We all know about and have eaten eggs. They are one of the more ubiquitous ingredients in cooking and are also healthy and easy to cook. But recently, more eggs than just those from standard hens have been frequenting markets and restaurant menus (think duck and quail eggs in omelettes or cracked on top of pizzas).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the wide variety of eggs available, we put together a guide for the eggs you are most likely to encounter at your local farmers market. Hopefully the notes below will spruce up your egg knowledge and maybe even encourage you to mix up your cooking and shopping practices.
Bantams (on the far right) are relatively rare, small hens that produce tiny eggs with a dark yolk. The 50-50 ratio of egg yolk to egg white makes them great for frying. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/drewdomkus)
These light blue eggs come from the Cream Legbar hen that was originally bred from a mix with the Araucana breed of chicken that also lays blue eggs. However, because of mixed breeding, the eggs will sometimes be a greyish blue, khaki, or an olive green color. With rich, creamy yolks, these eggs work well poached or fried. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/ImaginationKids)
Tiny, speckled eggs, these delicate delights have pale yolks and can be quickly cooked (because of their small size). They are great soft boiled, added to a salad, on top of greens, or pizza. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Brook Herman)
These large, beautiful eggs are housed in a hardy, ivory-colored shell and are equivalent of about 24 standard hen eggs (give or take a little). Their size makes them ideal for decorating during Easter but also means that they take a lot longer to cook then the comparatively miniature hen eggs. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Simpologist)
Guinea Fowl Eggs
Thicker and stronger than a standard egg shell, guinea fowl eggs have a dark yolk and are about the equivalent of two standard hen eggs. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/LizLoughlan)
Stored in blue-green shell, these large eggs take about an hour to boil or 30 minutes to scramble. Their taste isn’t too dissimilar from standard eggs, but one emu egg produces about 10 times as much as a standard egg (and costs more too). Try adding vegetables to the scramble and make sure you have a partner or two to help you eat it all. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Samatt)
No eggs? Here's your guide for substituting
Say you have a fierce craving for a batch of muffins, but when you start to assemble your ingredients, you realize the last of your eggs went into your morning omelet. Does that mean the muffins have to wait?
Nope. The same goes for many other types of baked goods — cakes, cookies, breads, you name it.
If for any reason eating eggs isn’t an option — either by choice or by necessity — you can turn to a number of substitutions to fulfill your baking needs. Read on for a breakdown of some of our favorite options.
But first, what exactly do eggs do in baking?
The short answer is … a lot.
The longer answer is that eggs are responsible for many different things in baking, and their role varies depending on what you’re making. Eggs provide structure (particularly in cakes), as well as emulsify, bind, and leaven. They’re a key element in creating the desired texture of a baked good, but can also impact appearance and flavor. No wonder they're used in so many recipes!
The longest answer is, frankly, probably an hours-long lecture. Not something we have time (or space) for today.
Overall, eggs have a unique versatility that allows them to fulfill multiple functions in baking. There’s not a perfect replacement that magically meets all these same needs, but there are many options you can choose to bake successfully.
Ready to bake egg-free? Here are some of our favorite egg substitutions to use in the kitchen .
Aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas)
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) aquafaba
How it performs: According to our resident vegan baking expert, Posie Brien, this is “hands down the best egg substitution.” In fact, we like it so much we wrote a whole post on it, A guide to aquafaba. If you're substituting in a recipe you haven't tried before, we recommend starting with aquafaba, as it provides the most consistent results.
Pros: Pretty much the only egg substitute that whips up to a meringue like egg whites (!) doesn’t add any flavor or color
Cons: Doesn’t provide much structure to baked goods. Your batter may smell a bit "bean-y" but don't worry! That flavor won't come through in the final product.
Good for: Anything from breads (even brioche!) to meringue to single-layer or snacking cakes. Even Fudge Brownies come out just as rich and moist as the original recipe.
