Egg allergies are on the rise and one of the most common allergens in children, second only to dairy allergies. My most recent test showed that I had actually reversed my sensitivity to grains and dairy but still had a strong reaction to eggs. (A little parting gift from my autoimmune disease.)
Avoiding eggs can be inconvenient and difficult for the growing number of people with allergies. Many common baked goods, breaded foods, and breakfast dishes contain eggs. Thankfully, all is not lost, because there are great options for substitutes.
Egg Substitutes in Baking
Eggs are really two distinct parts: yolk and white. That’s why some recipes call for just one or the other. The yolk is fatty and helps bind while the white offers moisture and lightness (leavening). In most recipes that call for whole eggs, the eggs act in all three of these roles:
- As leavener
- As binder
- As moisturizer
When replacing eggs in recipes consider what the role of the egg is before choosing your egg substitute. It’s not always easy to figure this out but here are some guidelines:
- If the recipe does not contain another leavening agent (like baking powder), assume the egg acts as a leavener.
- If the recipe calls for 3+ eggs, assume they act in all three roles.
- If the recipe has little moisture besides eggs, assume they act as moisture.
- If the recipe calls for just egg whites, they are probably used as a leavener (and moisturizer).
- If a recipe calls for just yolks, they are for binding.
If you’re not sure, assume the eggs acts as all three and choose an egg substitute or a combination of them that cover all three functions.
What to Use Instead of Eggs
Whether you’re egg-free by choice or necessity, these egg substitutes are a great way to enjoy your favorite recipes.
In Baking Recipes
When you’re baking (cakes, muffins, quick breads, etc.), you can usually find an egg substitute that works well.
If an egg acts as a binder in a recipe, almost any of the below substitutes will work:
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + ¼ cup of water (mix and let sit for 15 minutes)
- ¼ cup full-fat yogurt
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed + ¼ cup water (mix and let sit for 15 minutes)
- 1/3 cup applesauce (will be more crumbly)
- ¼ cup pureed banana (obviously not what I use!)
- 1 tablespoon gelatin powder + ¼ cup water (mix and let sit for 15 minutes)
- 2 tablespoons dates, raisins, or prunes + 2 tablespoons water, pureed together
- ¼ cup peanut butter or almond butter
If eggs act as a leavening agent in the recipe, yogurt can be used or a teaspoon each of baking powder (or baking soda), white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), and water (mix together).
When the egg is needed for moisture, yogurt, juice, applesauce, or pureed/ mashed banana should be used.
If you’re not sure, use more than one type of egg substitute. For example, use a gelatin “egg” (binding and moisturizing) and a leavening “egg” like yogurt (even if the recipe only calls for one egg… in my experience, it turns out fine!)
For coconut flour recipes, eggs are needed for both binding and moisture, so I typically use a chia, gelatin, and applesauce mixture.
For breading, an egg mixture is often used, but there are some easy substitutions. My favorites are melted butter, coconut oil, or plain yogurt. Full-fat coconut milk also works.
For a more flavorful binder for breading, I mix equal parts mustard and honey or maple syrup.
For this one, you are out of luck! I haven’t found anything that replaces the eggs completely in taste or texture, but I’ve learned to love breakfast stir frys with many of the ingredients that would often be added to an omelet (peppers, onion, cheese, meat, spinach), sautéed together sans eggs.
I also think it’s time to buck the “eggs or cereal for breakfast” rule and consider that leftovers, stir-frys, and even salads can be excellent healthy breakfast choices!
Here are some of my favorite egg-free breakfast recipes to try:
- Wellness Bars – These do have a fair amount of sugar from dates but when paired with a high protein food (like homemade sausage) they are a healthy breakfast.
- Protein “Brain Power” Smoothie – Just leave out the egg yolks and you have a filling and delicious breakfast smoothie that won’t make you sick.
- Chia Seed Pudding Parfait – For something a bit different, try this pudding as a parfait. Add nuts, berries, coconut, or whatever you have in your pantry, for a tasty egg-free breakfast.
When you can’t have eggs, you quickly find other egg-free options for breakfast. I feel like it’s helped me have a more varied diet too, which is important for getting all the nutrients the body needs.
FAQs on Egg Replacers and Substitutes
Here are some of the most frequent questions I get on the topic of egg substitutions:
1. How do you know if you are allergic to eggs?
There are a number of tests your doctor can perform to see if you are allergic to eggs (or other foods. Some of these include:
- IgE/IgG/IgA tests
- Food challenge
- Food elimination
Many people find out they have an egg allergy because they feel sick every time they eat a certain food. You can get a test to confirm but many people don’t see the point (if it came back negative they still wouldn’t eat the food based on how it makes them feel).
