If you, like me, watch "Good Eats" like there is no tomorrow, then you would appreciate the fact that cooking in essence is about science. Its about reactions, its about bonding of different ingredients to come together as a palatable whole. This is most evident (and applicable) when it comes to Baking. It is at times important to understand why we use certain ingredients and what their role is. Specifically, let us look at eggs.

You might also find these helpful:
1. How to find out what the role of Egg is in your recipe?
2. Common Egg Substitutes in Cooking and Baking



Depending on its role, you can use appropriate substitutes to eggs without compromising (to a large extent) on the taste. To my knowledge, the various roles of an egg (and the appropriate substitutions) are:

To act as a binder (Coagulate)
The egg proteins act as a binder by holding the ingredients together (or as they say "coagulating") while cooking or baking. When they are beaten/ heated, they change the liquid mixture to a solid state. They help in preventing crumbling and provide structure for foods.
Examples:
Meatloaves, casseroles, burgers, quick breads, cornbread etc

Substitutes:
-In such cases, to substitute eggs you would need an ingredient that plays the same role. Like mashed potatoes, cooked rice, bread crumbs, cooked pasta, oatmeal, grated cheese, flaxseeds, commercial egg replacement products, Tahini, nut butters, silken tofu, tomato paste, arrowroot powder etc.
-In cases of Sweet based goodies (like drop cookies), you can use fruits like Banana, applesauce, Xanthan Gum, agar agar (or non vegetarian equivalent like Gelatin), custard powder, cornstarch to perform the binding function. Keep in mind that using fruits can alter both the density and taste of the finished product.
-In case of Baked Goods, you can use flaxseed (1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp hot water, whisked and set aside until thick and sticky). But if it’s also acting as a leavening agent along with binding then add in additional ¼ tsp baking powder.

To act as a leavening agent
Beaten eggs are a leavening agent as they incorporate air into the batter, which will expand in the oven and cause the cake to rise. Some cakes use beaten eggs as their only source of leavening.

Examples:
Cookies, Cakes, Cupcakes, Meringues, Soufflés etc

Substitutes:
Baking powder (plus extra oil), Vinegar, Baking soda (plus lemon juice/orange juice), Buttermilk (with Baking Soda) all play an equivalent role as leavening

To provide moisture and texture (Emulsify).
Eggs have emulsification properties, which in plain English would mean something that binds things together which naturally won't come together or mix. Like say- Oil and Vinegar. Egg yolks allow fats to stay dispersed in water and water to stay dispersed in fats which in turn promote thickening and product stability. So this property gives the baked goodies that smooth and creamy texture along with providing it moisture.

Examples:
Mayonnaise (emulsifier) and, Cookies, Muffins, Quick Breads (to provide moisture)

Substitutes:
Turns out that there is lecithin in Tofu as well which acts as an emulsifier when oil the oil is added slowly, which is perhaps why you will see that Tofu is used to make Vegan Mayonnaise. For additional moisture, I tend to use fruit or fruit puree like banana, applesauce, pumpkin puree, apple butter etc

To provide color
The carotenoids present in the eggs are responsible for the color it provides to foods. This is found in Egg yolks (the yellow part), that give crusts that beautiful golden brown color.

Examples:
Scrambled Eggs, fried cutlets, egg wash etc.

Substitutes:
As for cases like scrambled egg, I tend to replace it with Tofu with a pinch of Turmeric. The softness of tofu mimics the creaminess of eggs and the turmeric gives it that beautiful golden color to ape the yellow of eggs. Tofu, as we all know, is a protein powerhouse too.

Other Uses
1. When it comes to using it for frying, I use a mix of all purpose flour + water to form a paste and then apply that as a coating instead of beaten eggs. Instead of all purpose flour, you can also use Chickpea Flour (Besan) to do the same. Other options that I have heard of is using Mayo, Milk, Italian Dressing, Buttermilk etc
2. For Glazing on pies, breads etc, I use Milk/Cream. It provides an even reddish brown color. Using some melted butter to glace also works fairly well. I have heard of Soy milk and melted margarine being used although I have personally not tried this myself.

For extra Volume and Lightness
Egg Whites when beaten provide extra volume and air thereby giving lightness to the finished product.

Examples:
Cakes, Pancakes etc

Substitutes:
One way to do this, that works for me personally, is creaming the butter and sugar in the beginning of the cake making process for a long time until it becomes very light and fluffy. Also, by simply folding the ingredients instead of beating, helps to provide lightness to the baked goods. This is because, both the creaming and folding process helps to incorporate more air into the batter. Of course this is not applicable in case of Angel Cakes/ Sponge cakes where eggs form the basis of such cakes.

All said and done, keep in mind that if a recipe for baked goods calls for three or more eggs per batch (with a typical "batch" consisting of 36 cookies, one pan of brownies, one loaf of bread, or one cake), then, more often than not, egg substitutes do not work. Baked Goods like Pound cakes, sponge cakes, angel food cakes, and other popular desserts with relatively high egg content do not turn out well in egg-free cooking. In these situations, it is usually best to make something else.