Mashed banana, pumpkin purée, applesauce
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) mashed banana, pumpkin purée (57g), or applesauce (64g), or similar purées such as sweet potato
How it performs: These purées each perform similarly in baked goods (though the banana and pumpkin can add a noticeable flavor or color, so choose accordingly!). They add a lot of moistness — think of your favorite soft banana or pumpkin bread. They can also add some chewiness, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on what you’re making. Overall, a fairly consistent option
Pros: Helps ensure baked goods are moist easy to use
Cons: Makes cookies cakey can give cakes or muffins a denser texture. Also adds some gumminess if used in large quantities.
Good for: Quick breads, hearty muffins, single-layer or snacking cakes, pound cakes, pancakes. Also, several King Arthur bakers recommend swapping sweet potato purée for the egg in Beautiful Burger Buns they claim they're even better than the original!
Flax and chia seed eggs
Sub for 1 egg: Combine 1 tablespoon flax meal or whole chia seeds with 3 tablespoons (42g) water and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until gelatinous
How it performs: Flax and chia seed eggs add body and help bind baked goods but don't build structure, so they’re not ideal for light, fluffy cakes. On the other hand, they’re a good option for soft, low-rising baked goods or yeast baking (with the exception of enriched doughs like brioche). For more details, see our previous post about baking with a flax egg replacer.
Pros: Very versatile — can be used in a wide variety of recipes
Cons: Neither aerates well so not a good choice for light and fluffy goods
Good for: Cookies, quick breads, yeast breads, brownies and bars, muffins. My fellow blogger PJ has made Amish Dinner Rolls with flax egg and finds their taste is identical.
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) silken tofu, blended until completely smooth
How it performs: Tofu performs somewhat similarly to fruit and vegetable purées. It adds moisture, but can make baked goods dense, so it's ideal for treats with a moist, rather than fluffy, texture. Make sure to use silken tofu (the shelf-stable kind) which blends to a smooth, creamy texture.
Pros: Neutral flavor and color
Cons: Requires puréeing to use, meaning you’ll need to dirty a blender or food processor can make baked goods somewhat dense
Good for: Quick breads, hearty muffins, single-layer or snacking cakes, pound cakes. In a recipe like Quick Lemon Bread, its neutral flavor will allow the bright citrus taste to shine.
Cornstarch, arrowroot, and other starches
Sub for 1 egg: Mix 2 tablespoons (14g) cornstarch, arrowroot powder, potato starch, or tapioca starch with 3 tablespoons (42g) water to form a thick slurry
How it performs: This option isn't quite as reliable as those listed above. Starches are good to use if you don't have any other options, but we recommend going with one of the prior suggestions if you can.
Pros: Good for binding
Cons: Not as reliably successful as other options can leave baked goods a bit dry or tender
Good for: Cookies, single-layer or snacking cakes, quick breads. Try this option in Chocolate Zucchini Cake, which is already rich and ultra-moist thanks to the shredded squash.
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) plain Greek yogurt
How it performs: Similar to the fruit purées noted above — adds moisture and tenderness. If you’re using full-fat yogurt, baked goods will have a richer, more tender texture. Make sure to use plain, unflavored yogurt, as sweetened or flavored yogurt could add additional flavor.
Pros: Adds tenderness and ensures baked goods are moist
Cons: Not suitable for vegan baking can weigh down baked goods and add gumminess if used in large quantities
Good for: Quick breads, hearty muffins, single-layer or snacking cakes, pancakes. These tender Apple Muffins already call for yogurt, so try adding a bit more in place of the egg to make them even more moist.
Sparkling water or seltzer
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) sparkling water
How it performs: Are you surprised? Believe it or not, sparkling water or seltzer can be used as a replacement for eggs. Like some other options toward the end of this list, this one is less reliable than favorites like aquafaba, but can be swapped into recipes in a pinch.
Pros: No flavor or color added
Cons: Can be somewhat hit-or-miss doesn't blend well in recipes that call for eggs to be creamed with butter
Good for: Light, fluffy baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and quick breads. Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, which call for the egg to be whisked with melted butter, allow the seltzer to be easily incorporated into the batter.
