There are a few key ingredients that come to mind when we think of baking: flour, sugar, butter, and eggs are all essentials. Or are they? For those of us who choose not to eat eggs, or those who are allergic, baking without eggs has become a bit of an experiment. Like many experiments the fruits are sometimes disastrous, and sometimes miraculous, and often in between. Yet baking without eggs shouldn’t be as hit and miss as it often is.
When it comes to baking, eggs play five key roles that can often be emulated with the addition of seeds, fruits, or beans.
1) Leaven – Sometimes eggs are beaten to incorporate air. This helps a product rise, creating a lofty structure much like baking powder or soda would.
2) Bind – As eggs bake, the proteins congeal helping them hold all the little bits and pieces together, making for a less crumbly product.
3) Moisture – Adding eggs often adds moisture and richness to a dish. This is often the case when there is already enough leavening agent and bind the mix.
4) Thicken – Foods like curds and custards often rely on eggs to help thicken and set.
5) Colour – Using eggs helps add a golden colour to a products’ interior, or a shiny glaze for crusts.
When subbing something for an egg, these are our favourites. Some will help bind, others will help leven, while others will add moisture. Find out what the egg does in your recipe and choose the substitute accordingly.
Our 6 Favourite Egg Substitutes
Chickpea Water (aka aquafaba) – New on the scene a couple of years ago, aquafaba or “chickpea water” quickly became revolutionary to vegan baking. Full of starchy proteins, the water from a can of chickpeas (unsalted beans is best) can be beaten or whipped and used to make vegan marshmallows, meringues, and cake. You can also use the liquid as-is in cakes, muffins, and cookies.
Use 3 Tbps. in place of 1 egg.
Best in cakes, muffins, cookies, and to make meringues, pavlovas, marshmallows, and macaroons.
Recipe using aquafaba
Flax or Chia – When mixed with water, ground flax or chia seeds make a goopy mixture which acts as a great binder in place of eggs. Because of their fibre and healthy taste, they work best in wholegrain or heartier baking.
Use 1 tbsp. ground seeds mixed with 3 tbsp. water per egg replaced. Let sit 5 minutes before adding to baking.
Best in pancakes, seedy muffins, healthy cookies, veggie burgers, and oaty items.
Recipe using Flax
Chickpea Flour – Its high protein content means that this flour acts a lot like eggs, but its distinct flavour works best in savoury dishes. It helps bind without making dishes too heavy.
Use 1/4 cup flour added to your dry ingredients and 1/4 cup water added to your wet mix per egg replaced. Try not to replace more than one egg due to the strong flavour of the flour.
Best in savoury items, bean and veggie patties/loafs, savoury waffles and muffins.
Recipe using chickpea flour
Banana – Mashed banana adds great moisture and works as a binder while also adding natural sweetness. Because of its strong flavour it is best used in sweet dishes.
Use 1/2 a whole banana or 1/4 cup mashed
Best in denser foods like quick breads, pancakes, and cookies.
Recipe using Banana
Fruit Puree – Items like pumpkin puree, mashed yam, or unsweetened apple sauce are very versatile and can be used in sweet or savoury baking.
Use 1/4 of a cup per egg replaced.
Best in muffins, cakes, and loaves.
Recipe using applesauce
Powdered Mix – Found in every grocery store, powdered egg replacer is a combination of starches for binding plus leveners for rise. To make your own version at home, combine baking soda and powder along with corn and potato starch. Here is a good recipe that will keep you going for ages.
Use 1/2 tbsp. power and 2 tbsp. water per egg replace
Best in cakes, muffins, scones, and anything that requires a good dose of leveners.
Recipe using powdered mix