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12 Surprising Egg Substitutes You’ll Swear Are the Real Thing

Egg prices are high, but your cooking doesn't need to suffer! Try one of these easy egg substitutes for a delicious, budget-friendly option.

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An egg substitute for every cooking scenario

As you are probably well aware, egg prices have exploded in recent months, which is bad news for anyone who uses a lot of eggs in their cooking. And this isn’t a simple case of eggs becoming grocery-store items with high markups: In 2022, a deadly outbreak of avian flu killed millions of egg-laying hens, resulting in an egg shortage that’s caused the price of eggs to spike nearly 60% in a single year. If you want to save money on groceries, eggs are likely no longer on your budget grocery list. Fortunately, you can find an amazing egg substitute for every type of recipe that won’t break the bank—and will work so well, you might be shocked it isn’t the real thing when you taste the final product.

Of course, eggs (and egg-like ingredients) aren’t just for breakfast. “In cooking, eggs are used for adhesion, such as using them to get breadcrumbs to stick to a chicken cutlet,” says chef Chris Spear, founder of Perfect Little Bites in Frederick, Maryland. “Eggs are also used as a binding agent in baked goods and recipes like meatloaf. Eggs provide structure, and the fat from the yolks provide richness.”

While there’s no good egg substitute for things like hard-boiled eggs or deviled eggs, there are plenty of options when it comes to replacing eggs in cooking or baking and even making awesome scrambled eggs and omelets. The following expert-recommended substitutes for eggs can help you get through this eggs-traordinary crisis without missing a beat. In fact, they might even become your new kitchen staples if you are vegan, have an egg allergy or simply want to continue saving some serious cash.

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Composition with aquafaba, boiled chickpeas and meringues on grey table. Egg replacement for vegan cooking
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Aquafaba

Substitution: 3 tbsp. aquafaba + 1 tbsp. cornstarch = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Baked goods

This magic ingredient, made from chickpea liquid, can replace eggs in recipes for your favorite baked goods. Simply drain a can of chickpeas, whip the liquid until frothy, and use 3 tablespoons as a substitute for one egg white. For a whole egg, mix in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or tapioca starch. Presto! Perfect meringues, chiffon cakes, pavlovas and breads … but without the eggs. If you don’t feel like eating a can of chickpeas every time you need this egg substitute, keep a bag of aquafaba powder in your pantry.

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Healthy Organic Raw Apple Sauce
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Applesauce

Substitution: 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Baked goods

Rich in pectin—a type of dietary fiber that acts as a thickening agent—applesauce does a great job of replacing eggs in cakes, quick breads and cookies. Not only does it help add structure, but it also adds moisture to make your baked goods extra tender. To replace one egg, simply use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce in your recipe.

Just be aware that it might slightly alter the taste of your food. “Using applesauce instead of eggs in your baking will give the final product a slightly fruity flavor,” says Kara Mae of the food history blog Old Line Plate. “It’s great to use in spice cakes, or fruity quick breads like zucchini or carrot loaf.” Keep this in mind the next time you go apple picking!

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Chia seed healthy super food with flower over white
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Flax or chia seeds

Substitution: 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds or chia seeds + 3 tbsp. water = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Meatloaf, baked goods

When ground flax or chia seeds are mixed with water, they form a thick, gooey mixture that can be used in place of eggs as a binding agent in baked goods. Both flax and chia seeds absorb liquid, creating a gel-like texture that helps hold ingredients together, just like eggs do. Your resulting baked goods may have a slightly denser and chewier texture, but the extra moisture from the seeds may make the finished product moister.

To make a flax egg or chia “egg,” simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, and let it sit for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. You can then use this mixture in place of one egg in your recipe. FYI, flax and chia seeds also contain a good amount of protein, so they’re a terrific egg substitute if you’re looking to eat fewer animal products.

