There’s nothing quite as disappointing as removing a cookie sheet from the oven after time is up only to gaze down at the not-quite-right results. What went wrong? How can you fix it next time? Whether your baked goods turn out too chewy, rock hard, or just a little ‘off,’ odds are that a different egg substitute could make all the difference.
Chicken eggs contain the perfect balance of fats and proteins necessary for sustaining chicks, but they also happen to give baked goods that soft, chewy structure. Luckily for plant-based eaters, there are countless options that mimic the effects of eggs and leave the cruelty behind – you just have to experiment until you find the right one for your recipe. Each of the ten common egg replacement options below have different benefits, so check them out and then explore the endless possibilities with the Food Monster App!
1. Flax Seeds
Ah, flax seeds. It’s impossible to go plant-based and not try these little guys out sooner or later. Packed with fiber and Omega-3s, flax seeds are great for digestion and may even lower the risk of heart disease.
As if flax seeds weren’t already helpful enough, they’re also practically magic to cook and bake with; they contain emulsifyers, molecules that help bind oil and water in order to make your baked goods fluffy. Flax eggs, which combine roughly two and a half tablespoons of the seeds with one tablespoon of water, also add structure and texture to the food at hand. They tend to provide a nuttier undertone to foods, which can be extra tasty in cookies, cakes, and breads. Try out this kitchen chemistry in heartier recipes like this Power Bread or start your morning off right with Banana Peanut Butter Breakfast Muffins!
As anyone who’s ever taken a bite of banana bread knows, mashed bananas can work wonders in baking. These tasty, potassium-packed powerhouses offer plenty of sugars and starches, resulting in some of the most moist, delicious goodies around. Due to their strong flavor, mashed bananas work best in recipes that benefit from their added sweetness. Try this method in recipes that highlight the banana flavor, like these 2 Ingredient Oatmeal Banana Blender Pancakes, or check out our quick guide to using banana in your favorite foods!
Here’s your new vocabulary word of the day: hydrocolloid. Hydrocolloids are molecules that thicken and form gels when combined with water, and spoiler alert: chia seeds are the ultimate hydrocolloid.
When mixed with water, chia seeds create the perfect gummy substitute for egg yolks. Just mix one part chia with two parts water, let the mixture sit for five minutes, and add to the batter. Chia eggs create a light, chewy texture with an added crunch – not to mention they’re packed with Omega-3s, protein, and antioxidants. Give chia seeds a whirl in lighter recipes like this Chia Pudding or this Raw, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake.
What can’t avocados do? In addition to being just plain yummy on toast, half a ripe avocado can be a perfect replacement for one egg. Like eggs, avocados are fully of fats and moisture, making them an easy, potassium-packed, fiber-dense substitution. Give avocados a whirl (in the food processor) and try out this gorgeous Superfood Cake (pictured above).
5. Commercial Egg Replacer
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There’s a pretty obvious appeal to most commercial egg replacers – all the hard work is done for you! be sure to check out our breakdown of 10 Vegan Egg Replacers for the specifics of each brand. Most commercial egg replacers rely on our old friend the hydrocolloid in conjunction with a starch to get the job done. Be sure to follow the directions on the packages, as each product calls for slightly different proportions. While the taste is usually undetectable, some commercial egg replacers can create a unique texture, so try out a few different options to find the one that best fits your expectations.
Tofu is full of possibilities. Chances are when baking a recipe that calls for a single egg, that egg is usually included to make the final result moist and spongy. What could be a better replacement than the amino acid powerhouse that is tofu? While tofu may not be applicable in every baking situation, it’s packed with moisture and will take on the flavor of the dish at hand.
Applesauce adds an undeniable level of comfort to foods. The perfect balance of sweet and tart, this egg replacer adds much-needed moisture to any eggless dish at hand. Like banana, the flavor is strong – be sure to use this trick in recipes that will really benefit! Pancakes will be even better thanks to this addition, and if you have bananas on hand, combine two egg replacers in one amazing banana bread recipe. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making the applesauce yourself before baking for truly homemade goodies.
8. Non-Dairy Yogurt
Non-dairy yogurt of all stripes (coconut, almond – any base will do) works best as a replacer in softer baked goods like cakes and waffles. It won’t do the binding work that eggs are so well-known for, but non-dairy yogurt will give the finished product an unrivaled moist and crumbly texture. Keep in mind that choosing a sweetened yogurt will change the final flavor, which can come in handy when making a scrumptious frosting to top off your kitchen creations. If you want to get really creative, try making your own yogurt!
Low in sodium and high in fiber, pumpkin is a favorite ingredient in many plant-based kitchens, and for good reason. Creamy like banana and applesauce, pumpkin works best as both a texture and flavor enhancer – not to mention an excellent way to add antioxidants to your daily routine! Pumpkin can also add a nice orange hue to your baked goods, so be sure to use this technique in a recipe that might benefit from some extra color. Try combining pumpkin and flax for the ultimate ‘egg’ in these cupcakes!
Last but certainly not least is the lesser-known aquafaba. Complete with a cool name (and a yummy byproduct – chickpea tuna salad, anyone?), aquafaba can elevate your baked goods to new heights.
While aquafaba may be the brine from legumes, don’t let that sell this stuff short; aquafaba has the ability to gel and emulsify, creating the key to fluffy desserts like meringues and chocolate mousse. It’s the new kid on the culinary block – so new that people aren’t really sure about the specifics of the science behind the brine. Aquafaba works best in recipes with delicate flavors, since the brine itself doesn’t have much of an impact on the overall taste of the dish.
So get out those cookie sheets and get to experimenting! Need inspiration? Try downloading the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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