The Replacements: Swap Eggs for These Surprising Vegan Ingredients
Eggs are instrumental in both cooking and baking for their ability to bind together ingredients, but if you’re baking for a friend with an allergy or hoping to make your favorite dessert vegan, you may need to swap them out.
Eggs are instrumental in both cooking and baking for their ability to bind together ingredients, but if you’re baking for a friend with an allergy or hoping to make your favorite dessert vegan, you may need to swap them out. Look no further than two popular good-for-you seeds: chia and flax. When the ground seeds are combined with water, they create a gelatinous consistency similar to a beaten egg. To swap them in simply stir together one tablespoon ground seed with three tablespoons water (add a pinch of baking powder if you’re using chia) and let the mixture gel together for about half an hour. While the chemistry is cool, it’s not foolproof—eggs do a lot of work in a recipe! Replacing eggs with flax or chia works best in the following dishes.
The only ingredients you need to make chia pudding: whole chia seeds, a liquid (most often coconut milk), and an overnight stay in the fridge, which magically transforms the seeds and milk into a tasty, nutritious breakfast pudding. Try flavoring it with honey and mango, chocolate and raspberry, or vanilla and cream. You’ll want between ⅔ and ¾ cup of chia seeds per 2 cups liquid to yield four small-ish servings.
The mashed-up banana delivers moisture and texture to a finished loaf, so egg has to do less legwork, making banana bread—and zucchini bread and carrot cake—a solid candidate for this swap. For every egg in your recipe, use 1 tablespoon of seeds with 3 tablespoons of water.
To make breaded chicken cutlets or eggplant Parm sans egg, follow the same ratio—one part ground chia or flax with three parts water. After the liquid gels, dip cutlets or eggplant (or anything else you want to fry) in flour, then in the egg replacement and some breadcrumbs before pan-frying. For an even healthier take, use ground almonds instead of breadcrumbs.
Give a stack of flapjacks a boost of omega-3s and fiber from flax. Equally substitute the ground flax-water combination for eggs in your favorite pancake recipe. Make even more healthy tweaks by subbing in coconut milk or oat flour.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Happily for egg avoiders, the world’s most beloved cookie easily works with flax or chia. (A general rule: Heartier-textured drop cookies like chocolate chip or gingersnaps work better with the substitution than lacy, more delicate rolled cookies, which tend to be more finicky.) Here’s a reliable flax, entirely vegan cookie recipe.
For cakes you typically make in a sheet or bundt pan and that don’t rely on egg whites for a light texture or leavening, you can sub in a chia or flax “egg” using the ratio above. But be wary of the substitution in any recipe that asks you to beat egg whites separately or that promises a molten center—the seeds aren’t up for that challenge.