In the first edition of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, I had an egg substitution guide. But in the 2nd edition, I added an egg-free option for every recipe. So the guide on how to substitute eggs was no longer needed in the book.
However, I still want to share this information with you in a quick online resource. Egg substitute ideas are helpful to have on hand when you are dealing with an egg allergy (a relatively common milk allergy partner), following a vegan diet, or have run out of eggs!
If you confuse eggs with dairy, you’re not alone! See this post for a full explanation: Are Eggs Dairy?
Why Eggs Are Used
Eggs are a bit of a wonder food when it comes baking and cooking. They provide all of the following to recipes:
- Binding: Those gelatinous egg whites are full of protein that helps bind ingredients together and prevent crumbling once cooked.
- Leavening: The protein in egg whites also provides structure, helping baked goods to rise and hold their shape. The whites can also be whipped to give meringues and angel food cake volume with a light texture.
- Emulsification: Egg whites do a lot of the heavy lifting, but egg yolks aid in tenderness and help to emulsify fat into the recipe. The benefits of egg yolks are even more noticeable at higher altitudes, where fat can have a tendency to separate in baking.
- Moisture: Eggs combine with other ingredients in a recipe to add and “suspend” moisture, which prevents the finished product from becoming too dense or “wet.”
- Browning: You might notice that some vegan baked goods appear paler than ones baked with eggs. Eggs aid in the browning process when exposed to heat, and provide that nice golden finish. Many believe this browning ability also enhances the taste.
- Sealing and Coating: Eggs can be whisked with a little liquid and brushed on before baking to help seal in moisture. The egg yolk also help enhance the color once baked, and the egg white adds shine.
The Standard Size of an Egg
Most recipes that call for eggs are referring to large eggs. One large egg contains a little over 3 tablespoons of liquid: about 2 tablespoons of egg white and about 1 tablespoon of egg yolk.
One medium egg has just under 3 tablespoons of liquid, and one extra-large egg has roughly 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of liquid.
10 Easy Ways to Substitute Eggs
1) Store-Bought Egg Replacer Powder
There’s no shame in buying a powdered egg replacer from the store. They’re shelf-stable, and at the ready whenever needed. Plus, they’ve been specifically formulated to work as an egg substitute in many recipes.
- How to Make: Follow the directions on the package. It usually just involves whisking in some water.
- Best For: Cake, Muffins, Quick Bread, Cookies, Bars, Pancakes, and Waffles that do not use a high ratio of eggs (usually 1 or 2 eggs per standard-sized recipe). Many brands also bind well in Meatballs, Veggie Burgers, and Fritters. These won’t whip like egg whites. However, a couple brands (noted below) can reportedly be scrambled.
Brands for Baking and Binding Only: These are not personal recommendations, but a round-up of the options. To the best of my knowledge, all of these products are dairy-free and vegan.
- Bob’s Red Mill Vegetarian
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free
- Namaste Foods
- Orgran No Egg
- Vegg Uncaged Baking Mix
- Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk (for substituting egg yolk only)
Brands for Baking, Binding, or Scrambling: These are not personal recommendations, but a round-up of the options. To the best of my knowledge, all of these products are dairy-free and vegan.
The name might sound fancy, but aquafaba is plain old “bean water.” More specifically, it’s the thick, viscous liquid that you typically drain from a can of beans. It also forms when you cook beans from dried at home. Nonetheless, it is such a cool way to substitute eggs that I’ve created a dedicated aquafaba post.
- How to Make: It can be used straight in several applications, or whipped like egg whites. See my Complete Guide to Aquafaba for step by step photos and FAQs. In general, use 3 tablespoons aquafaba per 1 large egg, and 2 tablespoons aquafaba per 1 large egg white.
- Best For: Cake, Muffins, Quick Bread, Cookies, Brownies, Bars, Pancakes, Waffles, Pies, Meringues, Marshmallows, Egg Wash, Meatballs, Veggie Burgers, and Fritters.
Tofu is a fairly versatile egg substitute that offers an “eggy” taste and texture, right from the package. Silken tofu blends into a smooth puree that works in dense sweet and savory baked goods. Regular tofu can be mashed for a chopped egg consistency.
- How to Make: Puree firm silken tofu until smooth. Use 3 tablespoons of the puree per 1 egg in baking. You can optionally add 1/8 teaspoon baking powder per egg replaced to add a little lift. For scrambles and egg salad, mash firm or extra-firm tofu and use a scant 1/4 cup per 1 egg in your recipe.
- Best For: Dense Cakes, Brownies, Custard, Pies, Quiche, Egg Salad, and Scrambles.
