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.
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).
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
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
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
Preparation: Mash ½ of a banana until homogenous
Substitute: ½ banana = 1 egg
Best suited for: Binding in cakes, quick breads, brownies & muffins
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
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)
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 is what makes pies, breads and pastries look shiny and golden brown after baking. Here are some simple egg wash swaps.
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.
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.
Ingredient(s): Vegan butter
Preparation: Melt a few tablespoons of vegan butter and brush it on top of your pastry before baking.
Preparation: Measure a few tablespoonfuls of tahini and brush it on top of your pastry before baking.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
¾ tsp olive oil = 1 tsp olive oil
¾ cup olive oil = 1 cup butter
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.
This is a healthier alternative to butter and its green color can easily be masked by chocolate in baked goods.
Preparation: Puree the avocado. Measure the puree as you would butter.
Preparation: Replace the butter with equal quantities of mashed banana.
Ingredient(s): Pumpkin Puree
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