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Confused About Vegan Egg Substitutes?

The concept of vegan egg substitutes was one of the most baffling issues when I first went vegan. It was hard for me to wrap my brain around what could possibly be used in place of eggs.

At the time, there was absolutely nothing that resembled an actual chicken egg that you could scramble into breakfast, whip for omelettes, or separate to use the whites for certain recipes and the yolks for something else.

People ask me all the time what I use in place of eggs in cupcakes, cookies, and other recipes, so I know it's a topic that confuses other people as well.

In fact, I remember my mom telling me that she once tried to use Ener-G Egg Replacer in a quiche recipe. Um, yuck!

Now there's a fascinating product called the Vegg, which can actually be used as a substitute for egg yolks. I can't claim to have used it, but I know others have and love it. You can find it online at Vegan Essentials or in other specialty stores.

Since I'm old school, I do have experience in all the more standard vegan egg substitutes. I've used everything from tofu to ground flax seeds to make recipes rise like with animal eggs. I understand when it's best to use each of the different substitutes, and I want to share that knowledge with you.

The most common vegan subs for eggs:

  • aquafaba (the liquid from a can of beans)
  • vinegar and baking soda
  • ground flaxseed whipped into water
  • ripe banana, mashed
  • applesauce
  • silken tofu
  • Ener-G egg replacer, or another similar brand
  • mashed potatoes with a pinch of tumeric

Which one should I use to replace 1 egg?

To start, it's important that you understand why your original recipe called for eggs in the first place. In general, eggs help to bind ingredients, help recipes rise, add moisture, and add richness.

Ground flax seeds whipped into a frenzy with water creates a sticky, thick mixture that works very much like an egg yolk. But, in some recipes, adding some ground flax seed whipped with water will really overwhelm the flavor, texture, or even color of the finished product. I use flax as a substitute in heartier things like muffins, waffles, and pancakes.

Ener-G Egg Replacer is a vegan egg substitute made with tapioca flour and leavening powders, so it gives your recipe a light and fluffy texture and color. Some people say they can taste Ener-G in the finished dessert recipe, but I don't notice it.

Both applesauce and mashed banana are nice ways to replace eggs, but they can give the finished foods a bouncy, almost rubbery texture, so you have to be careful not to use too much.

The combination of vinegar and baking soda is one of my favorite egg replacements because it's totally natural, and a little fun. Remember in elementary school when kids did the science experiment to make volcanos? The lava was always made by mixing baking soda and vinegar, and it make a frothy, exploding mess out the top of the volcano. Adding those two (in conservative proportions) enables your recipe to rise and become light and fluffy just like that lava.

The new discover in the vegan world in 2015 was that you could take the liquid from a can of beans and whip it in a stand mixer and create a true  meringue. I used to adore meringue cookies and because they are simply egg whites and sugar, I hadn't tasted them in a decade. When I baked my first aquafaba meringues, I was blown away. Aquafaba can be used to make things like marshmallows, choux pastry, sponge cake, Italian buttercream, and typical desserts like brownies and cake. The only recipe yet to be duplicated is angel food cake. One day!

Want a quick chart for when to use each vegan egg substitute?

For cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and quick breads, use:

  • 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (gives great moisture)
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu, whipped (makes it very rich)
  • 3 Tbsp. aquafaba bean bine (doesn't need to be whipped)

For waffles, muffins, pancakes, hearty cookies, breads, use:

  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds and 3 tbsp. water, whipped
  • 1/2 mashed banana (will give a slight banana flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp. and a pinch of tumeric
  • 3 Tbsp. aquafaba per egg

For cookies:

  • 1.5 tsp Ener-G egg replacer, 2 tbsp water (can use this for any of the above as well

If you're making a dish that requires an "egg wash," you can always substitute oil, nondairy milk, aquafaba, or nondairy butter. Or, try the Vegg alternative.

If your recipe calls for an egg to add thickness to the dish, you can use kudzu root powder, agar, arrowroot powder, cornstarch, flour, or even nut butters.

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