Whether you are a vegan or not, having the knowledge on your options for egg substitute can be really handy when you want to bake something that calls for eggs and you do not have any eggs on-hand. Egg is one of the basic ingredient that can sometimes be challenging to replace with something. I personally find it challenging as I cannot find something that really gives the same texture as when egg is used. Replacing egg in baking is not as simple as replacing other ingredients. Egg plays different role in baking depending on how you use it and so you have consider several factors, like moisture and fat. Egg provides many things in baking, including moisture as well as fat. This means if you are using the egg for this reason, the substitute should also be able to provide this to come close to original if not exactly the same. Some people say there is nothing that could replace egg with exactly the same effect and probably its true. I always believe that nothing beats the original, you can only get as close a possible but it will not be 100% the same. Nonetheless, it is better than not being able to bake that delicious cake that you had been dreaming all day just because you do not have eggs. So, let’s take what we can have and make use of it even for just emergency cases, it is better done nothing.
In today’s lesson, I will share with you the result of my research about egg substitute in baking. It does not necessarily mean that I have tried all of them, these are just some options that I had seen, some I tried, some I haven’t tried. Some of this may sound familiar to you and you may have used the already.
While I had been baking for awhile now, Sometimes, I still feel like a beginner. There is always so much to learn to refresh my memory or just to brush up my skills. I’ve decided to share with you my baking learning journey, and I hope this will benefit you as much as it helped me. I had been meaning to create more baking basics series but I had always been side track with recipe and travel post. I’ll be documenting things that I had learned and will share with you my experiences in baking, baking basics is not just my journey, it is our journey to making ourselves a better baker, especially if you cannot afford to go to a culinary school for whatever reason. I started on my own, learned everything on my own by reading and researching, by watching videos and by listening to advice and feedback. I feel it’s time to give back and share what I’ve learned.
Today’s Lesson: Egg Substitute for Egg FREE Baking
To find the best egg substitute for your need, you have to understand the role of the egg in the product that you are using it with. I have a separate discussion ‘All About Eggs‘ that covers this and so I will not go on details here, just a few touch point areas. The substitute that you choose needs to provide the same benefits as using egg. In the end, the goal is to have an end product that stay as close (if not exactly the same) in taste and texture. This might sound easy, but in my experience, it was quite challenging especially in the area of texture.
Before we jump in the egg substitutes, let us first review a little about eggs. These information is crucial to understanding egg substitute and which one to select.
Why Are Eggs Used In Baking?
- Binding Agent – Eggs helps bind the ingredients together. It gives the food or baked product structure and prevents it from falling apart. Bake products that uses eggs tends to have better structure as opposed to one that do not use egg.
- Leavening Agent – Think the case of chiffon or sponge cake where eggs are mostly use to give the cake volume and structure. Whole egg or just egg whites when mixed with sugar or butter and beat or mixed for a long time produces an airy fluffy consistency. Eggs traps pockets of air in food causing them to expand when baked. This makes the food rise giving the baked product the airy light texture.
- Moisture – Egg has water in it, thus this is considered as wet ingredients in baking. The liquid from the egg is absorbed by the other ingredients which adds moisture to the recipe. This is why when you cut the amount of eggs in the recipe, you have to consider the amount of liquid being taken away from the recipe and make sure to make necessary adjustment in the other ingredients as well.
- Flavor and Appearance – It improves the taste and not only making the appearance better. Egg helps in the browning when exposed to heat.
Why the Egg Substitute?
Several reasons ,but it could be as simple as you run out of eggs when you most need it. It could also because of health reasons, dietary restrictions, culture/religion or you simply want to try something new and experiment different approach in baking. Egg is a common ingredients in baking and plays a major role in how the end product taste but it does not mean that we cannot bake without it. Expect a change in texture and taste, as long as you have that in mind then you will be more open to what the result will be.