Photo by Anne Mientka
Commercial egg replacers
Sub for 1 egg: Follow measurements and instructions on product package
How it performs: In addition to the pantry staples outlined above, there are also plenty of commercial egg replacers available to purchase, all of them different. We tested a few widely available options in our banana bread, and you can read the results in our post on vegan banana bread. In particular, we found Namaste Egg Replacer to be a reliable option.
Pros: Specifically designed to mimic eggs in baking can be used in a wide variety of baked goods
Cons: Specialty ingredient that you may be less likely to have in your pantry
Good for: Almost any kind of baking, though how they're best suited will depend on the specific brand
How do some of these options compare?
To provide an example of how a few of these egg substitutes stack up, I baked up a batch of Basic Muffins and replaced the eggs with several of the options above. This recipe is super simple: the eggs are mixed with other liquids, then added to the dry ingredients to make a batter. Basic recipes like this are the best options for using egg replacements.
The clear standout was the aquafaba — there was very little discernible difference between the aquafaba muffins and regular egg muffins. The sparkling water also yielded muffins that were very similar to the original recipe.
Meanwhile, the muffins I baked with mashed banana looked very different from the original — they had craggy tops and a darker color — but were ultimately very moist. They did, however, have a distinct banana flavor. Finally, the muffins I made with a flax egg were speckled in color, but fairly fluffy with a nice rise.
Overall? All of the muffins were tasty and enjoyable, and I'd be confident substituting for the eggs without much change in a basic stir-and-bake recipe like this. However! This is just one example. Keep in mind that results won't necessarily match across other types of recipes, as they all rely on eggs a little bit differently.
When egg substitutions just won’t cut it
As you can see, there are plenty of options for replacing eggs in your baking. Even with all that versatility, though, there are some baked goods in which egg substitutions simply won’t be successful.
The first is quite obvious: any egg-heavy recipe will be nearly impossible to pull off — things like soufflés, quiches, or any other baked good that relies almost entirely on eggs as the foundation of the recipe.
In addition, it can be tricky substituting for the eggs in custard pies like pumpkin pie. In these cases, we recommend using an existing pumpkin pie recipe that doesn’t call for eggs, instead of trying to adapt one to be egg-free.
It's also difficult to substitute in cakes that rely on eggs for most of their leavening and structure, including sponge cakes, hot milk cakes, chiffon cakes, and angel food cakes. If the recipe calls for you to beat eggs to ribbon stage and/or fold in stiff egg whites, it's best to look for another recipe rather than try to replace the eggs.
Here are a few other notes and takeaways to keep in mind if you're planning to replace the eggs in your baking:
- It's worth repeating: overall, our favorite egg replacement is aquafaba. We suggest using this option in a recipe before experimenting with others, as it's proved to be the most reliable.
- The more eggs you replace, the more noticeably different your final result will be. Replacing one egg will be a lot less noticeable than three eggs.
- You can use both eggs and an egg substitute in a recipe. (For instance, if a recipe calls for two eggs but you only have one, replace the second egg with one of the above egg replacers.)
- Baking gluten-free? Unfortunately, eggs usually play a major structure-building role in gluten-free baking. In general, we recommend baking gluten-free recipes that don't include eggs to begin with, instead of trying to replace them.
With so many options to swap in for eggs, you'll hopefully be ready to discover all the possibilities of egg-free baking. And the best way to figure out which egg replacer works the best in a recipe? Do some experimenting.
There are no hard-and-fast rules, and the more you try out different substitutions, the more comfortable you'll be making them. Which means it's time to get baking!
If you're vegan (or baking for someone who is!) see our collection of vegan desserts, which not only skip the eggs but also the dairy. Happy baking!
How to Make Flax Eggs Using Just Two Ingredients
Our guide to making flax eggs will have you baking up a storm like the vegan pro you are.
As far as names go, "flax" eggs aren't too descriptive in the eyes of a home cook &mdash but they're actually a magical substitution for eggs in your baking and cooking. Whether you're looking for a vegan baking substitute, or are trying to make your favorite baked goods allergy-friendly for friends, flax eggs are the easiest solution you can imagine. For some, making flax eggs is a new way to experiment with different ingredients &mdash a flax egg consists of just two ingredients (yes, really!). You'll be combining ground flaxseeds and water to create your "egg" at home. Just as they are super quick and easy to prepare for first-timers, you'll notice they're highly versatile and may be called for in a myriad of your favorite vegan dishes. You can incorporate them into muffins, breads, pancakes, cookies, and all of your baking needs.
