Eggs are considered a staple in the kitchen. Favoured for their taste, texture, ability to bind, thicken and leaven, they’re a multi-purpose ingredient for making delicious cakes, creamy condiments and tasty desserts. If you’re vegan, are looking for an eggless recipe or have simply run out of eggs, we’ve listed our top vegan egg substitutes for you to try. Keep on reading to find out which egg replacement is best for your recipe.
Vegan Egg Substitutes for Baking
Flax seeds, or linseeds, are the small seed of the flax plant. Golden or brown in colour, these seeds originate from the Middle East and are prized for their health-properties. They are naturally rich in protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Flax seeds also hold a superfood status for their ability to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, control blood sugar and improve general digestion. With an impressive list of health benefits, it’s no wonder that flax seeds are a popular natural, dietary supplement.
As well as adding them into your meals and smoothies, flax seeds can also be used to replicate the texture of an egg in baking recipes. When ground flax seeds are mixed with water, they will start to absorb the liquid and thicken. Leave for a few minutes to achieve the desired consistency and you’ll be left with a mixture similar in texture to whisked eggs.
While your flax ‘egg’ may look similar to a regular egg, it will have a slightly nutty, earthy flavour. This makes it more suitable for baking into things like bread, muffins, cakes, pancakes and cookies as the flax seed taste is less detectable. The ‘flegg’ mixture works well as a binding agent in these recipes, however it doesn’t have the same leavening powers. To make sure your baked goods rise, add some baking powder to your flax ‘egg’ too.
To replace one egg, mix one tablespoon of ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of water. Regular flax seeds can be used but they will need to be ground in a spice grinder or food processor first. Let the ground flax and water mixture sit for 5-20 minutes, depending on how long you have and how thick you want your ‘flegg’ to be. It will have a more gelatinous consistency the longer you leave it. Just before you use it in your recipe, mix in a pinch of baking powder into your flax seed ‘egg’.
Chia seeds are another superfood and dietary staple of today. These little black seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant, a member of the mint family, and are considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. They were consumed in the Aztec and Mayan times to provide long-lasting energy, with “Chia” meaning ‘strength’ in ancient Mayan. Chia seeds are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, containing high amounts of fiber, protein, omega-3, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, potassium and vitamin B1, 2 and 3. They’re also gluten free. Thanks to their long list of nutrients, chia seeds make a great, healthy substitution for eggs.
Like flax seeds, chia seeds expand when liquid is added to them. When left for long enough, they become even more viscous than flax seeds, turning into a jelly-like consistency. The fat and fibre of the chia seeds thicken to replicate the wetness of a real egg, making them an excellent binding agent in baking recipes.
Thanks to the dark colour of the seeds, chia seeds may alter the colour of your baked goods. A chia seed ‘egg’ is also better suited for recipes which only call for one or two eggs. The upside to chia ‘eggs’ is that they are relatively flavourless, so they won’t interfere with the other flavours in your recipe. And just like flax seeds, chia seeds won’t make your baked goods rise so it’s recommended to add some baking powder to your chia ‘egg’.
The ratio and method of making a chia seed ‘egg’ is just like the flax seed ‘egg’, and the two can be used interchangeably. For one large egg, stir one tablespoon of chia seeds or ground chia seeds with three tablespoons of water. Let it thicken for 30 minutes and then mix in a pinch of baking powder before using.
The high fat content in the yolk of an egg makes it ideal as an emulsifier and binding ingredient. If you’re looking for another way to mimic the binding powers of an egg, mashed fruit works in just the same way. Apple sauce or apple puree and mashed banana are two of the most popular fruit substitutes for egg. Mashed pumpkin and sweet potato also do the trick.
These natural binders add moisture to baking recipes, creating lovely and moist cakes, muffins, breads, pancakes and brownies. They’re also naturally sweet too, so you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe if you’re using one of these mashed fruit or veg egg substitutes.
As well as their sweet taste, pureed fruit or vegetables will add a noticeable flavour and colour to your bake. The aroma of banana is particularly strong, as is the colour of pumpkin and sweet potato. Chocolate, coffee and peanut butter can be used to try and mask the taste of banana if you aren’t a fan of it. And just like flax and chia seed ‘egg’ substitutes, mashed fruit or veg won’t help your bakes to rise, so don’t forget to add baking powder to make up for it.
Use three tablespoons of mashed fruit or vegetable per one egg. Mix with 1/8th of a teaspoon of baking powder to ensure your bake rises. If using bananas, really ripe ones are best as they’re sweeter and easier to mash. If you’re using pumpkin or sweet potato, you can microwave, bake, steam or boil them before mashing.
Another great vegan egg substitute that does a superb job of binding dry ingredients together is nut butter. Smooth nut butters are sticky, wet and add lots of healthy fats and protein to your baked goods. Today, you can find a whole range of nut butters to choose from - peanut, almond, cashew, macadamia, walnut, the list goes on!
