Baking 101

Baking 101: My Favorite Vegan Egg Substitutes

vegan egg replacers

I’ve been experimenting with baking alternatives lately.  I don’t want anyone to miss out on baked doughnuts or chocolate chip waffles because they can’t eat / don’t like / won’t stand for eggs, wheat flour, or dairy.  It takes some real doing to find the right baking alternatives, and while I don’t consider myself a vegan or gluten-free baking expert, I want to share what works in my kitchen.

Let’s talk about vegan egg alternatives.

Eggs pull a heavy load in most baked goods.  A whole egg adds an important amount of moisture, fat, structure, and leavening to baked goods like cookies and cakes.  To replace an egg, we need to replace every aspect of what an egg provides to baked goods.  That can be a little tricky!  Eggs do a lot of work!   Here are a few of my favorites substitutes.

Flax Seed Vegan Egg Substitute

Flax seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.  When ground and combined with water and a bit of baking powder, the fats and moisture in flax seeds can mimic that of an egg.  Flax seed substitute creates a very healthful and slightly earthy/nutty tasting egg replacement.

Here’s what to do:  To replace one large egg, finely grind 1 tablespoon of golden flax seeds in a spice grinder.  Place in a small bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of water.  Allow to sit for 30 minutes before using in a recipe.  The mixture will have thickened slightly and feel like a loose jelly.  Just before incorporating into a recipe, stir in a good pinch of baking powder.

How to use it:  I find that flaxseed egg substitutes is great in quick breads, muffins, pancakes, waffles, sturdy (not delicate) cookies, and heartier chocolate cakes.

How to store the seeds:  Flax seeds can deteriorate if not stored properly.  I keep the whole seeds in an airtight container in the freezer.  This will keep the fats in flax seeds from going rancid.  I grind flax seeds as needed per recipe for maximum freshness.

Vegan Egg Substitute

Chia Seed Vegan Egg Substitute

Chia seeds are similar to flax seeds in that they’re also full of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.  When they’re ground and combined with water and a bit of baking powder, their fat and fiber will thicken well and mimic the great egg.  Chia seeds, when ground, will thicken more than flax seeds, creating a great binding agent for baked goods.

Here’s what to do:  To replace one large egg, finely friend 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a spice grinder.  Place in a small bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of water.  Allow to sit for 30 minutes before using in a recipe.  The mixture will thicken to a gel-like consistency.  Just before incorporating into a recipe, stir in a food pinch of baking powder.

How to use it:  Chia seeds are a bit darker in color than flax seeds and can lend their color to baked goods.  I use chia egg substitute in chocolate, banana, or spiced quick breads, muffins, waffles, hearty cookies and brownies.

How to store the seeds:  Chia seeds are a bit more stable than flax seeds and can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  I grind the chia seeds as needed per recipe for maximum freshness.

Other vegan egg substitutes include:  1/4 cup silken tofu blended until completely smooth, 1/4 cup mashed banana, and 1/4 soy or coconut yogurt.  These options are great for binding, but I really like flax and chia for all of the good fats they lend to the egg replacement as well.   Ener-G or Orgran are also a very popular egg replacers that contains potato starch, tapioca, and leavening.  It’s a great option but a hint of chalkiness stands out if too much is used.

What’s tricky about egg substitutes is that they are just substitutes and don’t completely replace and represent a complete egg.  I like the to use flax and chia egg replacers in breakfast baking, heartier cookies, loaf cakes, and chocolate cakes.  For more fine cookies and cakes, the Ener-g or  Orgran replacers are a good option.  Experiment to see what works in your kitchen and for your taste buds!

Others in the Baking 101 Series:

•  Secrets of a Home Baker

•  How To Read a Recipe

•  Why We Use Unsalted Butter

•  The Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder

•  The Best Buttermilk Substitutes

•  Natural vs. Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

•  The Difference Between Baking Flours