Eggs are a key ingredient in baked goods. They contribute to the complex chemistry of baking, adding structure, color, flavor and texture. It’s hard to imagine your favorite cookie or cake without them. Yet for those who have egg allergies, are watching their cholesterol or are following a vegan diet, there are many ways to make all kinds of recipes without eggs. Crafty cooks and bakers have come up with a ton of useful egg swaps.
The egg’s exact function varies with different types of recipes, so some substitutes work better in certain recipes than others. You’ll want to select an egg substitute that complements your recipe and the specific food you’re making.
Here are our picks of tried-and-true egg substitutes for all different recipes.
Fruit purees — like applesauce, pureed pumpkin and mashed bananas — can sub in for an egg. They add moisture and help hold other ingredients together like eggs.
Fruit purees are best incorporated in baked goods like cakes, muffins, brownies and quick breads. Each one provides a slightly different effect in recipes.
Applesauce adds little to no flavor or color to a recipe, so it won’t disrupt other combinations. In contrast, pureed pumpkin and squash impart an undeniable orange hue to batter. As a result, these purees are best hidden in darker batters.
Mashed bananas have such a strong flavor that anything baked with them will taste like bananas. That can be great if the flavors complement each other, but that’s not always the case.
(1 egg = 1/4 cup puree)
Chia seeds and flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and packed with fiber and other heart-healthy nutrients. When ground and mixed with water, they also form a thick, gel-like goo that works just like an egg.
Including seeds like these makes recipes retain a nuttier flavor. They can also add tiny spots to the final product, so they’re best in darker muffins, breads and cakes and textured cookies.
(1 egg = 3 Tbsp. water and 1 Tbsp. ground seed)
Vegetarian Egg Replacers
Bob’s Red Mill, Ener-G, Organ and other companies offer commercial egg replacers. In general, these contain potato starch, tapioca starch and leavening agents. The Bob’s Red Mill 100% Vegetarian Egg Replacer contains soy flour, wheat gluten and dehydrated corn syrup. These commercial egg replacers are flavorless and created to work as a universal egg substitute with all recipes. Some brands can result in baked goods with a slight aftertaste.
(1 egg = 3 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. replacer)
Not all tofu works well as an egg substitute in baking. Silken tofu has the highest water content, so it more closely resembles an egg. Pureed silken tofu can make baked goods dense and heavy, so it works best in brownies, cookies, quick breads and cakes.
Silken tofu also makes a tasty egg-free scramble for a vegan breakfast. It’s naturally white, so you can add color and extra flavor with turmeric, mustard or nutritional yeast. The resulting scramble, frittata or other egg dish tastes and looks just like the real deal.
(1 Egg = 1/4 cup tofu)
This is one egg substitute you’re guaranteed to have stocked in your pantry. Both work well as a leavening agent. The baking powder or baking soda combination gives baked goods a lighter, fluffier texture.
(1 egg = 1 1/2 tsp. water + 1 1/2 tsp. oil + 1 tsp. baking powder)
(1 egg = 1 Tbsp. white vinegar + 1 tsp. baking soda)
If another animal product works for you, then yogurt is a viable egg alternative. Plain, unsweetened yogurt or plain Greek yogurt works well in muffins, cakes and cupcakes.
(1 egg = 1/4 cup yogurt)
Aquafaba is the liquid left over from cooking beans and legumes. It’s also the liquid in canned chickpeas. It is nearly identical to egg whites and can be whipped into a meringue or mixed into the batter of a variety of baked goods. It is a bit more temperamental than a traditional egg white meringue, but it still works very well in recipes that include meringues, marshmallows or nougat.
(1 egg = 3 Tbsp aquafaba/unsalted chickpea water)
This soybean oil byproduct has binding and emulsifying properties similar to that of eggs. As a result, you’ll often see it in commercially prepared foods. For home baking projects, you can find it in powder form in health food stores. Soy lecithin powder works especially well in recipes that call for egg yolks.