Eggs have many different purposes in baking, and there are many substitutes in vegan baking to fulfil the same objectives. Here’s our Ultimate Guide to vegan egg alternatives in baking.
Eggs are a true staple in baking and have many uses. They bind ingredients together, provide structure to your baked goods, and prevent them from falling apart, to name a few uses. Eggs can also act as a leavening agent, as they trap air pockets in foods that make them expand in the oven. This calls for a fluffier and light-textured bake as the trapped air pockets help the foods to puff and rise.
As this baking staple is liquid in form, it gets absorbed into other ingredients that give the goods added moisture. They can also aid in carrying the flavours of different baking components, and help your cakes and cookies get that classic golden-brown look.
But eggs, of any kind, are not vegan. This is because they are a direct product of animals, and many believe that the chickens’ reproductive system is exploited, the process preventing new life from forming within the eggs. Vegan alternatives to eggs are available, but can be expensive.
Fortunately, there are alternatives you can use to replace eggs when baking your favourite desserts. Here are some vegan egg substitutes and what to use them for:
Lighter and fluffier bakes
Vinegar or lemon/lime juice and baking soda
Mixing 1 tbsp of either vinegar (apple cider or white distilled) or lemon/lime juice with 1 tsp of baking soda will replace one egg. When combined, it starts a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide and water, which helps make for a lighter and fluffier bake to your cakes, muffins and brownies.
Combining 1 tbsp of cornstarch, or potato starch, with 3 tbsp of warm water, will make for one vegan egg substitute and is ideal for thickening your cookies, cakes, breads, custards and puddings.
Arrowroot is a tuber plant from South America that has a high starch content. It is the starch that is extracted from the roots and is made into powder, starch or flower. It is also gluten-free. 2 tbsp of the arrowroot powder made into a slurry with 3 tbsp of water can replace one egg. The powder acts as a binding agent and can help lighten the texture of your cakes, quick breads and cookies.
Also known as gram flour or besan, chickpea flour is a pulse flour made from ground chickpeas. The flour is not only packed with protein, but when you add 3 tbsp of water to 3 tbsp of chickpea flour, it binds your quick bread, muffin, cake and cookie ingredients and can help them leaven. All-purpose or whole-wheat flour can also be used to tie in your cookie ingredients.
Xanthan gum is a substance made through bacterial fermentation or synthetic replication. The ingredient is not only used for Starbucks Frappuccinos — to bind coffee, ice and milk — it is also used to bind muffin and cake ingredients and acts as a thickening agent. Only ¼ tsp of xanthan gum in about 60ml of water is needed to replace one egg.
Agar agar or vegetarian gelatine
Originally, gelatine is a gelling agent that is derived from the collagen of pigs, cows and even fish. However, there are vegetarian alternatives available, replicating the standard. There is also a vegan alternative called agar agar, made from seaweed or algae.
Both initially come in powder form, and, when you dissolve 1 tbsp of gelatine with 15ml of cold water and then 30 ml of boiling water until frothy, it will replace one egg. The agents act as a binding agent in your brownie, pancake, waffles and pie mixtures, but it may give your final product a stiffer texture.
60g of nut butters, like peanut, cashew or almond butters, can make one vegan egg substitute when cooking brownies, pancakes, waffles, cookies and muffins. These have the same healthy fats of eggs, and the butters bind the ingredients together. Keep in mind: they might affect the flavour of your baked goods as they are quite strong, and it is better to use creamy rather than chunky versions to ensure a well-combined mixture.
While conventional cow’s milk is used to add moisture to your baked goods, milk powder is added for a rich flavour. However, as milk is non-vegan, soy, coconut or kefir milk make for great dairy alternatives. 60ml of your preferred option is enough to replace one egg in your cake, muffin or brownie recipes.
Yoghurt or buttermilk
60g of plain or soy vanilla yogurt or buttermilk will make your baked goods moist, lighter and less dense than with pureed fruit. It’s best to use plain yoghurt so you can control the sugar levels, and these alternatives work well in muffins and cakes. However, bear in mind, your food can be dense and works best if it is beaten well before adding it to other ingredients.
