Say you have a fierce craving for a batch of muffins, but when you start to assemble your ingredients, you realize the last of your eggs went into your morning omelet. Does that mean the muffins have to wait?
Nope. The same goes for many other types of baked goods — cakes, cookies, breads, you name it.
If for any reason eating eggs isn’t an option — either by choice or by necessity — you can turn to a number of substitutions to fulfill your baking needs. Read on for a breakdown of some of our favorite options.
But first, what exactly do eggs do in baking?
The short answer is … a lot.
The longer answer is that eggs are responsible for many different things in baking, and their role varies depending on what you’re making. Eggs provide structure (particularly in cakes), as well as emulsify, bind, and leaven. They’re a key element in creating the desired texture of a baked good, but can also impact appearance and flavor. No wonder they're used in so many recipes!
The longest answer is, frankly, probably an hours-long lecture. Not something we have time (or space) for today.
Overall, eggs have a unique versatility that allows them to fulfill multiple functions in baking. There’s not a perfect replacement that magically meets all these same needs, but there are many options you can choose to bake successfully.
Ready to bake egg-free? Here are some of our favorite egg substitutions to use in the kitchen ...
Aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas)
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) aquafaba
How it performs: According to our resident vegan baking expert, Posie Brien, this is “hands down the best egg substitution.” In fact, we like it so much we wrote a whole post on it, A guide to aquafaba. If you're substituting in a recipe you haven't tried before, we recommend starting with aquafaba, as it provides the most consistent results.
Pros: Pretty much the only egg substitute that whips up to a meringue like egg whites (!); doesn’t add any flavor or color
Cons: Doesn’t provide much structure to baked goods. Your batter may smell a bit "bean-y" but don't worry! That flavor won't come through in the final product.
Good for: Anything from breads (even brioche!) to meringue to single-layer or snacking cakes. Even Fudge Brownies come out just as rich and moist as the original recipe.
Mashed banana, pumpkin purée, applesauce
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) mashed banana, pumpkin purée (57g), or applesauce (64g), or similar purées such as sweet potato
How it performs: These purées each perform similarly in baked goods (though the banana and pumpkin can add a noticeable flavor or color, so choose accordingly!). They add a lot of moistness — think of your favorite soft banana or pumpkin bread. They can also add some chewiness, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on what you’re making. Overall, a fairly consistent option
Pros: Helps ensure baked goods are moist; easy to use
Cons: Makes cookies cakey; can give cakes or muffins a denser texture. Also adds some gumminess if used in large quantities.
Good for: Quick breads, hearty muffins, single-layer or snacking cakes, pound cakes, pancakes. Also, several King Arthur bakers recommend swapping sweet potato purée for the egg in Beautiful Burger Buns; they claim they're even better than the original!
Flax and chia seed eggs
Sub for 1 egg: Combine 1 tablespoon flax meal or whole chia seeds with 3 tablespoons (42g) water and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until gelatinous
How it performs: Flax and chia seed eggs add body and help bind baked goods but don't build structure, so they’re not ideal for light, fluffy cakes. On the other hand, they’re a good option for soft, low-rising baked goods or yeast baking (with the exception of enriched doughs like brioche). For more details, see our previous post about baking with a flax egg replacer.
Pros: Very versatile — can be used in a wide variety of recipes
Cons: Neither aerates well so not a good choice for light and fluffy goods
Good for: Cookies, quick breads, yeast breads, brownies and bars, muffins. My fellow blogger PJ has made Amish Dinner Rolls with flax egg and finds their taste is identical.
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) silken tofu, blended until completely smooth
How it performs: Tofu performs somewhat similarly to fruit and vegetable purées. It adds moisture, but can make baked goods dense, so it's ideal for treats with a moist, rather than fluffy, texture. Make sure to use silken tofu (the shelf-stable kind) which blends to a smooth, creamy texture.
Pros: Neutral flavor and color
Cons: Requires puréeing to use, meaning you’ll need to dirty a blender or food processor; can make baked goods somewhat dense
Good for: Quick breads, hearty muffins, single-layer or snacking cakes, pound cakes. In a recipe like Quick Lemon Bread, its neutral flavor will allow the bright citrus taste to shine.
Cornstarch, arrowroot, and other starches
Sub for 1 egg: Mix 2 tablespoons (14g) cornstarch, arrowroot powder, potato starch, or tapioca starch with 3 tablespoons (42g) water to form a thick slurry
How it performs: This option isn't quite as reliable as those listed above. Starches are good to use if you don't have any other options, but we recommend going with one of the prior suggestions if you can.
Pros: Good for binding
Cons: Not as reliably successful as other options; can leave baked goods a bit dry or tender
Good for: Cookies, single-layer or snacking cakes, quick breads. Try this option in Chocolate Zucchini Cake, which is already rich and ultra-moist thanks to the shredded squash.
