Looking to replace the eggs in your diet but still make great food? We’ve created this simple yet insightful guide to egg replacements.
One of the most common questions when people are starting to follow a plant-based diet, is how do I replace eggs in recipes? Eggs are used in a number of both sweet and savoury dishes – and they have different uses – as a binding agent, leavening agent, to add moisture, or as a glaze. Sometimes they are the major component of a dish (as in scrambled eggs or omelettes). You’ll be relieved to know it’s possible to recreate all of your eggy favourites in plant-based form.
Looking at some of the basic science behind how eggs work makes it easier to understand what you need to replace in your plant-based recipes. For example, water makes up a large part of eggs, therefore they add moisture to dishes. Emulsifiers in the eggs work to combine fats and other elements in the recipe. Eggs are also used to trap air in recipes, meaning they can leaven and lighten – egg protein can ‘trap’ gases from baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. Alternatively, some recipes call for whisking egg whites which adds air.
There are lots of choices when it comes to replacing eggs in cakes and other baked goods. If you know why the eggs are being used, it’s easier to choose what replacement you are going to use. The number of eggs in the recipe will obviously affect the quantity of your replacement.
Some Eggy Options
What about if you fancy a scrambled egg-type dish? There are several options. You can try a completely different food, for example, extra firm tofu crumbled and cooked with veggies and non-dairy cheese makes a delicious brunch. If you want to add an extra ‘eggy’ edge, try sprinkling your plate with black salt (aka kala namak, as mentioned in our glossary).
You can recreate a classic omelette dish using a flour batter mixture flavoured with mustard and nutritional yeast (we like the one on Essential Vegan essentialvegan.uk). Once you stuff your crepe-style omelette with your favourite foods – veggies, non-dairy cheese, and meat alternatives – it makes a filling and delicious meal – without a single animal product in sight!
When recipes call for an egg glaze, you can substitute non-dairy milks or melted plant based margarine.
Replacing Eggs in Recipes
|No of eggs||Purpose||Alternative|
|1-2||to bind/add moisture||3 tablespoons fruit puree (see notes and recipe)|
|1||to bind||2 tablespoons cornflour + two tablespoons water|
|1||to bind/add moisture||3 tablespoons non-dairy yoghurt|
|1||to bind||3 tablespoons silken tofu, pureed|
|1||to leaven||1/12 tbsp veg oil + 1 ½ tbsp of water + 1 tspn baking powder|
|1||to add moisture||2 tablespoons tomato purée (savoury recipes)|
|2||to bind||1 flax egg|
|2||to bind/add moisture||1 mashed banana|
|1||to thicken sauces||2 tablespoons potato starch|
|1||to bind (in recipes like ‘meat’ loaf)||2 tablespoons mashed potato|
Commercial Egg Replacers
There are a few egg replacement powders on the market. American company Follow Your Heart recently released its VeganEgg. This powder can be mixed with water to create a paste which can then be used to make omelettes, quiches, or scrambled ‘egg’-style dishes. It can also be used in recipes. A company called Orgran makes No Egg, a powder which can’t be used to make meals like scrambled ‘egg’, but is useful in recipes for foods like Yorkshire puddings, cakes, meringues, and egg-free mayonnaise. There are more of these products available in America (some of which can be mail ordered to the UK).
The Miracle of Aquafaba
Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. This liquid is similar in consistency to raw egg white, and can be treated the same way in a number of recipes. It can be used in baking, or whipped to a meringue-like consistency. It can even be used as a binder in veggie burger recipes. The flavour is very mild, and usually indiscernible.
The liquid has some of the properties of both egg white and yolk, which makes it unique among other replacers. It is believed the proteins and starches mimic the proteins in eggs in some way.
To create a meringue-like substance, the liquid should be strained and whipped at a high speed. It will form peaks, at which point sugar can be added.
Purée binds a mixture, and also adds moisture. One of the most popular purées to use in place of eggs is apple, but other sauces can be used too. Try avocado: with a high fat content, they make an effective and silky replacement. You can also try some veg purées, for example, sweet potato, or pumpkin.
Apple Purée Recipe
- 5 medium apples
- Water to cover apples
- A pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- Wash, peel, core and dice the apples.
- Put the apple pieces in a saucepan, and just cover with water.
- Bring the mixture to the boil over a high heat, then reduce to a simmer until soft (about 20 minutes).
- Take the mixture off the heat. Drain, and purée.
- Refrigerate until use.
For flax eggs simply mix 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds/linseeds and mix with three tablespoons of water. Leave for 15 minutes before use. These seeds will add a slightly nutty flavour to recipes.
It’s worth bearing in mind some of these ingredients will add a specific flavour to your recipes. For example, apple puree or mashed banana will make a dish sweeter. Also think about texture – some of these alternatives will create a denser texture, some are lighter.
If a recipe contains more than three eggs, apple sauce (or other fruit purees) will not make such an effective replacement, as the lack of protein in the fruit means the mixture won’t support the structure of a more egg-heavy recipe as well. Additionally, at this level or above of substitution, the difference in texture will become more pronounced.
If you find your cakes and other baked foods too ‘chewy’ when using fruit puree in place of eggs try adding a small amount of extra fat – this will mimic the higher levels of fat contained in egg yolks.
- If the mixture is too wet after using your egg replacement, you can dry it out by adding dry ingredients including plain (all purpose) flour, breadcrumbs, oats, or tomato puree (in savoury recipes). Add slowly until the mixture reaches the right texture.
- Want a lighter, more airy result, and you’re using pureed fruit in place of egg? Add an extra half teaspoon of baking powder.