15 Best Egg Substitutes for Cooking, Baking, and More

Eggs have long been a beloved kitchen staple enjoyed in a variety of breakfast foods, such as omelets and eggs Benedict, or as an essential ingredient to use when whipping up baked goods.

But if you’re a regular egg eater, you’ve likely faced some sticker shock recently at the grocery store. Eggs, indeed, have gotten more expensive in recent months. According to a Consumer Price Index report released January 12, 2023, the price of eggs rose by nearly 60 percent from December 2021 to December 2022. In December, one dozen large eggs cost an average of $4.25, per data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The possible reasons include an avian flu outbreak and the fact that more families are favoring eggs as a main protein, as CBS News reported. Inflation has affected the price of many go-to grocery staples, too, though the rate at which prices have increased has been declining for the past six months, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Why Eggs Are a Nutritious Food

As many U.S. families reportedly know, eggs are a good source of protein, with each large one offering more than 6 grams (g) of the filling macronutrient, notes the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Here are some other standout nutrients in an egg:

  • Calories: 72
  • Total fat: 5 g
  • Iron: 0.8 milligrams (mg)
  • Potassium: 66.4 mg
  • Vitamin A: 90.5 micrograms (mcg)
  • Vitamin B12: 0.5 mcg
  • Vitamin D: 49.5 international units (IU)
  • Choline: 169 mg

When to Consider an Egg Substitute

That said, because of cost — or maybe a health reason — you may be rethinking whether to add eggs to your cart the next time you visit the grocery store.

Although prices may be a deterrent lately, health concerns about eggs aren’t uncommon. “The primary reason egg substitutes are recommended in my experience is related to hypercholesterolemia,” says Kristin Gillespie, RD, who is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “Others may need to omit eggs from their diets due to an egg allergy or adherence to a vegan diet.”

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, eggs are the second most common allergen, affecting nearly 1 percent of all children.

Additionally, it’s possible to have an intolerance to eggs. While not life-threatening like an egg allergy, an egg intolerance may still cause uncomfortable symptoms. Cleveland Clinic notes that possible symptoms of a food intolerance include heartburn, headaches, and signs of gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

The good news is that avoiding eggs doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods or recipes. Meghan Pendleton, RD, who practices in southeastern Michigan, points out that the right substitute for eggs ultimately depends on what you’re using them for. “Eggs are used as primary dish components, as thickeners, or for flavor, among other functions,” she explains.

Read on to learn more about your options for substituting eggs, including nutritional information and what experts think of them.

1. Commercial Egg Whites

While not a solution for egg allergies, as most people are allergic to the white parts of eggs and not egg yolks, commercial egg whites such as Egg Beaters may be a good substitute if you can eat eggs and your doctor wants you to follow a low-fat diet, according to Kids With Food Allergies, which is part of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). These may be cooked the same way as whole eggs, and you pour them right out of a carton.

According to the USDA, one large egg white contains 18 calories, 3.6 g protein, and less than 0.8 g fat.

2. Just Egg

If you’re looking for a plant-based egg substitute, both Gillespie and Pendleton recommend Just Egg. The product is available in a 12 ounce (oz) bottle, and you pour it onto a heated skillet to make plant-based scrambled eggs or omelets. Simply refrigerate the bottle after opening to save for your next use.

Per the company’s website, Just Egg is made with mung bean protein isolate, canola oil, and turmeric, as well as salt, onion, and other flavorings. You can use 3 tablespoons (tbsp) to substitute for one egg. Each 3 tbsp serving has 70 calories, 5 g protein, and 5 g fat, which is close to that of a large egg. But unlike eggs, Just Egg has 0 mg cholesterol.

3. Unsweetened Applesauce

Applesauce may replace eggs that act as binders in recipes, such as drop cookies. According to the AAFA, you can replace one whole egg with ¼ cup applesauce in such recipes. Be sure to look for unsweetened varieties so you don’t end up with added sugars — you will still reap a bit of natural sweetness from the pureed apples.

From a nutritional perspective, the USDA reports that 50 g (about ¼ cup) unsweetened applesauce has 26 calories, 0.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, and 6 g carbohydrates. The same serving provides 22 mg vitamin C, making it an excellent source of the nutrient.

4. Mashed Avocado

If you’re looking for a non-egg binding agent besides applesauce, consider mixing up your recipes with mashed avocado. Again, you can substitute ¼ cup pureed or mashed fruit per one egg in your recipes, as the organization Kids With Food Allergies notes.