What Egg Substitute to Use
There is no set rule for this, only recommendations. The kind of egg substitute you use depends on what you are making. As I mentioned in the start of this blog, you will have to analyze the purpose or the role of the egg in the original recipe when you decide what egg substitute to use. I know it sounds tricky and challenging because I personally think it is. I heard a lot of people say use “flax egg” or chia seed or mashed fruit but then again what if I am making a meringue? Some replacement are best suited for other types of baked products and some are not. Egg substitute that are heavy and thick are good for heavy and dense bake products like brownie, quick bread, cookie of muffin. Egg substitute that tend to react to baking soda appears to work well with bake products that aim for light and airy texture like cakes.
I personally think this is a case of trial and error and finding what works for you. An egg substitute that works great for muffin may not work for cakes or cookies. Again, think of the end result in mind and analyze which of the egg substitute could possibly work. Better yet, Google to the rescue. There are so many online articles about egg substitute and recommendations from people who have used them. Internet is your friend, always even more for this topic.
Egg Substitute for Egg FREE Baking
Now that we have reviewed key points about eggs, let us start checking some of the egg substitute that people are using. These are just some that I find common but there are more out there. I picked the ones that are quite common and interesting to me and probably something that I would like to try one day.
Ground Flax Seed
Replacement: 1 tablespoons ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoon water = 1 large egg
Commonly known as “flax egg”, this is simply a mixture of ground flax seed and water. The mixture is left for about 5 minutes before using as egg substitute. This will give the mixture time to dissolve and thicken. I have not tried using this egg substitute, so I am going to give the feedback based on what people who have used it says about it. Baked products using “flax egg” appears to be thicker as compared to other egg substitute which could make the bake product denser. Some people say also it has a slightly grassy flavor, whatever that means 🙂
Replacement: 1 tablespoons chia seeds (whole or ground) and 3 tablespoons of water = 1 large egg
Another popular egg substitute is chia seed which is commonly used for making chia seed pudding. To make the substitute, simply mix the water and chia seed and leave for 5 – 10 minutes until the mixture is thick and the seeds almost double in size. It is similar to how flax seed is used, but chia seed has a more coarse texture. It is almost like a poppy seed, but bigger. This egg substitute tends to produce a lighter tender texture, but of coarse all this egg substitute will behave differently depending on what bake product you are making.
Aquafaba (Chickpea Liquid)
Replacement: 3 tablespoons aquafaba = 1 large egg
Aquafaba is the liquid from the cooking beans or can of beans, like the one from the can of chickpea. Beans are heavy in carbohydrates and a good source of protein and other plant soluble solids that mimic eggs. Aquafaba can emulsify and is also use for when making salad dressing. It foams up which makes it a good substitute when making salad dressing, mayonnaise, meringue or a substitute for whipped “egg whites” to add volume to the product. I’ve used this before when making banana bread, had it whipped to almost stiff peaks and folded it with the banana bread batter. I was hoping for a lighter fluffier banana bread, but sadly, it did not give me that result. The banana bread was dense and heavy, but then again, there could also a lot of other factor that could have affected the texture. Would I try using it again for the same purpose? Maybe yes, just to give it more chance. One thing that I am excited to try is to make a meringue from it. If you’ve tried it before, let me know in the comment and leave some tips for me to try.
Replacement: 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce = 1 large egg
Because of the natural sweetness of apple sauce (even though it is unsweetened) and strong fruit flavor, this imparts a slight apple flavor and adds a bit of sweetness (not a lot). It also makes a moist texture. I’ve tried using this for making pancakes and did not add any other sweetener, I did not find the sweetness enough to give the sweetness I was looking for. I suggest when using apple sauce, do not totally omit the sweetener in the recipe.
Replacement: 1/4 cup mashed banana (about 2 1/2 ounces) = 1 large egg
Similar to apple sauce, mashed banana as egg substitute also imparts a slight banana taste in the bake product. I think if you do not want to have the banana flavor prominent, it is best to use it for bake products that have other strong flavor that could over power it, I am thinking in chocolate flavored baked products which uses cocoa powder and other chocolate ingredients. Just my thoughts.
