggs, or you made the choice to avoid them as a vegan, or you simply ran out – you can find a suitable egg substitute for your needs. But the most important consideration is: how is the egg being used in the recipe?
Eggs are used to provide moisture, to bind a recipe together, or even to make a recipe rise. Sometimes you need only the white or only the yolk. Some recipes really don’t need eggs at all as long as you replace the moisture with something else, for example in a pancake recipe.
Some egg substitutes may change the taste or texture of your recipe, so you will want to choose from these options one that will compliment the other ingredients or not be noticed. So have a little fun experimenting and finding what works for your family and your favorite recipes.
*Note each substitution below equals one egg.
Egg Substitutes for Moisture
This is the easiest substitution and used most often in baked goods such as cookies, muffins, and quick loaves of bread. The pancake recipe given above would be another example. Sometimes you can simply add just a little more of the liquids already in the recipe and leave out the egg altogether.
- 1/4 cup mashed banana, pumpkin puree or sweet potato
- 3 tablespoons applesauce (or pear sauce, apple butter, apricot puree or pureed prunes) plus one more tablespoon liquid (water or another liquid called for by the recipe)
Egg Substitutes for Binding
This substitution is sometimes used in baking, but mainly in recipes where the egg helps hold together other ingredients such as meatballs or a meatloaf. The “flax egg” recipe is one of the most common egg substitutes.
- “Flax egg” – Mix 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 Tablespoons hot water. Set aside for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. It should be as thick and sticky as an egg white. (If it isn’t thickening, you can heat it until it does so, and then cool and add to your recipe.) You can make a larger batch and store in the refrigerator in a covered container up to 2 weeks. Just keep the 1:3 ratio. Measure out 3 1/2 Tablespoons “flax egg” for each egg needed. Note that a flax egg only replaces the binding property of an egg, so if you are using it in baking recipes that need to rise, add 1/4 teaspoon extra baking powder to provide the leavening needed.
- Chia seed – Use the same as flax seed.
- Oil and water – Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons water, and 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Gelatin – Sprinkle the contents of a packet of unflavored gelatin over 1 cup of cold water. When the gelatin absorbs water, heat over medium heat until the gelatin completely dissolves. Allow mixture to cool. Use 3 Tablespoons to replace one egg. (Note that gelatin is not a suitable vegetarian substitute.)
Egg Substitutes for Leavening
Eggs give texture and provide lift, especially in baking. Egg-free baked goods tend to be a bit dense and heavy, but there are several things you can do to lighten them up.
- Coconut milk + baking powder – Add 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canned coconut milk (NOT light) and 1 teaspoon baking powder to your recipe.
- Ener-G egg replacer – Whisk together 1 packed tablespoon of powder and 2 tablespoons warm water until frothy.
- Carbonated water – Replace part or all of the liquid with carbonated water. Do not over mix after adding in order to retain the carbonation’s effect.
- Cider vinegar + baking soda – This is an old WWII-era trick! Substitute 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon baking soda for eggs in cakes, cupcakes, and quick loaves of bread.