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42 Comments

By Anis Sayani on May 24, 2017

Helene on May 3, 2017, Hi Helen no one can replace what God has created, very simple

By Helene on May 3, 2017

I tried making orange brownies by replacing the 4 eggs with 1 Tab. canola oil, 1 Tab. water and, 1 tsp. baking powder and the brownies were so oily and did not rise. I then made another batch using baking soda instead. The brownies overflowed the pan onto my oven liner but the brownies still remained flat. Next I tried using the product Neat Egg but again the brownies did not rise much at all. And, this product gives off an odor which I can smell. I have been very successful using the water, oil, and baking powder replacement for 4 eggs in my cakes with a lot of success. You are right about the creaming of butter and sugar in the beginning because I made a 3-layer cake Strawberry spring cake which required separating the eggs and whipping and folding in the egg whites. I made the cake a few days earlier with this method but later I made the cake with the oil, water and baking powder and the three layets rose just fine. However, I would like to make cookies, especially bar cookies, from scratch for my grandson who has allergies to nuts and eggs.

By Muffet on Jun 19, 2016

I would rather use baking powder as a sub

By khushi on Mar 2, 2016

I substitute Golden syrup for eggs in making muffins. Can I do the same for making custard.

By sri on Jan 12, 2016

Hi, in your opinion, what is the best egg substitute for butter cakes? I really want to bake an eggless butter cake but I am confused of choosing a good replacing for eggs. Please advise and thanks!

By Fran on Dec 14, 2015

what should I use in place of two eggs in a recipe for zucchini bread to hold it together?

By Gloria on Dec 7, 2015

How much applesauce is equivalent as substitute for one egg

By PK Cork on Nov 29, 2015

I used 2 tablespoons of cornflour in place of one egg in pancakes and they came out perfectly. I am not vegetarian so I still used milk.

By Karen on Aug 16, 2015

I need to make custard pies for an event, recipe calls 4 4 egg yolks per pie, do I use the formulas 4 x 10 or volume of 3/4 oz of yolk x 10

By Kristie on Aug 8, 2015

I am highly allergic to eggs. I can have them in cake batters and meatloafs and breads... but I cant eat them singular or in a dish that is mainly egg. I would like to go on a carbless, gluten free diet but all of the 'breads' I can find have egg as the main base. Is there any type of bread/muffin/pancake recipe you know of that doesnt have egg in it? Thank you in advance :)

By Dianne on May 8, 2015

Looks like it has potential. My question is -- is tofu an oil? Or is there part of a sentence missing? "acts as an emulsifier when oil the oil is added slowly"

By Pez395 on Mar 20, 2015

If you are making cookies replace the butter with coconut oil and honey. so for one egg 1/4 coconut oil and 1/4 cup honey. I've already done it with sugar cookies. You can also just replace the whole egg with coconut oil for calorie sake, although I'd get the cooked oil that doesn't have any flavour.

By Kristen on Mar 12, 2015

I have noticed that there's a wealth of advice on the internet about how to substitute FOR eggs. However, I am having trouble finding information on substituting WITH eggs. My question is: can I use egg instead of butter? I have a cookie recipe that employs both one large egg and 2 TBSP of butter. This amount of butter contains around 160 calories, while a large egg has only 70 calories. Plus, the macronutrient profile of an egg is clearly superior to that of any butter (even substitutes). With all the wonderful properties of eggs that you listed above, is there any reason NOT to? Your advice is appreciated!

By Drew on Dec 27, 2014

I have a daughter that has extraordinary allergies. I am considering using aloe vera as a replacement for egg as aloe vera has long-chain polysaccharides similar to eggs. Do you have any experience in this? We tried flax seed mucilage which did work as a replacement, but she has been ill since the attempt. Thanks, Drew

By CAPERNIUS on Dec 23, 2014

#1) Dr.Know is an idiot to believe that allergies are all in your mind...Food allergies are a physical & biological hazard. They CAN, & HAVE, killed people. #2) if you can not filter thsi bozo out, ignore him...people like him have an INA Deficit(I need attention).....commenting on anything he says just feeds his INA Deficit. Enough said. About this blog: TY for posting this as I find it to be very useful & informative. I'm trying to make Peanut butter cookies but am out of eggs....this blog/article has helped a lot. TY & GOD Bless

By Sharon on Nov 18, 2014

I seem to be out of eggs and my recipe calls for three. What can I use instead?

By Sharon on Nov 18, 2014

I have a recipe I want to make that takes three eggs...and seem to be out of them. What can I use instead of eggs that I might have on hand?

By Tszymanek on Nov 2, 2014

If you aren't vegan and are able to use milk souring the milk using vinegar and letting the mixture sit before use will rise batters like pancakes quite nicely.

By - on Sep 23, 2014

hey do you know why milk, oil, and water is used to bind bread dough? :-? :-? :?: :?: :!: :!:

By carol on Jun 4, 2014

Dr Know is what is known as a troll. all websites and blogs are infected with them filter him out

By Faustina Gilbey on Jun 4, 2014

Thanks for the egg substitution blog - REALLY useful!

