Using Egg Substitutes in Baking and Cooking

— By Kate McCarty, Food Systems Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Perhaps you’ve noted that egg prices have increased dramatically over the last year. Due to increased demand and incidences of avian flu, the price of a dozen eggs has more than doubled since 2021. Many people are exploring alternatives to eggs, looking to save a few dollars on their grocery bill.

While we love eggs as a source of protein that are low in calories, there are times in cooking and baking when less expensive alternatives can be used. In baking, eggs create structure and give lift, called leavening, to doughs. Egg substitutes can have more or less success, depending on the role of the egg in that particular recipe.

Egg Substitutes in Baking

Carton of eggs, applesauce, seltzer water, and whole ground flaxseed

So where to begin when looking to use egg substitutes in baking? There are many plant-based (as well as shelf-stable) alternatives to eggs, some better than others when it comes to the flavor, texture, and look of your final baked goods. We tested several different egg substitutions in a yellow cake recipe that called for two eggs to see how the alternatives hold up.

Product Equivalent Amount Price per Serving Pros Cons
Eggs 1 egg = 1/4 cup $0.44
  • Most reliable for color, flavor, and appearance
  • Highest cost
Flax Seed 1 Tbsp flax and 3 Tbsp water = 1 egg $0.06
  • Doesn’t affect flavor
  • Good source of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Shelf-stable prior to mixing up
  • Flax seeds visible in batter
Applesauce 1/4 cup = 1 egg $0.25
  • Doesn’t provide as much leavening as other options
  • Affects flavor and texture of baked good—best used in quickbreads
Seltzer water 1/4 cup = 1 egg $0.05
  • Inexpensive
  • Best texture and flavor of all the substitutes we tried
  • Shelf-stable
  • Pale color

Four round cakes labeled with applesauce, eggs, flax seed, and seltzer

Other egg substitutes in baking are mashed banana, peanut butter, and chia seed. In cooking, tofu is usually the go-to egg substitute. A thin, pancake-like batter can be made from chickpea flour flax seed and used as a substitute for an omelet.

When you cook and bake with eggs, remember to practice good kitchen hygiene by washing your hands after handling raw eggs and cleaning your kitchen equipment thoroughly to avoid cross-contamination and the threat of foodborne illness.