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Japanese food, Japanese soft cold tofu in a bowl
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Silken tofu

Substitution: 1/4 cup blended silken tofu = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Baked goods, casseroles and scrambled “eggs”

If you’re looking for a vegan or allergen-free option, silken tofu is another go-to ingredient for replacing eggs in baking recipes. Simply blend 1/4 cup of silken tofu for each egg called for. It will add moisture to your baked goods, making them slightly denser, and may also impart a very slight soy flavor. Try it in cakes, quick breads, brownies and cookies.

Silken tofu can also be used as a not-quite-perfect-but-still-delicious substitute when making scrambled eggs, including Dolly Parton’s fluffy scrambled eggs recipe. First, drain the silken tofu and crumble it into small pieces. Next, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat, and add a small amount of oil, butter or cooking spray. Add the crumbled tofu to the pan, and stir gently, adding salt and pepper for flavoring. To give your scrambled “eggs” a yellow hue, mix the tofu with some turmeric. Cook the tofu for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through and has a slightly firm texture. Scrambled tofu will be more delicate and moist than eggs, and it will taste amazing—not exactly like eggs, but lush, silky and utterly satisfying.

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Fresh Spring Sparkling Water
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Carbonated water

Substitution: 1/4 cup carbonated water = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Fluffy baked goods

Lighten up your baking with this simple egg substitute. Carbonated water can be used as an egg replacement in recipes where the eggs are used primarily for leavening. All you need to do is replace one egg with 1/4 cup of carbonated water. You may find the texture to be denser, but the effervescence from the carbonated water is perfect for light and fluffy recipes like angel-food cake and soufflés.

When using this egg-replacement method, combine the carbonated water with any liquid ingredients—such as milk—or add toward the end of mixing. If you add the carbonated water too soon, like after creaming butter and sugar together when making a cake, the bubbles will pop before you’re done whipping up your batter and your recipe will be flat. Definitely a cooking mistake you want to avoid!

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Arrowroot Powder Spilled from a Teaspoon
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Arrowroot

Substitution: 1 tbsp. arrowroot powder + 2 tbsp. water = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Baked goods, sauces

Don’t have this powder in your spice rack? It’s time to go shopping—and learn this fun food fact. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder with 2 tablespoons of water, and let it sit until thick and gooey. This versatile egg substitute works well in cakes and cookies—and wonderfully for thickening up certain sauces on the stove (think: Hollandaise).

Keep in mind that arrowroot powder doesn’t provide the same binding properties as eggs, so your baked goods may be a little more crumbly than you’re used to. Arrowroot powder also doesn’t offer the same leavening effect as eggs, so consider slightly increasing the amount of other leavening agents in your recipe—like baking powder, yeast or baking soda—to give your baked goods a bit more lift.

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Banana slices in bowl
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Bananas

Substitution: 1/4 mashed banana = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Baked goods

Bananas can work incredibly well as an egg substitute for baking—and all you have to do is swap your egg with 1/4 cup of mashed ripe bananas. This method is particularly effective in cakes, quick breads and cookies. Keep in mind that using bananas as an egg substitute will bring additional moisture to the recipe, causing a slightly denser finished product.

For best results, use bananas that are mostly yellow, with some black spots. Yellow bananas contain a good amount of starch, and as they ripen and turn black, those starches break down into sugars. While mushy black bananas are extra sweet and good for things like banana bread, without much starch, they won’t be able to give your baked goods the structure that an egg would provide.

Old wooden table with fresh Powdered Eggs (close-up shot; selective focus)
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Commercial egg replacer

Substitution: Varies by brand

What it’s best for: Baked goods

Commercial egg replacer makes egg-free baking incredibly easy. This convenient powder or mix is specially formulated to serve as an egg substitute whenever you need a binding agent. Simply follow the package instructions to replace one egg, and you’ll get a thick paste that mimics the texture and binding properties of actual eggs. Just be aware that using commercial egg replacer may alter the taste and texture of your final product, and some brands may have a noticeable flavor.

