When first going vegan, it can be hard to imagine a life without eggs. Believe me, I know. Pretty quickly you’ll find, just as I did, that eggs are easy to replace in nearly everything and in fact, eggs are completely unnecessary. In the decade I’ve been a vegan I’ve seen amazing progress in the plant-based food movement and one of those areas is the “vegan egg” which continues to gets expand and get better every year. There are many commercial products out there, but this guide is focused on simple solutions with whole foods that are easy to find.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to replace eggs in your baking and cooking.
In baking, eggs are most commonly used as leaveners, thickeners, and binders. Most cookies, muffins, pancakes, quick-breads, and cakes all use eggs for a combination of these. Lucky for eggless eaters, many plant-based foods that have similar properties and therefore do the same thing in simple baked goods. Here’s a list of the most common egg replacers in baking.
- Chickpea flour: High in protein, chickpea flour works both as a binder and leavener and, in my opinion, one of the best natural egg replacers for baked goods such as scones, cookies, and biscotti. To substitute: mix 3 tablespoons of chickpea flour with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg, until thick and creamy. Chickpea flour can be found in most health stores or bulk sections of well-stocked grocery stores.
- Fruit & Veggie Puree – This includes apple sauce, banana, pumpkin, and sweet potato puree. Purees work as binders and thickeners and are perfect for moist, dense, baked goods such as muffins, doughnuts, and quick breads. To substitute: add 3 tablespoons of puree for each egg.
Note: purees do not add leavening properties and in some cases make batter denser. When using, add about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the recipe to help with leavening.
- Non-dairy Yogurt & Silken Tofu– Without adding additional flavors (unlike fruit purees) yogurt is a great substitute for binding and thickening. To substitute: add 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt or silken tofu for each egg. Like purees, yogurt and tofu have no leavening properties, so in most cases you’ll want to add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the recipes.
- Flax seeds & Chia Seeds – Great for most baked goods such as muffins, breads, and cookies, flax and chia seeds are amazing plant-based egg replacers. They add many health benefits to your baked goods, without adding additional flavor. To substitute, blend 1 tablespoon of flax or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water until mixture is thick and creamy. Flax and chia seeds can be found in most grocery stores and should be stored tightly wrapped in the freezer.
No egg replacer acts or tastes the same in every recipe so when using recipes will requires a little tweaking from these guidelines. New recipes always come with a little trial and error.
Ice cream, mousse, pastry cream, creme brûlée, bread pudding, and cheesecake are all examples of common custards. By definition custards are made through the coagulation of egg proteins. Sounds hard to duplicate? Not at all. Unlike replacing eggs in baked goods, which is relatively easy even for new bakers to veganize, custards are made by a lot of adjustments to perfect texture and taste, making a direct substitution for every recipe impossible. That being said, with some trial and error, you too can make your own vegan versions of classic custards.
- Coconut Milk- Fatty and thick, coconut milk can be used to replace whipped egg yolks. Most ice creams are made whipping egg yolks which gives it the texture, body, and richness associated with ice cream. This Tropical Ice Cream substitutes coconut milk for both the eggs and heavy cream, making it so creamy, airy, and thick.
- Cashews- Raw cashews, soaked and ground to a VERY SMOOTH cream, have very similar properties – high in fat and protein – to whipped egg yolks making it one of my favorite ways to make custards like Panna Cotta and Pot de Creme. Virtually flavorless, the cashew nut remains a hidden ingredient, taking on the flavors surrounding it.
- Silken Tofu – For a healthier version, well blended tofu will take on any flavor, and can be used instead of cashews in puddings, pudding cakes, and cream pies. This is a cheaper, lower-calorie version to using cashews.
- Agar Powder– As a strong gelling agent, the use of agar powder creates a similar coagulation that allows custards to “set-up”. It is best used in creams such as pastry cream and bavarian cream. It can be found in the baking aisle in a natural foods grocery store.
- Chickpea Flour – Because of it’s high protein content, chickpea flour has awesome coagulation powers when baked. When few eggs are required rather than being the base of the recipe, chickpea flour may be the best option, like when making French Toast or Bread Pudding.
- Aquafaba – A relatively recent discover, aquafaba is the liquid from canned bean (usually chickpea). When whipped up it is similar to whipped egg whites. These works incredibly well in mousses, meringues, and other recipes that rely on the tender texture that whipped egg whites creates.
Even classic egg dishes can be made without eggs and remain delicious. Quiche, Frittata, and Omelettes can all be recreated with a few plant-based ingredients!
- Tofu – Tofu is one of the most used egg replacers. It is best used in scrambles, quiches, and frittatas. When using tofu in eggy dishes it is almost always best to use regular firm tofu to replicate an eggy consistency.
- Chickpea flour- With surprising similar texture and flavor to eggs, chickpea flour has become a common substitution for omelets and quiches.
- White Beans & Chickpeas – Adding little additional flavor, whipped up beans are high in protein and can create a similar texture to beans when baked in frittata or quiche.
I hope this article sheds some light onto the complex question,”What do you do about the eggs?” If you ever have specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!