2. Are eggs the problem, or is it the chickens’ feed?
Some people believe that what the chicken eats can cause a reaction. Some have found that they can eat eggs from chickens fed with an organic, soy-free, corn-free feed. Others have found that duck eggs don’t bother them the same way chicken eggs do.
3. Why is silken tofu not on the list?
The short answer is that tofu is made from soy, so it’s not a healthy choice.
4. Why is Ener-g not included on this list?
Ener-g is a highly processed food so I don’t recommend it. It also contains synthetic gums. Since there are so many healthy alternatives, I’d just stay away from this.
5. How can you replace just the egg whites?
Assuming that you are only replacing the egg white in a recipe that calls for a whole egg, the simplest thing is to use two egg yolks for each egg in the recipe. You could also use 1 egg yolk and 1 of the other egg replacements in many recipes.
If you want to replace egg whites in recipes that use just egg whites (like meringue) you may be out of luck. There’s no great substitute for egg whites in these kind of recipes. However, you may be able to use a gelatin egg in some recipes like royal icing.
6. How many eggs can I replace?
For recipes that call for 1-3 eggs, any binding egg replacement will probably do fine. For recipes that call for more eggs you may have to mix and match egg replacers to meet the needs of the recipe. As I mentioned earlier, coconut flour recipes usually need eggs as a binder and for moisture. This is why coconut flour recipes tend to have many eggs.
But this same reasoning can work for other recipes types too. Recipes that call for 4+ eggs usually also need eggs for more than one action. I would use one egg replacement from each category and adjust as needed. For example, a recipe that calls for 4 eggs could have 2 unsweetened applesauce eggs, 1 chia seed egg, and 1 gelatin egg.
However, for recipes that call for many eggs, egg replacements may not cut it, so have a backup plan.
Egg Substitutes for Egg-Free Living
Many people have food reactions and allergies to healthy foods like eggs. Some food allergies can be addressed (like improving gut health and diet) but in the meantime, egg substitutes can help you enjoy some of your favorite recipes (even gluten-free ones!).
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Do you avoid eggs by choice or necessity? What do you use for substitutes?
Discussion (88 Comments)
I am neither a tofu fan nor advocate. However, recently while awake in the middle of the night with my newborn, I saw a cooking show in which the chef prepared a breakfast scramble with veggies (peppers, onions, etc.) and tofu. Turmeric was one of the spices utilized in the recipe and the result looked exactly like scrambled eggs. Something along the lines of this link – https://minimalistbaker.com/southwest-tofu-scramble/
Tofu, made from soy is not healthy. SOY is one of those foods touted by many as being healthy, but it is NOT. It messes with your hormones. Avoid ALL soy ( also mostly made with GMO’s…another reason to avoid soy). If you MUST, consume only fermented and only tiny amounts, infrequently. Soy is BAD!!!!!
I totally agree. 80 to 90% of soy products are from GMO sources (maybe even higher). It’s especially bad for women in their childbearing years & also has a negative effect on hormonal function is pre-teen & teenage boys. It is a pity, as it could be an inexpensive alternative protein source. (I actually made my own tofu back in the 70’s) Does anyone know of any studies done on the differing effects between GMO & non-GMO soy?
Forgive my ignorance, but does the recipe with the chia/flaxseed and water count as one egg? I’d like to try it and this would be my first attempt at trying an egg substitute. Thanks!
Katie - Wellness Mama
And, if anyone doesn’t know this – Chia + water makes a Great Gel which I add to my Greek yogurt (plain) + fruit & nuts – or whatever I want to add it to.
I’ve eaten Chia seeds for months before I found out recently about chia-gel. So much better for me.
My daughter has an egg allergy, but someone recently told me that duck eggs might be a good substitute. Have you ever heard this? I am excited to try the gelatin substitute as well.
Could I ask why you avoid eating bananas? Is it because of an allergy or for other reasons?
I am interested because I have always heard that bananas are really healthy.
I just really have an aversion. I know they are healthy, but I can’t stand them.
Just want to say “Thank You” for your wonderful site & all the time & effort that you put into it
As to bananas, have you tried them at different degrees of ripeness? I know everyone says they are most healthy when covered with brown spots, but I can’t eat them that way, the texture turns me off.
I like them only when they are yellow without a hint of brown & just a tinge of green at the tips.
Still firm, but not crunchy, certainly not mushy. (My mother used to make me eat the mushy ones & sometimes I’d “lose” them; not a pleasant memory ) You’ve probably already tried it, but I just wanted to toss that out there for you.
Just came across this as I was finishing up a four egg frittata! Unfortunately, we are egg crazy around here, but it’s great to know these substitutions for cooking.
