It seems like they’re in nearly EVERY traditional recipe.
But what to do if you want to follow a whole food plant-based diet?
What if you simply can’t eat eggs?
From baking to breakfast, it’s a challenge to replace the almighty egg.
Making things harder still, for all of us plant-based eaters, there’s no “magic bullet” that fits every recipe.
Which is why you need more than one replacement solution, depending on how the egg functions in your recipe. (And how many eggs in total you need).
But don’t worry.
We’ll explain everything in this article.
And once you learn how eggs work, you can figure out easily how to replace them with delicious alternatives.
And once you try a few of these recipes for yourself, I promise you will never miss those ever-present eggs one little bit.
What Eggsactly Do Eggs Do (and How to Replace Them)
Simply put, eggs serve three basic purposes in cooking and baking. They give structure (bind), moisture and lift (leaven) to recipes.
What this means for us plant-based eaters is that there isn’t just ONE replacement for an egg but several depending on what function the egg plays in the recipe.
Here is a more detailed description of the three distinct roles played by eggs along with egg replacement suggestions by category:
(Important Note: All the replacements listed below are for recipes that call for three eggs or less. Don’t worry, I’ll explain what to do in recipes that call for more than three eggs a bit later in this article).
Any ingredient that causes dough or batter to ferment or rise is a leavening agent. Substitute with:
- Soda water. Use ½ can per egg in the recipe. Works great for boxed cake mixes.
- Vinegar and baking soda. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of baking soda for egg-free leavening in breads and cakes.
As the name implies, binders are what hold all your ingredients together. Substitute with:
- Agar Agar: Use 1 tablespoon mixed with 1 tablespoon of water as a gelatin substitute in custards, puddings and sauces. Agar powder also works well in savory dishes.
- Chia Seed: Mix 1 tablespoon with 1/3 cup of water to hold your cakes and cookies together. Choose white chia seed to avoid discoloration in your goodies.
- Chickpea Flour is one of the most underrated and easiest to use of all the binders. Just mix ¼ cup with ¼ cup of water (or non-dairy milk) to replace each egg.
- Flaxseed (ground) or Flaxseed (boiled, gel) is the most popular and one of the leading egg replacements around. For best results, grind or boil your own instead of buying pre-ground seeds.
- Aquafaba is my hands-down favorite. One of the most versatile egg replacements around, it’s easy to find and simple to use. One of the reasons I love it? It works just like egg whites, which means you can beat it to white creamy peaks. Use this method to make a delicious Pecan Coffee Cake.
Eggs are also used to add moisture to recipes from sauces to breads and cakes. Substitute with:
- Pureed Fruits add moisture and sweetness to baked goods. Substitute ½ cup of mashed bananas or ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce per egg.
- Pureed Vegetables add savory flavor and moisture to your dishes. Substitute ¼ cup canned pumpkin or squash for each egg in your recipe.
- Tomato Paste is perfect for moisture and stickiness. It works great for at holding vegan loaves and burgers together. Try out these tasty Umami Almond, Quinoa and Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers and see for yourself.
Here’s Where It Gets a Little Complicated
When you’re substituting fewer than 3 eggs, life is pretty easy. There are tons of recipes and lots of replacements out there. But when you’re working with dishes (especially breakfasts) that call for more than three, you have to tread a little more carefully. Tofu seems to work the best, but you have to use the right tofu for the job.
- Soft Silken Tofu is a versatile replacement when more than three eggs are needed as it works for both sweet and savory dishes. Use ¼ cup per egg in the recipe.
- Extra Firm Silken Tofu works well for custards, quiches, pies and omelets.
- Extra Firm Tofu is perfect for eggless scrambles. Just remember to omit the oil and dry sauté your onions.
No Time to Make Your Own?
As you know, I’m all about whole, unprocessed foods. But sometimes you just don’t have time to whip up your own flax seed gel.
I get that.
So there are also vegan egg replacements that you can use, such as the plant-based VeganEgg. (Vegan egg replacements are listed as an option in the Notes section of some of our recipes, including Walnut Loaf and Brunch ‘Omelet’).
Food replacement is one of the stickiest issues in plant-based eating.
And the egg sits right at the top of the list because it’s used in SO many recipes.
This article will help you navigate the ups and downs of replacing eggs while giving you lots of new ways to make your recipes rise, hang together and be super moist. I believe you’ll soon discover that the egg doesn’t really need to be omnipresent after all.