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Mostly Homemade Substitutes for Egg-less Cooking and Baking
Egg-free baking and cooking is easier than it seems. Vegans and people with allergies have come up with many clever substitutes – some of which can even replace whipped eggs. All of these are vegan and gluten-free, and some are also suitable to raw foods.
When using a dry egg replacer such as soy flour, it is usually mixed with enough water to create a similar volume to one egg, about 0.5 dl or a little less than 1/4 cup. For added flavor fruit juice can be used instead of water.
Soy flour is a popular egg substitute in both cooking and baking, especially in cookies. It is inexpensive, keeps fairly well and can replace both egg yolks and whole egg.
Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan, is used as an egg replacement e.g. in baking and homemade pasta. It has a “beany” flavor when raw, so it should be cooked well.
Silken tofu (soft creamy tofu) can replace egg in many types of cooking and baking, especially if the volume of eggs to replace is large, such as in fritters and casseroles.
Soy yoghurt is a handy egg substitute for many types of baking. In some vegan cake recipes it is used in larger amounts to create a moist, tender crumb.
Potatoes are a great binding agent. They are sometimes used in baking, but are particularly useful in cooking, such as when making vegetarian patties, burgers or croquettes.
Mashed banana can be used to substitute for eggs (about half a ripe banana for one egg), especially in soft cookies. It creates a moist crumb with a crisp exterior. If it is combined with other egg substitutes, the flavor usually isn’t noticeable.
Applesauce is used as an substitute for eggs – sometimes also for fat – in cookies and cakes. In most vegan recipes soy yoghurt can be replaced with applesauce. Some people prefer pureed pears, noting that the flavor is more subtle.
Corn starch has good binding properties even in small quantities and can be used in e.g. cakes and pancakes. It is also used in gluten-free baking.
Cookbook author and vegan chef Bryanna Clark Grogan has sometimes used cornmeal to replace egg, noting that it has a “buttery” flavor and also adds a nice yellow color.
Combined with water ground flaxseed forms a gel-like goop, often called “flax eggs”. It is especially useful in muffins, pancakes and soft cookies. It is closer to egg whites, but can substitute for whole egg, as well.
Often called a “superfood”, chia seeds form a jello-like gel similar to flax, but with a somewhat different texture and a more neutral flavor. Besides baking it is often used in puddings and raw foods.
Psyllium husk is used in gluten-free baking, but it can also be used as an egg replacer in baking and cooking, as it forms a fairly neutral-tasting gel when combined with water.
Similar to psyllium, xanthan gum is used in gluten-free baking, but sometimes also as a vegan egg replacement. Besides baking it is particularly popular in making homemade vegan ice cream, as it creates a creamy, smooth mouthfeel.
Agar agar is a gelling agent derived from seaweed and best known as a vegan substitute to gelatin. It is sometimes used as an egg substitute, particularly for egg whites in desserts.
Irish moss is not actually a moss, but a seaweed and a source of carrageenan, another gelling agent. Some adventurous vegan cooks have used it as an egg replacer, even concocting meringue-like toppings with it.
Commercial Egg Replacers
There are many commercial egg replacers, available as powders. Orgran and Ener-G are the best known brands and they can even be whipped stiff enough to form peaks.
Versawhip is enzymatically treated soy protein that can be used to replace gelatin and eggs, especially egg whites. Some people have been developing vegan marshmallow, meringue and other recipes with it. Versawhip is quite expensive, though.
Vegan Omelet, Vegan Souffle or Perhaps Vegan Meringue?
Vegan “omelets” are usually made with tofu and sometimes chickpea flour. “Eggy” flavor can be created with mustard powder, nutritional yeast and an Indian spice called black salt or kala namak, which has a somewhat sulphuric taste. Many vegan cookbooks also have recipes for egg-free souffles.