Sustainable Eating

A Complete Guide to Sustainable Baking Swaps

Indulge your sweet tooth and stay true to your plant-based lifestyle by learning how to swap out dairy and animal ingredients in your baking recipes.

Baking is an exact science. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite baked goods to fit your plant-based diet - there are tons of substitutes for dairy and animal products! 

Depending on which recipe you are making, you might find more success with certain swaps than others - experimenting is ultimately how you will know what works best for your favorite recipe! 

Here's what you need to know about substitutes. 

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Eggs are used in almost every baking recipe. Most commonly used as binders and leavening agents, eggs are essential to keeping baked goods intact during the baking process. There are, however, many different plant-based alternatives that are simple and budget friendly. 

If using fruit purees like applesauce or banana, you can add ½ tsp of baking powder to make your bake less dense. (Works best in muffins, brownies, waffles/pancakes, cakes, and breads.) 

Using egg substitutes in recipes calling for more than 2 eggs might be tricky depending on the recipe, i.e., add more leavening agents, milk, or flour. If you do choose to use a certain egg substitute, make sure the substitute works well for its purpose, such as for binding or leavening (use the chart below to help you decide).  

Egg Replacement: Flax egg 

Ingredient(s): Flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed), water 

Preparation: Combine 1 tbsp flaxseed with 3 tbsp of water and stir until incorporated. Let sit for 10-15 mins until it has a “gloopy” texture 

Substitute: 1 tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg 

Best suited for: Binding in cookies & cakes  

Egg Replacement: Chia Egg 

Ingredient(s): Chia seeds, water 

Preparation: Combine 1 tbsp of chia seeds with ¼ cup of water and mix until combined. Let sit for at least 5 minutes until it thickens. 

Substitute: 1 tbsp chia seeds + ¼ cup water = 1 egg 

Best suited for: Binding in cookies & cakes 

Egg Replacement: Apple Sauce 

Ingredient(s): Unsweetened apple sauce 

Preparation: Measure ¼ cup of applesauce 

Substitute: ¼ cup applesauce = 1 egg 

Best suited for: Binding, can be used in most recipes 

Egg Replacement: Banana  

Ingredient(s): Banana 

Preparation: Mash ½ of a banana until homogenous 

Substitute: ½ banana = 1 egg 

Best suited for: Binding in cakes, quick breads, brownies & muffins 

Egg Replacement: Nut Butters 

Ingredient(s): Peanut, almond, or cashew butter 

Preparation: Measure 3 tbsp of nut butter of choice 

Substitute: 3 tbsp nut butter = 1 egg 

Best suited for: Binding in brownies, cookies, & pancakes 

Egg Replacement: Aquafaba  

Ingredient(s): Can of chickpeas 

Preparation: Reserve the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Measure 3 tbsp of it. 

Substitute: 3 tbsp aquafaba = 1 egg or 4 tbsp aquafaba = 1 large egg  

Best suited for: Pancakes, cakes & quick breads (when unwhipped) 

Egg Replacement: Baking soda + vinegar  

Ingredient(s): Baking soda, vinegar  

Preparation: Combine 1 tsp baking soda with 1 tbsp vinegar and mix.  

Substitute: 1 tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp vinegar = 1 egg 

Best suited for: Leavening and binding in cakes & muffins 

Egg Wash  

Egg wash is what makes pies, breads and pastries look shiny and golden brown after baking. Here are some simple egg wash swaps. 

Egg Wash Replacement: Coconut/vegetable oil 

Ingredient(s): Oil of choice 

Preparation: Measure a few tablespoons of your oil of choice and brush on top of pastries before baking. This egg wash is ideal for savory goods as it has no sweetener.  

Substitute: 1:1  

Egg Wash Replacement: Non-dairy milk  

Ingredient(s): Dairy-free milk of choice 

Preparation: Measure a few tablespoons of non-dairy milk and brush on top of your pastry before baking. 

Substitute: 1:1 

Egg Wash Replacement: Vegan Butter 

Ingredient(s): Vegan butter  

Preparation: Melt a few tablespoons of vegan butter and brush it on top of your pastry before baking. 

Substitute: 1:1 

Egg Wash Replacement: Tahini 

Ingredient(s): Tahini 

Preparation: Measure a few tablespoonfuls of tahini and brush it on top of your pastry before baking. 

Substitute: 1:1 

Egg Wash Replacement: Non-dairy milk + sweetener 

Ingredient(s): non-dairy milk, sweetener of choice: maple syrup or agave nectar 

Preparation: Whisk together 2 tbsp of milk of choice with 1 teaspoon of sweetener of choice. Brush this on top of your pastry before baking.  

Substitute: 1:1 


Did you know the liquids from a can of chickpeas can transform into your favorite meringue cookies, macarons, mousse, and meringue buttercream frosting? That liquid is called aquafaba and has become a popular meringue/egg white substitute. 

Meringue replacement: Aquafaba Meringue  

Ingredient(s): Canned chickpeas, sugar, cream of tartar  

Preparation: This can vary depending on what the meringue is being used for. The aquafaba is usually whipped with sugar and a small amount of cream of tartar.  

Substitute: Varies depending on meringue use: for cookies, mousse, cake, frosting etc.  


Milk replacement:  Non-dairy milk

Ingredient(s): Almond, Oat, Soy, Coconut milk  

Preparation: Measure desired amount of choice of milk.  

Substitute: 1: 1  


Soy or almond are preferred - oat milk doesn’t have enough fat to curdle. 

Buttermilk Replacement: Non-dairy Buttermilk  

Ingredient(s): Nondairy Milk (soy or almond preferred) apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or lemon juice 

Preparation: Add 1 cup of nondairy milk and combine with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar or lemon juice). Once mixed, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. It should thicken and curdle. 

Substitute: 1:1


Butter replacement: Vegetable Shortening 

Changes the texture a little by making the baked goods lighter in texture and has no butter flavor. However, it is an ideal substitute in baking because its end product is very close, and it can be creamed and used in frostings.  

Ingredient(s): Vegetable shortening  

Preparation: Measure vegetable shortening as needed in a measuring cup or measuring spoon.  

Substitute: 1:1  

Butter replacement: Olive Oil 

Is ideal for melted butter substitute.  

Ingredient(s): Olive oil 

Preparation: For any recipe, use ¾ the amount of olive oil you would use in place of butter.  

Substitute: 3:4 

¾ tsp olive oil = 1 tsp olive oil 

¾ cup olive oil = 1 cup butter 

Butter replacement: Coconut Oil 

Will leave the baked good with a slight coconut flavor and will be slightly crispier. 

Ingredient(s): Coconut Oil 

Preparation: Measure the coconut oil as you would with butter. 

Substitute: 1:1 

Butter replacement: Avocado  

This is a healthier alternative to butter and its green color can easily be masked by chocolate in baked goods. 

Ingredient(s): Avocado 

Preparation: Puree the avocado. Measure the puree as you would butter.  

Substitute: 1:1  

Butter replacement: Banana 

Ingredient(s): Banana 

Preparation: Replace the butter with equal quantities of mashed banana. 

Substitute: 1:1  

Butter replacement: Pumpkin Puree  

Ingredient(s): Pumpkin Puree  

Substitute: 1:1  

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