How to find out the purpose of Egg in a recipe?

By DK on Jul 25, 2012

One of the biggest challenges one faces while substituting eggs is know why they are there in the first place. It sure was for me. Yes, I compiled a bunch of Tips to Successful Egg substitution and also a big chart on various Egg Substitutes.

You might also find these helpful:
1. Common Egg Substitutes in Cooking and Baking
2. Tips to Successful Egg Substitution

Purpose of an Egg in Cooking and Baking

But how to find out what ingredient goes where and when? Here’s how:

  1. For moisture and/or richness
  2. If you notice that there is little other liquid, then egg is used for additional moisture. In some cases, it would also be for adding richness along with providing moisture.

  3. For leavening
  4. If there are no other leavening agents in the recipe (Example:. Baking Powder or Baking Soda) but you find that it has acidic ingredients in it (Example: Buttermilk, vinegar, citrus juice like lemon/orange), then Egg in this particular recipe is used as an leavening agent.

  5. As a Binder
  6. There is enough liquid and also leavening (if its needed/necessary depending upon the recipe) agent but no “glue” (Example: Flour, Breadcrumbs, Nuts etc) then Egg is being used as a binder. Also keep in mind that some recipes tend to use flour and breadcrumbs along with eggs to provide the food like burgers, patties more texture. In such cases, you will find that eggs would be used to give it more moisture along with its binding properties. In that case you can use a another substitute for egg but add in more liquid to provide moisture – if needed.

22 Responses to “How to find out the purpose of Egg in a recipe?”
  1. Thank you so much. I was short an egg in a cake recipe and found several options here. Learning the role that the egg was in this recipe it was easy.

    Thanks so much,
    Robyn Prima and Pat L.

  2. Shweta

    Michelle thanks. Will def try ur combination of chia and water.

  3. still don’t understand to be honest!!!! :oops: :evil: 8)

  4. cooking monster
  5. Thanks so much for posting this clever system! I used to intuit the right egg substitute based on my previous experience, but seeing your method really helped me to clarify my process in my own mind and for my readers. :-D

  6. annupamaa

    what doi substitue eggs with in a dark and moist chocolate brownie recipe? :-| thanks!

  7. Michelle

    My son had many allergies from the time he was an infant, among them eggs, milk, nuts, beef, seafood, etc.. I experimented with many substitutions, and after 10 years I just discovered a new one! I’ve used flax meal and water for eggs in many recipes, but just learned about CHIA. Mix chia seeds in the same ratio as flax- 1 tbsp chia seeds to three tbsp water. I used coconut water just as a matter of preference, but water is fine. You don’t even need to grind the chia seeds, although you certainly can; just use them whole. They are quite solvable and in about 10 minutes you’ll have a gelatinous substance. Chia seeds are a fabulous thickener and the nutritional properties will blow your mind. I let mine sit a little more than 5 minutes, so there was just a little snap left- like the little fish eggs in sushi is the best way to describe- it’s not like you have to gnaw away at it. The brownies were the best I ever made! They were so moist, but still perfectly formed, and in the edges where a stray seed was baked in, there was the slightest nutty quality. My son is severely allergic to all nuts, so they’re banned completely from our diet, and studies have shown chia to be ALMOST non allergenic. Truly remarkable. Chia is also a very effective thickener- gravy, soup, pudding, snack “gels” (maybe even Jell-O shots?!?) Bonus- chia is shown to impede the absorption of carbs leading to balanced blood sugar and weight loss. More to the point here- amazing egg /corn starch substitute. Check it out and give it a try!

  8. nightnurse

    @Andreq it’s flaxseed

  9. Megha Tank

    In the last section of how to find egg is used as what, you ve written ex. in brackets. Is that Excluding or Example?

    Its example. Have made the changes. –DK

  10. Charu Gohel

    I don’t use eggs for religious reasons. I do vegan baking. I have
    successfully made quick breads, muffins made without eggs. I haven’t had success making chocolate chip cookies. I have tried making it from scratch but that has lot of soda bi carbonate taste. I have used a mix of pancake mix and flour they either become too soft or too crispy. I have researched a lot. I want to know how much water to substitute for 2 eggs.

    Thank You

  11. var

    :) very very informative!!!

  12. Andreq

    Try using ground falxseed instead of eggs…look it up online.

  13. Shruti

    How do I substitute eggs in a flourless chocolate cake? It seems to be doing all three as mentioned above.

  14. janet devlin

    Thanks, helped a lot for my report. :)

  15. lynneta

    trying to make a loaf of bread from brown rice flour.. i am vegan.. what do you suggest to replace the egg for a savory loaf of bread.. dont want it to taste like banana. so dont want to use banana. do you have a favorite recipe.. any suggestions,

  16. Joyce

    I have been allergic to eggs for 30 years, yet I do a lot of cooking and baking for other people. When asked about my recipes, I tell people that if a baking recipe calls for one egg, it probably means you can make the recipe without it, hence quick breads and muffins, some cookies. If it calls for 2 or more, they are needed for binding. That usually works for me.

  17. i think that was great information i am in middle school and this was for my science project and i think that wil really help me out and give me enought info to get a passing grade like i always wanted to in scince cause right now im not doing so well but anyway thats it really helped……..-justin corry

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