Monday, April 20, 2009

Tips for Baking Without- Egg Replacements

Baking without eggs is an adjustment for any experienced cook, both in practice and in flavor. Don't panic, the options are almost limitless, and yield very good results. I have found several tried and true favorites at my house. All of them alter the flavor of the finished product slightly. (This is the part my husband has had the hardest time adapting to. He does not care for the way most baking tastes without egg. He is the toughest one to convert.) Experiment with a few options until you find what you like. I have favorites that I use depending on the recipe type. One for pancakes, another for muffins, another still for meatloaf. And of course, one for days when I'm just feeling lazy.

First of all, a word of advice. If your recipe calls for more than two eggs, throw it away. The result is substantially different in flavor, and we have found that it just is not enjoyable. Also, be aware of how your egg substitute fits in with the other ingredients in the recipe. For example, do not use a replacement that is based on baking powder if there is already a lot of baking powder in the recipe. Using a tablespoon of baking powder definitely leaves a funny flavor that anyone new to eggless baking will dislike. (If you have been doing it for years, you may not notice the flavor as much.) My goal has always been to produce an end result that I could serve to anyone, allergic or not, and have it be considered tasty.

If you have favorite recipes you want to save, pick a replacement option and try it out. If you are really new to this, and want to see how other cooks have adapted, I highly recommend VegWeb. It is a site loaded with vegan recipes. Some are taste bud tantalizing treats, some are average. You can look at the recipes and learn how other people are doing it. Sometimes the replacement is obvious. Sometimes you have to read the recipe more than once to figure out what is replacing the egg.

Here is a long list of potential egg replacements. All of the below substitutions are equal to one egg. Many I have tried, some I have not. Most are commonly found ingredients in the house, so you won't need a special trip to the health food store to try them out.

1 egg=

  • The one I used most often when I started baking without eggs: 1 tsp baking powder, 1Tbsp water, and 1 Tbsp vinegar. This gives really nice lift to recipes. My nephew- with an unrestricted diet- loves pancakes made this way. He once told me that I have the fluffiest pancakes he has ever seen. Then he ate six.
  • 1 tsp yeast dissolved in 1/4 c warm water- I don't use this one often as yeast can be fickle.
  • 1 Tbsp apricot or banana puree- this is great for binding, but doesn't add lift, so only use if there is another source of leavening. It adds nice moisture, and does leave a noticeable flavor.
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp water, 1 1/2 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp baking powder- this does a nice job of giving lift and provides the fat that an egg would give, in recipes where the fat is important. I don't care for this one, but most people I know that avoid eggs seem to favor this.
  • 2 Tbsp finely ground flax seeds plus 3 Tbsp water. (Use hot water.) Mix them together in a small bowl, and let sit a couple of minutes until it becomes thick, then add as you would eggs. Flax 'egg' has a nutty flavor that works fine in cookies, bars and brownies, and things like zucchini bread, but may not be what you want in cakes or lighter vanilla-flavored items. It does help with browning, and it provides some omega-3 oils and fiber which we all like. Remember always to freeze your ground flax, because it goes bad very quickly from oxidiation of the healthy oils... or you can buy it in individual packets (like sugar packets) so that it is shelf stable and you can use just what you need. I have tried this and I like the binding in it, but it does need to have leavening in the recipe still.
  • 2 Tbsp. potato starch- Potato starch, not flour, gives the chewy mouth feel that eggs provide
  • 1/4 c mashed potatoes- I haven't tried this one because my kids will not eat mashed potatoes. Thus, I never bother making any.
  • 1/4 c canned pumpkin- This is a rather dense and chewy replacement, so is not well suited to recipes that are intended to be light and fluffy.
  • 1/4 c puréed prunes- Haven't tried this. You could probably use a jar of baby food for this.
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot flour- The one exotic ingredient that I have not yet purchased.
  • 1 heaping Tbsp soy flour + 2 Tbsp water- We avoid soy when possible. Again with untried but reported to be very good.
  • 1 Tbsp soy milk powder + 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water- Again with the soy. You may be able to use DariFree in place of soy milk powder. (DariFree is corn based.)
  • EnerG Egg- found in the baking section at many grocery stores. This is a good one, quick and easy. Follow directions on the box to determine amount needed. Read the whole box for tips on using with success.
So, as promised, a huge line up of things to try. Pick your favorite. Pick more than one. Feel inspired and invent your own. Or recipe surf online and follow the lead of someone who already figured it out. (Just search for egg-free XXXX recipe, you'll get results!)

Good luck, and happy baking!


  1. What a great list! I'm always looking for different egg replacers. I find that what works really well for one recipe is a total flop in another. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Thanks for sharing. If you can balance all the allergies you have to deal with, I guess I can manage mine. I was just diagnosed at 60 with allergies to eggs, cow's milk, peanuts, and Swiss cheese. I thought my world was ending. I didn't know how I would make Thanksgiving and Christmas treats again.

  3. I'm so glad you found me! Let me know if you need help finding recipes for Thanksgiving, I have a few really good pumpkin pie recipes I can share!

  4. Thank you for this blog! My son was just diagnosed with milk and egg allergies and this is extremely helpful!

  5. I'm looking for a egg free, milk free, and butter free cupcake recipe too use for my son's birthday, a class mate of his are allergic to all the above ingrediants. Can someone please assist me, I would appreciate it very much, thank you.


  6. Colene- I have a great one published here:
    Use any non-dairy milk. Super easy and very yum!


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