baking without eggs

It’s late as I write this. The weekend is a blur of sunshine on green grass, kids with ice cream faces smiling through tiredness, trips to the city to help a friend celebrate the publication of her book, buying honey sticks at the farmers’ market, planting a garden, ferry rides, a meal at Danny’s restaurant with three kids under five chattering and climbing the booth, and coughing.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of coughing.

Poor Lu. We didn’t pay it much attention when she caught a cold last weekend. We all did. We’d been working on a big project that consumed our time and made us smile. By the weekend, we were ready to collapse together. She sniffled and snuffled but ran at her usual, gleeful pace. In the middle of the week, she ran a little fever, then kicked it. We thought she had a little bug.

And then she coughed all night long and cried the rest of the time.

This morning, we took her to the doctor. Double ear infection. The beginning of pneumonia.

Thank goodness for antibiotics.

So today, rather than sunlight and ice cream faces, brought snuggle time on the couch, Sesame Street, a toppling pile of books, and coughing that slowly started to diminish after a dose of bright-pink liquid. (And cherry popsicles. Life’s not so bad when there are cherry popsicles.) Lu will be fine soon. I’m not complaining about the chance to be with her all day, feeling the weight of her leaning against my chest. Sometime soon, she’ll be running and dancing again.

However, I’m pretty darned exhausted. That rhubarb crumble I was going to share? That’s going to have to wait until tomorrow.

Tonight, however, I’d love to hear from you.

Everyone’s responses to my question about how to bake without dairy? Generous and helpful. I love this community.

Let’s do it again.

How do you bake without eggs?

(I’ll link to this post when I put up a recipe with eggs in it.)

Go. I want to hear from you.

 

 

 

57 comments on “baking without eggs

  1. Celia

    I found Alton Brown’s baking book really helpful when I first went to bake without eggs. He talks a lot about the different functions eggs play in baking, so once I figured that out I was able to substitute leavener and/or binder as appropriate in specific recipes. I use eggs a lot now, because of my CSA, but when I run out I’m not frantic for a trip to a farm like I would be were I not to know how to sub them out.

    I’ve found GF recipes need a little more “oomph” in the binder category when not using gums, so I generally use ground chia seed as opposed to flax meal. (I still use flax a lot, though, but mostly in combination.) If I need to add leavener I usually do a little baking powder along with the chia or flax. Yogurt also works well in combination with a little leavener (1/4 cup per large egg).

    I don’t like Ener-G egg replacer because I can’t stand the taste (it’s a little chalky), but it’s decent in a bind. They *are* good in cases where you don’t want the color of flax or chia (as in the case of a light colored cake).

    These are great posts! I’ve had a good time reading through the tips.

    1. sproutsmama

      I agree: I find a “chia” egg to have more binding power than a “flax” egg. I do prefer either/both of them to the Ener-G replacer though.

      I’ll have to track down the Alton Brown book. Your mention here makes it sound invaluable.

      1. Carrie

        You can use a white chia and you can’t see it even in light colored cakes. Purely Chia has a great one! I use it all the time.… in everything… and my children don’t know it’s there.

    2. Sandi

      Celia — do you know the name of Alton’s Brown’s book? I would love to read it! I have tried a few egg substitutes but haven’t figured out which does which. My son is allergic to eggs, so I try to bake without them a lot. And my husband and I love Good Eats! So would be great to have his book. :)

  2. Damselfly

    Oh, thank you for posting this question. My doctor just told me that I am allergic to eggs (as well as previously diagnosed wheat and soy). I have been pondering what to do, while shedding a few tears over the loss of yet another beloved food. Why can’t I be allergic to bell peppers, which I hate? Anyway, I am eager to read the posts and see my options for egg free baking. I just can’t imagine life without banana muffins!

    1. Shan

      I can *SO* identify with that! No worries! The batter bread recipe I have used for the last 5 or 6 years has only fruit puree and oil as liquids, and no other egg replacer. For a recipe that would make a loaf of banana bread in a breadmaker or about 15–18 muffins, I use 2/3 cup of canola oil and about 1–1/4 to 1–1/2 cups of banana puree (about 3 bananas), or applesauce (and add cinnamon), or pears (which were great with pecans, when I could eat that…) When I need the structure that eggs provide, I usually use Ener-G Egg Replacer, because I don’t tolerate flax well, but that’s not necessary in a moist batter bread, I’ve found. I think that 1/4 cup of fruit puree translates to 1 egg.