4) Fruit or Vegetable Puree
Applesauce, mashed banana, and pumpkin puree work well when you want to substitute eggs in sweet baked goods and breakfast treats. While mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or avocado are made for savory burgers or fritters. But always keep the flavor profile in mind when picking your fruit or vegetable. Also, these usually add nice moisture, but can produce dense results. For that reason, I often add a little extra baking powder to quick breads and muffins.
- How to Make: Use 3 to 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of mash or puree per 1 large egg. I usually start with 3 tablespoons and add a little more if the batter looks too dry or stiff. You can optionally add 1/8 teaspoon baking powder per egg replaced in quick breads or muffins to add a little lift.
- Best For: Quick Bread, Muffins, Cookies, Pancakes, Waffles, Brownies, Bars, Burgers, or Fritters where the fruit flavor suits.
Flaxseed has a wholesome taste that suits heartier baked goods, such as pancakes, oatmeal cookies, and bran muffins. You can purchase whole flax seeds and grind them fresh in a spice grinder. Or you can buy pre-ground flaxseed (flax meal) and store it in the refrigerator or freezer for optimal freshness.
- How to Make: Whisk together or blend 3 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed. Let it sit and gel for 5 minutes, and then use it to replace 1 egg in hearty baked goods. You can optionally add 1/8 teaspoon baking powder per egg replaced in quick breads or muffins to add a little lift.
- Best For: Hearty Quick Bread, Muffins, Cookies, Pancakes, Waffles, or Bars.
6) Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are convenient and easy. They are similar to flax seeds in performance, but they have a slightly better “gel” and don’t taste quite as hearty. Chia seeds don’t need to be ground, they soften in water and as they bake. However, you will see those little seeds in your finished product. Two things can help with this: use white chia seeds (which are actually tan in color) and/or blend the chia seeds.
- How to Make: Whisk together or blend 3 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon chia seeds (white or black). Let it sit and gel for 5 minutes, and then use it to replace 1 egg in hearty baked goods. You can optionally add 1/8 teaspoon baking powder per egg replaced in quick breads or muffins to add a little lift.
- Best For: Quick Bread, Muffins, Cookies, Pancakes, Waffles, Brownies, or Bars.
7) Vinegar + Baking Soda
This combination provides lift, but not structure, so it is best for fluffy baked goods that aren’t relying heavily on eggs to hold together. I don’t recommend using this to substitute eggs at higher altitude baking (above 3000 feet). Also use caution if your recipe already calls for quite a bit of leavener. Too much lift can cause your baked goods to rapidly rise and then deflate!
- How to Make: Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to the wet ingredients in your recipe and 1 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients in your recipe. This amount can be swapped in for 1 or 2 eggs, but you might need to whisk in a little bit of water if your batter is too thick. In general, vegan batter should be just a little thicker than batter with eggs. Other types of vinegar will work, but make sure they fit the flavor profile of your recipe.
- Best For: Cakes, Cupcakes, Muffins, Quick Breads, or Pancakes.
Starch is a lighter option for adding a touch of binding power to more delicate baked goods. Cornstarch and tapioca starch tend to work best in baked goods, but arrowroot or potato starch could also be used.
- How to Make: Whisk 1 tablespoon starch with 3 tablespoons cold water until smooth, and then use it to replace 1 large egg. You can optionally add 1/8 teaspoon baking powder per egg replaced to add a little lift.
- Best For: Cakes, Cupcakes, Muffins, Quick Breads, Pies, or Pancakes.
9) Dairy-Free Yogurt
This is one of my favorite egg substitutes for quick breads and cookies. Plain dairy-free yogurt tends to have a nice smooth consistency, and it will react with recipes containing baking soda to provide a little extra lift. It also has a more delicate flavor than seeds.
- How to Make: Use 3 tablespoons of plain, unsweetened, dairy-free yogurt per 1 large egg in baking. If your recipe doesn’t use any baking soda, you can optionally add a pinch of baking soda or 1/8 teaspoon baking powder with the dry ingredients per egg replaced.
- Best For: Cake, Cupcakes, Quick Bread, Muffins, Cookies, Pancakes, Waffles, Brownies, Bars, or Fritters.
10) Agar Powder
Gelatin is sometimes used to substitute eggs, but agar is gelatin’s vegan cousin. It’s extracted from seaweed, and provides equally good binding power.
- How to Make: For 1 egg white, dissolve 1 tablespoon agar powder in 1 tablespoon hot water. Whip it, refrigerate until cold, and whip it again before using. For 1 egg, whisk in 2 more tablespoons of warm water.
- Best For: Bars, Brownies, Pancakes, Waffles, Pies, Meatballs, Veggie Burgers, and Fritters.
Bonus: Egg Wash Substitute
You can skip the egg wash, but brushing on a liquid sweetener or oil will aid in browning and help give your baked good a bit of shine. And, as mentioned above, aquafaba works well as an egg white wash.