The 6 Most Delicious (and Effective) Egg Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

Photo: Stocksy/Melanie DeFazio
Rice and oats are to your pantry as eggs are to your refrigerator: These pantry staples are not only delicious, but ubiquitous across recipes and cuisines and packed with nutrients.

That being said, eggs are perishable—meaning they won't exactly last as long as that box of instant oatmeal packets—and in case you haven't heard, they're quite the hot (plus pricey) commodity these days. All to say: Having a solid and suitable array of egg substitute options on hand is top of mind.

So next time you're running out of eggs, know that there are other smart swaps that work just as well. Registered dietitian and gut health expert Amanda Sauceda, RD, shared six healthy egg substitutes that are full of nutritious benefits of their own. The best part? Many of these are plant-based, too.


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Experts In This Article

When it comes to which substitute to go for, it depends on what you're making. Here, Sauceda gives tips on how to know when to use each of the six best egg substitutes.

6 best egg substitutes a dietitian recommends

1. 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water

Flaxseeds are full of fiber and Sauceda says work best as an egg substitute for dense baked items, like waffles or muffins. "The trick to using a flax egg is that you have to use ground flax and let it sit for at least five minutes so that it forms a gel," Sauceda says. Then, once it's reached the appropriate, gelatinous consistency you can just work it into the batter as you would a normal egg.

2. 1/4 cup buttermilk

Few things are worse than getting midway through a baked good recipe, only to discover you don't have enough eggs. Thankfully, buttermilk is the perfect alternative for eggs in this situation. "Buttermilk is a good egg substitute in cakes because buttermilk won’t make your cake dense," says Sauceda. The best part? Even if you don't have buttermilk in the fridge, she says you can make your own by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk (or nut milk), stirring, and letting it sit for five minutes. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy (literally).

3. 1/2 mashed banana

If you want your egg substitute to also add a hint of sweetness to your food, Sauceda says mashed banana is a good way to go. She likes using it in when making pancakes. "I add peanut butter on top and it's a winning combo," she says. Remember, the more ripe it is, the sweeter it'll be. And although a slightly-underripe banana is better when it comes to gut health, a riper banana may be better for adding the moisture and texture eggs normally would in a recipe.

4. 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 3 Tbsp water

As far as egg substitutes go, Sauceda says chia "eggs" work similarly to flax eggs and can be used in many of the same ways, in dense baked goods. Again, you'll simply need to "activate" the chia to achieve the appropriate texture and consistency before adding it to your recipe. "Chia seeds also need to sit in water for five minutes to gel up," she adds as a cooking tip.

5. 1/4 cup silken tofu

When using tofu as an egg substitute, Sauceda says it's important to make sure it's silken tofu specifically because it's lighter and has a higher water content than other types of tofu. "If you want a flavorless egg substitute, this is a good one to use," she says. If you're a big scrambled egg fan, you can use silken tofu (or a firmer type of tofu) as a substitute here too, mixing in veggies and cheese to beef it up a bit.

6. 1/4 cup applesauce

Cooking in small batches? Applesauce is the way to go. "Applesauce is best used when you only need to sub out for one egg. Otherwise if you use too much applesauce the structure of your baked item might not turn out right," says Sauceda. Similarly to mashed banana, applesauce is also a way to add a little sweetness to your recipe, without adding relying on pure sugar.

What is a good egg substitute for scrambled eggs?

If you're looking for really tasty eggs made from plants, JUST Egg is about as good as it gets. The company is best known for their innovative plant-based egg products ranging from a carton of ready-to-use scrambled egg or a folded egg ideal for making homemade breakfast sandwiches for high-protein vegan breakfasts. But what has mainly drawn consumers to these products is that their texture, color, and flavor emulate the consistency of traditional eggs spot on.

Although JUST Egg is great for making a simple omelette or egg-free scrambles, it can also be used in various ways. In fact, the makers behind the product note that this liquid gold can be used for just about every type of baking recipes (with the exception of airy cakes and meringues which may not achieve the best results).

As a rule of thumb, it's recommended that JUST Egg be used in a 1:1 substitution ratio for traditional eggs, assuming that a chicken egg is roughly three to four tablespoons or 1.5 to two ounces of liquid. From a nutrition standpoint, JUST Egg has nearly the same about of protein as a chicken egg, five grams per serving versus six grams for a large egg. Plus, the plant-based protein is derived from mung beans, making it appropriate for vegan eaters too. And to achieve the golden hue of chicken eggs, this vegan egg substitute is naturally colored with ingredients such as carrot and turmeric.

What is a cheaper alternative to eggs?

Considering egg prices have drastically risen by 8.9 percent from November to December of last year—and prices continue to steadily rise and fluctuate—finding cheaper alternatives to eggs may be top of mind. From a cost-savings perspective, products like JUST Egg can be potentially superior when it comes to the convenience factor: they're ready to use, and don't require any fussing around with measurements or ratios, simply open the bottle and you're good to go. However, a 16-ounce carton retails for about $6 (with about 10, three tablespoon-size servings per container). Meanwhile, a carton of 12 pasture-raised eggs retails for roughly the same price. Making the two products worth about the same.

So, what's a truly cheaper alternative? Many of Sauceda's favorite best egg substitutes are likely much more cost effective. Let's compare: a two-pound hand of bananas is about $2, a six-count case of applesauce is less than $3, and a 16-ounce bag of flaxseed meal is under $5 (remember, you only need one tablespoon of flax to substitute an egg). All in all, these best egg substitutes may be equally as tasty, yet help spare you a few bucks in the long run.

Of course, we want to remind all of the fact that eggs are full of vitamins and healthy nutrients, so if you have them to use, awesome. But if not, one of the six best egg substitute choices on this list will make sure you aren't being held back on what you're trying to make.

Looking to further egg-splore the topic? Check out ways to make a big ol' batch of vegan deviled eggs or vegan hard-boiled eggs next.

Still have eggs on hand? That's a good thing:

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