      1. Damselfly

        Thanks Shan for the support and ideas. I haven’t been brave enough to enter the kitchen to try any egg-free cooking yet. Hopefully soon.

    2. Laura

      I had to laugh at your post because I just found out I have an intolerance to eggs and green peppers (I like them though.) I’ll be learning right with you. I also can’t do wheat or soy. The hardest part for me was also finding out that I have an intolerance to cholocate :(

    3. Libby

      Banana muffins, yum! Need a recipe?

      In one bowl: 4 mashed bananas, half a cup of sugar, a quarter of a cup of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of vanilla. You can add in the replacement for one egg as well if you like, but if your bananas are reasonably big you shouldn’t need it. Mix them all up together.

      In another bowl: 1.5 cups of plain flour (whatever GF mix you use), 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Whisk them all together.

      Combine your wet and dry ingredients, mix them until just combined. You can add in some chopped pecans, or chocolate chips, or raspberries if you want some extra flavour. Fill up your muffin tray and bake for 20–25 minutes. Nom them down!

  3. Lib

    The flax/water method works for me. I blend it in my Magic Bullet until it has the viscous consistency of a scrambled egg. I have never had it fail, though I baked a cake this weekend that called for 5 eggs and wondered if that would be “pushing the envelope” a bit.

  4. Morri

    I have heard that applesauce and mashed banana do wonders as egg replacers. Personally, I substituted avocado for oil in a muffin recipe, and may be a beneficial egg replacer also. Those who can tolerate soy (which is not me) use mashed tofu as an alternative.

    I wonder, however, if eggs are even necessary. When I started using Ruhlman’s book, baking by weight made the use of gums obsolete. So what happens when an eggs just isn’t used?

    This calls for an experiment!

  5. Elaine

    When I need a dessert for some kids I know that have egg allergies (and it’s usually a last minute visit!) The cake mix with a 12 oz. can of soda — the combination is your choice works well, cake will be very moist. Brownies made with applesauce subbed for the eggs works like a charm also!

    The Ener-G egg replacer requires a lot of thought, mixing and doesn’t always give me the results I want.

    1. Jen D

      Elaine…have you done the soda trick with gluten free cake mix? do you put anything else in? or just the cake mix & soda? thanks so much! jen

  6. erin

    I tend to use the flaxmeal or chia seeds but just recently made a cake that called for baking soda/vinegar as a leavening agent. This is such a great topic!

  7. Jenn

    Being newly allergic to egg whites, I now use my old vegan tricks such as applesauce, which can be used instead of a banana — sometimes the banana-ness comes through too much in certain recipes. Also with applesauce I can buy the portioned sizes — one is normally all I need and stash them away — never worrying if I have a banana kicking around the house. When I wasn’t trying to eliminate soy from my diet, silken tofu also was also a good option. In the end it comes down to figuring out what each recipe needs. Sometimes it is as simple as a little starch, sometimes as noted above it takes a levening ingredient and a substitute.

  8. Miss B

    Things that would normally be a bit custard-y in texture (meaning that would be a main function of the eggs — or eggs & dairy — in a recipe) I’ve found that mixing some very soft tofu with a bit of soy milk and blending that in well can accomplish that same kind of custard mouth-feel, without screwing with the taste at all. And I always add extra leavener when baking without eggs. (I’m not egg or dairy-free myself, but I have a few vegan friends and I love to bake, so I’m pretty good at making vegan substitutions in baking — though I’ve never done it to anything overly fussy or fancy.)

  9. Johnna

    Depending on how many eggs are used in a recipe, I use several substitutes. Although I am not egg-free, I rely on these when baking for vegan friends or when our backyard hens go on strike.

    For a recipe with just a few eggs, I use 1 T. flax seed with 3 T. hot water. If the recipe calls for more eggs, I prefer chia seed. Chia seed is magic when combined with liquid, like tapioca pearls that magically bind most recipes together. (Chia is newer to me than flax, I can’t wait to experiment more with it!) If a recipe calls for a lot of eggs, I prefer silken tofu, 1/4 cup per egg.

    Happy egg-less baking!

