New to vegan baking? This guide will help you navigate the world of eggless baking, and comes complete with a handy cheat sheet listing the most common egg substitutes.
Spoiler alert: the graphic right beneath this text has all the answers. Well, sort of.
Did I just ruin the whole post with that little graphic? No. There’s more to it. This is worth reading, I promise. That’s just your cheat sheet. Like in physics class when you ditched all semester but thought you’d be okay because the test was open book…but you weren’t. It’s kinda like that. (Fine. That was me, not you.)
Anyhow, vegan baking can be pretty intimidating, and it took me a long time to start experimenting with it. While I’d heard that certain things like bananas worked as egg substitutes, I didn’t really buy it. Seriously, I thought people that said that might be deluding themselves – eating cakes that fall apart into a pile of sad dry crumbs and claiming that it was just as good as any non-vegan version.
I know better now. In fact I’ve veganized a number of old favorite baked-goods recipes that turned out better than the originals.
There are lots of options available as far as substitutes are concerned, and the key is knowing which choice to make in what circumstance. It’s a learning experience. After a while you develop a feel for things, but there are certainly some guidelines that can be of help.
Disclaimer: Not all of these suggestions will work all of the time. Vegan baking from a non-vegan recipe is for the adventurous, not the perfectionist. 90% of the time I’m able to get a recipe to work using these guidelines, but sometimes I’m not. That chocolate jelly-roll style cake that called for 5 eggs and no flour? Yeah, despite three attempts, the vegan version never happened. I knew that would be a challenge though. If you’re up for some fun and experimentation, go to it, and start simple. Muffins are a great beginner’s intro to vegan baking.
This one is easy. Substitute one mashed up, overripe ripe banana for one egg. This works best in dense baked goods, such as quick breads and muffins. Obviously, it will add some banana flavor, which may not be too detectable if you’re just subbing for one egg, but you’ll certainly taste it if you use any more than one banana. The other thing to keep in mind is that bananas add a bit of sweetness, so don’t use them in recipes that aren’t meant to be sweet, and in recipes that are sweet, cut back on the sugar just a tad. One of the many beauties of vegan baking is that you can taste test and adjust your ingredients without worrying about injesting contaminants that might be present in raw eggs.
Recipes to Try:
Silken tofu can be a bit tricky, but when it works out I absolutely love the results. Silken tofu often results in a denser and moister baked good, so it works in many of the same recipes as bananas, but without adding any flavor. It also adds a bit of protein, which is a nice bonus. Substitute 1/4 cup of silken tofu per egg. Silken tofu is available at most supermarkets these days, pretty much all health food markets, and of course, online.
Recipe to Try:
I don’t use this one that much, simply because unflavored vegan yogurt is tough to find. If you can find it though, or if you can find a flavor that works in your baked good, just add 1/4 cup per egg.
Recipe to Try:
Flax or Chia
Flax eggs are my go-to egg substitute. They work in a wide variety of recipes, and ground flax seeds are easy to keep on hand. Cakes, cookies, quick breads, muffins, pancakes…I’ve gotten them all to work with flax eggs, and I can recall very few flax egg failures. Even though I don’t use chia eggs quite as often, they’re pretty much interchangeable with flax eggs. Just mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and like magic, you’ll have a slimy and surprisingly egg-like mixture that you can throw right in to you mixing bowl. You should be able to pick up chia and flax seeds at the supermarket. Otherwise, try a health food store. If all else fails you can get chia online here and flax here.
Recipes to Try:
Pumpkin puree is what I use most often here, but I’ve also had success with sweet potatoes and apple sauce. Generally speaking, you don’t want your baked goods to taste like, say, broccoli, which is why I haven’t branched out too much here. In recipes where a little sweet potato or pumpkin flavor is welcome, these ingredients work great. Pumpkin is easy, since it’s available in cans. If I’m using a sweet potato I’ll usually bake or microwave it. 1/4 cup of puree works in place of 1 egg.
Recipes to Try:
Not my favorite, but cornstarch works in a pinch. Occasionally I am out of everything else on this list, and when that happens, I can generally manage to dig up some cornstarch from the back of the pantry. Cornstarch, being a thickener, yields a viscous, eggy substance when mixed with water in the right proportion. The right proportion being about 2 tablesoons of cornstarch to 3 of water. Hasn’t failed me yet!
Recipe to Try:
Seriously. I do this sometimes and it works! The how-to is easy: follow a recipe and skip the eggs. More likely, skip the egg. That’s the catch. It really only works in recipes that call for very few (i.e., one) egg. If anything, add a few tablespoons more liquid. Once you’ve been experimenting with vegan baking for a while, you’ll get a feel for when you can get away with this. If you make something with a flax egg and find yourself asking if that was really necessary, it probably wasn’t.
Recipe to try:
Right after I published this post, aquafaba became a thing, and by a thing, I mean huge! What am I talking about? That slimy water that your canned chickpeas are packed in, it does incredible things, like making meringues, mousses, and working as a binder. I’ve had luck with swapping it out for eggs in some pretty basic baking recipes, but for now I’ve just got it on the blog in a (delicious!) sandwich recipe. More to come!