This versatile fruit is recommended by Cedars-Sinai for its high nutrient profile, which includes mono- and polyunsaturated fats that may reduce LDL cholesterol, as well as fiber, folate, potassium, and magnesium.

According to the USDA, a 50 g (¼ cup) serving of mashed avocado offers 84 g calories, 1.7 g protein, 5 g carbs, and 7.5 g fat. In addition, you get 3.4 g fiber (a good source) and some potassium, 234 mg.

5. Canned Pumpkin

Yet another binding agent you may already have in your pantry is canned (or pureed) pumpkin. As a rule of thumb, use the same ¼ cup size substitution per egg.

The USDA notes that 50 g pumpkin puree (about ¼ cup) provides 19 calories, 0.4 g protein, and 4.2 g carbohydrates. It furthermore offers a bit of fiber, 1.3 g, and 104 mg potassium.

In a review published in Plants in May 2022 researchers noted the overall health benefits of pumpkin, such as its anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antimicrobial effects in the body. Diets that include such foods may reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

6. Mashed Bananas

Like applesauce, mashed bananas can substitute eggs as binding ingredients in certain recipes. In such cases, you can substitute ½ a medium banana per egg, per Kids With Food Allergies. This will provide the ¼ cup substitution you need per egg, says Gillespie. Mash the banana well with a fork to prevent clumps in your recipe.

Research published in Food & Function in June 2021 suggested that, like applesauce, bananas offer antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits that may reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. According to the USDA, ½ ripe banana offers 57 calories, 0.4 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 13.2 g carbohydrates, and 188 mg potassium.

7. Gelatin

Unless you’re following a vegan diet, you may be able to use gelatin in place of eggs. Gelatin is a type of animal protein-based food additive that acts as a thickening agent in a variety of packaged food items, explains the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

You can also purchase gelatin by itself to use in cooking and baking at home. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), you can combine one packet of gelatin with 2 tablespoons (tbsp) warm water to substitute one egg.

According to the USDA, a 1 tbsp envelope of gelatin has 23 calories and about 6 g of protein.

8. Ground Flaxseed

While technically a dry ingredient, ground flaxseed may act as a binding agent in recipes. To achieve this, simply combine 3 tbsp warm water with 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and allow to sit one minute before using. This recipe is equivalent to one egg, per Kids With Food Allergies.

According to the USDA, 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed has 37 g calories and 1.3 g protein. Ground flaxseed is also a good source of iron, magnesium, and potassium. Plus, as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes, flaxseed is a good plant-based source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 essential fatty acid.

9. Plain Yogurt

Plain yogurt is another one of Gillespie’s favorite egg substitutes — she suggests swapping ¼ cup in for 1 large egg. This can act as a leavening agent in your recipes, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

According to the USDA, 50 g plain yogurt (about ¼ cup) made from whole milk contains 39 calories, 1.9 g protein, 2.2 g fat, and 2.8 g carbohydrates. Plain yogurt is also a good source of calcium and vitamin D.

The key word here is plain — when shopping for yogurt, check ingredient labels carefully to make sure it doesn’t contain any added sugars, fruits, or flavors.

10. Buttermilk

While you might know this fermented dairy product from certain biscuit and pancake recipes, you may also be able to use buttermilk as an egg substitute in a variety of baked goods. Like yogurt, buttermilk may be used as a leavening agent in baked goods. It may work well in both sweet or savory baked goods, such as breads, cookies, muffins, and cakes, notes the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Southern Living notes the ¼ cup to 1 egg ratio works for substitution in this case, too.

According to the USDA, a 50 g, or about ¼ cup, serving of low-fat buttermilk has 22 calories, 1.7 g protein, 0.5 g fat, and 2.4 g carbohydrates. Like plain yogurt, buttermilk is also considered a good source of calcium and vitamin D.

11. Tofu

For an easy scrambled egg substitute, try swapping 2 oz of firm tofu for a large egg. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also says you can substitute 2 oz extra-firm tofu as a substitution for a hard-boiled egg, as well as ¼ cup of silken tofu in baking recipes for added moisture and richness.

According to the USDA, a 50 g, or roughly ¼ cup, serving of silken tofu offers 22 calories, 2.2 g protein, 1.1 g fat, and 0.6 g carbohydrate. Additionally, the same serving size contains 11 mg calcium and 63 mg potassium.

12. Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder, a starch-based cooking agent derived from a tropical plant of the same name, is traditionally used as a thickening agent in recipes, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As One Green Planet notes, arrowroot powder is flavorless, making it a useful addition to a variety of dishes. You can use 2 tbsp mixed with water in place of one egg.

