A lot of people may not consume eggs for several reasons that include being vegetarian by choice, culture or religion, allergies, dislike towards the taste or also a particular diet, like veganism. And hence there’s always a need to convert an egg based recipe into an eggless one. Eggs play a pivotal role in a recipe from cakes and cookies to meringues and pastry cream — whole eggs create structure and stability within a batter, they help in binding and providing sufficient moisture to hold the ingredients together, egg yolks help thicken and emulsify sauces and custards, they add moisture to cakes and other baked goods, and can even act as glue or glaze, egg whites can be whipped to create an egg white foam. This foam is filled with tons of air which helps to lighten and leaven baked goods
However, there are some places we just cannot replace the eggs. If a recipe calls for more than 4 eggs, it is important to remember if you substitute this quantity you will end up with a completely different product, owing to texture, fluffiness, taste etc.
When we are looking to replace eggs in a recipe, we need to understand the role of an ingredient and the purpose we are substituting it for.
It can be broadly divided into four categories:
4. Thickening/ Emulsifying
The following lists the various ingredients that can be used as a replacement for eggs.
1. Fruit purees
Mashed Bananas, apple sauce, pumpkin puree, avocado. Pureed fruits that have high pectin content works great as pectin enhances the binding effect.
Adds moisture to baked goods, also works well as a binder. Sweet purees can be added for quick breads and cakes, brownies and muffins. It is important to remember that they also impart a strong flavour. It also results in a fairly dense product.
Pureed fruits that have high pectin content works great as pectin enhances the binding effect.
¼ cup of Puree for every 50gms of Egg / 1 egg.
2. Flaxseeds / chia seeds
Flax seeds are a versatile ingredient. Popularly called as flax egg, it is made by grinding the flax seed into a fine powder and then combining it with water to form a gel like texture.
The flaxseed meal absorbs water and becomes gelatinous. Also imparts a nutty flavour to the product.
How it works?
The outer seed coating of a flaxseed contains a gum that becomes really thick once ground and mixed with water. This new thicker substance works as a great emulsifier and binder, helping the structure of baked goods.
How to make?
For flax egg – 1 tbsp of flaxseed dissolved in 3 tbsp of water, allow to gelatinize for 10-15 mins, replaces 1 egg / 50gms of egg.
For flax meringue – Bring to a boil, then simmer 1/3rd cup flax seeds in 3 cups of water till slimy, strain, chill it, then whipped. It isn’t bake stable, but can be used as a meringue in mousses, buttercream, puddings, purees to lighten and add airy textures. Can also be sweetened with sugar.
3. Silken tofu
Silken tofu is creamier, lighter than regular cotton tofu. It makes the product slightly dense, but works great as substitute in pancakes, brownies, custards, pies and quick breads.
It needs to be beaten and made creamy before being used. It can also be mixed with a little water or liquid to ensure more moistness.
To substitute for the custard in a quiche, blend silken tofu with milk or cream till smooth.
¼ cup Silken tofu replaces 1 egg/ 50gms of egg.
4. Nut butters
Nut butters make a healthy substitute, full of healthy fats, just like eggs. They add a strong flavour to the final product. Also adds fibre and protein to the baked goods. Any nut like, peanut, cashew, almond, walnuts, pecans, pistachio can be used.
To make nut butter, roast the nuts in a pan or in the oven, blend in a mixer with a little sugar and oil as required to make it creamy.
It works as a great binding agent in cookies, pancakes, waffles, brownies and muffins.
3tbsp of nut butter replaces 1 egg / 50 gms of egg.
Preferable Greek yoghurt to be used as it doesn’t contain water/ whey. If using regular yoghurt hang it for a while and then use with as little water as possible.
Yoghurt works great to provide moisture, to keep a product soft and also aids in activating Baking soda, which makes goods fluffy and light. Mainly used in cakes and brownies. It can also result in a slightly dense product.
1/4th cup yoghurt replaces 1 egg/ 50 gms of egg.
Buttermilk can be used in a similar manner to yoghurt, for binding and to add moisture to a cake.
1/4th cup of buttermilk + baking soda can be used to replace 1 egg.
Milk is the most versatile ingredient that can be used as a replacement for eggs, mainly in binding and for moisture.