  10. hether

    So interested now in trying chia seed after reading more than one post about it. I have always thought flax seed meal works great as an egg sub. in anything like bread or cake. In custardy things, like pumpkin pie or cassaroles etc, I use soft silken tofu blended until creamy and smooth with a dab of soy/almond milk.

  11. Caneel

    Hope Lu is better soon! I’ve been nursing my children back to health the last few days, as well. I hope you get some rest!

    I enjoyed your last post on the dairy and look forward to seeing what people say on the eggs. I don’t usually omit either, although at rare times I do, and flax has been a help in the egg thing. I’m certainly no expert and so I’ll leave that up to those who bake without on a regular basis and learn from them. Thanks for these posts!

  12. Gabrielle Brost

    I usually make flax eggs to sub for eggs. I have also found that using a mashed up overripe banana works as well — it is particularly good for quick breads and muffins. I’ve heard chia seed also works wonders (and is a nutritional powerhouse) so I am definitely going to experiment with that soon!

    Hope Lu is feeling better — sending lots of hugs and happy thoughts your way.

  13. nic

    I use 1 tbspn flaxseed to about 2 or three tspn of water.
    I put both in a pan , let it simmer and thicken up. let it cool and bake away!

  14. badlandsquilts

    When my son had an egg allergy our fav recipe book was Baking Without Eggs by Rosemary Emro. Many of the successful recipes we used called for vinegar/water & baking powder concoction as a replacement.

  15. Maggie

    I once made a vegan chocolate cake for a friend when we were in college… I used coffee as the binder (brewed, not the grounds) and it worked great! Probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. I sadly lost the recipe though.

  16. Cynthia

    I wish Lu a speedy recovery! My little boy is under the weather as well. He is allergic to eggs, among other things, so we don’t keep them in the house. Generally, I’ll use a combination of fruit puree (apple, pear, pumpkin) or soy/rice yogurt with flax/chia to achieve better binding and moisture in cakes and muffins. When making a light colored cake, the flax will “disappear” better if you use golden flax seed and grind it to a fine consistency in a coffee/spice grinder. Then, increase the liquid (water or non-dairy milk if baking vegan) by 3 tablespoons for each tablespoon of ground flax seed used. It also seems to work better for me if my wet ingredients are warm to room temp. before adding to my dry ingredients.

    Great to hear everyone’s suggestions!

  17. Laura

    A lot of the subs I use are already mentioned. Mashed banana, applesauce, pumpkin or sweet potato. Tofu, flaz, chia seed. Commercial egg replacer, or a bit of extra starch work well for binding in certain recipes. Certain recipes I just haven’t had a lot of luck with– particularly corn bread and brownies.

  18. Shan

    Poor Lu. We had a nasty virus passed around our family (of 6) in the last couple of weeks, and because I knew it was a virus, I didn’t take the kids to the doctor, but it just kept hanging on, and they kept getting more and more miserable… Yep. Double ear infections… I feel like such a bad mommy when that happens… :( Praying for a quick recovery!

  19. Jim Shirley

    Some interesting replies! I use applesauce frequently. But I generally only substitute eggs when making gluten-free bread, cake or muffins. The key thing I found is that you don’t want to use sweetened applesauce. Use all-natural. It gives great loft to cakes and breads and makes them less dense.

  20. Colette

    savory dishes water & ground flaxseed, sweet dishes, i sub. w/applesauce. neither, trying to cut back on cholestoral intake.

  21. Tammy

    Thank you so much for doing posts like these! All four of us are intolerant to chicken eggs and two of us to duck eggs, so learning about new substitutions is wonderful. I have subbed the flax meal with water which has worked well for us. We’ve also subbed applesauce for a couple of things. I tried chia seeds once but it didn’t work, do they need to be ground up? And my daughter doesn’t like the EnerG replacer, but we have used it on occasion.

    Lu, get better soon! :)

  22. Shawn Christopher Hoover

    I bake gluten free for my wonderful spouse. I bake without eggs in an effort to keep my cholesterol under control after having a few heart attacks.

    It’s a good thing that these two forms of baking work excellent together.

    I mostly use flaxseed meal as my egg replacement of choice. I’m a 3 tbsp of hot water to 1 tbsp of flax per egg type of baker. Occasionally I will use silken tofu or applesauce. Never banana (Shawn is allergic).

