Sometimes, when a recipe does not include eggs, it will call for “egg replacer” instead. This is most often found in vegan recipes, since vegan recipes don’t include animal products and never use eggs, although a search for egg-free bloggers will find you plenty of people who also don’t want to include eggs in their cooking. Egg replacer is a packaged product that is a dry mixture of starches and/or binding ingredients that is meant to replace some of the function of an egg in a recipe. They include ingredients like cornstarch, potato starch, soy powder and flax seed, just to name a few. Some mixtures will contain a small amount of leavening or xanthan gum, as a binder.
Egg replacer doesn’t replace eggs in all circumstances, so you wouldn’t want to make an omelette out of it, but the replacers do work well in baked goods. In baked goods, eggs usually add some moisture and some thickening and binding power to a recipe, particularly in recipes were only one or two eggs is called for. Egg replacers that are a combination of starch and water – starch for thickening and water for moisture – can mimic the function well enough that your chocolate chip cookies will still taste very good when they come out of the oven.
Some do-it-yourself egg replacer recipes, for one egg, include:
- 2 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water (what I generally use)
- 2 tbsp potato starch + 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 1 tbsp water
I’ve seen suggestions to use 1/4 cup applesauce, mashed banana or other fruit purees, but these don’t have the same effect as the starch and flaxseed mixtures and can potentially make your batter a little bit too thick or heavy.