There are several reasons you may be avoiding eggs. The most common is an egg allergy, followed by veganism, and lastly concerns for the cholesterol levels in eggs. Whatever the reason you may have, there will likely come a time when you need an egg substitute for baking, for a custard, or for a sauce.
Here, we’ve come up with some of the best DIY egg substitutes that use only real ingredients, most of which are already in your pantry. Yes, of course, there are commercial egg substitutes available, but they often contain chemicals and preservatives you don’t need. And they can be expensive.
There are healthy, quick and easy, DIY egg substitutes—the key is using the right one for the right recipe.
The humble egg has an impressive nutrient profile. It is low in calories, high in protein, and a good source of selenium, riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. But what is in the egg that makes it essential to so many recipes?
First, let’s consider the egg yolk vs. the egg white. The egg yolk is where the fat and some of the protein lives, and the egg white is the fat-free protein side of the equation.
In baking, the egg yolk provides structure, moisture, fat, and flavor and gives a tender texture and richness to the final result. The egg white, on the other hand, when whipped into peaks can make baked goods rise, adding to the power of the other leavening ingredients in the recipe to ensure a light and fluffy texture.
As you can see, an egg substitute for baking has to do with more than just taking up the volume of the egg—it has to provide structure, texture, and lift. And different recipes respond better to different egg substitutes.
First, let’s look at egg substitutes for cakes, cookies, and brownies. Each egg measures about a 1/4 of a cup, so if you are replacing multiple eggs, you’ll need to replace with the equivalent volume.
As you become more accustomed to using egg substitutes, you may find that using two or more of the options below might provide you with better texture, taste, and richness.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
What could be easier (or cheaper?) than using a baking soda and vinegar combination to create a fluffy texture. If you’ve ever combined baking soda and vinegar before, you’ve witnessed an incredible chemical reaction that produces millions and millions of bubbles. Here, when used as an egg substitute for baking, the bubbles expand, creating a light and airy texture perfect for quick breads, muffins, and cakes.
1 Egg =
Mix together just before adding to your recipe and proceed as directed. If you have a cake recipe that calls for whipping the eggs with butter and sugar, wait to add this mixture until all other liquids are added.
Fruit purees, like mashed bananas or applesauce, may be suitable for some muffin and quick bread recipes. Fruit purees add structure, moisture, and sugar—so you may want to adjust the amount of white sugar or brown sugar the recipe calls for. For an egg substitute for brownies, try pureed roasted beets. The beet flavor and the cocoa powder play beautifully together and create a delicious partnership.
As a note, fruit purees are not recommended as egg substitutes for cookies as they can create more of a cake-like consistency. They can be used in cakes; just be sure that the puree is genuinely smooth before adding it to the recipe.
1 Egg =
If you are vegan and looking for an egg substitute, ignore this one. Using unsweetened, full-fat Greek yogurt may give non-vegans better baking results than some of the other DIY egg substitutes. Yogurt contains fat and protein—two of the critical elements in eggs that make them nearly indispensable in baking.
Yogurt is an excellent egg substitute for cakes, brownies, and muffins. Whip the yogurt with the sweeteners until extremely light and fluffy. Fold the dry ingredients in carefully to keep as much of the air as possible to aid in the leavening.
For extra leavening power, add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to the yogurt before adding to the recipe. Yogurt as an egg substitute for brownies is great partnered with the roasted and pureed beets above—remember, trial and error is your friend.
1 Egg =
Ground flaxseeds and chia seeds mixed with water have a viscosity that is similar to that of an egg. They also have protein and fats so they may be ideal as egg substitutes for brownies, chewy cookies, waffles, and breads. They are not suitable as egg substitutes for cakes or other fluffy desserts.
1 Egg =
Chickpea or garbanzo flour, when mixed with water has coagulation power similar to that of an egg. However, this can cause some baked goods to become too dry, so you may find it is wise to combine it with other DIY egg substitutes mentioned above in recipes that call for more than 1 egg.
1 Egg =
Now that we’ve provided 5 DIY egg substitute options for baking let’s look at the best egg substitutes for custards and sauces—because the ones above aren’t ideal—trust us.
In a custard, the egg yolk plays center stage because its fats and protein have an emulsifying power that creates a thick and creamy texture. Here are the two best DIY egg substitutes for custards.
Right out of the can, coconut milk is thick and creamy. It does have a distinctive coconut flavor, so use in recipes where the floral notes of coconut will be appreciated.
To use the canned coconut milk, whip it several minutes to add lightness and to incorporate the thick layer of fat at the top of the can. Then, use 1/4 cup for each egg in a custard recipe.
This works well for dessert custards like chocolate pudding, butterscotch pudding, and for certain creamy pie fillings. With its distinctive flavor, do a test run using coconut milk in a hollandaise sauce before serving to guests.
Cashews have a creamy and luscious flavor, and when raw cashews are soaked and blended, this cashew cream has similar properties to the fat and protein in eggs. This is an excellent solution for baked or set custards like pot de creme, cheesecake, or Pana cotta.
Soak cashews overnight in freshwater. Drain, and blend until creamy. Use 2 tablespoons, or 1/4 cup, for every egg the recipe calls for, and whip it until light before adding to the other ingredients. In addition to being an excellent vegan egg substitute, cashews add a ton of nutrients to the recipe.
Just as custards rely on egg yolks for their fat and protein combination, mousses and meringues require the structure and protein of egg whites.
This may not sound like something you have in your pantry, but you might just! Especially if you make your own hummus or are in the habit of adding canned beans to a salad. Aquafaba is simply the liquid from canned chickpeas and other beans—that cloudy, creamy liquid we all pour down the drain.
This liquid when whipped provides a structure similar to that of egg whites. The key is to start with the aquafaba cold. Preferably, it should be refrigerated 24 hours before beating for best results.
As mousse and meringue both rely on the structure of the egg whites for the lift and rise, you may question using that much bean water in a recipe. The key is to taste and add a touch more flavoring than the original recipe calls for.
For example, for a chocolate mousse, try adding a bit of almond extract or even a touch of orange liquor to combat any residual bean flavor. Again, trial and error are key here.
Replacing the humble egg is more difficult than you’d think, especially when structure, texture, and taste are essential. Test the best DIY egg substitutes for baking and consider using two or more in recipes that call for multiple eggs. The combination of a pureed fruit or vegetable, with yogurt, and the vinegar and baking soda mixture may give you the results you yearn for.
Replacing the egg in custards, sauces, meringues, and mousses can be a bit more challenging. All of these types of recipes use the egg for structure and for the final texture result. Test your favorite recipes side-by-side using a couple of the options to find the one that satisfies your needs.