A comprehensive guide to EGG ALTERNATIVES

(approx reading time 4 mins 48 secs)

I consider eggs one of the basic ingredients everyone should have in their kitchen. They’re incredible versatile, affordable, and easy to cook.

However, a lot of people can’t have eggs and a lot of people choose not to eat eggs. And luckily, there are many alternatives out there that are just as versatile, affordable, and easy to cook as eggs are. But even if you do eat eggs, you should give these alternatives a try. Often the results are a little bit different and delicious.

My favourite ‘works almost everywhere’ alternative is chickpea (gram) flour. But, it isn’t perfect. While it works for most uses, there are some where it falls short.

What’s in an egg?

Eggs have 3 main parts: eggshell, egg whites and egg yolk. Egg whites are about 2/3 of the egg, and egg yolk the other third. And unless my daughter is cooking for you, you wouldn’t eat the eggshells (but they make for great compost and fertilizer for plants like tomatoes and aubergines).

One egg is about 1/4 of a cup in volume and 60 grams (about 2 ounces) in weight. Egg whites are about 90% water and 10% protein, and almost no fat or carbohydrates. Yolks are about 50% water, 15% protein and 25% fat.

And as pretty much everyone knows eggs also have a lot of cholesterol. One egg can have over 200 mg, the recommended daily amount for people with high cholesterol or heart disease. The limit is 300 mg for those who are healthy. However, the jury is still out on whether that cholesterol has a real effect on the cholesterol levels of healthy people or not.

As you can see the chemical composition of eggs is quite complicated, and that’s what makes finding a ‘perfect’ replacement extremely hard!

What do eggs do in cooking?

Eggs can be quite hard to replace because thanks to their composition they have a variety of functions in cooking. In many cases combinations of alternatives work better than using only one.

Eggs can:

  • provide structure (thanks to the protein content)
  • provide moisture (thanks to the water content)
  • add richness (thanks to the fat content)

As well as binding ingredients together (like when making meatballs) and even help with leavening when baking (such as with genoise cakes).

Egg alternatives

This is a list of commercial products and ingredients that can be used to replace eggs. Keep in mind that each alternative works best for some uses and won’t work at all for others! Most often than not, a combination works best.

Commercial egg replacements (like Ener-G and VeganEgg)

  • Good for: each product will be better for different things, in general they all work in baking. Some, like VeganEgg, can be used for scrambles, omelettes and quiches. Commercial products often change the ingredients list based on availability and production costs, and the results could vary when this happens.
  • How to use: follow packet instructions.
  • Where to buy: some large supermarkets, health stores.

Flaxseed (linseed) and chia seeds

  • Good for: binding, moisture, some richness. Keep in mind that seeds provide no leavening and a very weak structure.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, mix 1 tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of warm water and use after 10 minutes. It needs to be mixed prior to adding to a recipe. Chia seeds can be used ground or whole.
  • Where to buy: large supermarkets, some smaller supermarkets, health stores.

Baking soda mixed with vinegar

  • Good for: leavening in baking batters (and fun volcano experiments!).
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the batter . Bake as soons as possible after adding.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold (you probably have both in your pantry right now).

Silken tofu and yogurt (vegan or regular)

  • Good for: moisture, richness and binding. Great for dense baked goods like breakfast muffins and brownies.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, use 1/4 cup.
  • Where to buy: dairy yogurt in all supermarkets and most food stores; vegan yogurt can now be found in most supermarkets and health food stores; silken tofu in large supermarkets, some smaller ones, health stores, East Asian food stores (Japanese, Chinese,…)

Firm tofu

  • Good for: scrambles, quiches, frittatas, or cooked egg whites
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, use 1/4 cup crumbled. If you want to replace cooked egg whites, cut into the needed shape (to replace fried egg white, pan fry until brown).
  • Where to buy: most supermarkets, health stores, East Asian food stores (Japanese, Chinese,…)

Mashed fruits and vegetables

Including but not limited to: banana, apple sauce, avocado, potatoes, winter squash, beetroot, tomato paste.

  • Good for: moisture, richness and binding. They also add flavour (and sometimes colour) to the recipe. Fruits, root vegetables and avocados are great for muffins and brownies. Beetroot and tomato paste make really good pasta.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, use 1/4 cup.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold.

Flours and starches

Including but not limited to: arrowroot powder, cornstarch, chickpea flour, potato starch, instant mashed potatoes, rice flour, wheat flour.

  • Good for: structure and binding mostly, and some moisture. Chickpea flour works great for omelettes, quiches, and frittatas.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, use 2 tablespoons of flour or starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water.
  • Where to buy: supermarkets, health stores, ethnic food stores.

Bean cooking liquid (like aquafaba, but any bean will work)

  • Good for: whipping, moisture and some leavening. When whipped, it will add some structure and can be used to make meringues and mousses.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, use 3 tablespoons.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold (buy canned beans and use the liquid), or save the liquid when cooking beans from dry.

Sparkling water and fizzy drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)

  • Good for: leavening and adding air to batters. They will add flavour, so use it them to your advantage: beer makes fantastic breads and muffins, lemonade adds a delicious citrus flavour to cakes, while cola goes great with chocolate.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, use 1/3 cup.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food or drinks are sold.

Agar agar, gelatin and vegetarian gelatin alternatives

  • Good for: binding and structure. Agar agar can also be used for whipping mousse-like products.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg with a gelatin (or a vegetarian/vegan alternative), use 1/4 of prepared gelatine while still liquid (prepare according to packet instructions). To replace 1 egg with agar agar, mix 1 tablespoon of agar agar with 3 tablespoons of water and boil. To replace 1 egg for whipping, mix 2 tablespoons of agar agar with 2 tablespoons of water, boil and whip, chill for 30 minutes and whip again.
  • Where to buy: some large supermarkets, health stores, Asian food stores.

Nut and seed butters

  • Good for: richness and binding, especially in baking. They also add great flavour.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, use 3 tablespoons.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold, large supermarkets and health stores for less common butters, or make your own.

Oil

  • Good for: moisture, richness. It can also be used combined with flours and starches, to add some fattiness and improve the mouthfeel.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg, use 3 tablespoons.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold, large supermarket and health stores for less common oils.

Kala namak (Himalayan black salt or Indian black salt)

  • Good for: flavour. A great addition to other egg replacements to make them taste more eggy.
  • How to use: add to food in small amounts and taste as you go, it can get overpowering quickly.
  • Where to buy: some large supermarkets, health stores, West Asian food stores (Indian, Pakistani,…).

If you use any other egg alternatives, leave a comment so and I’ll add it to the list.

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