Whether you’ve decided to go vegan and forsake all meat, dairy and animal products, or you have a food allergy to content with, giving up eggs can be one of the most difficult foods to substitute. It may be simple to say goodbye to that burger or skip a drizzle of honey on your dessert, but what about mayo or lemon meringue pie? And while you can easily swap out your normal scrambled egg breakfast for a gut-healing smoothie or bowl of grain-free oatmeal, making egg-free versions of your favorite baked goods likely won’t be as easy.
Even though eggs make an appearance in everything from cakes and cookies to pancakes and our favorite condiments, the good news is that there are several replacements that can help you enjoy your favorite foods and stick to your egg-free diet.
If you’re making: Cakes, muffins, or quick breads that have a dense texture
For foods that need added moisture, mashed bananas, applesauce or fruit purees are your best bet — ¼ cup is equivalent to one egg. These will ensure your baked treats are perfectly moist and help them keep their shape. Using fruit purees is also a fun way to add subtle flavors and complexity to treats, like adding pureed pumpkin to your favorite autumn baked goods.
One thing to consider is that using fruit can make baked goods taste sweeter, particularly when using ripe bananas, so you might want to adjust the sugar levels in your recipe.
If you’re making: Whole-grain breads and muffins
Use: chia seeds
Chia seeds are one of the most versatile foods and healthy foods around—they’re high in fiber and also rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. And, when combined with water, chia seeds are the perfect egg substitute.
Mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water and stick the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to let it set. The result is a substitute that’s surprisingly close to an egg in texture. Because chia seeds add a bit of a nutty flavor, they’re great in whole-grain baking and in pancakes, but not as tasty in cakes.
If you’re making: Mayonnaise or meringue
Aquafaba is a fancy name for bean water, or the water that’s left behind after cooking legumes or opening a can of beans. What makes it so versatile is that it foams beautifully, which is critical in making a fluffy meringue or creamy mayo. It’s also good if you just need to sub a yolk or egg white. One tablespoon aquafaba is equivalent to 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of aquafaba equals an egg white, and 3 tablespoons is a replacement for the whole egg.
You’ll make this egg substitute by using a hand mixer and beating the aquafaba for about 7 minutes, or until hard peaks are formed. You can add sugar, salt or other flavors at this point. Or, if you’re looking for a plain egg substitute, you’re done!
If you’re making: Baked foods that need to get “fluffy”
Use: Baking soda and vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar are both household staples thanks to their versatility in and out of the kitchen and, when it comes to egg substitutes, they don’t disappoint. Mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 tablespoon water is the equivalent to one egg. And because of the baking soda, this substitute is actually great in baked goodies that need a bit of fluffiness.
If you’re making: Any baked food—and you don’t have any other natural substitutes
Use: Ener-G Egg Replacer
This egg substitute is great if you have food allergies—it’s free of dairy, nuts, soy, yeast, wheat, tree nuts, and peanuts. So what is in it? Just potato and tapioca starch. If there’s one downside of Ener-G, it’s that it is a processed food, but I still think it’s a good product to have on hand in case you have an urge to bake and don’t have any other natural substitutes on hand.
Ener-G is marketed as a flavorless product, but I’ve found that it leaves a slight metallic or chalky taste, so I’d use it only in recipes that have enough other ingredients with a strong flavor to “hide” the Ener-G taste.