We often get asked by our gluten-free readers how to replace eggs in some of our recipes, so we decided to take a deep dive into the topic. In this post, we explore the role that eggs play in gluten-free baking; when you can and can’t replace eggs, and what substitutes we recommend.
It’s important to note that there is no single foolproof method for replacing eggs in your baking, and that this is a process that requires both experimentation and patience. However, we’re confident that with the building blocks in this post, and some testing with your recipes, you’ll find a reliable egg replacer that works for you.
So without further ado, let's get started!
Why eggs are important
You’ve probably noticed that most gluten-free recipes contain eggs, and sometimes even more eggs than their traditional counterpart. That’s because eggs are a key component when replacing gluten in your baking. They play three important roles in gluten-free baking:
- They act as a binder and help to replace the gluten
- They act as a leavening agent to help baked goods rise
- They support the structure and texture of the baked goods
As you can tell, eggs play a fairly complex role in gluten-free baking. Below we’ll break down these roles and offer alternatives for different types of baked goods.
When to avoid substituting eggs
As a general rule of thumb, it’s easiest to replace the eggs in a recipe if it calls for 2 or less eggs. In a recipe that calls for more than two eggs – for example, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake – the eggs are a critical component of the recipe. In this example they’re not only acting as a binder, but they’re helping with the cake's soft, spongy texture, and giving it some height and rise.
Another recipe in which it would be hard to replace eggs would be something that calls for whipped egg whites. An angel food cake, our Strawberry Almond Flour Cake, meringues, etc. all rely on the whipping of egg whites. Unfortunately, that's something we haven’t been able to replicate with success using an egg replacer.
Finally, another type of recipe that should be avoided when trying to replace eggs would be any sort of custard-based dessert.
There are a few main ingredients that can be used to replace eggs in gluten-free baking:
Ener-G Gluten-Free Egg Replacer
Ener-G Egg Replacer is one of the most popular egg substitutes in gluten-free baking. It was designed specifically for baking and is made from a blend of tapioca and potato starch, but also contains some leavening agents. You can use it to replace whole eggs, egg whites, or egg yolks.
When to use it: this is the most versatile of the replacers and can be used in pretty much every type of recipe. We recommend using it in anything from bread to muffins, cookies, and pancakes.
Tip: If you're making bread, add 1/4 teaspoon additional xanthan gum, since the bread needs more structure to rise.
Measurements: 1 large egg = 1 1/2 teaspoons dry Egg Replacer plus 2 tablespoons water.
Recipe to try: Gluten-Free Ancient Grains Drop Biscuits
Flaxseed gel egg replacer, which is a simple blend of flaxseed meal and water, is commonly used in baking to replace eggs. When mixed with water, the flaxseed meal turns into a gel-like substance and really helps to bind things together.
When to use it: flaxseed gel egg replacer is best used in recipes that don’t require a ton of rise. You’ll likely struggle with bread, but flax gel works great in cookies, muffins, and pancakes.
Tip: When using this replacer, your baked goods may get gummy, which is why we recommend not replacing more than 2 eggs. You might also notice that your baked goods don’t rise as much; if this is the case, feel free to add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon more leavening, like baking powder or soda.
Measurements: 1 large egg = 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal plus 6 tablespoons water.
Recipe to try: Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Similar to flaxseed meal, chia seeds also have gel-like properties when mixed with water. The best way to use chia seeds to replace eggs is chia seed powder, which can be bought or ground at home in a spice/coffee grinder. The powder is then mixed with water and turns into a thick gel.
When to use it: Chia "eggs" can be used in the same types of recipes as flaxseed gel. They’re both very similar in their composition and often have the same challenges with baked goods getting gummy.
Tip: Again, you might need to add some baking powder or baking soda to help your baked goods get a little more lift.
Measurements: 1 large egg = 1 tablespoon chia seed powder plus 3 tablespoons water.
Recipe to try: Gluten-Free Almond Flour Crackers
While not quite as common, and not always as reliable, fruit purée can also be used in some cases to replace eggs. The most common fruits to use are apples and bananas, but others like pumpkin, squash, pear, peach, etc. can also be used depending on the flavor profile of your recipes. We recommend opting for pure, unsweetened purées because any additives or extra ingredients could affect the recipe.
When to use it: This is the trickiest and depends greatly on the recipe, but we recommend that you replace no more than 1 egg with fruit purée; and if there's more than 1 egg in the recipe, do it in combination with one of the other methods above. Fruit purées work particularly well in moister baked goods like muffins, quick breads and bars, but can also be used in things like cookies and pancakes.
Tip: If you’re using a fruit other than banana, which is much stickier than other fruits, you might need to add 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum to help bind the ingredients together. Again, you also might want to adjust your baking powder or soda if your baked goods don’t rise as expected: try adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon.
Measurements: 1 large egg = 1/4 cup fruit purée
Recipe to try:
Gluten-Free Morning Glory Muffins