Eggs are among the most common ingredients used in baking because they perform so many important functions. Yet their ability to multitask also makes it challenging to find a perfect substitute for them. Still, if you can’t eat eggs due to allergies or special diets, or if you’re simply out of eggs, try these substitution ideas.
How Eggs Are Used in Baking
First, let's take a look at what eggs really do when you're baking:
- Bind. Eggs help bring the dry ingredients together. So any substitute needs a liquid consistency.
- Lift. Partly from their liquid, and partly from protein, eggs provide leavening, or lift, to baked goods. So the replacement needs some protein content.
- Structure. This is especially true of egg whites, as (once again) the protein helps "set" the dough as it finishes baking.
- Flavor. Of course, eggs do contain fat, and fat makes baked goods taste better. So any substitute needs a little fat content.
While there’s no one ingredient that can perfectly recreate all of these functions at once, you can still get satisfactory results in many cases. When in doubt, you can turn to commercially available egg substitutes such as Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer and Ener-G Egg Replacer.
Egg Substitute Ideas
Amounts shown are the suggested equivalents for 1 large egg.
Banana: ¼ to ½ cup mashed or puréed
Unsweetened applesauce: ¼ cup
Avocado: ¼ cup
Pumpkin purée: ¼ cup
Rehydrated and puréed prunes, raisins, soaked dates: ¼ cup
Notes: Bananas and pumpkin will add their distinctive flavors, while prunes, raisins, and dates will make recipes sweeter. You may want to adjust the amount of added sweetness in your recipe. Fruit purées don't add lift, so if you want a lighter texture, add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Best in moist and dense recipes such as brownies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and waffles.
Legumes and Seeds
Flax seed: 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons warm water
Soak flax seed in water until it forms a thick gel, about 5 to 10 minutes. Gives baked goods nutty flavor and moistness. Use golden flax seed instead of brown if you want a lighter color in your baked goods. Flax seeds, no matter how finely ground, will add a little texture. Best in moist and dense recipes such as brownies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and waffles.
Chia seeds: 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water
Use like flax seeds. White chia seeds are best for baked goods with a light color.
Tofu, plain silken: ¼ cup
Purée in a blender until completely smooth. Add other wet ingredients and blend again before mixing with dry ingredients. Baked goods will be moist and dense, without any tofu flavor. Best in dense cakes, cupcakes, quickbreads, brownies, and some cookies. Tofu can even be used as an egg substitute when you're baking quiche.
Aquafaba: 3 tablespoons per egg, whipped
Aquafaba is the liquid you can drain off from canned chickpeas, and it makes a splendid egg substitute. Read more about how to use aquafaba. Best in cookies, cakes, and quickbreads; whip it as an egg white replacement for meringues.
Chickpea flour: ¼ cup
Increase liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup. Adds egg’s yellow color to batters. Many say it tastes terrible before cooking but greatly improves afterwards.
Soy Flour: 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons water
Yogurt: ¼ cup
A good choice for an egg substitute in the dairy category. It's a liquid, so it binds; it's high in protein, so it lifts and sets; there's enough fat to make things taste good. Best in brownies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and waffles.
Buttermilk: ¼ cup
Since this also adds liquid to recipes, you'll want to reduce water or other liquid by ¼ cup.
Mayonnaise: 3 tablespoons
Note that mayonnaise contains eggs and oil, so it can replace oil or butter as well.
Baking powder + Oil + Water: 2 teaspoons baking powder + one teaspoon neutral-tasting vegetable oil + 2 tablespoons water
Best in cookies.
Baking Soda and Vinegar: 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Best in cakes, cupcakes, quick breads, muffins, pancakes, and waffles.
Vegetable Oil: ¼ cup
Use in recipes that call for just one egg, otherwise the recipe could end up being greasy. Best in cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and quickbreads.
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