    I have been reluctant to try chia seeds, but after reading a few posts here, I am inspired to give it a try.

  23. Janel

    I tend to use banana or apple sauce. I like to keep individual servings of apple sauce on hand, because they’ll last for a few months in the pantry and they work great as an egg substitute.

  24. moonablaze

    I haven’t subbed for eggs since I’ve been gluten free, but when I used to veganize my cookies for friends I would use flax seed meal. 1 tablespoon flax meal and 3 tablespoons of water to play the role of 1 egg.

  25. Courtney

    I’m vegan, so I bake without eggs all the time and I usually use cornstarch and water. I use 1Tbsp of cornstarch with 3 Tbsp of water for one egg, but if I’m replacing more than one every second egg is replaced with 2 Tbsp each cornstarch and water. I’ve used it in everything from cookies to loaves to pastries (both gluten filled pre-diagnosis and gluten free after) and never had it fail. Any starch should work instead for those who can’t handle corn (I’ve used arrowroot quite a few times in a pinch). As others have said flax, chia, and banana work pretty darn good too when the flavours of the recipe allow.

    Love the site btw! :)

  26. Beth W.

    I’m so glad you asked this, Shauna. I recently discovered I am sensitive to eggs and am trying to figure this out now. I’m also sensitive to banana so using banana isn’t an option but I’m so happy to see there are other great options. I’ll definitely keep them in mind!

  27. Patricia

    I’ve done this several times with baked goods & it has worked out well:
    1 egg = 1/4 cup applesauce & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder mixed together.
    Interesting to read all these other recommendations!

  28. Fiona

    I use apple puree in cakes and a bit of baking powder for lift. I’m extremely allergic to bananas as well as eggs, so can’t use them. I have used egg replacer successfully when baking too and I’m just experimenting with flax …
    I really, really miss quiche and would love to know of any substitutes people have used successfully for something so egg-y!

  29. Caryn

    After reading through the previous comments, I feel so silly for actually enjoying using Ener-g egg replacer! I find it incredibly easy when I want to whip something up last minute. I will admit it took many trials and errors to get the consistency just right for my taste and recipes (I don’t follow the directions on the box — I “measure” the replacer generously and let it thicken up a bit longer). But now that I know how it works best for me, it’s great in a pinch, as others have noted.

    That being said, I do prefer a couple other egg substitute options:
    I like to use applesauce or pumpkin (which I think are both especially good in brownies! — and Janel’s suggestion to buy the individual serving cups to keep in the pantry is great). I most often use a combo of arrowroot or baking soda with apple cider vinegar. Sometimes instead of the vinegar I will use lemon juice.

    Jennifer Katzinger’s Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book (http://www.amazon.com/Flying-Aprons-Gluten-Free-Vegan-Baking/dp/1570616299)
    is a great resource for excellent baked goods with no eggs or commercial egg replacer powders. The Maple Pecan Muffins will be on my table in the morning… yumm-o!

  30. Snippets of Thyme

    Well, I feel a little silly leaving this recipe on rhubarb here. The recipe is “Poached Rhubarb with Elderflower Sabayon”. Sabayon is all about the egg yolks and I am reading that is a problem for many people. I found this dessert to be one of the best, subtle, sweet, tangy desserts that I have ever had so I’ll leave it here anyway since I’m having fun doing the “White on Rice” offerings.
    Here is the “Poached Rhubarb with Elderflower Sabayon”…
    http://rileymadel.blogspot.com/2011/04/poached-rhubarb-with-saboyan-cream.html

  31. Johanna GGG

    It seems to me that substitution is about understanding what eggs do — they are so different in lots of recipes — binding is done by flax (or banana if you don’t mind the taste), richness can be given by soy flour or tahini, and tofu or besan can help to give some of the texture in an omelette or quiche — will look forward to the ideas in other comments

  32. Vicky

    I have used flaxseed as a binder for some time now in burgers and savoury goods and since your post, instead of xanthan gum, but to get a good lift to baked goods 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to 1 tablespoon of vinegar (I use organic cider vinegar) to 200/250 grams of flour works wonders being careful to keep them separated until the end of the preparation process then mix quickly before baking. Great article!!