According to the USDA, 2 tbsp of commercially prepared arrowroot powder contains 80 calories and 18 g carbohydrates. This product is naturally free of fat, and it doesn’t offer any protein.

13. Baking Powder and Vegetable Oil

A combination of baking powder and vegetable may work as a leavening agent in cooking and baking. According to Kids With Food Allergies, you can mix 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder with 1½ tbsp vegetable oil and 1½ tbsp water for each egg you’re replacing.

It’s also important to assess the nutritional value of each ingredient. According to the USDA, baking powder is a high-sodium food, while the agency also reports that a 14 g serving (about 1 tbsp) of vegetable oil is more calorie dense than an egg — this amount has 120 calories and 14 g of fat. As a result, the full substitution amount of 1½ tbsp of veggie oil would come to about 180 calories and 22 g fat.

14. Aquafaba

An unconventional ingredient that may be used as a binding agent to substitute eggs is aquafaba. Pendleton explains that aquafaba is essentially the liquid that’s left over from a can of chickpeas. “Aquafaba can also be whipped into a meringue very similar to eggs,” she says.

To use aquafaba as an egg substitute, U.S. News and World Report recommends 3 tbsp per one egg. Per USDA data on canned solid chickpeas and their liquids and only their solids, in the liquid of a 195 g can of aquafaba there are 9 calories, 0.4 g fat, 0.9 g protein, and 0.9 g carbs.

Each 42 gram, or about 3 tbsp, serving of aquafaba would therefore contain about 7 calories, 0.3 g fat, 0.7 g protein, and 0.7 g carbs.

Aquafaba is a low-calorie, low-fat egg substitute — to reduce the salt content, you can choose low-sodium varieties of canned chickpeas, if desired. Keep in mind that aquafaba also has trace nutrients, including a small amount of  protein and fiber.

15. Margarine or Butter

Finally, if you have a cooking recipe that calls for using egg wash as a glaze, you can substitute melted margarine or butter instead. The ratio is 1:1 in this case. Using one of these substitutes rather than eggs can be useful for breads, pies, and other baked goods to help give them a brown, crispy, and shiny outer crust.

According to the USDA, a 14 g serving (about 1 tbsp) of margarine contains 100 calories, 11 g fat, and 500 IU vitamin A. The same serving of unsalted butter contains 102 calories, 11.5 g fat, and 355 IU vitamin A.

Tips and Considerations About Egg Substitutes

Depending on what you’re cooking, Gillespie cautions that some substitutes work better than others, particularly in baking recipes. “Additionally, it’s important to do your research and pay close attention to the composition and desired flavor, texture, and appearance of your final product, as some of these subs can modify the texture, appearance, flavor, and moisture level of your baked goods,” she says.

Pendleton recommends finding recipes “that already take egg substitute into consideration.” She notes that you might need to experiment with recipes that don’t already omit eggs, where you might have to change the proportions of other ingredients. Also, the AAFA suggests that if a baking recipe calls for three or more eggs, it may be best to make something else, as egg substitutes may not work well.

Also, again, consider nutrition when choosing your egg substitute. “Many egg subs are lower in fat and fat-soluble vitamins than traditional eggs, so it is important to obtain these nutrients elsewhere,” says Gillespie. To help fill in these gaps, the AAFA recommends getting plenty of other proteins in your diet, along with leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, and enriched or whole grains. On the other hand, swapping in things like vegetable oil and nut butter for egg may not be prudent for someone watching their caloric intake, as these ingredients are higher in calories than eggs.

What’s more, Pendleton emphasizes the importance of choline, an ingredient naturally found in eggs and other animal products, such as meats and fish, per the NIH, that is not as widely available in plant-based foods. “Choline is very important for a healthy brain and liver, and is especially important for pregnant people to eat, because a deficiency can cause neural tube defects in babies,” she says. “If a person excludes both eggs and meat from their diets, they may be at a higher risk for deficiency.”

If you don’t eat eggs and meat, and are concerned about your choline intake, Pendleton recommends reaching out to a registered dietitian or a doctor about nutritional counseling or possible supplementation.

A Final Word on Ingredient Substitutes for Eggs

Whether you’re looking for an egg substitute for health, budget, or ethical reasons, there are numerous options you can choose from as replacements for egg recipes, baked goods, and other foods. It can take time and some experimentation to figure out your favorites — keep trying new replacements until you’ve found the right match.

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