Eggs serve different functions in different recipes. They work as binders, holding the other ingredients together, or as leavening agents, providing lift and affecting texture.
The purpose of the egg in a recipe and the flavours that are acceptable in that recipe will help determine the possible substitutes. In some cases, you can omit the egg altogether and the recipe isn’t noticeably affected.
Replacing Eggs in Baked Goods
Eggs are used in baked goods for leavening or lightness. They may also serve as a binder.
Flat foods such as pancakes and cookies don’t rely on eggs for lift. In many cases, you can eliminate the egg altogether, especially if the recipe calls for only one egg. Instead, add a tablespoon or two of additional liquid soy milk, fruit juice or water per egg omitted, to restore the recipe to its original moisture content. A small quantity of baking powder may help give lightness to pancakes.
In recipes for baked goods that have a light, airy texture, replace eggs with an ingredient that provides lift. Any of the following ingredients can replace one whole egg in a recipe:
- Half of a small, ripe, mashed banana. This gives a mild banana flavour, which is delightful in recipes for muffins, cookies, pancakes and quick breads. However, items made with bananas may not have a very long shelf life and are best eaten within a couple of days.
- ¼ cup of tofu blended with the liquid ingredients in the recipe. This too is best eaten in a couple of days.
- ¼ cup of applesauce may be used. This also adds a hint of flavour. Add an extra ½ teaspoon of baking powder, because using fruit purees to replace eggs can make the finished product somewhat denser.
- A heaped tablespoon of soy flour or bean flour, mixed with a tablespoon of water.
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons of water.
- 1 tablespoon of finely ground flaxseeds blended with ¼ cup of water. The flaxseeds gel together and bind with the other ingredients. Use immediately. If you don’t want the flecks of brown skin to show, you can strain it through a fine sieve or cheesecloth before use. NOTE: Flax seeds can be a bit drying to some baked goods since they suck up liquid, so use judiciously.
- Vinegar, when used in baking, reacts with baking soda to give the same effect as egg.
Replacing Eggs in Main Dishes
Some recipes need an ingredient that binds all the other ingredients together. Your choice of ingredients to replace eggs in these types of foods depends on the degree of binding you need, as well as how the ingredient will blend with the other flavors in the recipe. Here are some options:
- Arrowroot starch
- Potato starch
- Whole wheat/ unbleached oat/ bean flour
- Finely crushed breadcrumbs/ cracker meal/ matzo meal
- Quick-cooking rolled oats or cooked oatmeal
- Mashed potatoes/ mashed sweet potatoes
Egg Dishes Where Egg is One of the Primary Ingredients
Thinly sliced tofu, pan fried and sprinkled with nutritional yeast flakes, tastes surprisingly like fried eggs.