Whether you have an egg allergy, stick to a vegan diet, or want to lower your cholesterol intake, an egg replacer makes it possible to still enjoy baked goods and other recipes that depend on the leavening, emulsifying, moistening, and binding powers of an egg. Options include both commercial egg replacement products and common pantry and refrigerator ingredients that mimic the properties of eggs.
What Is Egg Replacer?
Egg replacer may be a commercial powdered product specifically developed as a substitute for eggs in baking, or it may be an ingredient or combination of ingredients that work to replicate the action of eggs in a recipe. An egg replacer does not work as a substitute for eggs in omelets and other cooked egg dishes, with the exception of tofu, which can be used to make a vegan scramble or "egg salad." They also generally cannot replace egg whites in recipes such as for meringue, with the exception of aquafaba, the liquid in a can of commercially packed chickpeas.
How to Use Egg Replacer
The best type of egg replacer for any recipe depends on the egg’s intended function. As a general rule, the fewer eggs called for in the recipe, the better results you'll get with a substitution. Recipes with three or more eggs generally rely on the flavor of the eggs, which can be hard to replicate. Powdered products typically replace whole eggs used as a leavening ingredient in batters, such as for cakes, muffins, and pancakes, and doughs, such as with cookies or brownies. With most powdered egg replacers, you mix a measured amount with water and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken. You then add one portion per egg called for in the recipe.
You can choose other egg replacer ingredients based on the use. With some pancake recipes, you can leave out the eggs and use baking powder to get the leavening power, adding about 1 1/2 tablespoons per egg. Mashed bananas, applesauce, and other fruit purees can be good additions to add moisture to muffin batters in place of eggs, subbing 1/4 cup per egg. Ground flaxseeds or chia seeds hydrated in water create a gel that can simulate the binding ability of eggs; this tends to add density to a batter, so it’s best for heartier treats such as cookies and brownies. Use 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal to 3 tablespoons of water per egg.
What Does It Taste Like?
Eggs, particularly the yolks, add flavor to baked goods, but powdered egg replacers do not, so they may not work as well for recipes that depend on an eggy flavor, such as with challah bread.
Other substitutions, such as bananas, applesauce, and flax seeds, add their own flavor, so consider the recipe before deciding which ingredient to use. For example, the nutty flavor from flax seeds may work well with chocolate chip cookies but may not be as desirable in a lemon bar. Silken tofu, substituted at 1/4 cup per egg, is a relatively flavorless alternative.
Recipes With Egg Replacer
You can substitute a commercial egg replacer product in many baked goods or look for recipes that use other common ingredients such as applesauce instead of eggs.
Where to Buy Egg Replacer
Look for commercial egg replacer products in the baking aisle of your grocery store or natural foods store. You can also purchase them online.
Stored in a cool, dry location, most powdered commercial egg replacers stay fresh for at least a year. The leavening ingredient may start to lose its power after time, though.
Nutrition and Benefits
Commercial egg replacers don't contribute much of anything in the way of nutrition, which might be good if you're trying to reduce your intake of calories, fat, and cholesterol. However, the products don't replace the nutrition lost when you eliminate eggs, which contain protein, vitamin D, and choline, an essential nutrient that contributes to the normal functioning of cells.
Ener-G Egg Replacer
Ener-G egg replacer contains potato starch, tapioca starch flour, and a leavening agent, mimicking the binding and expanding properties eggs contribute to baked goods. This egg replacer works for cookies, cakes, and brownies as well as pancakes, waffles, and muffins. Ener-G egg replacer is also gluten-free and certified kosher, plus economical and easy to use. It can replace whole eggs and egg whites.
Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer
This trusted company founded by a husband and wife team markets a cholesterol-free, vegan-safe egg replacement product. It makes light and fluffy pancakes and waffles and binds ingredients in baked goods such as muffins, cookies, and brownies while adding moisture. It contains wheat and soy, but there is also a gluten-free version available.
Namaste Raw Goods Egg Replacer
Gluten-free Namaste egg substitute contains tapioca and arrowroot starches, citrus fiber, cream of tartar, and sodium bicarbonate. The resealable pouch makes it easy to remove the 2 teaspoons needed for most recipes and then store the rest for later use.
Papanikolaou Y, Fulgoni V. Eggs Represent a Cost-Effective Approach in Delivering Protein, Choline, Vitamin A and Vitamin D in the American Diet of Children and Adults. Current Developments in Nutrition. 2020;4(2):1471. doi:10.1093/cdn/nzaa061_099