There are many reasons you may find yourself trying to cut back on eggs, whether you’re trying to watch your cholesterol or you thought you had a couple in the back of the fridge to bake but don’t.
Luckily, there are many different foods you can use to substitute eggs with, and depending on what you’re doing, many of these work extremely well. Some even add nutrition that you may not otherwise get in your diet. Take note of the following substitutions and what they are good for so the next time you’re in a bind or just want to cut back, you won’t have any trouble.
1. Flax Seed
Flax seeds are tiny brown or golden seeds that pack a significant health benefit. Loaded with Omega fatty acids, these tiny seeds are great for heart health.
They also make a great egg substitute in a variety of both sweet and savory foods. You’ll need the ground variety to use them this way, so if you have whole seeds, you’ll need to grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder before you can use them.
To make a substitute for one egg, take one tablespoon of ground flax seed (or flax meal as you may see it referred), and combine it with three tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes, until it firms up a bit. It will have a gel-like consistency when it’s ready. You can use this in baked goods like cookies or your favorite bread recipe. You can also use it in foods like meatloaf or veggie burgers that you would use an egg as a binder. The color of the flax doesn’t matter; the golden seeds are best for recipes in which you might not want to see the color, although these may be more difficult to find. You can buy flax seeds in the baking aisle of your grocery store, and in some cases may be able to buy them in bulk.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are those tiny black seeds that became popular decades ago in Chia Pets. They are now becoming more and more popular due to their significant health benefits. High in protein and fiber, they make an excellent egg substitute in certain types of recipes.
Like flax seeds, they’ll need to be ground for best results (although you can use them whole in a pinch if you must.) Mix one tablespoon chia seeds with three tablespoons water and allow to sit until firm. You can then use these in baked goods like cakes or cookies, or to bind veggie burgers. They’re also great in vegan puddings, and you can use them whole for a bit of texture (similar to tapioca) or blend your pudding up for something creamy. They are available in white and black, but white may be difficult to find in your local grocery store; you can order online, however.
Bananas make an excellent egg substitute in baked goods and desserts, or anything where a bit of banana flavor won’t hurt the taste of the finished dish.
Start with a very ripe banana and mash half of a medium one in a small bowl. When it is almost smooth, this can be used to replace one egg in cookies, quick breads, or other sweets. Keep in mind that bananas are high in sugar, so you may want to reduce the sugar in your recipe by a tablespoon or two if you don’t want a super sweet final result.
Tofu comes in several varieties, each of which can make an egg substitute. For an egg based dish like a quiche, silken tofu can mimic both the taste and texture, especially with a bit of mustard mixed in for color. It can be difficult to figure out the amounts, but in general one ounce of tofu will replace one egg. For a scramble, try using firm tofu, chopping it up and adding it to a skillet with vegetables or cheese.
Silken tofu can also be used in baked goods, at about 1/4 cup per egg. Keep in mind that it will weigh your baked goods down just a bit, so try not to use it where a light and fluffy texture is desired.
Applesauce makes a great egg substitute in baked goods, and doesn’t impart a strong neutral flavor in your finished product. It’s best to either make your own applesauce, or buy one that has no added sugar, or you can cut back the sugar in your recipe.
Yogurt is a great egg substitute in baked goods that will benefit from a slightly tart flavor. Some cakes, cookies, and quick breads are great for this. You can use plain or flavored yogurt, but fruit yogurts will give your baked goods a sweeter flavor.
Like yogurt, buttermilk will give baked goods a slight tang, so it’s not best for rich desserts. About 1/4 cup buttermilk will work for one egg.
For a twist on a traditional boxed cake mix, try substituting 1/4 cup of your favorite cola for one egg. This works best on strong flavored cake mixes like dark chocolate, but you’ll have decent results with any type of cake besides an angel food cake. Your cake will still be moist, but will have a slightly denser texture. This is a great tip for when you’ve started and realize you’re out of eggs, but have a can of soda in the fridge. Diet soda can work as well, and will cut calories from your final result. Make sure it’s not flat, or this won’t work.
9. Pureed Vegetables
Mashed potatoes, pureed sweet potatoes, or even canned pumpkin can work as an egg substitute in many recipes, both sweet and savory. Use in meatloaf, hamburgers, or try thinning out your mashed vegetables with water and using it as an egg wash when you bread chicken or other meat. Just make sure it compliments the flavor of the dish and doesn’t contain added sugar (such as pumpkin pie filling.)
Some recipes call for eggs simply for moisture, and in these cases, water will do the trick just fine. This will work to moisten ground meat, breaded chicken breasts, or in a pinch, you can use them in some cake mixes. Use about two tablespoon of water for one egg. You can add a drop or two of oil if you’d like for a richer flavor.
Eggs are an important staple in both cooking and baking, but as anyone that has ever cooked knows, sometimes you think you have something only to find out you’re out when you open the fridge. In some cases, you may have a decent egg substitute in the fridge, and one of these may be the answer to your problems.
Just remember that almost everything will give your final result a slightly different taste and texture, and that the fewer eggs you are substituting, the better your results will be. Certain dishes, like custards, puddings, and soufflés will rarely turn out using an egg substitute, unless the recipe is written to be an egg free version.
Try a few of these in your favorite recipes to see what gives you the best results.