Eggs are a staple in baking so I often get asked what the best substitute would be when baking without them. The answer is that it depends on what you’re baking. There are a lot of options out there and each has their own benefits and disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown:
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Best for: cakes, cupcakes and muffins
Benefit: gives the bake a great rise and keeps it moist
Disadvantage: does not work well as a binding agent, adds liquid to a recipe
My personal favorite for baking cakes, this combination will give you a nice rise and fluffy texture to your bake. It’s all in the chemistry: the acidity in the vinegar reacts with the baking soda creating bubbles and making your batter rise. You can use apple cider vinegar or regular white vinegar. Both will work and neither will leave a taste behind.
One thing to keep in mind when using this combo is that the vinegar is adding more liquid to the recipe so you have to adjust your dry ingredients accordingly. Because of its wet nature, it also doesn’t work well as a binding agent.
Best for: waffles, pancakes, chewy cookies
Benefit: acts as a great binding agent
Disadvantage: does not give the bake a rise
A chia egg is made using one tablespoon of chia seeds and mixing it with two tablespoons of water. Leave the mixture alone for five minutes and the chia seeds will “bloom,” incorporating the water and becoming a paste. That paste can be a great binding agent like an egg in batters and doughs that need to stick together but not necessarily rise like waffles, pancakes or chewy cookies. The chia seeds will sometimes still be visible in the final product but you won’t be able to notice them. They lose their crunch when they bloom and their taste disappears in the recipe.
Best for: Heavier bakes like banana or zucchini breads, brownies
Benefit: acts as a good binding agent
Disadvantage: can make bakes too heavy, have a lingering taste
Applesauce is perhaps the most popular replacement for eggs in vegan baking but I am personally not a huge fan. I prefer my bakes to be soft and airy and applesauce tends to make them heavier and chewier. If that’s your preference, then this will work great for you but for me I find that it only really works with naturally heavier bakes like banana or zucchini bread. I also use it on my pupcakes (that’s cupcakes for dogs) since applesauce is safe for dogs to eat. Another gripe I have with applesauce is how it goes bad really fast, so you have to buy a big jar, use a small amount for a recipe and the rest just goes to waste.
Best for: pancakes, cookies
Benefit: most like an egg white as a binding agent
Disadvantage: can leave the bake runny or gummy
A flax egg works in the same way as a chia egg but with ground flax seeds. Texture-wise, a flax egg is very reminiscent of an egg white so it works well as a binding agent for something like meatless meatballs, for example, where all you need is something to hold the other ingredients together. When it comes to baking sweets, however, most times you need the binding agent to do some lifting and the flax egg is not up to the task. Bakes will often come out runny and watery and if you add too much of it, it will come out gummy. That being said, if you HAD to use it, I would recommend it for something like an oatmeal cookie that has a very dry dough and could use the extra moisture to hold the pieces together.
Best for: muffins, granola bars
Benefit: good binding agent, naturally sweet
Disadvantage: whatever you make will taste like bananas
Mashed bananas act very similarly to applesauce. They will bring ingredients together like an egg would but bananas have a very distinct flavor so whatever you’re making will have a taste of bananas in it. Is that bad? Depends on what you’re making and whether you like bananas! If you do, then I say embrace all that the bananas have to offer. Wait for them to get really overripe so you get maximum sweetness out of them. They’ll make a great “glue” to hold your ingredients together in granola or protein bars and will add a nice touch to nuttier muffins.
Watch the video to see what I have to say about these substitutes.
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