If you're just getting started with vegan baking, the first thing you may be realizing is that your ingredients for baking without eggs and milk look a little different than when you bake the "regular" stuff.
Check this post for an intro on vegan baking to help you get started.
In this blog post, I'm going to walk you through what you need to know about ingredients for vegan baking. I'm the founder and owner of the award-winning vegan bakery, Curious Cat Bakery, so I've become a pro at finding the best vegan ingredients for baking.
Ingredients you need (and don't need) for vegan baking
You may think you need fancy ingredients for eggless, dairy free baking. That's false!
As you're Googling vegan recipes, you may see fancy ingredients like agar agar, nutritional yeast, and xanthan gum (what even is that?). But you don't need to take a trip to a specialty health food store to get any pricey ingredients.
If a recipe calls for obscure ingredients, that's a big red flag for a beginner vegan baker. It's better to start simple.
The cheap and easy ingredients you need for vegan baking are just good old fashioned all-purpose flour, sugar (most brands are vegan!), salt, baking powder, baking soda, water, cornstarch, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and yeast (if you're making bread).
I walk you through all those ingredients in this YouTube video.
Sneaky Non-Vegan Ingredients to Watch For
There are some ingredients that you may think are vegan that actually aren't. They include marshmallows and any other item that includes gelatin, because it's made from animal products.
Another ingredient to be careful with is sprinkles. Some sprinkles are vegan, you just need to check the label to make sure they don't contain milk ingredients. You also want to make sure they don't have confectioner's glaze which contains bug parts (we don't need to go into detail!).
Some food coloring also contains bugs (gross, I know), so you'll want to avoid anything that has carmine or red coloring 4.
I explain all of the non-vegan ingredients to look out for in this video.
Best Brands for Vegan Alternatives
There are also so many brands to choose from for vegan ingredients. I've tried a lot of them and here are my favorites. And no, none of them are paying me. These are just what I personally have found to be the better brands in look, taste and texture to the real deal:
The first is my favorite vegan replacement for butter: Earth Balance. The taste and consistency is exactly the same as dairy butter. I use it in my products at Curious Cat Bakery. It works especially well for vegan buttercream.
Vegan Chocolate Chips
For vegan chocolate chips, my favorite brand is Enjoy Life. They're semi-sweet so they're not overly sweet, and as a bonus they're free of the top allergens.
One of my favorite brands of milk alternatives to use is the Blue Diamond almond milk. It's important to get the unsweetened, unflavored variety though, because the flavored ones are going to impact your recipe.
You can see all of my favorite vegan brands to use in baking in this video.
When it comes to subbing eggs and milk, that's a whole other story.