There are loads of reasons why you might be looking for egg yolk substitutes. Some people have allergies to egg products… Or maybe you are vegan and are looking for an alternative to eggs. These two reasons aside, it might simply be the case that you haven’t had time to run to the store and a recipe calls for eggs. Whatever the reason, we will provide you with a list of egg alternatives so you can still make your favorite recipes egg-free.
What do Eggs do in Recipes?
By knowing what eggs do in recipes, we can put ourselves in a great position to find suitable alternatives. Here’s what the humble egg does when combined with other ingredients: –
- Aesthetics: – Normally, when recipes are cooked with egg, they have a mild flavor. This makes eggs ideal for using alongside many ingredients. One way in which eggs are used often is as a ‘wash’. When exposed to heat, the egg will brown, giving pastries and cakes a golden brown appearance.
- Leavening: – If you’ve ever got raw eggs on your hands, you’ll already know that it is pretty sticky stuff. The reason it acts as a leavening agent is that it allows air bubbles to form and harden. By trapping air and adding heat, these bubbles expand, giving things such as souffles, cakes, and puddings a really nice rise.
- Binding: – So eggs are sticky. That’s a good thing as it acts as a kind of ‘glue’ to bind other ingredients together. If you are ever covering something in breadcrumbs, the egg makes an ideal ‘wash’ to make sure your breadcrumbs stick
- Moisture: – Eggs are a liquid (obviously). The moisture contained within eggs is absorbed by other ingredients making them a little softer and moister during the cooking process.
Best Egg Yolk Substitutes
1. Soy Lecithin
Is there a food more versatile than soy? Soy lecithin comes from soybean oil. Just like eggs, it is great as a binding agent. It won’t work to help things rise, but if you are looking for something to stick ingredients together, then it should work well.
If you have run out of eggs and are looking for something to bind, then one tablespoon of soy lecithin is the equivalent of one egg. As an egg yolk substitute, use the amount given above.
Ok, so this won’t work for those who are avoiding eggs because they are vegan. However, if you need something really sticky in a recipe, gelatin can make a great egg yolk alternative.
Gelatin is basically a form of water-soluble fat derived from animal bones. While you may be more familiar with fruit-flavored varieties, it is almost completely flavorless in its natural state.
Mix equal amounts of gelatin and water to get the right consistency. A tablespoon of gelatin mixed with the same amount of water has the same binding properties as one egg.
3. Apple Sauce
Yes, bear with us. As long as it is unsweetened, apple sauce makes for a great egg yolk substitute.
Obviously, this might not work in an omelet, but it will make a good alternative when baking pastries and cakes. The texture may be slightly heavier in the finished product. Use around 50-60 grams of apple sauce for each egg called for in the recipe.
4. Chia Seeds
If you’ve ever left chia seeds to soak for a while, you’ll already know that they form a kind of thick runny jelly. Does that remind you of anything? Eggs!
This egg alternative might take a little time, but it works well in most recipes that call for eggs. Mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with a cup of water and leave to soak for 10-20 minutes. After the time has elapsed, give the mixture a stir, and you should find that it is thick and gooey. Great for binding in baking.
5. Sparkling Water
So, you want a leavening agent but don’t have eggs? Well, try this. Carbonated water contains lots of gas. It can work really well to make cakes, pastries, and baked foods really light and fluffy. It works particularly well in batters.
To use carbonated water in your recipes, simply replace any calls for liquid or water with carbonated water. It’s super simple and, as an egg alternative goes, is quite effective. Combine with our chia seed or gelatin suggestions to get both binding and leavening.
6. Vinegar and Baking Soda
Have you ever mixed vinegar and baking soda? What happened? Chances are that you got a real ‘fizz’ going on. Baking soda reacts with an acid to produce carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is great for getting a rise in your recipes. When you add heat, this effect is even more potent.
You won’t want to use too much. Vinegar can really affect the taste of your recipes. One tablespoon of baking soda mixed with an equal amount of vinegar gives the same rising effect as one egg.
7. Oil and Water
Oil is often traditionally used as a binding agent. However, in the quantities required in place of the egg, it might make food too greasy and heavy. The solution is to mix it with water. If you also happened to mix it with baking powder, then you’ve got one of the best egg yolk substitutes out there. Rising and binding? Perfect.
8. Chickpea Flour
Sometimes eggs are used to thicken dishes. Chickpea flour is a great thickening agent. Due to its neutral flavor, it won’t overwhelm a dish either. The quantity required will vary greatly depending on what you want to achieve. Add a sifted tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired thickness.
While some dishes absolutely must have eggs to work, you can find some really decent egg yolk substitutes. Decide what properties you are looking for from your eggs. Is it binding, thickening, or raising you are after? Once you know this, you’ll be in a good place to choose your egg alternative.