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) plain Greek yogurt
How it performs: Similar to the fruit purées noted above — adds moisture and tenderness. If you’re using full-fat yogurt, baked goods will have a richer, more tender texture. Make sure to use plain, unflavored yogurt, as sweetened or flavored yogurt could add additional flavor.
Pros: Adds tenderness and ensures baked goods are moist
Cons: Not suitable for vegan baking; can weigh down baked goods and add gumminess if used in large quantities
Good for: Quick breads, hearty muffins, single-layer or snacking cakes, pancakes. These tender Apple Muffins already call for yogurt, so try adding a bit more in place of the egg to make them even more moist.
Sparkling water or seltzer
Sub for 1 egg: 1/4 cup (57g) sparkling water
How it performs: Are you surprised? Believe it or not, sparkling water or seltzer can be used as a replacement for eggs. Like some other options toward the end of this list, this one is less reliable than favorites like aquafaba, but can be swapped into recipes in a pinch.
Pros: No flavor or color added
Cons: Can be somewhat hit-or-miss; doesn't blend well in recipes that call for eggs to be creamed with butter
Good for: Light, fluffy baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and quick breads. Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, which call for the egg to be whisked with melted butter, allow the seltzer to be easily incorporated into the batter.
Commercial egg replacers
Sub for 1 egg: Follow measurements and instructions on product package
How it performs: In addition to the pantry staples outlined above, there are also plenty of commercial egg replacers available to purchase, all of them different. We tested a few widely available options in our banana bread, and you can read the results in our post on vegan banana bread. In particular, we found Namaste Egg Replacer to be a reliable option.
Pros: Specifically designed to mimic eggs in baking; can be used in a wide variety of baked goods
Cons: Specialty ingredient that you may be less likely to have in your pantry
Good for: Almost any kind of baking, though how they're best suited will depend on the specific brand
How do some of these options compare?
To provide an example of how a few of these egg substitutes stack up, I baked up a batch of Basic Muffins and replaced the eggs with several of the options above. This recipe is super simple: the eggs are mixed with other liquids, then added to the dry ingredients to make a batter. Basic recipes like this are the best options for using egg replacements.
The clear standout was the aquafaba — there was very little discernible difference between the aquafaba muffins and regular egg muffins. The sparkling water also yielded muffins that were very similar to the original recipe.
Meanwhile, the muffins I baked with mashed banana looked very different from the original — they had craggy tops and a darker color — but were ultimately very moist. They did, however, have a distinct banana flavor. Finally, the muffins I made with a flax egg were speckled in color, but fairly fluffy with a nice rise.
Overall? All of the muffins were tasty and enjoyable, and I'd be confident substituting for the eggs without much change in a basic stir-and-bake recipe like this. However! This is just one example. Keep in mind that results won't necessarily match across other types of recipes, as they all rely on eggs a little bit differently.
When egg substitutions just won’t cut it
As you can see, there are plenty of options for replacing eggs in your baking. Even with all that versatility, though, there are some baked goods in which egg substitutions simply won’t be successful.
The first is quite obvious: any egg-heavy recipe will be nearly impossible to pull off — things like soufflés, quiches, or any other baked good that relies almost entirely on eggs as the foundation of the recipe.
In addition, it can be tricky substituting for the eggs in custard pies like pumpkin pie. In these cases, we recommend using an existing pumpkin pie recipe that doesn’t call for eggs, instead of trying to adapt one to be egg-free.
It's also difficult to substitute in cakes that rely on eggs for most of their leavening and structure, including sponge cakes, hot milk cakes, chiffon cakes, and angel food cakes. If the recipe calls for you to beat eggs to ribbon stage and/or fold in stiff egg whites, it's best to look for another recipe rather than try to replace the eggs.
Here are a few other notes and takeaways to keep in mind if you're planning to replace the eggs in your baking:
- It's worth repeating: overall, our favorite egg replacement is aquafaba. We suggest using this option in a recipe before experimenting with others, as it's proved to be the most reliable.
- The more eggs you replace, the more noticeably different your final result will be. Replacing one egg will be a lot less noticeable than three eggs.
- You can use both eggs and an egg substitute in a recipe. (For instance, if a recipe calls for two eggs but you only have one, replace the second egg with one of the above egg replacers.)
- Baking gluten-free? Unfortunately, eggs usually play a major structure-building role in gluten-free baking. In general, we recommend baking gluten-free recipes that don't include eggs to begin with, instead of trying to replace them.
With so many options to swap in for eggs, you'll hopefully be ready to discover all the possibilities of egg-free baking. And the best way to figure out which egg replacer works the best in a recipe? Do some experimenting.
There are no hard-and-fast rules, and the more you try out different substitutions, the more comfortable you'll be making them. Which means it's time to get baking!
If you're vegan (or baking for someone who is!) see our collection of vegan desserts, which not only skip the eggs but also the dairy. Happy baking!