One egg replacer you’re sure to love? This one from Bob’s Red Mill, an employee-owned company that never misses when it comes to making amazing products. Amazon reviewers rave that it “substitutes beautifully in recipes calling for eggs”—and that they honestly can’t tell the difference between this egg replacer and the real deal. Bonus: You don’t have to worry about egg expiration dates if you use this.

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Soy lecithin in a tea spoon
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Soy lecithin

Substitution: 1 tbsp. soy lecithin + 2 tbsp. warm water = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Baked goods, mayonnaise and salad dressings

When eggs are used primarily as an emulsifier—such as in baked goods, sauces and dressings—soy lecithin can step in to help bind ingredients. Never heard of soy lecithin? It’s an emulsifying powder derived from soybeans, and it can be found in many health-food and supplement stores.

To replace one egg, simply mix 1 tablespoon of soy lecithin powder or granules with 2 tablespoons of warm water, creating a smooth mixture. Then, add it to your recipe. Keep in mind that soy lecithin may not provide the same binding properties as eggs, so the final result may have a slightly different texture. Additionally, soy lecithin has a slight soy flavor, making it a better addition in recipes that contain other savory ingredients or spices. For those looking for a vegan or allergen-free option, soy lecithin is a fantastic egg substitute.

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raw scrambled egg
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Liquid egg replacer

Substitution: Varies by meal size

What it’s best for: Omelets

For most of egg-replacement history, it’s been nearly impossible to find anything that can be used to make a decent omelet. Finding something that can bind baked goods is easy, but on the stovetop, the only thing that really tastes like eggs is, well, eggs. Fortunately, we now live in an age where vegan options are beginning to abound, and egg-like products can be found in most stores around the country.

One of the most popular of these replacements is Just Egg, a plant-based egg substitute made from mung bean protein. It has a similar (though not 100% perfect) taste and texture to real eggs and can be used for omelets, scrambles, quiches, frittatas and other ultra-eggy dishes. No egg-cracking necessary! For the health-conscious, it’s free of cholesterol and animal products. It’s also super easy to use—just pour it into a pan and cook like you would with real eggs! Still not sold? Check out the 12,500-plus five-star reviews on Amazon to see what some very, very happy customers had to say about it.

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Products (collagen powder, gelatin) which contain collagen.Diced gelatin.Collagen powder on a light background. Extra protein intake. Natural beauty and health supplement for skin, bones, joints
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Gelatin

Substitution: 1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin powder + 3 tbsp. cold water = 1 large egg

What it’s best for: Baked goods

Did you know that the same gelatin you use in dessert recipes can double as an egg substitute? Just mix 1 tablespoon of gelatin with 3 tablespoons of cold water, let it sit until it’s thick and gooey, and add just as if you were using an egg. It’s perfect for recipes that call for a small number of eggs—such as certain packaged mixes for cakes, brownies and pancakes—or where the eggs serve mainly as a binder.

Keep in mind, though, that the texture and mouthfeel of your final product will likely be different than if you’d used eggs. Gelatin also won’t provide the same leavening effect, so this is best for dense baked goods like fudgy brownies.

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Fresh Tofu cutting by kitchen knife on wooden board
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Firm tofu with nutritional yeast

Substitution: Varies by meal size

What it’s best for: Egg scrambles

For a hearty substitute for egg scrambles packed with meat, cheese or veggies, try using crumbled firm tofu with nutritional yeast in place of eggs. To mimic the color of fresh eggs, use vivid yellow turmeric or—if you’ve got picky eaters who really need the illusion of eggs—a tiny touch of food coloring.

To make these “eggs,” crumble one block of drained firm tofu into a bowl, mashing it up into small “curds” with your hands or a fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of turmeric for color and a hefty pinch of kosher salt. Heat some butter or olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is hot and has a firmer texture—about 5 to 7 minutes. When you add your extras will depend on what they are and how you want them cooked.

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Sources:

  • ABC News: “Egg prices reach historic highs amid avian flu outbreak, inflation woes”
  • Chris Spear, chef and founder of Perfect Little Bites in Frederick, Maryland
  • Kara Mae, blogger at Old Line Plate