What is a flax egg?
A flax egg is a combination of close to equal parts ground flaxseed and water. Flaxseeds are often used as a nutritious &ldquosuperfood&rdquo powder known for its high levels of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, plus they&rsquore great for digestion. Flaxseeds are also vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-approved. When ground up and mixed with water, flaxseeds can form a &ldquogluey&rdquo substance that has a similar consistency to egg whites, which is achieved when they are mixed into water.
While it may not offer identical structural support that an egg can impart in a baking recipe, flax eggs are a manageable substitute for most baking recipes. In theory, you could cook these on their own, but there&rsquos really not a ton of flavor flax has a very seed-y, fiber-y profile, so cooking a flax egg on its own is not the most flavorful creation. Because you&rsquore incorporating a flax egg into doughs and batters, the subtle flavor of flax is typically masked by whatever else is in the batter.
If you don&rsquot have flax seeds, you can also make a &ldquochia egg&rdquo consisting of ground chia seeds and water, which will perform just like a flax egg. If you have whole flax seeds or chia seeds, make sure to grind them up in a spice grinder or food processor before using them. Without grounding them, their hydroponic properties (AKA, their ability to absorb water) are not as pronounced.
How are flax eggs used in the kitchen?
Flax eggs make for a great substitution in most baking recipes because they can provide a subtle structural boost. The ratio of ground flax to water is roughly 1:2, and about 1 tablespoon of flax mixed with about 2 tablespoons of water is equivalent to one large egg. The resting time is essential for the structure of the flax egg to take shape, so make sure to add a 10- or 15-minute buffer into your bake time.
Can I swap eggs for flax eggs?
It&rsquos important to note that you can&rsquot always substitute an egg for a flax egg. If a recipe calls specifically for whites or yolks, like a meringue or a custard, then you cannot substitute a flax egg. Those desserts derive all of their flavor and texture from eggs, whereas flax eggs only provide a milder form of structure, so you&rsquod miss out on rich flavor as well as super firm structure. Typically, it is best to substitute a flax egg when the original recipe calls for only one egg. If it calls for two or more, it may be more difficult to sub a flax egg.
Recipes that call for flax eggs:
You can find flax eggs in a myriad of baking recipes. Everything from quick breads to brownies to cakes, pancakes to muffins, cookies to scones there are a lot of ways to get creative with your flax egg. You can even incorporate them into savory recipes like veggie burgers, fritters, or patties, which will help to keep them structurally sound. Because its flavor is so subtle, the flax egg will be masked by the savory components of the dish. Keep in mind that flax eggs don&rsquot taste like eggs, they just provide structure in the same way that eggs do. This means that you should not try to fry, scramble, or hard boil them the way you would with a chicken egg.
How to perfectly store flax eggs at home:
Flax eggs should be mixed into doughs and batters and baked as the recipe instructs. They should not be consumed raw (it&rsquos not harmful, just unpleasant) and they should not be used in recipes that call for 2 or more eggs. You can make them up to a day in advance, storing them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Eggs as a Binder
For recipes which use eggs primarily as a binder (such as drop cookies), possible substitutions for one egg include:
1/2 of a medium banana, mashed
1/4 cup of applesauce (or other pureed fruit)
3-1/2 tablespoons gelatin blend (mix 1 cup boiling water and 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, and then use 3-1/2 tablespoons of that mixture per egg)
1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water let stand 1 minute before using
Commercial egg replacement products (see above)
Keep in mind that the addition of pureed fruit may impact both the taste and the density of the finished product.
Soak the bread slices in the custard mixture for 15-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Bring a non-stick skillet to medium-low heat and brush with a light coating of coconut oil or butter. Use a fork or tongs to pick up each slice of bread from the soaking dish, letting any excess custard mixture drip off back into the dish. Cook each slice for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Serve immediately, with your favorite toppings.
