Can Vegans Eat Eggs? A Complete Guide to Vegan Egg Substitutes
Whether you have been a vegan for five minutes or five years, vegan baking can feel a little daunting. You likely won’t miss the dairy in recipes, but what about the egg? You’re pretty sure it doesn’t fit into a vegan diet (spoiler alert: you’re right).
Luckily, there are many egg replacement options that can take your vegan baking to the next level. Bonus: there are even health benefits to using certain egg replacers.
If you’re looking to replace an egg in a recipe or make some of your favorite treats vegan, you’ve come to the right place.
Do Vegans Eat Eggs?
What came first: the chicken or the egg? No matter how you look at it, eggs are an animal product, and they are not part of a true vegan diet.
Besides the fact that they’re literally baby chickens, the treatment of factory-farmed chickens (and therefore their eggs) isn’t ideal for those of us who are vegan for ethical and environmental reasons. To make one egg, you need over 50 gallons of water—which could definitely be better used elsewhere. Plus, these farms are known for emitting high levels of greenhouse gasses.
To make a long story short, no. Vegans don’t eat eggs.
How to Make a Vegan Egg
If you are new to the vegan diet, you may be concerned that there are a lot of things you cannot have. With no eggs, how do you make cakes, cookies, brownies, or a savory quiche? Don’t fret, our animal-loving friends. You can make all of your favorite treats and more with a few sneaky vegan tricks, and you’ll never look back.
Flax Seed Eggs
Those little seeds you put in your morning smoothie are also great for replacing eggs in baked goods. All you need is to grind the seeds to make a fine powder. You can do this by using a small coffee grinder.
Pro tip: You may want to get a separate coffee grinder for this, so the coffee taste doesn’t linger in everything you bake (unless you’re into that).
For one egg, mix one tablespoon of ground flax with three tablespoons of water. Let this sit for five minutes, and you have yourself a vegan egg. Flax seeds have a nutty taste, so this method works best for muffins, breads, and brownies. One of our favorite recipes, this Gluten-free Gingerbread Cookie Sandwich, is a perfect contender for using flax eggs.
If you’re feeling a little lazy, you can also purchase pre-ground flaxseeds. However, when you buy pre-ground flax seed, you might miss out on some of the available nutrients. Flaxseeds are full of fiber, vitamins, and protein, as well as polyunsaturated fats, which include omega-3s. When you buy them pre-ground, some of those fats break down when exposed to oxygen. They can also go bad faster since the fat has been released.
If you have the time, we’d recommend grinding your own, but if you prefer to buy ground flaxseeds, store them in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container to keep them fresh.
Chia Seed Eggs
The nice thing about using chia seeds to replace an egg in baked goods is you don’t need to grind them before using them.
To make one chia seed egg, mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with two and a half tablespoons of water. Let this mixture sit for five minutes. This egg replacer is good for cookies, muffins, and breads. This egg substitute has less of an inherent taste than a flax egg, but you will still be able to see the chia seeds and feel them. You may not want to use them for a delicate cake, but they’re great in a heartier bake.
Besides the benefit of chia seeds to make an egg, these little seeds are loaded with healthy nutrients, like omega-3s, fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. Adding these little chia seeds will boost any of your favorite sweet treats with an extra dose of nutrition.
You know that liquid you usually pour down the drain from a can of beans? It turns out that liquid has a name: aquafaba, when it comes from chickpeas. Instead of discarding the liquid when you open a can of chickpeas, save it. It makes a great egg replacer.
Aquafaba can be used in place of an egg yolk, egg white, or a whole egg. If your recipe calls for an egg yolk, use one tablespoon of aquafaba. If your recipe calls for egg whites, use two tablespoons, and if your recipe calls for a whole egg, use three tablespoons. You can use aquafaba anywhere you would need an egg, baking, mousse, and meringue because it’ll whip up just like egg whites would.
Aquafava makes incredible vegan meringues. All you need is aquafaba, a little cream of tartar for stabilization, vegan granulated sugar, and vanilla. Once whipped to glossy, stiff peaks, pipe into your desired shape and pop them in the oven at very low heat, 210 degrees to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Voila! You now have sweet, airy meringues.
Certain fruits, like bananas, avocados, pumpkin, and applesauce, make great egg replacers in baked goods. While fruit doesn’t provide the exact structure an egg would, it will leave your baked goods moist and flavorful. The moisture and pectin content in fruit can help bind the recipe, replacing those pesky eggs.
When replacing an egg with fruit, each fruit has its own ratio, although they should all be pureed or mashed.
- For bananas, one ripe banana equals one egg.
- For pumpkin and avocado, one quarter cup of pumpkin puree or smashed avocado equals one egg.
- One quarter cup of applesauce also equals one egg.
Fruit substitutes for eggs are good for chewy brownies, pancakes, muffins and recipes where you won’t mind a little added fruit flavor. Each option has its own distinct flavor profile, so be aware of matching up flavors when choosing.
If you’ve ever found yourself missing a good scrambled egg or quiche, there’s a solution. You can still have these easy, filling, go-to meals once becoming vegan, all without a single egg.
Enter tofu. Using tofu for a savory quiche full of veggies makes the perfect brunch dish. You can also use a potato masher on firm tofu to create a scrambled egg consistency, satisfying those breakfast cravings without once breaking your diet.
The key is to use the right seasonings to drive home the egg flavor, especially if you are making a meal for a non-vegan friend. First off, turmeric is key. Turmeric provides a subtle earthy taste, but most importantly, it gives you that beautiful yellow color people expect from eggs. Another spice to sprinkle on is black salt, which has a sulfuric taste, very reminiscent of eggs. You might also want to mix in a bit of nutritional yeast for a savory, cheesy experience.
Not only is tofu a great egg replacer for savory options, but it is also full of healthy nutrients. Tofu contains all nine essential amino acids, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B1, and minerals like zinc, copper, and magnesium.
Store Bought Egg Replacer Options
There are many egg replacers on the market today. These are usually powders that contain potato starch and tapioca starch. You’ll have to follow the directions on the specific packaging to figure out the right amount to use.
A prepackaged egg replacer is a good option for any recipe that you do not want to change the flavor, like cakes, cookies, and pastries. You can also use egg replacer powder in place of eggs when you are breading something, like in a vegan eggplant parm recipe.
Have you been trying to figure out how to make a delicious French toast breakfast as a vegan? Adding an egg replacer powder to almond milk (or any plant-based milk), along with a little cinnamon and vanilla, makes a great liquid base for French toast. Simply dip in your bread and fry it in your pan. Top with a little sugar-free maple syrup and fresh berries. Making this French toast is a magical way to start your day, all without using any eggs.
With our simple tricks for replacing the eggs in most dishes, you can create most things you have been missing, even the savory recipes. Whichever egg replacer you use, your finished product is sure to be a new family favorite.