Best egg substitutes in cooking & baking

Maybe you forgot to buy eggs at the supermarket. Or you dropped the carton on the floor. Or you don’t eat animal products, period. In these cases and then some, egg substitutes come in handy. If a recipe was developed with eggs and you are forging your own path with a substitution, there is no getting around that the recipe will turn out differently (after all, you are using a different ingredient). But the ingredients below will ensure that the eggs’ absence is noticed as little as possible, if at all.

Flaxseed meal: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds have an earthy, nutty flavor. When ground up and combined with water, they yield a consistency much like a beaten egg. Flax eggs are a popular pick in baked goods, from cookies to quick breads, because they add body and structure. But unlike eggs, they do not assist in leavening.

Chia seeds: Though they have a milder flavor than flaxseeds, chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids (not to mention protein and fiber). Their thickening powers make them a good shortcut to homemade jam and, for the same reason, they are useful when you need to add more structure to vegan baked goods, like waffles, quickbreads, and more.

Mashed banana: This ingredient works best in chewy baked goods like brownies. But depending on the recipe, the flavor might be a dealbreaker.

Applesauce: Like mashed bananas, applesauce is an everyday ingredient that you might already have around. Unlike bananas, it has a more neutral flavor, which can go less noticed in baked goods. Optionally, you can stir a pinch of baking powder into the applesauce to aid in leavening and to avoid the applesauce weighing down the batter.

Silken tofu: As its name implies, silken is one of the softest, silkiest tofu classifications. Add it to a blender or food processor and you will end up with a fluffy-smooth puree, which can serve as a sturdy binder in baked goods.

Starches: Starches, such as arrowroot powder, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch, and agar, all mixed with a bit of water, can serve as an egg substitute in enriched breads, cakes, and as a thickening agent in custards.

Vinegar + baking powder: Combine these two ingredients and you have a strong leavening agent on your hands (remember, eggs add structure to baked goods and help with rising). While this combo can encourage cakes, muffins, and the like to reach their highest potential, it is also more sensitive—and prone to error—than the ingredients listed above. Definitely follow recipes with this substitute.