Plant Based Substitutes Every Vegan Baker Must Know


There are many ingredients in ‘traditional’ baking that are not exactly vegan friendly, so sometimes it can be hard to navigate your way through a recipe when every second ingredient is an animal product or remnant. There are many plant-based recipes out there, but these substitutes allow you to adjust any non-vegan recipe and make it into a vegan (and animal) friendly version! Let’s get started.

Replacing eggs

There’s no doubt that eggs will appear in many different recipes, from cakes to biscuits, they are seemingly everywhere. Eggs are primarily used as an ingredient to add structure to a sweet treat, but luckily, there are many plant-based substitutes that are pretty talented at holding all the ingredients together too! Let’s have a look.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great substitute for eggs. They are packed full of omega 3 fatty acids which means, when ground and mixed with a liquid, they are able to thicken, as they absorb the liquid, and in turn are great egg impersonators. Mix together the following to replace one egg:

  • 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of plant-based milk or water

Flax seeds: Flax seeds are similar to chia seeds, as they contain a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids and resemble a similar consistency of an egg when mixed with a liquid. In order to create one “egg” using flax seeds mix:

  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
  • 3 tablespoons of plant-based milk or water

Banana: If you don’t happen to have these seeds in your household, perhaps you have a banana just waiting to be used as an egg substitute! However, they do tend to have a strong taste so you should only use this if it will complement your dessert’s flavor. Bananas are great at binding ingredients together and adding moisture to a batter or mixture. To replace one egg with a banana, mix:

  • Half of a banana (preferably ripe)
  • A dash of plant-based milk or water
  • ¼ of a teaspoon of baking powder

Replacing milk

Cow’s milk is probably the easiest ingredient to replace, as we have an ever-evolving selection of plant-based milks to choose from, so the options are endless. However, it is important to consider what flavor of plant-based milk will pair nicely with your baked goods. Here are a few types of milks that are often used for vegan baking:

Hemp milk: This type of milk is high in protein and is a great cow’s milk substitute to use in baking, however, it is more suitable to use in savory baking as it has a strong flavor

Coconut milk: Coconut milk has quite a thick consistency compared to most other plant-based milks and for this reason, is used in both raw desserts as well as baking. You should probably only use coconut milk for baking if coconut is one of the main flavors of the dish, otherwise, it can overpower the other flavors.

Almond milk: Almond milk has a subtle flavor and represents the consistency of cow’s milk quite well, so this makes it a very good substitute for baking. If you are using almond milk in savory baking, make sure to purchase an unsweetened variety.

Soy milk: Similarly to almond milk, soy milk has a subtle flavor and has a very similar consistency when compared with cow’s milk but additionally, has a much higher level of protein. Soy milk can be replaced with cow’s milk in almost any recipe

Replacing butter

Butter in baking, can create a more ‘delicate’ taste to the baked goods, and additionally, add more moisture to them. In conjunction to the many plant-based butters on the market that are usually made primarily of sunflower or coconut oil, there are also a variety of other ingredients that can replace butter.

Apple sauce: Apple sauce can mimic the softness of butter that most recipes call for. However, apple sauce is only appropriate to replace butter in sweet treats rather than savory ones.

Nut butters: This is more of an experimental swap, however, it can sometimes work well to replace butter in certain recipes. Nut butter’s high oil content can add extra moisture and “creaminess” to a baked good in the way that butter does. Some popular nut butters are almond butter and peanut butter. Additionally, you can experiment and replace dairy butter with various seed butters, like tahini.

Oil: Oil, such as coconut oil, can be a great dairy butter replacement as it solidifies like butter does at a colder temperature and melts in a similar way butter does when heated.

Replacing honey

Honey is used in many recipes in order to add sweetness to baked goods in a healthier way than sugar. However, it can also be used as a topping. The good news is, there are a vast range of vegan sweeteners that can easily replace honey. Here are a few:

Maple syrup: You don’t have to limit yourself to only drizzling maple syrup over pancakes, it can definitely replace honey in various other recipes. It has a slightly ‘runnier’ consistency but is equally as sweet as honey.

Agave syrup: This syrup has a very sweet taste but to a lesser extent than honey. Its consistency is slightly thinner than honey and more so resembles the consistency of maple syrup.

Brown rice syrup: This syrup has a slightly more subtle taste than honey and also contains a nutty flavor. Since it is noticeably less sweet than honey, you can replace ¾ of a cup of honey with 1 cup of brown rice syrup.

About Author:

Alexia is an Australian based writer who is interested in topics such as social justice, animal rights and environmental sustainability. Since becoming vegan in 2015 and gaining awareness of the animal injustices occurring within the meat and dairy industries, Alexia wishes to spread awareness about animal welfare issues and in turn, promote the vegan lifestyle.

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