Serving our food allergic children meals that have been prepared in our own kitchen is one of the safest ways to feed our families. Unlike food that has been prepared in another kitchen (such as a restaurant, a bakery or a friend’s house), we can ensure that extra measures are taken to prevent cross contact that could put our kids at risk. Yet, when our kids are diagnosed with a food allergy, cooking and baking is more of a challenge than ever before. Substitutions can be tricky and do not always work like we might expect them to, especially if an egg allergy is present. Below are a few tried and true substitutions for egg ingredients in recipes.
A Few Things to Know About Egg Substitutes in Baked Goods
Researchers have found that egg white is the portion of the egg that is most responsible for allergic reactions. You may be tempted to omit egg whites and still use egg yolk in recipes, but this is not advised. It is impossible to separate the yolk from the white without traces of egg white protein remaining. Even the smallest of traces of egg can make someone with an egg allergy sick.
In most baked goods recipes, eggs typically play one of two roles: binding or leavening. The binding agent in a recipe helps to hold the recipe together, while a leavening agent helps it to rise. An egg’s role in adding moisture speaks for itself.
If a recipe calls for three or more eggs in a batch, substitutes typically do not produce a desirable result. So keep in mind that baked goods with a high egg content are not ideal candidates for egg-free cooking.
Do not use commercially marketed “egg substitutes.” Opt instead for “egg replacements.” Egg substitutes are usually found in the dairy portion of the grocery store and are marketed for people who are cholesterol conscious. Many of these products contain some egg, so read the label carefully. Commercial egg replacements like Ener-G brand Egg Replacer or Bob’s Red Mill Vegetarian Egg Replacer often work for both binding and leavening purposes.
When a Recipe Calls for a Leavening Agent
Chia seeds are the perfect substitute for eggs in baked recipes like waffles, quick breads, cookies and more. They only require two ingredients (one being water) and minimal work. To make a chia egg you need:
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
Mix the two ingredients together and allow 20 minutes to thicken, until the mix forms a gel. Chia seeds can also be used as a binding agent.
Flax seeds are one of the healthiest and easiest substitutes. To make an egg replacement with flax seeds you need:
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
Mix the two ingredients together. Allow them to sit until thickened. This works as a binding agent as well.
Apple cider vinegar and baking soda work together to make dough rise. This is a great leavening agent. All you need are:
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix the two and add to your recipe as you would an egg.
Baking powder is used to make many baked goods rise. To get an egg effect with baking powder, you need:
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon oil (any of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
Combine the three ingredients and add directly to the rest of your ingredients.
When Eggs are Needed as a Binder
Mashed Banana: Half of a mashed banana typically does the trick when replacing eggs. Mashed bananas are best for pancakes and cookies as the flavor can complement the finished product. Do not use an overripe banana as the taste can be overpowering.
Mashed Avocado: Use ¼ cup of mashed avocado to replace one egg. This works great in chocolate recipes to mask the flavor of the avocado.
Arrowroot or Cornstarch: Arrowroot and cornstarch both work well to thicken and bind recipes. Although they are interchangeable, arrowroot is less processed. Mix 2 tablespoons of arrowroot or cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water to replace one egg.
Nut Butters: Nut butter also works great to bind in brownies, cookies and pancakes. Use three tablespoons of any nut butter of your choosing to replace one egg. Opt for creamy nut butters over chunky versions.