14 Substitutes for Eggs That Totally Work
Because a missing ingredient shouldn't stand between you and freshly baked cookies
In case you haven’t noticed, groceries (and um, everything else) are expensive right now. Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products have skyrocketed most due to labor shortages, transportation issues, recalls and production costs. As a result of rising prices and limited inventory, you may not have eggs in your fridge on the reg. But if you have a cake, omelet or creamy dressing on the agenda, you may be wondering what to use instead. Luckily, there’s no need to rush off to the store, since you likely have a suitable substitute for eggs in your kitchen already. Read on for 14 seamless, easy swaps that will work in a pinch.
How to Choose a Substitute for Eggs
The first thing you need to know when choosing an egg substitute is that eggs wear many hats in the kitchen. In addition to infusing moisture into various baked goods, eggs can also play an important role as binding, emulsifying and leavening agents, says King Arthur Baking. They're also key for texture and appearance for certain recipes. So, before you attempt a swap, figure out what job eggs are doing in the recipe you’re working with and choose a substitute that will do the same.
How to Buy Cheaper Eggs
Prices are soaring across the board, so odds are every grocery chain is selling the usual dozen for more than you’re used to. Nevertheless, shopping generic brands will likely help you save a bit. Store brands aren’t necessarily lower in quality than name brands; they simply have less advertising behind them, so they can be sold for less. Buying in bulk is also a great way to save. You may need to buy more eggs at once than you’re used to, but it’ll cost you less per serving in the long run.
The Best Substitutes for Eggs
1. Flax “Eggs”
- Best for: baking recipes that use eggs as a binder
Flax “eggs,” while not actually eggs, are terrific substitutes for the real thing when you're baking a recipe in which the egg serves as a binder. For the equivalent of one egg, grind 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds in a food processor and mix it with 3 tablespoons of water until fully combined. Let it rest for five minutes to thicken before using it in a recipe. Flax eggs create a slightly nutty flavor, so they're great for recipes where that works, like in whole-grain baked goods (like Ambition Kitchen’s whole wheat sunflower honey oatmeal bread, pictured above) and fluffy pancakes.
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- Best for: recipes that use eggs for moisture and binding; tender baked goods
If you're baking a cake or whipping up a batch of muffins, buttermilk will do the trick. This fermented dairy drink adds moisture to baked goods and helps bind ingredients in recipes that already include a leavening agent (baking soda or baking powder, for example). For this swap, use ¼ cup buttermilk for every egg the recipe calls for.
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3. Mashed Avocado
- Best for: recipes that use eggs for moisture
Mashed avocado might seem wildly different from egg, but its rich, savory flavor and thick, creamy texture actually makes it an excellent egg imposter for baked goods in which the egg is used primarily for moisture. (Think: brownies or muffins.) The lack of egg means that your recipe likely won’t brown as much but the end result should still be nice and moist. For this substitute, simply mash the avocado until it's silky smooth and use ¼ cup to replace one egg.
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- Best for: recipes that call for egg whites; recipes that benefit from additional airiness or lift
Aquafaba, the liquid that comes in a can of chickpeas, is a great substitute for egg whites when whipped. To try it, strain the chickpea liquid into a mixer and beat it into a fluff that you can use to make everything from mayo to macarons to gluten-free raspberry lemon pavlova. The ratio here is 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per egg or egg white.
- Best for: recipes that use eggs for moisture and binding
Another fermented dairy option that can stand in for eggs, plain yogurt performs well in recipes in which eggs function as a binding agent, adding moisture and improving the texture of the finished product. Again, this option is best for cakes, muffins and other recipes that already feature a leavening agent. For this swap, use ¼ cup of plain yogurt to replace one egg.
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6. Vegetable Oil, Water and Baking Powder
- Best for: recipes that use eggs for leavening and don't contain another leavening agent
These two pantry staples can be combined to make an egg substitute with leavening power for quick breads, scones and other baked goods that don't already call for another leavening ingredient. To substitute one egg, simply combine 1½ tablespoons of vegetable oil with 1½ tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
- Best for: light, fluffy baked goods that use eggs for leavening
Presenting, one more reason to love seltzer: You can replace one egg with ¼ cup of seltzer for an egg substitute that works like a charm, particularly in recipes that involve a leavening agent. Pro tip: The bubblier the better—so definitely opt for seltzer, not something like Perrier.
8. Mashed Banana
- Best for: baked goods that use eggs for moisture and that can accommodate banana-y sweetness and flavor
Swapping in ¼ cup of mashed banana for one egg (about half of a banana, depending on how big it is) adds moisture and a touch of extra sweetness to baked goods. The only thing to keep in mind is that bananas typically impart at least a little of their flavor to whatever you're pairing them with. As such, when substituting eggs with mashed banana, stick to recipes for baked goods that you don't mind tasting a little banana-y.
- Best for: baked goods that use eggs for moisture, particularly those that benefit from a fudgy texture
Like mashed bananas, using applesauce instead of eggs adds moisture to whatever you're baking, making it a great option for cakes that you want to turn out extra moist or fudgy. For this swap, use ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce for each egg in the recipe. (Note: Unsweetened applesauce is best, but the sweetened kind will work if that's all you have on hand—just cut the sugar in the recipe slightly so that whatever you're baking doesn't come out sickly sweet.)
10. Silken Tofu
- Best for: vegan baked goods; baked goods that have another leavening agent and use eggs for binding
Another good vegan option, silken tofu can be pureed and used as an egg substitute and binding agent in recipes that have baking soda or baking powder. (Note: This one works especially well in vegan brownies.) Use ¼ cup pureed silken tofu to replace one egg.
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- Best for: thickening custards and sauces; baked goods that contain another leavening agent
If you happen to have arrowroot powder on hand, you’re in luck—it can be used as a stand-in for egg in any baking recipe that has another leavening agent at work, as well as custard, dressing and sauce recipes. For this substitute, simply mix 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder with 3 tablespoons of water; the resulting slurry replaces one egg.
12. Vinegar and Baking Soda
- Best for: recipes that use eggs for leavening
Much like vegetable oil and baking powder, this swap is ideal for recipes in which eggs do all the leavening work (i.e., there’s no other leavening agent listed in the recipe). Combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of distilled white or apple cider vinegar for a bubbly mixture that can replace one egg.
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13. Nut Butter
- Best for: baked goods that use eggs as a binding agent and would benefit from the taste of nut butter
No surprise here: Nut butter works well as a binding agent. You can use 3 tablespoons of any creamy type of nut butter (almond butter is especially mild and delicious) to replace an egg.
14. Soy Lecithin
- Best for: recipes that use egg as a binder
You might not have soy lecithin hanging out in your pantry already, but if you've eliminated eggs from your diet, you may want to stock up at your local health food store. Soy lecithin is added to a variety of different foods because of its binding properties, which is why it works well as an egg substitute. Add 1 tablespoon of soy lecithin powder directly to your batter to replace one egg.