The downside to nut butters is that they will change the taste of your bake, giving them a strong nutty flavour. If you don’t like nuts, you may want to steer clear of this substitute. They also don’t have any leavening properties either. This makes them best for things that don’t require much, or any, rise. When selecting a nut butter, try to find one without added sugar so that it won’t affect the sweetness of your recipe too much.
For one egg, use three tablespoons of nut butter.
Aquafaba is the runny liquid found in tinned chickpeas or beans that they’ve been cooked in. A more unusual egg substitute, aquafaba contains proteins and starches which are similar in structure to egg whites. Thanks to this, when aquafaba is whipped, it becomes an excellent dupe for actual whisked egg whites.
Thankfully, aquafaba is tasteless and doesn’t impair the flavour of anything that it’s used in. It can be used as an egg replacement in dishes like mousse, meringue, macaroon or any recipe that calls for whisked egg whites. It can even be used to make vegan mayonnaise!
Drain a can of chickpeas or beans. Save the legume for another vegan recipe. With the leftover liquid, use three tablespoons of aquafaba per egg. Use an electric whisk to whip the aquafaba into soft or stiff peaks depending on your recipe.
You might drink coconut milk as a vegan alternative to cow’s milk, but did you know that it can also be used as a substitute for eggs in baking? This thick, creamy liquid is harvested from the solid flesh of brown coconuts. This is then blended with water to create the milky texture that we’re used to. Coconut milk is a good source of nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. It’s also high in saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides, MCTs. MCTs are used for energy or ketone production and are less likely to be stored as fat in the body.
As an egg substitute, it is often used instead of whisked egg yolks because of its high fat content. It’s rich and creamy, just like a regular egg yolk. A popular vegan recipe that switches out traditional egg yolks for coconut milk, is ice cream. Coconut milk can also be used in vegan cheesecakes, whipped cream and pie fillings for a creamy alternative to eggs.
Use three tablespoons of coconut milk per egg yolk in your recipe.
Vegan Egg Substitutes for Cooking
Black salt is a type of volcanic salt often used in Indian cuisine. There are various types of black salt, but the best one for recreating the flavour of egg is Himalayan black salt, or kala namak. Kala namak starts out as Himalayan Pink Salt, which is mined from salt mines in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and other countries in the Himalayas. Once it’s extracted, it is heated to high temperatures and mixed with a blend of Indian herbs and spices to achieve its darker colouring and sulphuric smell and taste.
Himalayan black salt has roots in Ayurvedic medicine, where Ayurvedic healers believed that it could improve digestion and aid healing. Today, the high sulphur content in the salt gives it a savory and umami flavour. This unique taste, along with its sulphuric aroma, makes it popular in vegan cooking to mimic the smell and flavour of egg.
Kala namak won’t give you the texture that a real egg does, but it is a great seasoning to use in tofu scrambles, vegan quiches and frittatas.
Himalayan black salt can be added to dishes in the cooking process like any other seasoning. Remember to use it sparingly as, afterall, it is salt. You can even try sprinkling it on the top of savoury foods like kale crisps or popcorn, like you would with nutritional yeast.
A popular protein of choice for many vegans, tofu is soy milk that has condensed and been pressed into solid blocks. Tofu is considered incredibly healthy and nutrient dense, as it is very low in calories but packed with protein and healthy fats. It also contains all of the essential amino acids our body needs, as well as a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
However, some people see tofu as a controversial health food. This is because a lot of the world’s soybeans, used for tofu production, are genetically modified. Despite this, there are plenty of non-GMO and organic tofu brands that you can look out for.
There are various types of tofu that can be used for different vegan egg substitutions. SIlken tofu is smoother and silkier, lending itself to cheesecakes, ice cream and other desserts that are creamy in texture. Firm tofu holds its shape much better and can be fried in vegan scrambles, cooked in quiches and lasagnes, baked and more. Tofu doesn’t have a strong flavour, making it a blank canvas for you to add whatever seasonings and flavours you like to it.
If using silken tofu, use three tablespoons of pureed tofu per egg. If using firm tofu, it may need to be pressed to extract any liquid before cutting it up to cook.
Tapioca starch is extracted from the cassava root. It is almost entirely composed of carbohydrates. While it may not be the most nutritious vegan egg substitute, it is gluten-free and can be used as a wheat alternative in cooking and baking.
Tapioca starch helps to bind ingredients together and to thicken liquids and sauces. It has a neutral flavour so you can use it in lots of recipes without worrying if it will alter the taste. One of the most popular uses for it is to make a creamy vegan mayonnaise.
For one egg, whisk one tablespoon of tapioca starch with three teaspoons of water.
Looking for new vegan recipe ideas to try? Take a read of our favourite five-ingredient vegan recipes here, or browse our blog for more lifestyle advice, tips and ideas.