Making Muffins and Quick Breads Without Eggs

Is there an egg replacement that works in muffins and quick bread recipes?

We tested five commonly suggested egg replacements in a handful of quick bread recipes: silken tofu; baking powder mixed with milk and distilled white vinegar; plain whole yogurt mixed with vegetable oil; ground chia seeds soaked in water; and a commercial egg-free alternative, Ener-G Egg Replacer (a powdered mix of starches, gums, and leaveners) mixed with water per the manufacturer’s instructions.

In recipes calling for one or two eggs, the commercial egg replacer was the most successful, delivering muffins comparable to those made with real eggs. The tofu worked almost as well, and only a few tasters noticed a subtle soy flavor in the muffins. The yogurt-oil mixture placed third, producing somewhat dense muffins. These results made sense: The water in eggs provides moisture, while their protein provides structure. The tofu and the yogurt mixture are both similar to eggs in their water and protein composition. The other two substitutions failed outright.

None of the substitutes worked in our muffin recipe that calls for three eggs—they all came out dense and squat. Here’s why: These recipes rely more heavily on eggs than on chemical leaveners for lift, and none of the egg replacers had enough boosting power.

In sum: If you want to make muffins or quick breads without eggs, stick to recipes that require one or two eggs and use Ener-G Egg Replacer or 1/4 cup of silken tofu per egg. In a pinch, 2 ounces of plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil will work reasonably well.

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