A growing number of individuals are going egg-free today. Whether it’s because of going vegan, for digestive issues, or because of an egg allergy, there is a variety of foods and products that can be used in baking as vegan egg substitutes. A part of me wonders the digestive issues and allergies have anything to do with the chemical treatment eggs in North America undergo prior to hitting the shelves, or the common unhealthy ways chickens are raised, fed, and tended to? Either way, they are quite a staple in diet as we know it, and substituting for them in recipes for those avoiding eggs can sometimes seem tricky. Eggs can perform a different function depending on what you’re baking, and so not every egg substitute is right for each recipe. So how do you know which will work best? Here’s a quick list of substitutes you can use for various baked products:
Quick Reference Vegan Egg Substitutes Guide — 1 Egg equals to:
- ¼ cup soft silken tofu (strained)
- ¼ cup vegetable puree (sweet potato, mashed potato)
- ½ an ripe avocado, mashed
- ¼ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ a banana (mashed)
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp hot water
- 1 tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with tbsp hot water
- ¼ cup nut or seed butter
- ¼ cup no-dairy yogurt, vegan cream cheese, or vegan sour cream
How to Choose and Use the Right Egg Substitute for a Recipe:
Vegan Egg Substitutes for Desserts and Sweet Baked Products
All of the egg substitutes outlined in the list above are excellent for most recipes. Some things to be aware of when you are choosing which substitute to use are flavors and colors, so choose a substitute that will complement your final product. I’ll explain more on this below.
My favorite egg substitutes for desserts and sweet baked goods as well as yeast-free quickbreads are: banana, applesauce, flax eggs and chia eggs (see notes below), and soft silken tofu. These foods have the perfect amount of thick moisture that eggs would otherwise add to these recipes.
Note that flax and chia eggs can add tiny visible dotted specs to your recipe (from the ground up seeds), so if you’re looking to avoid that visually (like if you’re making a light colored dessert that you want to look uniform, such as a butter cookie, etc.) chose a different egg substitute. Best to use chia and flax eggs in muffins, breads, darker hued cakes, and textured cookie recipes (such as oatmeal raisin cookies, etc.).
Fruit (or vegetable) purees you use can influence the flavor of your product. Banana can add a very pronounced banana taste, so use in products where this flavor will complement the flavors in the recipe. Applesauce is usually pretty neutral in flavor, so it’s best used for recipes where you don’t want to taste it much.
Ripe avocado is another great egg substitute, but note that due to its green color you may only want to use it in recipes where you can get away with it. For instance, many chocolate baked goods pair really well with avocado as the color is masked by the chocolate hue and flavor. But obviously if you’re making a yellow cake or a strawberry cake, the green avocado hue can look off… Similarly, pumpkin and sweet potato purees work really well, but they do add an orange tinge to baked goods, so be mindful of how that will affect your final product too.
Nut or seed butters work wonderfully well as egg substitutes, but due to their stronger flavor use these only if the flavors work with your recipe. Peanut butter has a very pronounced flavor, so use in peanut butter flavored desserts. Almond butter typically has a less strong flavor and can even be used in breads without affecting the flavor much. Other nut butters will carry the flavor of the nut they’re made of… So you get the idea: use complimentary flavors. Note: pumpkin seed butter will color things green (similar to avocado and pumpkin & sweet potato purees; see notes above).
Soft silken tofu has a very close resemblance to an egg in texture, and is a wonderful substitute for eggs. Just be sure to strain it first to avoid adding unnecessary water to a recipe, and then blend it into a smooth mixture prior to adding to a recipe to avoid clumps.
Non-dairy yogurt can be a great substitute for eggs in a recipe as well, typically the thicker the yogurt the better. Similar commercial vegan products, like vegan cream cheese or vegan sour cream can work well as well. All of these products will definitely add a “dairy” flavor to a recipe, so use only if this works with the product you have in mind. Of course go for unsweetened or unflavored dairy-free products, or adjust the other flavors in the recipe accordingly (i.e. use less sweetener or vanilla if your yogurt is sweetened or is vanilla flavored, etc.). Note: you want to go with thicker dairy-free products here too (some yogurt brands are very runny, whereas others are a bit more solid and would work better as a vegan egg replacer).
Sometimes a combination of products can work really well too, so feel free to experiment.
Egg Substitute For “Eggy” Goods
Love quiche? How about a fritatta? Or maybe an egg salad sandwich is something you’ve dreamed of enjoying again. Fortunately, tofu is a great substitute in these products as the texture is incredibly close to that of a hard boiled egg. Add in a bit of turmeric, mustard, or even nutritional yeast and the tofu will not only look a lot like egg, but it’ll taste a lot like real eggs too.
TIP: Whenever using tofu as an egg substitute in most recipes, make sure that it is plain tofu that has been pureed prior to use to avoid any tofu chunks in your final baked product. Soft silken tofu is usually a great product to go with. Note: make sure to strain the tofu you use to avoid a watery final product.
Tofu works really well in pancakes or vegan brownies as well.
Other Thickeners and Binders as Egg Substitutes
Quickbreads, cornbreads, and vegan burgers are examples of when you may want to use an egg substitute that has a bit more “binding power” than others. In these situations, you can try adding a few tablespoons of arrowroot powder, potato starch, or tapioca starch into your baking mix. Adding a bit of cooking oil can help here as well.
How to make Flax Egg and Chia Egg Substitutes
Flax eggs and chia eggs are one of my favorite egg substitutes. For many baked goods, a flax egg substitute or a chia one can work really well for adding in binding power and some moisture to a recipe. To make a flax “egg” mix 1 tbsp ground flax seeds with 3 tbsp very hot water and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes to gel up a bit. A chia egg works the same way – mix 1 tbsp ground chia seeds with 3 tbsp hot water and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes to gel up. Then add these to your baked goods recipe in place of an egg. Chia and flax seeds naturally become gelatinous when they absorb water, and can be a wonderful plant based egg substitute for many recipes.
Commercial Vegan Egg Substitutes
Finally, there are some commercial egg replacement products you can buy. Some popular ones are Ener-G Egg Replacer, Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer, etc. Boxed egg replacers work really well in some cases, but fall flat in others. They are typically made from a mix of baking soda, baking powder, and some starches, etc. I’ve used some of these before, but I’m personally much more of a fan of one of the DIY egg replacers I mentioned above. In fact, I think I have a 3 year old box of egg replacer bumbling around unused in my pantry somewhere (probably time to throw it out since I never use it, but I hate being wasteful…). Nonetheless for some people these commercial options can be very convenient, so they are worth considering too.
There are plenty of other egg substitutes out there as well, so this guide is by no means exhaustive or definitive. I just thought I’d put together my list of favorite egg substitutes and how to best use them in case it’s useful for anyone. If I happened to miss your favorite egg replacement go-to, do share it in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. For other recipe tips for gluten-free and/or vegan baking, check out this article on 5 Surefire Ways to Destroy Your Gluten-Free Vegan Cake or head on over to the Recipe Tips section.