Vegan Baking Ingredient Substitutions Guide
Going vegan doesn't mean you have to give up baking. Learn how to replace animal-based ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter with everyday plant-based ingredients to make delicious cakes, pies, cookies, and more. It's easier than you think to use vegan substitutes in your baked goods and get the same great texture, flavor, and color.
Easy Vegan Baking Substitutes
Eggs play 4 main roles in baking: leavening, binding, moisture, and structure. Let's look at how to use vegan ingredients to replace eggs in each of these roles.
Eggs can help your baked goods rise as they bake, making them light and fluffy. Baking soda and vinegar make a great leavening substitute for eggs, since the combination of the two creates gas bubbles that will lift your batter. To replace 1 egg in a recipe, mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 teaspoon white vinegar. This recipe for Vegan Chocolate Cake gets its lift from baking soda and vinegar.
Eggs also bind dry ingredients together so they don't crumble after baking. To recreate the binding property of eggs, try this recipe for Ground Flax Egg Substitute, which mixes 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seed meal together with 3 tablespoons warm water to create a thick, viscous liquid that can replace 1 egg.
If eggs are used for moisture, substitute 1 ripe mashed banana or 1 tablespoon applesauce for each egg. Applesauce is the key ingredient in keeping these dense Oatmeal Chia Seed Cookies moist and chewy.
Are you making a custard or quiche? Simply replace each egg with ¼ cup pureed soft tofu. This recipe for Tofu Quiche with Broccoli is a good place to start. Or, do you need an egg white to add some height to your baked good? If so, dissolve 1 tablespoon agar powder in 1 tablespoon water and whip. Chill the mixture then whip one more time before using it in your recipe. Agar (or agar-agar) is also an excellent substitute for animal-based gelatin.
Instead of a traditional cream cheese filling, this super decadent Chai Spice Cheesecake uses tofu, cashews, and bananas for a rich, dense filling.
Milk is used in a number of ways in baked goods, often for flavor and texture. If your recipe calls for cow's milk, you can easily substitute any non-dairy milk, like soy, coconut, almond, or rice. If you need 1 cup buttermilk, mix together 1 cup unsweetened non-diary milk (soy or coconut is best), with 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, give it a final stir, then continue on with your recipe. These Vegan Cupcakes use almond milk instead of regular dairy.
Cream, Condensed, and Evaporated Milk
Cream makes baked goods smooth, rich, and satiny. Coconut milk is a great substitute, because it also has a natural thick quality to it. Chill the coconut milk for several hours before using, for best results. If you don't want the flavor of coconut in your baked goods, you can make your own cashew cream: soak 1 part cashews in 1 part water for 1 to 4 hours, then blend until smooth.
If you need whipped cream to top a pie, cake, or just dollop in your coffee, Whipped Coconut Cream (Vegan Whipped Cream) is for you. The key to getting coconut cream to whip right is to refrigerate the can overnight, so it's nice and cold.
Butter adds flavor, helps with texture, and allows baked goods to rise evenly during baking. There are many great non-dairy butter substitutes available on the market (margarine and vegan shortening), which can be substituted one-for-one for the butter called for in your recipe. You can also use coconut or olive oil in recipes, using ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons oil for every 1 cup butter. These Vegan Whole Wheat Biscuits are made with coconut oil and almond milk.
Related: Learn how to bake with olive oil.
Not only does honey add sweetness to baked goods, but it also helps caramelize (add a brown color) and retain moisture. All you need to do to replace honey is substitute equal parts maple syrup, rice syrup, or agave syrup (depending on the flavor you prefer). Maple Pecan Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free) use maple syrup as well as coconut oil to replace butter and flax seed meal to replace eggs.