Eggs are such an essential baking ingredient, its like a glue that holds the muffins, breads and even cupcakes together but it can easily be replaced.
Replacing eggs in a baking recipe usually requires special considerations — does the substitute have the same moisture, protein, and fats as a large egg does? More importantly, an egg substitute needs to support the other ingredients — sugar, flour, and butter — without overpowering them so the resulting baked good still tastes delicious.
With that in mind, we tested and researched eight different egg substitutes, most of them kitchen staples you’re likely to have in your home already. While each of these egg substitutes works — you can still bake muffins, pancakes, or quick breads with any of them but keep in mind that some of them will still perform better than others.
Why do we use eggs in baking?
There is a lot going on inside the oven as the ingredients are exposed to heat. Each ingredient will play a role and work with the ingredients to create a yummy dish.
Eggs are an important part of recipes because they provide structure to a dish, this means that it creates the size and shape of baked goods when combined with other ingredients like flour. Eggs add moisture to recipes, making the feel and texture of a dish enjoyable.
They are also used as a leavening agent, adding air to a dish when combined with other acidic ingredients to help dough rise. The whites of an egg are what add fluffiness to a recipe when whisked–think meringue or sponge cake. Coagulation occurs when eggs bind with other ingredients in a recipe. It is easy to see how it became known as the incredible edible egg.
How it was tested
In order to test the best egg substitutes for baking, we baked basic muffins without any add-ins. Made with egg leaves the muffins light, bouncy, and flavorful, the top has a lovely crispness and the inside is tender. We then baked the muffins without any eggs and the muffins were pale, dense, and a bit flat in flavor and height. Our goal for each egg substitute was to stay as close in taste and texture to the original. The below ingredients have been rated from worse to best.
1. Substitute: Aquafaba (Chickpea Cooking Liquid)
Replacement: 3 tablespoons aquafaba = 1 large egg
Aquafaba is the liquid from cooking beans or from a can of beans. It’s a popular egg substitute because its composition of carbohydrates, proteins, and other soluble plant solids mimic eggs: Aquafaba can emulsify, foam, bind, gelatinize, and thicken. For testing, we used aquafaba from canned chickpeas and while it imparted no flavour, it made the muffins chewy and dry.
2. Substitute: Ground Flax Seed
Replacement: 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water = 1 large egg
To create a “flax egg” combine the ground flax seed and water and let the mixture thicken for about 5 minutes before using as you would an egg. When we baked muffins with flax seed eggs, the batter was a lot thicker than it was with other egg substitutes and the muffins themselves were denser and had a slightly grassy flavor.
3. Substitute: Chia Seeds
Replacement : 1 tablespoon chia seeds (whole or ground) and 3 tablespoons of water = 1 large egg
Like flax seeds, chia seeds need to be hydrated in water before adding them to the muffin batter. While chia seeds didn’t add flavor like the flax seeds, they added texture, like poppy seeds, to the finished muffin. Muffins baked with chia seeds had a light tender, texture despite their added crunch.
4. Substitute: Arrowroot Powder
Replacement : 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder and 3 tablespoons water = 1 large egg
Arrowroot comes from a tuber in South America and can be used in everything from gravies to pies to thicken liquids. As an egg replacement for baking, arrowroot is mixed with water to form a slurry before being added to the muffin mixture. In this simple muffin recipe, the arrowroot brought out some extra sweetness, but left the muffins a bit dry.
5. Substitute: Applesauce
Replacement : 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce = 1 large egg for most recipes
Applesauce has long been used to replace eggs and oil in recipes for the health conscious. Used as just an egg replacement here, it made the muffins a little chewier but very moist. The tops of the muffins did not get as crisp during baking. Using applesauce also made for a sweeter muffin with a slight apple flavor.
6. Substitute: Mashed Banana
Replacement: 1/4 cup mashed banana (about 4 inches or 2 1/2 ounces) = 1 large egg
Much like applesauce, mashed banana is an easy replacement for eggs in most baking recipes. As you might expect, there is definite banana flavor when baking with bananas in a simple vanilla muffin. Because of the bananas additional starches, the muffins were a little gummy compared to other muffins.
7. Substitute: Water, Oil, and Baking Powder
Replacement: 2 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil = 1 large egg
This simple combination leans on pantry staples you probably have on hand. Muffins baked with this egg replacement were light and airy and there was almost no difference in taste and structure. The tops were a bit more crisp and darkened slightly during baking and this might have been my favourite, if it weren’t for the next method.
8. Substitute: Carbonated Water
Replacement: 1/4 cup carbonated water = 1 large egg
This easy and surprising substitute yielded muffins that were almost indistinguishable from the muffins baked with egg. They were moist and tender on the inside with a lovely crisp top.
Let us know what replacement you prefer.