This question arises quite frequently when people discover we are plant based, “if you don’t eat eggs or butter, how can you possibly bake anything?”
For as much as I like to make treats, I was determined to find solutions. It did take some trial and error but my treat eaters have been very happy with the results :) As crazy as it sounds to most people, you can make A LOT of delicious recipes beyond treats, without using any of animal based ingredients. Whether you are plant based, vegan, allergic or just ran out of eggs, there are some staples that you can use for replacing eggs and butter when baking. In fact, the recipe will be free of hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol, heart disease, autoimmune issues, excessive unhealthy fat, and the list goes on. Replacing eggs or butter with whole food ingredients provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients that benefit the body for activity, recovery and overall health. I feel it is a good trade. I have found that I use some of the listed options below more frequently than others as that just seems to work the best for that specific recipe or it just happens to be what I have on hand.
My Go-To EGG Substitutions when baking:
Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads, yeast breads, cookies, brownies
1 egg: 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds or flaxseed mixed 3 tablespoons water let sit at least 10 minutes.You also get binding properties with both of these seeds.
Banana (or Fruit Purees, even sweet potato and pumpkin)
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads
1 egg: 1/4 cup mashed banana or other pureed fruit
Remember that the riper the banana the more your recipe will taste like banana and add sweetness, so just be sure how ripe you want your banana to be.
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads
1 egg: 1/4 cup applesauce
check consistency before adding more and do not exceed 1 cup. Applesauce binds with flours very well adding moisture to your recipe.
Best for cookies, brownies. Just about any nut butter will work, but almond and cashew have been the most successful for me. If you need a nut free, use sunflower seed butter.
Use equal parts called for in the recipe
Sometimes if a recipe calls for an egg and the ingredients include a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda, I will just add a little extra fluid like almond milk or water and go off the consistency of the mixture.
These are less used in my kitchen:
Apple Cider Vinegar & Baking Soda
Best when combined with baking soda, it causes dough to rise, making it a perfect egg leavening replacement.
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon baking soda.
My Go-To BUTTER Substitutions for baking:
1/3 of a cup of applesauce to replace every 1/2 cup of oil or margarine
Best for cookies, muffins, pancakes
Use an equal amount of nut butter to replace the butter or oil in a recipe. Just about any nut butter will work, but almond and cashew have been the most successful for me. If you need a nut free, use sunflower seed butter. Be sure the nut butters are smooth, not made with added sugar and oils and are room temperature
Works best in chocolate based recipes, ice creams, smoothies
1 egg: 1/4 cup mashed avocado
Here are a few other suggestions for substituting animal by products. Sometimes the vegetables in the veggie burgers can add too much moisture so adding in a little rolled oats, arrowroot, potatoes/sweet potatoes, bread crumbs or flour can provide binding. Be sure to add a little at a time until you get the consistency you want. Nut Milks work very well, especially almond milk for replacing cow’s milk. Cashew milk adds a little more creaminess to it, and coconut milk works great for when you want a creamier texture (like in ice creams). Adding apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice to your milks will give it a buttermilk flavor and is great when making mashed potatoes, biscuits, pancakes or scones. When needing to use cream, coconut milk and cashews blended with water (equal parts) are great substitutions. For refined sugars, I use dates for most of my recipes. Sometimes honey and pure maple syrup. Whatever you choose to do, know there are many options if you want to improve your health or if you ran out of an ingredient.
For more ideas, check the links below:
Guide to Plant Based Baking