Kitchen Tips

Is The Saying 'You Can't Bake Without Eggs' A Myth? A Guide To Three Easy Egg Substitutes

Empty carton? These substitutes can deliver delicious baked goods.

Crates of eggs at farmers market.

Photo, iStock.

The egg’s main purpose in baked goods is to bind, leaven or add moisture. For the best substitution success — whether you’re changing your diet, or forgot to grab a carton at the store — it’s important to determine what effect the egg substitute needs to mimic.

In recipes that call for one egg, like cookies, cakes, and brownies, the egg is usually needed for binding and to provide moisture. Using a recipe that requires two to three eggs usually suggests that the eggs are needed for leavening (examples are fluffy cakes, quick breads, and muffins.)

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These three substitutes are tried-and-true egg replacements for baking, listed in order of effectiveness (but avoid using them in recipes where three or more are required).

1. Powdered Egg Replacer

Commercial egg replacers are a powder mix that contain starches, gums, and leaveners. The vegan-friendly (but double check ingredients) product can be found at select grocers or online.

Why it works: Starches and gums act as binders and create gelatinization, helping baked goods hold their shape, while chemical leaveners assist with rising.
How to use it: Substitute one tablespoon of egg replacer, such as Ener-G or Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer powder, whisked with two tablespoons of water for one egg.
Best for: Suitable for all cake, muffin, cookie, and quick bread recipes calling for whole eggs.

2. Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is soy milk that has been coagulated to form curds and then set. It has has a velvety smooth texture and higher water content than regular tofu, which has been pressed to remove more liquid.

Why it works: Tofu provides enough protein to give baked goods the structure they need to rise, as well as enough water to keep them moist.
How to use it: Substitute 1/4 cup of silken tofu for one egg.
Best for: Adding a soft texture to muffins and cakes, or chocolate desserts that will mask the taste, like puddings and pies.

Try it: Mocha tofu mousse.

3. Yogurt and Vegetable Oil

Whole-milk or low-fat yogurt, paired with a neutral vegetable oil, like canola, can be a suitable egg alternative (if avoiding dairy is not an issue), and make a good back-pocket substitute if the first two ingredients are not available.

Why it works: Yogurt has a similar protein and water content to eggs and contains acid that can react with baking soda to provide leavening. (A small amount of vegetable oil makes up for some of the fat eggs would supply.)
How to use it: Substitute two ounces (about 1/4 cup) of yogurt and half a teaspoon of vegetable oil for one egg.
Best for: Recipes that contain baking soda or baking powder, when egg replacer or tofu are not an option.

Editor’s note: It’s also possible to use substitutes such as applesauce or ground flax seed mixed with water (and others), but for the sake of accuracy these are the most reliable options for achieving consistent results.

Watch: How to make an egg-free omelette with Lauren Toyota