The 9 Best Egg Substitutes in Cooking & Baking

Whether you're making chocolate chip cookies or meatloaf, you don't need eggs. We're sharing our go-to substitutes, plus some favorite recipes.

November  4, 2020
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Maybe you forgot to buy eggs at the supermarket. Or you dropped the carton on the floor. Or you don’t eat animal products, period. In these cases and then some, egg substitutes come in handy. Today, we’re going to answer your need-to-know questions, and share some of our favorite eggy—but egg-free!—recipes.

The egg chapter in On Food and Cooking, one of the most acclaimed food science books ever printed, is 47 pages long. Which is to say: Eggs are a multi-talented ingredient. They emulsify sauces, leaven baked goods, thicken custards, hinder crystallization...and that’s not even getting into separating the yolks and whites.

If a recipe was developed with eggs and you’re forging your own path with a substitution, there’s no getting around that the recipe will turn out differently (after all, you’re using a different ingredient). But the ingredients below—we’re talking pantry staples like flaxseed, chia seed, and aquafaba (you’ll see), as well as fruity stuff like mashed banana and applesauce—will ensure that the eggs’ absence is noticed as little as possible, if at all.

Best Egg Substitutes

1. Flaxseed Meal

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds have an earthy, nutty flavor. When ground up—you can buy them pre-ground, or grind whole flaxseed yourself with a spice mill or coffee grinder—and combined with water, their mucilaginous superpowers kick into gear, yielding a consistency much like a beaten egg. Flax eggs are a popular pick in baked goods, from cookies to quick breads, because they add body and structure. But unlike eggs, they don’t assist in leavening.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Since some of these (flax and chia for example) don't help with leavening, do you need to change the amount of leavening agent you use when swapping out eggs in a baked goods recipe? Specifically, I'm looking to replace eggs in my zucchini bread recipe. Would I need to add more baking soda and/or powder to compensate for the loss of leavening? I don't need to go gluten free, so I'll be using regular flour. Thanks!”
— meganbenn

1 egg ≈ 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons water

2. Chia Seeds

Though they have a milder flavor than flaxseeds, chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids (not to mention protein and fiber). Their thickening powers make them an A+ shortcut to homemade jam and, for the same reason, they’re useful when you need to add more structure to vegan baked goods, like waffles, quickbreads, and more. Note: This also doesn’t contribute to leavening.

1 egg ≈ 1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons water

3. Mashed Banana

If you’re like me, you always have bananas around, which makes this a super convenient substitute. As The Kitchn notes, this ingredient works best “in chewy baked goods like brownies,” as well as blondies. But depending on the recipe, the flavor might be a dealbreaker. In a 2015 vegan baking experiment, our contributor Sophie used mashed banana as a replacement for eggs in a muffin recipe, and reported back: “Out of all the muffins, the banana one clearly looked the most appealing...The texture was ever so slightly dense with a moist crumb. The only characteristic of this muffin I found problematic was the fact that it really tasted of banana.”

1 egg ≈ ¼ cup mashed banana

4. Applesauce

Like mashed bananas, applesauce is an everyday ingredient that you might already have around. Unlike bananas, it has a more neutral flavor, which can go less noticed in baked goods. Optionally, you can stir a pinch of baking powder into the applesauce to aid in leavening and to avoid the applesauce weighing down the batter.

1 egg ≈ ¼ cup applesauce

5. Silken Tofu

As its name implies, silken is one of the softest, silkiest tofu classifications. Add it to a blender or food processor and you’ll end up with a fluffy-smooth puree, which can serve as a sturdy binder in baked goods. I love how its creamy, neutral flavor doesn’t cause any distractions.

1 egg ≈ ¼ cup blended silken tofu

6. Aquafaba

Aquafaba is the buzzword for: chickpeas’ cooking liquid. (That’s the same liquid that in every can of chickpeas as well! So drain those legumes for baking a batch of brownies now, then use those beans for crispy chickpeas tonight.) While it looks unappetizing and smells like a bean, we’ve relied on it as a “magical” egg replacement for years. Add aquafaba to a stand mixer with some sugar and you’re on your way toward a doppelganger vegan meringue. It also works well as a whole egg substitute in baked goods, like cakes and quick breads.

1 egg ≈ 3 tablespoons aquafaba

7. Starches

Starches, such as arrowroot powder, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch, and agar, all mixed with a bit of water, can serve as an egg substitute in enriched breads, cakes, and as a thickening agent in custards.

1 egg ≈ 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder, cornstarch, potato starch, or tapioca starch mixed with 3 tablespoons water or 1 tablespoon agar mixed with 1 tablespoon water as a mock egg white

8. Vinegar + Baking Powder

Combine these two ingredients and you have a lightning-rod leavening agent on your hands (remember, eggs add structure to baked goods and help with rising). While this combo can encourage cakes, muffins, and the like to reach their highest potential, it’s also more sensitive—and prone to error—than the ingredients listed above. Definitely follow recipes with this substitute (like this Genius vegan birthday cake!), but I wouldn’t recommend it as an off-the-cut replacement.

9. Commercial Replacers

If you don’t feel comfortable taking a chance on any one ingredient, consider turning to a commercially developed egg replacement, such as Energ-G, Orgran, or Bob’s Red Mill. Just follow the package instructions and rest easy.

How to Substitute Eggs in Recipes

Now that we know the most common egg substitutes, let’s dive deep with some recipe examples, and figure out what’s your best bet in each.

What’s a good egg substitute in cake?

Flax eggs, mashed banana, applesauce, aquafaba, or commercial replacers.

What’s a good egg substitute in cookies?

