Great Egg Substitutes: Flax and Chia Seeds

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Flax and Chia Seed Meal as Egg Substitute | Looking for a whole food, natural, egg substitute? Use flax seed meal and water! (Or chia seed powder and water.) Flax seeds and chia seeds are gelatinous and when whisked with water, get all gummy. This gumminess is what makes them act like eggs in a your baked goods recipes: like muffins, cookies, and cakes. Here's how to do it. | GNOWFGLINS.com

Looking for a whole food, natural, egg substitute? Use flax seed meal and water! (Or chia seed powder and water.)

Flax seeds and chia seeds are gelatinous and when whisked with water, get all gummy. This gumminess is what makes them act like eggs in a your baked goods recipes: like muffins, cookies, and cakes. (No egg substitute will work successfully in dishes that are egg-dependent, such as quiche or meringue.)

How To Use Flax or Chia as Egg Substitutes

Step 1. Grind the seeds.

Grind your own Flax seeds or chia seeds in the Vita-Mix dry container (on HIGH), in a heavy-duty blender, or in a coffee grinder. A food processor will not achieve a fine enough grind. Grind the seeds until they’re fine, like a flaky powder. When the meal begins to clump together, that is generally fine enough.

It is best to grind just the amount of flax seed meal or chia seed powder you need, at the time you need it, because exposure to light and oxygen will compromise the nutritional benefits. The next best option is to grind a few days’ worth or a week’s worth and store it in the freezer in a dark colored jar, to minimize light exposure.

Step 2. Mix with water.

For every egg in the original recipe, use 1 tablespoon flax seed meal or chia seed powder and 3 tablespoons water. Whisk together in a separate bowl, and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. It will get gummy, just like eggs.

Step 3. Add to recipe in place of eggs.

Then the mixture can be added into the recipe where it calls for egg(s). No other adjustments are usually needed!

Usually, you will not be able to tell any difference in baked goods where flax seed meal has been substituted for the eggs. However, small items like cookies may be more crumbly. I recommend making cookies as bars. Anything that bakes as a bigger solid — such as muffins, quick breads, cakes, or bar cookies — will do just fine.

If you use too much flax seed meal/water mixture (or if you use any flax seed meal/water mixture in pancakes), the risk is that what is baking will remain gummy inside. That’s why I don’t use any egg substitute at all for pancakes or pancake-style flatbreads. They just don’t cook inside before getting burned on the outside.

What other egg substitutes would you recommend? What’s been your experience with chia or flax seeds as egg substitute?

Want more help with allergy-free cooking? Learn the ins and outs of nourishing allergy-free cooking in our online class.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for sharing this…as I first started reading, I didn’t understand how it would work, but when you mentioned the gumminess, it clicked! I have a nephew with egg allergies, and this is a great thought! Much better than the artificial substitutes, which use corn syrup solids!

  2. jason says

    Interesting. I’ve used the exact opposite proportions (1 T flax, 3 T water), as recommended by the Post Punk Kitchen website. They have some other substitution ideas there, too.

    I don’t mind gooey pancakes – if there’s no egg, there’s not really a problem. But, I also cook them at a lower temperature than most, so they cook through more evenly.

    As I understand it, the LNA (omega-3) and lignans in flax can withstand heat up to 350 degrees for 2 hours. So, depending on the recipe, those essential oils may still be preserved.

    • says

      Jason, that is interesting, and especially so because I use the exact opposite proportions, too! ;) Oh, my, I can’t believe I mixed them up when I wrote the post. I need a proofreader, and not myself! I edited it now. Please forgive my mistake – and thank you very much for bringing it to my attention!

      Thank you for sharing the temperature at which the essential oils are degraded. I have always wondered this!

      -Wardee

  3. David says

    Just to clarify – ground flax or defatted flax flour can safely be used in baking because the very high level of natural antioxidants protects the Omega-3 from breaking down – several studies confirm this. This does not mean you can cook with flax seed oil except for use in products like breads.
    David

    • says

      David – I’m glad you brought this up, I’m always glad to learn more! Where would I find more information about these studies that confirm what you’re saying? Thanks!

