If the recent “put an egg on it” phenomenon has taught us anything, it’s that eggs are pretty incredible. Dishes are plain better with an egg on top. Eggs jump-start your day and can make leftovers and ordinary dishes look like Instagram-worthy masterpieces. (I’m lookin’ at you, Shakshuka.) But eggs are more than just what’s for breakfast or sometimes dinner. They’re an essential baking ingredient, acting as the binder that holds ingredients together.
Eggs leaven to help baked goods rise and give body to meringues. They whip up into mayonnaise. They’re needed in everything from meatloaf to muffins. So what do you do when you’re serving a vegan guest? Or—as often happens to me—you’re halfway through prepping dinner and realize you left the carton at the store?
It’s time to improvise. Armed with these expert egg substitutes, you’ll be winging it like a pro!
A quick note on baking: these substitutions work best in recipes that use no more than three eggs.
1. Fruit Puree
Fruit puree adds moisture to baked goods, but it also works well as a binder. Applesauce and mashed bananas are the ones most commonly used as egg substitutes, but you can also use pumpkin puree or mashed avocado. Fruit egg substitute adds flavors to your dish, so use the sweet purees for quick breads and cakes, and the less-sweet purees for veggie burgers or salad dressings. Need an example to start? Try our No-Egg Applesauce Cake.
How to Substitute: Use 1/4 cup of fruit puree in place of each egg. If you are baking bread or cake and want a little extra leavening power, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder for every egg.
2. Heart Healthy Flax Seeds
Flax seeds aren’t just for salads and smoothies. When ground and combined with water, the mixture thickens and acts like eggs. A lot of flax can add a nutty flavor to your finished dish, so this one’s best used for pancakes, brownies and muffins. (Mmmm…muffins.) The mixture can also be used for savory meals, like meatballs, where the other flavors are strong enough to overpower that nuttiness.
How to Substitute: For each egg, mix together 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons warm water. Let the mixture stand for one minute before using.
3. Nut Butters
Nut butters make an excellent egg substitute because they are full of healthy fats, just like eggs. The pureed nuts bind the ingredients together just as well as (if not better than) eggs; just keep in mind that nut butters add a strong flavor. No problem: plan to make some full-flavored cashew butter cookies, almond butter pancakes, or peanut butter fudge,
How to Substitute: Use 3 tablespoons of creamy nut butter in place of each egg. Don’t use crunchy nut butters, as they affect the texture of the baked good as well as its ability to bind with the ingredients.
4. Mashed Potatoes
What a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. (Want more ideas, we’ve got ’em.) Mashed potatoes add instant moisture to anything that calls for an egg, and they make for an airy texture in breads and rolls. If you mashed your potatoes with butter or cream, remember they are no longer vegan. And if you’ve added garlic, they may have a strong, savory flavor, too.
How to Substitute: Substitute 1/4 cup mashed potatoes for each egg. You can also use 2 tablespoons of instant mashed potatoes, rehydrated, which might be more convenient than persuading Cousin Jimmy not to eat that leftover mash for lunch.
If you’re not a fan of eating tofu plain, using it as an egg substitute might just turn you into a believer. Tofu adds a great texture to your dish, and it works well in recipes that call for lots of eggs. It’s denser than eggs, though, so it’s better suited for thick items like brownies or chocolate pie.
How to Substitute: Use 1/4 cup silken tofu, mashed or whipped, for each egg.
6. Water + Vegetable Oil + Baking Powder
This tried-and-true egg replacement combines water, oil, and baking powder to leaven baked goods like cookies and cakes. It’s important to remember our rule of thumb with this one: if your recipe has more than three eggs, this substitute will result in a very oily cake.
How to Substitute: For each egg, combine 2 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons baking powder.
7. Baking Soda and Vinegar
What happens when you mix a base (baking soda) with an acid (vinegar)? Bubbles! This carbonated reaction helps leaven baked goods such as bread, resulting in a fluffy dough that rises beautifully. Experiment with our non-scary bread recipes anyone can bake.
How to Substitute: Replace each egg with 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
Aquafaba is the newest, greatest egg white replacement—and you might already have it on hand. It’s simply the leftover liquid from a can of beans (most popularly, garbanzo beans). Aquafaba can be whipped into vegan mayonnaise, baked into meringues or macaroons, and shaken to make egg-free cocktail foams. Don’t worry, any residual bean flavor will disappear once it’s cooked, so it can be used for sweet or savory recipes.
How to Substitute: Use 3 tablespoons of this starchy bean water to replace each egg. If you’re using it as a binder, whip it slightly until foamy. For meringues or whipped egg white substitute, use an electric mixer to beat it into peaks.
Inspired to bake? Begin your baking bucket list today and substitute away!