Flax eggs, chia eggs, or commercial replacers.

What’s a good egg substitute in pancakes?

Mashed banana, applesauce, aquafaba, or commercial replacers.

What’s a good egg substitute in brownies?

Mashed banana, applesauce, or commercial replacers.

What’s a good egg substitute in meatloaf?

Flax eggs, chia eggs, aquafaba, silken tofu, or commercial replacers.

I Can't Believe There Are No Eggs

Tofu Breakfast Scramble

Turmeric adds sunny color, Dijon mustard and nutritional yeast add savoriness, and tahini adds richness. (Tempeh bacon on the side, highly encouraged.)

Vegan Date Nut Bread

Flax meal keeps this date nut bread moist and fluffy—no eggs needed. There’s also a hot tip in this recipe for vegan buttermilk: vinegar and non-dairy milk left to sit for 5 minutes.

Vegan Banana Bread-Cake

It’s a cake! It's banana bread! It’s both! This fudgy, uber-chocolatey cake stays moist, yet still rises to form that spongy, cakey texture by relying on mashed bananas and almond butter instead of eggs. Now you just have to decide if you want to make it for dessert tonight or tomorrow morning’s breakfast.

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Good morning to these vegan cinnamon rolls! While many cinnamon roll doughs call for an egg, this dough is just flour, sugar, yeast, water, non-dairy milk, and coconut oil. Their shiny glaze is as simple as powdered sugar and more vegan milk.

Vegan Brioche

Vegan brioche?! I need to sit down. Though it’s a bit of an oxymoron, as brioche dough is typically enriched with eggs and butter to get that luxuriously rich and pillowy texture, this vegan brioche calls for aquafaba (that magic liquid from a can of chickpeas!) and oat milk.

Vegan Chocolate Pie

Bring this stunner to the table and proudly announce, “there’s tofu in this pie!” When blended with vegan milk, maple syrup, and non-dairy chocolate, silken tofu whips up into the dreamiest mousse.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Classic pumpkin pie relies on eggs to thicken the custard when baked, but in this case, a homemade cashew cream and a bit of tapioca starch do all the work. (And yep, the flaky crust is vegan, too!)

Secretly Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

These chocolate chip cookies, with crispy edges and gooey middles, defy all reason. There’s no standard egg replacer in sight—just water and oil.

Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes

Baking powder, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar join forces to make these pumpkin pancakes light and fluffy. Add some ground ginger to the batter if you want them spicier.

Best Ever Vegan Waffles

“Ultra-crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and the tiniest bit chewy, these waffles are phenomenal not in spite of the full package of tofu,” our resident Genius Kristen Miglore writes, “but because of it.”

Vegan Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Muffins

Talk about overachievers: These muffins are vegan and gluten-free and double-chocolate. Flax eggs save the day here, giving the muffins a confident structure.

Vegan Carrot Cake With Coconut Cream Frosting

Flax eggs, we meet again. We’d eat this raisin-studded carrot cake plain, but the coconut cream frosting really sends it over the top.

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake

Baking powder, baking soda, and vinegar give this chocolate cake its plush texture, while mashed avocado (yes) adds tons of moisture and richness.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownies

Soaked chia seeds work as the binding agent in these gooey vegan brownies—they’re actually gluten-free, too (thanks, buckwheat flour!) Serve them with toasted walnuts and a scoop of vegan ice cream.

3-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies without eggs? Totally possible. These include oats (duh), brown sugar, and tahini. Because, in this case, the egg substitute is magic.

This post contains products that are independently selected by our editors and writers, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission. What are your go-to egg replacers in baking and cooking? Tell us in the comments!
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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Mona H. November 16, 2020
This list is so very helpful. Thank you for putting it together!
lobell November 15, 2020
Re: Aquafaba
1-If I do not use canned chickpeas, can the same work for the reserved liquid of soaked and cooked chickpeas?
2- Are other bean 'aquas' also possible?
Excellent summary, thanks! I might even have to make a table of this
Hannah November 18, 2020
1.) Cook the chickpeas in the same water you’ve soaked them in. You should have a nice aquafaba in the end.
2.) I’ve tried with pinto beans - the ‘Aqua’ does not have a pleasant smell or taste. I made a mini vanilla cake with the stuff and it tasted terrible! Haven’t tried any other bean type, though.
Tracy R. November 15, 2020
I think chickpea flour (3 tbsp chickpea flour + 3 tbsp water) is at least as good as some of these substitutes.
meganbenn December 12, 2019
Since some of these (flax and chia for example) don't help with leavening, do you need to change the amount of leavening agent you use when swapping out eggs in a baked goods recipe? Specifically, I'm looking to replace eggs in my zucchini bread recipe. Would I need to add more baking soda and/or powder to compensate for the loss of leavening? I don't need to go gluten free, so I'll be using regular flour.
Hannah August 12, 2020
I’m guessing you’ve made it already, but if you need to do a quick bread again, the “brine” from a can of chickpeas would work. If you didn’t have chickpeas, vinegar and baking powder would work.
ghainskom September 19, 2019
How about the liquid out of a can of chickpeas?
Author Comment
Emma L. September 19, 2019
Hi, yes! See #6, aquafaba (just another word for the liquid in a can of chickpeas).
Annada R. September 13, 2019
OMG, Emma! As soon as I read it, realized this is an article I've been waiting for my entire cooking life. Thank you!
Author Comment
Emma L. September 13, 2019
Yahoo, thanks!
Annada R. September 13, 2019
Emma, what about avocado as an egg substitute?
Author Comment
Emma L. September 19, 2019
Hm, haven't tried that one! But you might be able to treat it similarly to the mashed banana or applesauce?