Your guide to alternative sugars: What to love, what to avoid and why
Trying to eat healthier can feel like a never-ending puzzle. One day some superfood is in, the next day it’s out &mdash it can feel impossible to keep track of what’s actually good for you and what’s just a fad. And when you find yourself choking down a kale-maca-manuka honey-matcha smoothie, you just might find yourself wishing you knew if it’s actually any healthier than your favorite fruity sugar bomb from Jamba Juice.
That’s why we reached out to doctors and nutritionists to find out the truth about different sweeteners. Sure, refined table sugar isn’t good for us, but what about its substitutes? Below, learn about the most common alternative sweeteners, and hear health professionals weigh in on their pros and cons.
Note: The glycemic index measures how much a food raises your blood glucose. Under 55 is considered low, 56 to 69 is medium, and 70 or more is considered high.
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1 cup
“Aspartame, marketed as NutraSweet and Equal, [has] been the subject of constant controversy since its initial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1974,” Dr. Larry Goldfarb of the Medical and Wellness Center of New Jersey said in an op-ed he shared with SheKnows.
“Since some of the artificial sweeteners are 200 times sweeter than regular sugar, our body responds by secreting more insulin to deal with the overload of sugar. With that much insulin secreted (insulin is the chemical needed for sugar to get into the cell), the blood levels deplete and the person gets hungry again at a very rapid rate, ingesting unnecessary calories over and over so there is weight gain.”
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1 cup
“Popular in decades previous, artificial sweeteners are decreasing in popularity due their potential link with brain abnormalities, and the increased risk of developing certain cancers,” Zoe Martin, a nutritionist for Discount Supplements shared with SheKnows. “However, it’s worth noting that many studies involving these sweeteners have been carried out on rats, and in very large quantities that do not align with what would realistically be consumed.”
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1 teaspoon powdered or liquid concentrate
“Stevia is classed as all-natural, and has a calorie/carb value of zero. The active compounds in stevia &mdash steviol glycosides &mdash are much sweeter than sugar, and are deemed safe for consumption. It is believed that stevia may possess other health benefits that are not yet understood. The drawback, however, is that pure stevia has a slightly bitter aftertaste that’s akin to licorice &mdash it’s not for everyone,” Martin told us.
More: Forget fat, it’s sugar that’s causing all our health problems
Xylitol and erythritol
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1 cup
“These are sugar alcohols, which are pretty great as far as sweeteners go,” Martin told SheKnows. “They are extracted from corn or birch trees they have an equal sweetness to sugar, and look and taste about the same. However, unlike their toxic cousin, they contain roughly a third of the calories, and have a much lower impact on blood glucose levels. Plus, they do not contribute to tooth decay (xylitol is actually approved by some dental experts for its role in preventing tooth decay).”
Any cons? “Since sugar alcohols are mostly absorbed in the gut, large quantities may cause gastrointestinal disturbance,” Martin explained. However, most foods use a very small amount of xylitol, so you should be fine.
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 3/4 cup
Although agave is low on the glycemic index, it’s 90 percent fructose, which is more harmful than glucose. “Agave is not as healthy as once thought. It’s high in fructose, higher than that of high-fructose corn syrup, and research suggests that fructose does not shut off appetite hormones,” Rogers told us.
Brown rice syrup
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1-1/4 cups
“Brown rice syrup is often praised because it’s comprised of entirely glucose, as opposed to fructose &mdash the latter of which has been linked to raised triglyceride levels in the blood, which can lead to atherosclerosis (or hardening of the arteries). Again, though, sugar in any form is something we should minimize intake of,” Martin told SheKnows.
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1/2 cup
Some of the experts we talked to thought honey was just as bad as sugar, while others touted its supposed antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. If you do choose honey, just remember to “purchase raw organic honey, and not honey from China that can be just made from high-fructose corn syrup,” nutritionist Connie Rogers advised SheKnows.