By scott on Jun 3, 2014

Want to know what to sub for egg yolks.in my fried chicken recipe... will mayonaise or smushed taters work for that?..Nothing on this article about deep frying subs.

By Kym on May 21, 2014

Dont confuse allergies with sensitivities - they are completely different. I also took a blood test and tested sensitive to about 10 different food items, including egg yolks. If I eat egg yolks it's not the end of the world.... I have noticed a major difference in the way I feel now that I avoid the foods I am sensitive too.

By Dr. Know on May 21, 2014

I just had blood work done that shows I am allergic to both egg yolk and white. The lab tested 96 foods. Some food I knew I was allergic to and they did show up ont the test. The food that makes my throat itch and swell also showed up on the test results.

By Comfort Food: Blueberry Pancakes | capuletnurse on May 15, 2014

[...] 2 eggs or a substitute [...]

By swati on Apr 8, 2014

who the hell is Dr. know? don't listen to him. I know people who are so allergic to a particular food item that they should be rushed to the hospital or they'll just choke and die.

By marianwhit on Apr 5, 2014

Please folks, talk to your medically trained, verifiable identity MD doctor. Is someone who labels themselves "Dr. Know" a credible source to listen to? You don't even know his name. His advice is life threatening.

By marianwhit on Apr 5, 2014

Please folks, talk to your medically trained, verifiable identity MD doctor. Is someone who labels themselves "Dr. Know" a credible source to listen to? You don't even know his name. His advice is life threatening. He probably doesn't believe in a genetic basis for disease either. The operative word being believe vs prove as fact.

By Food Allergy Gal on Apr 4, 2014

To Dr. Know: I wish food allergies were just in my head, but sadly I had no idea what was happening when I woke up in the hospital after eating orange marinated salmon that I loved-I don't want food allergies and I love all the foods I am allergic to as do most people. We don't wish this on anyone. Are environmental allergies just in our heads too? What about cancer is that in our heads? How about kidney failure? See Mayo Clinics medical definition of food allergies. Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 3 and up to 3 percent of adults. While there's no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older. It's easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. While bothersome, food intolerance is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system.

By Dr Know on Mar 28, 2014

Get a grip, allergies are all in the mind, it is impossible to be allergic to eggs and 99% of other food products people falsely "claim" they are allergic to :!:

By jean on Mar 10, 2014

wanting to know how many eggs etc are there in 1/2 cup egg substitute....

By Concetta on Nov 30, 2013

Hi Geneve Eparza, if you Google, EFT for food allergies, you find a youtube video or more,where you can learn a new technique that might help you and your family to free yourselves of the allergies. Wishing you all good health. Concetta

By Rita on Sep 3, 2013

Thanks for the great ideas. If you check youtube you will find videos for how to make meringue with soy flour and xanthan gum. Happy cooking!

By meghabhaskar | Pearltrees on Jun 26, 2013

[...] Tips to Successful Egg Substitution If you, like me, watch “Good Eats” like there is no tomorrow, then you would appreciate the [...]

By ~ Why Egg cann’t be a Vegetarian food (read how to substitute) | GLOBAL INDIAN BLOG on Jun 9, 2013

[...]  in cake or other usage - see different recipes to act as binder/livening agent/ to provide moisture and texture (emulsion) / colour / for extra volume and lightness (cake, pan cakes) [...]

By Genive Esparza on Apr 21, 2013

My family and I have so many food allergies. It feels impossible to make a decent meal for them. We are allergic to Wheat, Soy, Corn, Sesame seeds, Eggs, ..My youngest son milk. Peanuts, walnuts, shelled fish and many seasonal allergies. That's for the great tips in regards to egg substitutes.. I have found gluten free products for baking , but didn't realize I could use 12 oz. soda for baking equivalent to 3 eggs. I have been experimenting and I want to learn how to make a bread that doesn't require wheat, corn, eggs and milk..I feel that we are lacking nutrition and I need help... Thank You Genive

By sunita on Mar 31, 2013

Your recipes are amazing and tasty..!!! Thanks for the excellent posts.

By Egg Substitutes For an Egg-Free Cooking and Baking on Mar 19, 2013

[...] does one approach egg-free cooking, then? Furthermore, why would anyone want to cook or bake without [...]

By Helen Mastalir on Nov 19, 2012

I can not have any form of Yeast,eggs, potatoes, in anything that I eat. What do you sugguest for Pumpkin Pie, dinner rolls, and stuffing. Thank You Helen

By Some Eggcellent Ideas for Egg Alternatives « veghotpot on Oct 16, 2012

[...] The Chef In You Website really helped me understand the science behind it a bit more and also how you may use different flavours: [...]

By helene on Oct 8, 2012

Can you suggest recipes or a cookbook using tapioca flour, potato starch arrowroot flour and egg replacer products in baking? Your website is very informative! Thanks.

By Janani on Aug 8, 2012

wow ur loading with too many information ur like my talking encyclopedia love u girl.