Cream of coconut
Condensed milk is cow’s milk that has its water removed and added sugar. But cream of coconut (which is different from creamed coconut) is a great alternative and can provide a tropical flavour to your baked goods. 60g of coconut cream in your cake, brownie or cookies mixture will ensure they are tender, moist and full of flavour.
On its own, about 60g of either olive, coconut, canola, sunflower or avocado oil can replace one egg. As most oils have a light and subtle flavour, they’re typically used as a moistening agent for cakes, muffins and brownies. The oil with the most prominent flavour is coconut, so its taste is more likely to surface in your baked goods.
Be careful when using vegetable oil as a vegan egg substitute, as trying to replace more than one egg can call for an oily bake.
Water, oil and baking powder
This unique blend will make your bakes light and airy, and provide a lift to your cookies, cakes and muffins. 2 tbsp of water, 2 tsp of baking powder and 1 tsp of vegetable oil together, will replace one egg. However, if your recipe calls for more than three eggs, then your cake will be very oily.
This is water that contains dissolved carbon dioxide gas that can add moisture and leaven your cakes and quick breads. The carbonation traps the air bubbles that can make your foods light and fluffy. 60g of sparkling water can replace one egg.
Ground flaxseed or chia seeds
1 tbsp of ground flaxseed or chia seeds combined with 3 tbsp of water will make the seeds thick and jelly-like. This can not only replace one egg but also give your brownies, cookies, breads, pancakes, waffles and muffins a firm and chewy texture, which can increase their density and provide a nuttier and earthy flavour.
Tofu is processed condensed soy milk that has been pressed into blocks. Puréeing 60g of silken tofu in a blender and adding water until smooth will make your pies, quick breads, muffins, cakes and brownies nicely dense.
Silken tofu has a high water content and is softer than regular tofu; it is also flavourless. Some things to keep in mind: silken tofu can make your baked goods too heavy. They will not brown profoundly, and you should not use tofu if multiple eggs are required.
Puréed fruits or vegetables
65g of either mashed bananas, unsweetened cooked apples (applesauce), prunes, avocado, plumped raisins, softened dates, pumpkin, sweet potato or squash will replace one egg; and they are great for muffins, brownies and cakes. Although your dish will not brown deeply, it will be moist, dense and will leaven your cake by 25-50%.
It is recommended to use unsweetened applesauce to control the amount of sugar in your recipe. And only use the suggested amount as it can give your foods a rubbery texture. The sauce is also sweetened for flavours with spices like nutmeg. And cinnamon and can replace oil in some recipes as well.
Using ripened bananas will give a hint of flavour to your baked goods. Will increase flavour, sweetness and give a rubbery texture. In contrast, avocado and pumpkin will not affect the taste too much.
Commercial vegan eggs
Companies like JUST Egg, OGGS and Veggletto have created egg replacers that you can use to switch eggs wholeheartedly from baking anything to making scrambled vegan eggs. They are usually made from potato starch, tapioca starch and leavening agents. And will not affect the flavour of your finished product.
What if you need only egg whites or yolks?
A classic vegan egg substitute, this is the liquid left from cooking beans or legumes and is found in canned chickpeas or beans. As it has the same consistency as raw egg whites, it’s usually used to make meringues, marshmallows, macaroons and nougat. About 2 tbsp of aquafaba can replace one egg white. You can also use 3 tbsp to replace a whole egg in recipes for cookies and sour cocktails.
This is a protein isolated from soybeans. It is made from soybean meal that has been dehulled and defatted. It is then processed into three commercial products: soy flour, concentrates and isolates. To replace one egg white, 2 tsp of soy protein isolate with 2 tbsp of water is required.
Soy lecithin powder
This is a by-product of soybean oil and has the similar binding properties of eggs. Soy lecithin can bind ingredients together, and 1 tbsp can replace one egg yolk in your recipes.
For any recipe requiring an egg wash (usually pie crusts) you can use the following: oil, milk, butter, or condensed milk for pie crusts. 60g of light corn syrup thinned with hot water can be used for glazing.