Looking for a Substitute for Eggs in Cooking or Baking

— Written By Jeannie Leonard
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eggs in basket

eggs in basket

With the increase in the price of eggs in grocery stores, many individuals are looking for a cheaper substitute to use in recipes. You have to understand that in a typical recipe for baked goods, eggs usually play one or two roles. They act as a binder to hold the recipe together or they act as a leavening agent where they are used in a recipe to help the food rise. Once that is figured out it will help you determine what options for a replacement you may have.

Best substitutes for eggs in cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and brownies:

  1. Ripe Banana- (most common) ¼ cup mashed ripe banana = 1 large egg. However, there is a definite banana flavor.
  2. Apple Sauce- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce = 1 large egg. It will make your baked goods moist but might make your baked goods sweeter with a hint of apple and a bit chewer.
  3. Peanut Butter- 3 tablespoons of peanut butter = 1 large egg.

Best substitutes for eggs in muffins, cookies, pancakes, quick bread, and cakes:

  1. Flax Seeds: Ground flax seeds and water are often referred to as a flax egg. It is better to mix flax seeds with hot water and leave it for like 5 minutes to thicken. 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons of water = 1 large egg. It will provide some earthly notes but this is subject to your liking and what you are making. It does not really work well with brownies, or creamy desserts since as pumpkin pie, and cannot be used for recipes that call for more than 3 eggs. It can also produce denser baked goods.
  2. Chia Seeds: Made like flax eggs but called chia eggs. 1 tablespoon of chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water = 1 large egg. This substitute does not have an effect on the taste but it does add texture and a bit of crunch if you do not like seeing the seeds you may want to consider using white chia seeds.
  3. Unflavored Carbonated Water: ¼ cup unflavored carbonated water = 1 large egg. It works great as a leavening agent and produces moist muffins but it does not work as a binding agent.
  4. Baking Powder and Oil: 1 teaspoon vegetable oil + 2 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder = 1 large egg. This works great as a substitute in a recipe that uses the egg as a leavening agent and it is made from simple and easy pantry staples. But it will not work as a binding agent. It works best for rolls, cakes, pancakes, and muffins.

Some general rules for substituting eggs:

  • Egg substitutes generally do not work if a recipe calls for more than 3 eggs.
  • Pound cakes, sponge cakes, angel food cakes, and churros do not turn out well.

Egg Wash Substitute:

  • Use milk, cream, or butter dairy or plant-based work just fine in providing that glossy finish on baked goods.
  • Oils, maple syrup, corn syrup, and aquafaba work as well.

Using Egg Substitute for Baked Cake Mixes:

  • You can use any of the options listed above and you can also use plain yogurt or Greek yogurt. ¼ yogurt = 1 large egg. Adding ½ teaspoon of baking powder per egg will also help the cake to rise.

Using Egg Substitute for Brownies:

  • You can pretty much use any of the substitutes listed above like bananas, apple sauce, peanut butter, flax, or chia eggs.
  • Use ½ cup of yogurt (dairy or non-dairy).
  • You can also use 1/3 cup of buttermilk (dairy or plant-based).

Tofu is great for egg substitutions in recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like quiches or custards. To replace one egg in a recipe, purée 1/4 cup soft tofu. It is important to keep in mind that although tofu doesn’t fluff up like eggs, it does create a texture that is perfect for “eggy” dishes.

For recipes that use eggs primarily as a binder (such as drop cookies), possible substitutions for one egg include:

  • 1/2 of a medium banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup of applesauce (or other pureed fruit)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoon unflavored gelatin blend: 1 cup boiling water and 2 teaspoon gelatin. You will have a bit left over so only use 3 1/2 tablespoons!
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water; let stand 1 minute before using
  • Commercial egg replacement products

Xanthan gum can be added to egg-free cakes and cookies, as well as milk-free ice cream, to bind and add texture. Use about one teaspoon per recipe. Xanthan gum is a white powder derived from the exoskeleton of a bacterium. It is cultivated on corn sugar.

For recipes that use eggs primarily as a leavening agent you can try a commercial egg replacement product (see above) or the following mixture:

1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon baking powder (not baking soda!) per egg.

Other tips to consider:

  • If a recipe calls for three or more eggs, it is important to choose a replacer that will perform the same function (i.e., binding or leavening).
  • Trying to replicate airy baked goods that call for a lot of eggs, such as angel food cake, can be very difficult. Instead, look for a recipe with a similar taste but fewer eggs, which will be easier to replicate.
  • When adding tofu to a recipe as an egg replacer, be sure to purée it first to avoid chunks in the finished product.
  • Be sure to use plain tofu, not seasoned or baked, as a replacer.
  • Powdered egg replacers cannot be used to create egg recipes such as scrambles or omelets. Tofu is the perfect substitute for eggs in these applications.
  • If you want a lighter texture and you’re using fruit purées as an egg substitute, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Fruit purées tend to make the final product denser than the original recipe.
  • If you’re looking for an egg replacer that binds, try adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of any of the following for each egg: tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, or 1/4 cup tofu puréed with 1 tablespoon flour.