How to Substitute Eggs in Recipes if Stores Are Sold Out

A close-up of three eggs in a carton
Monserrat Soldú

Since coronavirus forced the U.S. economy to grind to a halt last month, average Americans are seeing serious changes in their lives. Stay at home orders keep people inside nearly 24/7, with the notable exception of grocery store trips. However, supermarkets are impacted too, as pictures of empty shelves have popped up across the country. 

Experts have been clear that the issue is demand, not supply. There’s no shortage of food in the country, but with people scrambling to stock up every time they visit the store, some things go out of stock before new shipments arrive. That means people are trying to make do without some basics: milk, paper towels, eggs, etc.

Some things can’t easily be substituted, but others, like eggs in particular, can be worked around easily. If you can’t get your hands on a carton of eggs, here are some ways you can fill that gap in recipes. Not all egg substitutes will stand up in every concoction though, so be aware of what works best.

Easy Egg Substitutes

Banana: In addition to providing some potassium, mashed bananas can fill in for eggs while baking. Approximately half of one banana is equivalent to a large egg, and it’s best to use in simple recipes like muffins. Bananas have a strong flavor though, and that will come through in your finished dish.

Applesauce: Applesauce makes for a strong, healthy egg substitute that some people even prefer when they have the option. Unsweetened applesauce is your best bet, but if you can’t find any then cut some sugar out of the rest of your recipe. Since it’s dense and flavorful, applesauce is great for making pancakes and muffins. A quarter cup will substitute one egg.

Flaxseed: Mixing flaxseeds with water will make a “flax eggs,” decent substitutes for a traditional chicken egg. Mix one tablespoon of flax seeds with three tablespoons of water for a one-egg equivalent. Flax seeds will add a little flavor and a lot of nutrition.

Chia seed: Chia seeds have the same recipe as flax seeds for an egg substitute, three parts water to one part seeds. They provide similar health benefits, but won’t do much to alter the taste of whatever you’re making. Both will be dense, so they’re best used in baked goods that don’t need to rise much.

Tofu: If you’re trying to create an egg-based dish without eggs, tofu is your best bet. It’s consistency is very similar to cooked eggs, and tofu scrambles are a popular vegan alternative to scrambled eggs. Tofu itself is flavorless, so spice up the dish with whatever you see fit.

Yogurt: If you choose to use yogurt as an egg stand-in, buy plain yogurt. Flavored or infused yogurt can end up overwhelming the flavors in your dish. One-fourth of a cup of yogurt should do the job of one egg, and works well with cakes, cupcakes, muffins and more.

Carbonated Water: While it’s an unusual item compared to the rest of this list, carbonated water is a great egg stand-in. Whether you use club soda, seltzer, or sparkling water, anything flavorless and bubbly will do the trick. A quarter cup will serve as one egg, and it can fit in any recipe for light and fluffy treats, like cupcakes.

Canned Pumpkin: Pumpkin has a very strong flavor, so it might overwhelm your dish if you’re making something simple. Still, a quarter cup of pumpkin will work nicely in your recipe as an egg substitute. Just make sure it’s well-mashed, and mix it to make muffins, brownies, or cakes.

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