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1 cup
“Coconut sugar does retain quite a bit of the nutrients found in the coconut palm and may have a lower glycemic index [than table sugar],” Rogers told SheKnows. “Make sure you are getting coconut sugar and not just palm sugar.”
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1 cup
“Date sugar is made from dried dates. It doesn’t dissolve in water and has a high glycemic effect,” Dr. Barry Sears, president of the Inflammation Research Foundation, told SheKnows.
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1/2 &ndash 2/3 cup
“Maple syrup is made from boiled-down maple tree sap and contains minerals,” Rogers shared. “[It’s] not as refined as agave, and healthier.”
Amount to replace 1 cup sugar: 1-1/3 cups
Some experts say we should be wary of using molasses as a sweetener.
“Most of the chemicals which are used in the refining process of cane sugar eventually find their way into the waste residue, which is the molasses,” Rogers explained. “Therefore, you not only have the harmful effects of the sugar but also of the toxic chemicals which are used in its manufacture.”
“Refined sugar is perhaps a little worse than all of [the above] because it is so easy to overconsume. It’s not the sugar per se that is bad it is when it is combined with fat that it affects the brain more acutely,” and that’s when we should be worried, Sears told us.
At the end of the day, Sears told us that “all [sweeteners and artificial sweeteners] have problems. Try to use the least amount that combats any bitterness without trying to oversweeten the taste of the final product. In my opinion, the best sweetener is fruit as it contains fructose and polyphenols.”
Image: Liz Smith/SheKnows
Tofu is great for egg substitutions in recipes that call for a lot of eggs, such as quiches or custards. To replace one egg in a recipe, purée 1/4 cup of soft tofu. It’s important to keep in mind that although tofu doesn’t fluff up like eggs, it does create a texture that’s perfect for “eggy” dishes. Firm tofu is also a great substitute for eggs in eggless egg salad and breakfast scrambles.
Made from chia seeds and garbanzo beans, the neat egg is a reliable egg substitute that can be used in baking. It’s available at health-food stores and some grocery stores.
Long a favorite for bakers wanting to remove the fat of eggs from recipes, mashed bananas can be used in place of eggs to provide moisture and volume. They don't have any binding power, so they're best suited for recipes where that isn't vital. To use bananas in place of eggs, mash or blend 1/4 cup banana per egg you want to replace. Use ripe bananas to ensure there are no lumps. Because bananas are sweet, if desired you can scale back on sweetener in your recipe, removing one teaspoon per banana used. Bananas as egg replacers are best in fruity recipes including muffins, cupcakes, and quick breads. They may darken when baked, so avoid their use in anything white.
This product has been around for a long time and helped make going vegan easier for a lot of people. There are also a few other brands of vegan egg replacer now too, but I personally haven’t tried them so can’t attest to how well they work. All egg replacer products are made up of a combination of starches and leavening ingredients, so it does a pretty good job of mimicking eggs in baked recipes. The downside of this product is that you may not be able to find it in your local supermarket, but it is one of the best options to use if you want to veganize a fluffy, airy bakery recipe like sponge cake. You can even use Ener-G Egg Replacer to make vegan quiche!
You know how baking soda and vinegar bubble up when you mix them together? Well, this is a perfect way to add some fluffy, airiness to your baked goods without relying on eggs. Mix 1 tsp of baking soda with 1 tsp of white vinegar to replace 1 egg. In a pinch, you can use other types of vinegar (like apple cider vinegar), but then it may add a funny taste to your food!
Egg Substitutes for Baking
Egg replacer infographic courtesy of Vegan Mainstream.
It’s simple to replicate eggs in vegan baking you just need to familiarize yourself with the different plant-based options for each egg functionality in cooking. In addition to the guide above, check out Happy Herbivore’s excellent Egg Substitute Cheat Sheet and also visit the comprehensive site, veganbaking.net.
Now that you know how to veganize your favorite egg dishes, please learn a bit more about why by perusing some of our pages on egg production:
If you are thinking of going vegan and you enjoyed this guide to eggless eating, please also check out our Guide to Going Dairy-Free, for tips on delicious plant-based milks, creams, cheeses and more.