Baking with Plant-based ‘Egg’ Substitutes
As most bakers will tell you, baking makes you feel good. It can even be a meditative activity that helps to reduce stress and brings us positive feelings of doing something for others; in this case, creating delicious baked goods for the ones we love.
When whipping up plant-based desserts and baked goods, using the right substitute for eggs is critical as it is a key ingredient that gives structure to cakes, color to cookies, and thickness to sauces and custards. Don’t panic. Some clever cooks have come up with easy to use animal-free alternatives; flax and chia seeds, apple sauce, and aquafaba can all be used in some capacity to replace eggs. But remember that not every egg alternative is equal: aquafaba is used for egg whites, chia seeds are better for browning and color, and silken tofu adds texture and protein.
Below is a list of our favorite egg alternatives complete with drool-worthy recipes from a few of our favorite plant-based bloggers. So start experimenting and find out what works for you — and then share the love and post it on social with #MeatlessMonday!
Aquafaba is a fancy term for chickpea juice. Drain a can of chickpeas into a bowl and whip up the liquid as you would egg whites. Replace one egg with a quarter-cup of aquafaba to make plant-based meringues and mousses. Check out this guide to aquafaba from Minimalist Baker, and try making her recipe for easy macaroons.
The substitution for this one is easy: Use ¼ cup ripe banana in place of one whole egg. This swap works best in denser baked goods like muffins and pound cake, but be prepared for a subtle banana flavor. You can use apple sauce for a milder flavor. If you’re a fan of banana, try these heavenly peanut butter banana brownies from Bucket List Tummy. Please note that the recipe also calls for a flax egg (see recipe for flax egg below).
Chia eggs are made by combing 1-tablespoon chia seed (or ground chia) and 3-tablespoons water (equals one “egg”), and letting the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. Chia seeds will darken baked goods, making them ideal for brownies, muffins, and cookies, but they can also add a nice texture to this sweet chia cornbread from The Simple Veganista.
Minimal effort is required to make a flaxseed egg. Simply use the same ratio as chia seeds — 1-tablespoon flaxseed to 3-tablespoons water to make one “flax egg”— and let sit for around 5-10 minutes. A flaxseed eggs can be used to replace traditional eggs in pancakes, quick breads, brownies, and muffins. Try using them to make these vegan coffee cake streusel muffins by Choosing Chia.
Want moister baked goods with a bit of extra protein? Swap out an egg for a quarter-cup of silken tofu when making muffins, cakes, and quick breads. Silken tofu is best for baking with recipes that already have a leavening agent, like baking powder or baking soda, but it’s also wonderfully decadent in this vegan strawberry cheesecake by Exceedingly Vegan.
Vegan Egg Replacements
Many supermarkets and online stores now offer a variety plant-based products developed specifically to function as vegan egg replacers. Some popular brands are Follow Your Heart, Bob’s Red Mill, and JUST (they’ve got a great recipe for crispy waffles). Check out your local grocery store, online store, or natural foods market to see what options they offer that meet your baking needs.
Share your plant-based “egg” baking successes and let us know your tips. Tag @MeatlessMonday and #MeatlessMonday. Need some more #inspo? Check out this Blackberry Bran Muffin recipe from the Meatless Monday recipe gallery.