Whisk together two tablespoons water, one teaspoon oil (I use coconut oil) and two teaspoons baking powder. That will replace one egg, but I have used this in muffin and cookie recipes that use 3 and 4 eggs, and it still came out perfectly. I don’t really avoid eggs. We buy only organic, farm fresh eggs from our neighbor’s farm down the road. (Such a blessing, living 20 minutes outside of Charlotte, but still being in a “country” area!) I don’t have us eating a super-restrictive healthy food only diet. My big thing is, I don’t want us to eat chemicals. I want us to eat natural food. My kids super love all different types of eggs, so we do often run out of eggs. I stay at home with the kids, so it is really unnecessary for us to have two vehicles. I bake all of our breads, muffins, nutrigrain bars, pretty much anything I can make at home. 🙂 So, when I am out of eggs, I always have water, oil, and baking powder. By the way, I really love your blog. So informative!
Have you used this substitute with coconut flour?
My daughter has severe allergies to eggs, soy, peanuts and seeds so I make almost all her food from scratch. I made our family recipe for Mennonite Easter bread this past weekend and it turned out really well. I am not saying great, because it did not rise quite as high as the original recipe, but it did have all the flavour and texture of the original. I used ( 2 Tbsp. of water, 1 Tbsp. of corn oil and 1/2 tsp baking powder beaten together) for each egg that the recipe called for. With this egg substitute, the flavour is not altered as it can be using other replacements. I hope this helps you to continue enjoying the baking you are use to. It sure did work for our family this Easter!!!
Love eggs and eat 2- 3 a day – I know that’s not what your question was but I feel very, very strongly about eggs being from chickens that live happy lives. My cholesterol level is normal. One of the fittest and healthiest people I know eats a six egg omelet every day for breakfast.
Katie - Wellness Mama
I wish I could eat eggs still!
Hmmm. I am wondering if it makes any difference if the eggs are organically fed, and free range, as opposed to “factory” eggs. Have you experimented with eggs from local, humanely-raised hens or ducks? I feel for you– I really like eggs too (and I am still not sure if they work for me).
I have tried everything I can think of. We even raised our own chickens and had free range, organic eggs. Still a no-go.
My son (7) is allergic to dairy and eggs. We tried some skin tests with various kinds of eggs (quail, duck, etc.) and milks (sheep, goat, etc.) and found he had no reaction to duck eggs (but to everything else we tried). He gets to eat duck eggs in moderation, and only when they’re the primary ingredient (ie: scrambled eggs) as opposed to baked goods. They’re pricey (even though we got a share through the farmer), but they make a nice treat for him. If you haven’t tried duck eggs, it’s worth a shot.
Try some skin testing, if nothing happens maybe you can try one or two eggs to see how you feel?
-ps: I would like to add that he is allergic specifically to the egg whites, so if you have an allergy to both the yolk and white or just the yolk, it may be completley different [:
I tried everything too, even duck eggs – I miss eggs so much 🙁
I have the same issue Kate. Due to autoimmune issues I have already cut out gluten, grains and dairy. My inflammatory markers are still up. So as of last week I am egg free. Which is a real bummer since we have chickens. I liked being able to know what they ate and that they get lots of love from the kids. But even organically fed chicken eggs aren’t good for my body. Thanks for all the substitution tips!
Yes we just started eating duck eggs also and our 4 year old does well with them. Normally they are expensive but we found a neighbor who gives them to us. I made black bean brownies with them last week and Jake kept saying “this is the best cake ever!”
Katie we make tofu scramble as an “omelet”. If you eat tofu buy the extra firm and throw it in the freezer. When you’re ready to make it thaw it out, squeeze it dry and crumble it. Throw it in a frying pan with sautéed onions, olive oil and sprinkle it with turmeric to your taste – we like it heavy on the turmeric. Then you can add all your veggies. It’s really, really good!
Katie - Wellness Mama
Only problem is that tofu isn’t healthy, as it comes from soy: https://wellnessmama.com/3684/is-soy-healthy/
I have to ask why you won’t eat bananas? Is it preference or something about their nutritional value?
Just personal preference.
Katie.. I am interested in why you do not eat bananas.,
The gelatin suggestion is AWESOME!
OMG, so excited to learn about that one 🙂
I had no idea.
My littlest kid is allergic to almost everything! (eggs, dairy, coconut. corn, soy, chia, flax, raisins, prunes, apples, nuts, potatoes/nightshades, pumpkin, etc, etc, etc) Fortunately, not allergic to any meat, so it’s great to have another option besides bananas! Bananas *do not* go with everything.
i am so happy to see this as my 18 month old can’t eat eggs… I am always looking for ways for him to get enough for breakfast since the rest of us eat piles of fried eggs 🙂