Vegan Baking: How To Substitute Eggs & Butter

Baked goods like cakes, muffins, and biscuits are delicious and a fun way to treat yourself. Even a hearty muffin can make for a great breakfast if the ingredients are right. If you’re vegan, however, it can be hard to find suitable baked goods. Why is that?

Most baked goods are made with eggs and butter. These two ingredients don’t meet vegan requirements. Furthermore, people who are allergic to dairy may find themselves feeling ill after eating certain baked goods. Thankfully, there are some great ways you can substitute eggs and butter.


The Role of Butter & Eggs in Cooking

Why do we need butter and eggs anyway? These have always been staples of baking because they bind ingredients together and keep the mixture moist. Without them the final product would be a mess, and a dry one at that.

While they work really well, they add saturated fats and cholesterol to our baked goods. There are a couple of ways you can substitute eggs and butter. Vegan margarine and egg substitutes are a quick and dirty way to get the job done, but there are other ways that make your finished product even healthier—with fewer ingredients.


7 Plant-Based Substitutes For Butter and Eggs

1. Flax Egg

You can create your own version of an egg from flaxseed and water. Mix 1.5 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 2 tablespoons of water. This will substitute 1 egg in your recipe. Not only that, but you’ll also get some omega-3 fatty acids as part of the deal.

Keep in mind that you should only use this substitute for 2-3 eggs at most. Otherwise, the flaxseed will mess with the texture of your recipe.

2. Unsweetened Applesauce

I did a double-take when I heard about this substitute. How the heck does that work? The applesauce adds moisture to the dish, but don’t use more than a cup. Otherwise, you’ll come out with a mushy final product.

In your recipes, applesauce is a 1:1 ratio. If you need 1/4 cup of oil/butter, use 1/4 cup of applesauce instead. Keep in mind that you must use unsweetened applesauce so you don’t make the final product overly sweet.

3.  Mashed Bananas

Ripe bananas are great when mashed and used in baking. They add moisture and bind ingredients together in the same way eggs do. You also get a nice banana flavor in the final product. It’s great for recipes like oatcakes.

If you don’t want any flavor from the bananas, consider using under ripe bananas instead. A single banana can be used to substitute a stick of butter in any recipe. If your recipe has a lot of binding ingredients, consider splitting the duties between mashed banana and applesauce so you don’t alter the texture.

4. Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is another one of those ingredients you wouldn’t think of, but it makes for an excellent binding agent. If you’re making something with pumpkin flavor, it’s a no-brainer. The final product is incredibly moist and smooth with this substitute.

If you test it out in the spring and love it, save some for the fall and get ahead of the game with pumpkin-themed dishes. For substitution purposes, always use 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree for every egg in the recipe.

5. Coconut Oil

The other night I was making a dessert for a vegan friend, and I decided to try using coconut oil instead of butter. The dessert was a chocolate cookie and brownie pie. To substitute the eggs, I used applesauce.

The final product was excellent. Very moist with a great texture. As an added bonus, the coconut oil added this very subtle coconut flavor that everyone really enjoyed. Make your substitutes do double-duty by thinking about the flavors they add.

Since coconut oil has more fat than butter, do not make this a 1-to-1 substitute, or you will end up with an oily finished dish. Instead, use about 75% the amount called for in the recipe. For example, if you’re supposed to use two tablespoons of butter in the recipe, substitute it with 1.75 tablespoons of coconut oil to balance things out.

6. Avocado Puree

Before you start shaking your head, consider the consistency of a mashed avocado. Smooth, moist…everything you want from your substitute. You’ll need to use a food processor or something equivalent to get all the chunks out first.

It does add a brown color to your baking, so only use this with chocolate-based recipes. Also, be careful about using too much. This is not a 1-to-1 substitute.  Instead, use between 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup of avocado puree for every egg in the recipe.

7. Beans

Our final substitute is another shocker, but it’s a good one. Mashed beans can actually make a great substitute in cookies, of all things. For example, The Great Vegan Cookbook by Kathy Hester recommends using an entire can of mashed chickpeas in her vegan cookie recipe.

Not only do the mashed beans do a great job of binding ingredients, but they also add protein and fiber to your baked goods.

Another option is to use aquafaba, which is the liquid you normally drain from cans of chickpea beans. You can whip this liquid, much like egg whites, to substitute them for eggs in recipes.

You can use between 2-3 tablespoons of this liquid or mashed beans for every egg in the recipe.


Whether it’s for health or dietary choices, you can easily substitute eggs and butter in your recipes.

How do you change things in your baking to make them healthier? Or vegan? Let us know in the comments!