Replacement: 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder and 3 tablespoons water = 1 large egg
Arrowroot is a root vegetable often sold as powder. It is used as thickening agent and also as gluten free flour. To use as egg substitute, arrowroot is mixed with water to make a slurry or a thick paste. It adds a bit of sweetness to the bake product, but can also make a slightly dry bake product (again, depending on what you are making)
Water, Oil, and Baking Powder
Replacement: Water, Oil, and Baking Powder = 1 large egg
I have to say, this is something new to me. The others above, I have heard of but not this one. Surprisingly, this egg substitute seems to be getting a lot better result compared to the others mentioned above. It was said that this produces a light and airy texture, with nicely crisp and browned top. I am really excited and interested to try this one. It is simple and I have all this all the time in my pantry.
Replacement: 1/4 cup Carbonated Water = 1 large egg
Wow! Who would have thought that this 1 ingredient substitute ends up to give a better result among all the other substitute mentioned above. It was mentioned that the end product (which is a muffin) ended up to be moist and tender with a lovely crisp on top. I think this will have something to do with how it reacts with the leavening agent. I am definitely going to try this.
Commercial Egg Replacer
Replacement: 1.5 teaspoons (10 grams) or powder and 2-3 tablespoons (30 – 45 grams) of warm water = 1 large egg
If you want the easy way, you can go for the commercial egg replacer. You can buy them in the grocery or online . They are usually a mix of potato starch, tapioca starch and leavening agents. It was said that they are suitable for all baked products and should not affect the flavor of the finish product. This made me really curious to try this, although I personally prefer something more homemade and natural.
Replacement: 1/4 cup of pureed Silken Tofu = 1 large egg
Tofu is from soy milk that has been processed and pressed into solid blocks. They come in different firmness and texture, The more water is pressed out, the firmer the tofu gets. For the purpose of egg substitute, use the Silken Tofu. This tofu has a high water content which makes it a lot softer, almost like a pudding. Tofu is flavorless, but it is quite thick and heavy when pureed which is a huge consideration on when you should use this. I would say brownies, cookies, quick bread are good options.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Replacement: 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vinegar = 1 large egg
What make this egg substitute work is the way these two ingredients reacts with each other. When mixed together, it starts a chemical reaction as baking soda is activated when mixed with an acidic ingredient which in this case is the vinegar. The reaction produces a carbon dioxide and water which makes the bake goods light and airy. This comes close to the Carbonated Water egg replacement. This makes it best for cakes, cupcakes and quick breads which all benefit from that chemical reaction.
Yogurt or Buttermilk
Replacement: 1/4 cup Yogurt or Buttermilk = 1 large egg
When using as egg substitute, use the plain yogurt. Flavored yogurt may alter the flavor and taste of the recipe. These two are both acidic and will react well with recipe using baking soda. This works best for muffins, cakes and cupcakes.
Replacement: 3 tablespoon of Nut Butter = 1 large egg
For use as substitute, use a room temperature and plain creamy nut butter so everything mix properly. Bear in mind that this may affect the flavor and texture. This is best used for brownies, pancakes and cookies (think about peanut butter cookie)
Eggs acts as binding and leavening agent, provides moisture and improves taste, flavor and texture. Although egg is present in most recipes now a days, it doesn’t mean you cannot bake something without it. There are various egg substitute or alternatives for egg free baking but there is no 1 egg substitute that always applies to all. Each egg substitute differs from each other and therefore affects the bake products differently as well. Some alternatives are better than the others depending on what type of bake products you are using it for.
You may not want to hear this, but with egg substitute, it is often times a case of trial and error. Although some of these egg substitutes have recommendations on what best to use it for, you may still need to experiment various egg alternatives to get the taste, texture and flavor you are aiming for the recipe you are making. What is great for other may not be great for you.
If you have tried any of these egg substitutes or you have anything you would like to share, please leave a comment. I am really interested to get feedback from people who have tried using egg substitute.
Thank You for taking time to read this long blog post, I hope you learn something from it. This really opens up my world to other egg substitutes and I cannot wait to try some of them.
Sources: The Kitchen. healthline.com
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Another great primer I’m going to bookmark! Thank you for all your research.
I’ve played around with the aquafaba with some good success with the meringues. My post here: https://vintagekitchen.org/2020/03/24/magic-meringues/
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Those meringues are gorgeous! I had been meaning to make that. I hope to try that soon
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