Whether you’re experienced in the kitchen or a complete beginner, sometimes a baking session is all you need. After all, resist the aroma of fresh-baked goods.
Eggs, milk, and butter are all staple ingredients in classic baking – but they’re not necessary to whip up a batch of vegan chocolate chip cookies, birthday cake, and fudgy brownies. These days, there are vegan substitutes for all of the essential ingredients that are available in just about every supermarket – here’s what you need to know.
The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Baking Substitutes
1. Vegan Milk
Milk is one of the staple ingredients in baking – and these days, there are so many vegan versions to choose from. From almond, macadamia, soy, coconut, oat, hemp, and even quinoa or pea milk. Many baker prefer using soy milk for its high protein content because it reacts in a way similar to milk – it’s also ideal for making dairy-free buttermilk. Just add one tablespoon of lemon juice, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar to a cup of unsweetened soy milk, stir, and let it rest for up to 10 minutes.
2. Vegan Butter
No matter where you are located on this wide and wonderful world, chances are high that a local retailer will stock some form of vegan butter. Earth Balance is available in just about every major supermarket, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter released vegan margarine, and you can even find dairy-free butter at Trader Joe’s. Coconut oil can substitute for butter in certain recipes – try Nutiva’s Organic Coconut Oil With Non-Dairy Butter Flavor.
3. Use Applesauce or Pumpkin Puree Instead of Butter
Trying to sneak some extra fruit and veggies into your children? Looking for a healthy substitute or butter or oil in baking? Try pureed fruit. Applesauce and pumpkin puree are great because they give the recipe a creamy, thick texture and don’t have an overpowering flavor – only adding a subtle hit of sweetness. The same trick can work with butternut squash or sweet potato puree!
4. Egg Replacers
Most supermarkets across the globe stock egg replacers, which are perfect for recipes that call for more than about four eggs. Usually, you only have to add water and mix with 1 tsp of the powder (or cornstarch) to create the perfect vegan egg. Try Ener-G Egg Replacer, Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer, Organ No-Egg Replacer, the Vegg, the Neat Egg, or Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg.
5. Other Egg Substitutes
If egg replacement powders aren’t available or you want a whole food, plant-based alternative, chia or flaxseed eggs could be just the perfect option. A good ratio to follow is 1 flax/chia seeds or ground seeds: 3 water. Once combined, stir and set aside for the flax/chia to absorb the water and you will be left with a thick, gelatinous texture. You can also use mashed bananas – one banana makes about two eggs. For the best possible results, use spotty or brown bananas.
6. Aquafaba Instead of Egg Whites
Aquafaba is the name given to the liquid from a can of chickpeas. The thick, viscous texture takes on a texture similar to egg whites when whipped up in a stand mixer. It can’t replace egg whites in baked goods like angel food cake, but it can be used to make vegan meringues, macarons, and pavlovas. All you need is a can of low-sodium chickpeas – or, you can use options like Meringueshop Organic Vegan Meringue Powder and Vör Aquafaba Powder.
7. Liquid Sweeteners
Honey is a common ingredient in baking – but many vegans choose not to use it for ethical reasons. Instead of honey, you can use liquid sweeteners agave nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or coconut nectar. Monk fruit sweetener is a good sugar-free option. If you want a whole food, plant-based option, try date syrup or sweet potato nectar. There are also vegan honeys available, like Bee Free Honee or BlendItUp apple honey.
8. Vegan Baking Mixes
Baking mixes are great for anyone, especially beginners, because they’re convenient and more often than not, failsafe. Cherryvale Farms carries vegan-friendly baking mixes for banana bread, cookies, muffins, and cornbread – there are also vegan cake and brownie mixes. Enjoy Life makes gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free vegan baking mixes. Trader Joe’s carries a lot of vegan-friendly baking mixes as well. While many boxes suggest using eggs and dairy, people have had success with swapping in vegan ingredients. Joining a vegan baking group on Facebook is a great way to ask questions about what substitutes work best.