  33. Erika

    One sub that I haven’t seen listed yet is stewed prunes. Take dried prunes and plump them in a bit of hot water, then mash up to be the same consistency as apple sauce. Gives a wonderful depth of flavor to anything chocolate–avoids the banana-y flavor if you’re not a banana lover.

  34. John Monday

    I know a lot of folks who don’t eat eggs (they’re allergic, for health reasons, or concerns about animal cruelty). Here’s an awesome site that gives tips on cooking and baking without eggs: http://EggFreeLiving.com

  35. Jennifer L.

    Do you know what gluten free food I have a really hard time making without eggs? Waffles! I want waffles! We’re trying out a new cast iron skillet and I am hoping this will work better than my previous Belgian style waffle maker (too much rising, not enough binding?). I can bake anything with eggs. Subbing flax or chia eggs works great in pancakes, muffins and other bread-y like foods. Perfecting the gluten free-egg free waffle is a goal of mine.

    1. Celeste

      I often replace the eggs in gf waffles with flaxeggs — I use only 1 teaspoon golden flaxseed meal to 3 tablespoons warm water. I use an immersion or stick blender and process it for a few seconds till it gels. Gluten-free waffles are the one thing I’ve never had issue with when I replaced the eggs with flaxeggs. And I know this waffle maker is a bit on the expensive side but we love it. My waffles never stick and it requires no greasing: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001CHL3Q0/?tag=celsbes-20

  36. Sarah

    I was maybe three, and really sick with a cold or something, lying across my mom’s lap in the big comfy recliner, when my brother (who was about eight) brought me a popsicle. My mom was a bit baffled, until he told her “a popsicle will make her feel better!” From then on, we always said that popsicles make everything better.

  37. Kaeli

    If you can tolerate duck eggs yet (as opposed to chicken eggs), go for it! I have not tried it yet (as I am newly egg-free). Check the internet for where you can obtain duck eggs in your area. One duck egg usually equates to two large chicken eggs.
    I really like using flaxseed, applesauce, banana, or extra leavener such as baking soda. I have discovered also it really depends on the recipe (brownies and bananas isn’t necessarily my favorite mix).
    Fpr most boxed recipes, I have used flaxseed meal/water mix and it has worked well (I just add an extra “egg” (ie: 2tbsp of flaxmeal/6tbsp water when recipe calls for 1 egg). Doing this tends to add extra “fluff” to the baked good.
    Never tried chia before. Hm.

    Breads, muffins, and cupcakes I found not to need much altering. After checking out the Flying Apron in Seattle (http://www.flyingapron.com) a gluten/soy free and vegan bakery/cafe, I discovered in their dark chocolate cupcakes to have maple syrup which makes it moist and holds it together. I tried making my own from their recipe with less maple syrup (watching sugar intake), and the whole cupcake crumbled.

  38. Heather in SF

    Who knew? Flaxseed, chia, how fascinating, I may have to try that myself. I was looking for “baking without eggs” and here you are Shauna! It’s wonderful. Since apples and bananas are still on the possible allergy list for me it’s nice to see some other ideas that don’t involve soy. So glad you posed this question.

  39. Farzana

    Some interesting information. Thanks so much! I have been recently diagnosed with being allergic to wheat, eggs and dairy (and several other foods). I have tried the flax 3 to 4 times and my loaves ALWAYS turn up soggy. Maybe I should try the Chia. I do find Ener-G works okay though. My 1.5 year old is also severely allergic to egg (anaphylactic shock) so I really want to learn more about being able to bake gluten free AND egg free togeather. Does anyone know of a good cookbook?

  40. Cindy

    To substitute an egg I use 1 teaspoon (5mL) psyllium husk with 3 tablespoons (60mL) boiling water, mixed and left to form a gel. Has worked pretty well so far. I can empathise with those of you with multiple allergies — for me it’s gluten, dairy, egg, almond and peanut. There are a few ideas listed here I will try — thanks all!

    1. Celeste

      Psyllium husk powder is also a great substitute for xanthan gum in gf cooking. You use the same amount psyllium as you would xanthan. And it does have the added benefit of helping baked goods rise a bit.

      Psyllium caused me a little bit of digestive upset so now I use konjac powder (it’s natural and corn free) instead as a binding agent in my gf cooking and baking. But for those who can use the psyllium — it’s a great substitute.