Allergic to eggs: What else can be used when cooking?

Originally Published: November 3, 2000 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: November 14, 2014
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Dear Alice,

My brother-in-law is very allergic to eggs or egg products. What can I use as a substitute in recipes?

--Sis

Dear Sis,

How nice of you to cater to your relative! You'll be happy to know that there are a number of suggested substitutions for eggs. Some of them might already be in your kitchen pantry! It's good to note, however, that some substitutions have the potential to alter the texture of the final product depending on the recipe. In addition to being knowledgeable on egg-free ingredients, it's best to be also be vigilant for egg products at the grocery as well (more on that in a bit).  

Before you grab your apron, check to see how many eggs are listed in your recipe's ingredient list. It's recommended that the following substitutions only be used if the recipe requires three or fewer eggs (each is equal to one egg):

  • 1 tablespoon pureed fruit (e.g., applesauce or mashed banana)
  • 2 tablespoons of hot water mixed with 2 teaspoons (or one packet) gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder mixed with 1 tablespoon each of vinegar and another liquid
  • 1 teaspoon yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water
  • 1½ tablespoons of water mixed with 1½ tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of baking powder

List adapted from kidshealth.org and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.

With a little trial and error, you might find that these substitutions make for better dishes compared to their egg-laden counterparts. If not, you might find other tasty recipes that just don’t list eggs as an ingredient at all.

In addition to substitutions, you may also want to be on the lookout at the grocery for pre-packaged food products that contain egg. The good news is that this information should be pretty easy to spot. According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, manufacturers are required to declare whether egg (in addition to several other common food allergens) is present in the food item and clearly state it on the product’s ingredient labels.

Hopefully, whether or not your brother-in-law finds the egg-less creations you concoct to his liking, at least he knows you're thinking about his special dietary need.

Alice