Egg Substitutes for Baking
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 replace them. Still, if you can't eat eggs due to allergies or special diets, or if you're simply out of eggs, try these egg substitution ideas for pancakes, muffins, cakes, and more.
How Eggs Are Used in Baking
First, let's take a look at what eggs really do when you're baking:
- Bind. The liquid viscosity of eggs helps bring the dry ingredients together. So any substitute needs a liquid consistency (or added liquid component).
- Lift. Eggs provide a leavening to baked goods as the network of proteins expands, allowing air to enter (and remain) in the structure of the whites. So the replacement needs some protein content to act similarly.
- Structure. This is especially true of egg whites, as (once again) the protein helps "set" the dough or batter 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 Gluten-Free Egg Replacer and Ener-G Egg Replacer.
What Can I Substitute for Eggs in Baking?
The amounts shown are the suggested equivalent of 1 large egg.
Mashed fruit as an egg substitute works best in moist and dense recipes such as brownies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and waffles.
- Banana: 1/4 to 1/2 cup mashed or pureed
- Unsweetened applesauce: 1/4 cup
- Avocado: 1/4 cup
- Pumpkin puree: 1/4 cup
- Rehydrated and pureed prunes, raisins, soaked dates: 1/4 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 sweetness in your recipe to offset these add-ins. Fruit purees don't add lift, so if you want a lighter texture, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
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, to make a "flax egg". This method gives baked goods a nutty flavor and would be best in moist and dense recipes such as brownies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and waffles. Use golden flax seed instead of brown if you want a lighter color in your finished product. Flax seeds, no matter how finely ground, will add a little texture. They may also brown quicker during cooking so watch your cooking time or consider adjusting the heat slightly.
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.
Note: Both flax and chia seeds are high in fiber, so consider this when adding either (or both) to recipes. Too much too quickly may cause stomach discomfort if you aren't used to eating these.
Tofu, plain silken: 1/4 cup
Puree tofu in a blender until completely smooth. Add other wet ingredients and blend again before mixing with the dry ingredients. Baked goods will be moist and dense, without any tofu flavor. Tofu is a good egg substitute for cakes, particularly in dense cakes, cupcakes, quick breads, brownies, and some cookies. Tofu can even be used as an egg substitute in 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. This works best as an egg substitute for cookies, cakes, and quick breads; whip it as an egg white substitute for meringues.
Chickpea flour: 1/4 cup
Increase the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup. This method adds egg's yellow color to batters. Many say it tastes terrible before cooking but greatly improves afterward. You can even try making an egg-free omelet this way.
Soy Flour: 1 tablespoon flour + 2 tablespoons water
Yogurt: 1/4 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: 1/4 cup
Since this also adds liquid to recipes, you'll want to reduce water or other liquid by 1/4 cup.
Mayonnaise: 3 tablespoons
Note that mayonnaise contains eggs and oil, so it can replace oil or butter as well. This trick may not work as an egg replacement for an allergy or egg-free diet (unless it's a vegan mayo) but it works for those who don't have eggs on hand in a pinch.
Baking Powder, Oil, and Water: 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon neutral-tasting vegetable oil + 2 tablespoons water
Best as an egg substitute for 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 that call for one egg as the vinegar may impact the taste in larger quantities.
Vegetable Oil: 1/4 cup
Use in recipes that call for just one egg, otherwise, the recipe could end up being greasy.
Best in cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and quick breads.
For more baking tips, check out the 9 essential ingredients every baker needs.