  4. Heather says

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful info! I recently found out I’m allergic to eggs and have been trying to figure out what to do with flax (as I had heard of it used as a substitute). Love your site!

  5. Joyce says

    I was “googling” how to use flax meal as an egg substitute. Thank you for such clear, concise directions. Great post; thanks!

  6. Linnie says

    I just used flax meal as a sub for eggs in my whole wheat pancakes, very good! But here’s what I did: Soak the meal as directed but then mix it in with the liquid ingredients and blend to about twice the volume. Then add to dry ingredients. The pancakes did rise, though not quite as fluffy as with eggs, they were not gooey inside at all!

  7. Jennifer says

    I wish I had looked this up BEFORE I decided to sub eggs in pancakes this morning. :( They taste great, but I made the flax gel 1:1 with water instead of 1:3, and the burning part sure explains why my pancakes are turning out the way they are! Thanks for being here, even if I had to learn the hard way. LOL By the way, I’m in Oregon, too! :) Enjoy the sun today!

  8. phillippa says

    I made 2 batches of crepes this morning, substituting 4 tbsp of flax meal for 4 eggs. They looked different – the meal was visible, but maybe I didn’t grind them fine enough. In any case, the crepes turned out great.

  9. says

    I used the info on this page this morning to make whole white wheat pancakes, and they were superb!! I’ll explain what I did for the other readers as well.

    1. I put my flaxmeal equal to 2 eggs in my single serve blender and whizzed it with the water. You could also use a hand held mixer. Then I let it sit for awhile.(3-4 minutes)
    2. I mixed all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then I added my flax mixture to the wet ingredients and mixed that into the dry.
    3. I used coconut oil
    4. I added a dash of vanilla extract and cinnamon
    5. I used a an electric griddle set at a lower setting, which cooked the pancakes to a golden brown, no burning.

    These pancakes were light, fluffy and delicious:) Hope this helps!
    They turned

  10. Julie says

    I just googled whether or not the omega 3 is gone when baking and mostly everyone says no. That’s good to know.

  11. Betty says

    Gosh I wish this were true!!! I would like to see PROOF. I think this whole flax seed thing is an urban myth that just won’t die. I notice that all these bloggers and websites CLAIM that flax seeds make a great egg replacement but they never actually show any baked goods actually made this way. I am a good baker. I have baked all my life. And I am here to tell you, FLAX SEEDS DO NOT WORK AS EGG REPLACEMENTS. The claim that they do is bogus! I have tried over and over and over and over again. I have tried brown flax and golden flax. I have tried pre-ground and grinding my own. And every time I try to use flax seed meal in my muffins instead of eggs it is a disaster. The muffins never get cooked in the center, they are all gooey and slimy. I double the time, triple the time, quadruple the time in the oven until the tops of the muffins are burnt and yet they still never get dry or cooked in the middle. They still come out wet and slimy in the center. I am SO disappointed. I can’t understand why people keep claiming the flax seeds will work to replace eggs. They don’t work!!!

    • ann marie says

      I made lactation cookies from the leaky boob blog and subbed the egg for flax and it came out just fine. However i am making brownies right now and it’s not working though this is also my first try using coconut oil instead of butter…

    • says

      I use flax eggs all the time. They work just fine. Of course, they are not eggs, but they work to bind baked goods. Maybe you are not letting the “flax egg” sit for a while? I usually make my flax eggs a good 10 minutes before I need to use it. I haven’t tried chia “eggs,” but maybe you will have better luck with those? I have also seen people boil whole flax seeds until they turn into a “goop” that resembles egg whites. Maybe try it that way?

  12. Lisa says

    Best egg substitute ( and no grinding needed): 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar + 1/2 tsp baking soda. This would be in addition to any baking soda the recipe already has in it. Easy peasy and works beautifully.

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