When it comes to vegan egg substitutes in cooking on the stove, tofu comes to mind. Firm tofu can be crumbled up to make vegan tofu scramble, it has the texture similar to cooked eggs, just add a bit of turmeric and that would give your dish that golden-yellow egg color. But when it comes to vegan egg substitutes for baking, it’s a bit different and more complicated.
To make the perfect cake (or banana bread for that matter), chances are the recipe calls for some eggs.
But don’t worry, as a vegan (or someone who doesn’t consume eggs) you are not going to miss out on creating that same perfection you get with eggs. There are plenty of workable vegan options for replacing the role of eggs in baking, and these can be used by vegans or anyone who may be allergic, can’t eat or don’t like eggs in their food for any reason.
The role of eggs are pretty important in baking, so I’d advise against just leaving the eggs out without putting in a workable replacement for it. But why are eggs so important? Lets get cracking on exploring some of the main reasons why we need eggs (or egg replacements) in baking.
Baking 101: Why Add Eggs In Baking?
Eggs add structure – Eggs provide your batter with structure as it cooks. You know how eggs are liquid in it’s raw form but solidifies when it cooks? Well, that’s what happens when you add in eggs to your batter. As it cooks inside the oven, the eggs solidifies and helps set the structure of your cakes, muffins, cookies…etc
Leavening – This is a process where you add in a substance to make your batter/dough to rise. Baking soda and baking powder aren’t the only things that accomplishes this, eggs play a role in leavening too. When you whip your egg whites, it creates a lot of bubbles that trap in air. After you incorporate those egg whites into your batter, these air bubbles help make everything light and puffy.
Adds richness and moisture – Eggs are mostly liquid and fat (which comes mostly from the egg yolks), this adds a lot of moisture which affects the texture of the foods that you’re baking. The egg yolks provides richness and also a bit of color.
I don’t consider myself a baking expert by any stretch, but I have had some personal experience and success with using a few different kinds of vegan egg substitutes. I have used them for baking banana bread, cakes, and even for making pancakes. Here are my recommended vegan egg replacements:
1. The flax seed egg
Also known as “flegg,” this egg replacement is made with grounded up flax seed (flax meal) mixed with water. It is a popular choice because it’s very easy to use and does the job of providing structure and moisture to the baking.
All you need to do is mix 1 tbsp of flax meal with 3 tbsp of hot water, this quantity would replace 1 egg. For best results you should whisk it for a minute like you would with egg whites, then let it sit for about 5 minutes before you use it – this will give the mixture a gelatinous texture similar to eggs.
But unfortunately it doesn’t trap in air as well as eggs, and too much of it can make your food a bit dense. But still, it’s a good option for a lot of things, like baking banana bread and muffins for example.
Note: You have to mix it with water first before using it, it won’t work if you just throw in the flax meal into the batter/dough!
Another great egg substitute is applesauce, put in 1/4 cup of applesauce to replace 1 egg. Although I haven’t tried using other pureed fruits like peach or strawberry, they have been known to work as well.
These types of pureed fruit egg replacements are there mainly to provide moisture and binding everything together, so they won’t provide any fluffiness like whipped egg whites would. Only use this when you just need to add in structure and moisture and not trying to make things light and fluffy.
Using pureed fruit would add extra sweetness and flavor to your food, so pick a fruit that best suits your recipe. If you’re making a savory recipe such as a quiche or vegan burgers, you can also try using 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes instead of the fruit.
3. Silken tofu
Silken tofu is a very soft kind of Japanese tofu that can be used in baking to hold things together and provide moisture. It works kind of like the applesauce, it won’t provide your baked goods with any fluffiness, but is a good way to add in structure, moisture, and extra protein. Add in 1/4 cup of the tofu to replace 1 egg, make sure to first puree the tofu till it’s smooth or else you’ll get lumps of tofu in your baked goods!
4. Vinegar + Baking soda
This method can be used as a leavening agent to make your baked goods rise and give it a light and fluffy texture. Add in 1 tbsp of vinegar to 1 tbsp of baking soda to replace 1 egg. You can use both regular white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, or 2tbsp of lemon juice if you don’t have vinegar.
5. Ener-G egg replacer
This is a commercially available egg replacement product that has been around since the 1960’s. It is suitable for vegans and people with allergies because it is free of any eggs, gluten, wheat, dairy and nuts. It comes in a powder form and is made with potato starch, tapioca flour, and leavening agents. It is suitable for use in many baking recipes that calls for the use of eggs, it works great and provides that light and fluffy texture when using for cakes.
Where to buy Ener-G?
You can find Ener-G in stores that focuses on natural and organic products, such as Whole Foods Market and Kroger, it’ll probably be in the grocery aisle where they sell allergen-free baking products and mixes. If you’re in the U.S. you can check the list here to see where you can find this product.
If you can’t find it in local stores, another option would be to order it online from Amazon.