How to Make Flax (Chia) Eggs & Use As Egg Substitute for Baking
After working with flax eggs for a little while now, I thought it would be a good idea to dedicate some time to talk about how to make flax eggs (or chia eggs) and tips on how to use them as an egg substitute for baking. Flax eggs are a wonderful, healthy, zero waste, vegan alternative to chicken eggs. These eggs also make a great alternative for those who have allergies to chicken eggs and must follow an egg-free diet. It requires only a little preparation ahead of time and can be used in baked goods such as brownies, cookies, and pancakes (but more about this later).
Either ground flaxseed or chia seeds can make a vegan egg substitute in baking. When mixed with water both take on a gelatinous substance that makes a great binder in baked goods. I’ve seen on many vegan websites that flax and chia can be used interchangeably. But from my personal experience, that wasn’t the case. I have had much better luck achieving a cakey texture in my cookies and brownies with flax eggs rather than chia eggs. However, don’t let that stop you if chia seeds are what you have on hand. You might get better results from it than I did.
How to Make Flax Eggs (Or Chia Eggs)
Preparation for both types is pretty much the same. If you are using whole flax or chia seeds, you can grind them using a coffee/spice grinder or mortar and pestle (if you want to work out your guns). You can skip this step if you buy ground flax or chia seeds instead. Most bulk sections usually carry ground flaxseeds (sometimes called flax meal), however, I have never seen ground chia seeds. I like to buy mine whole and grind them when needed as whole seeds have a longer shelf life than pre-ground meal does.
To make the vegan egg, the ratio for either flax or chia seeds is the same: for every 1 tablespoon of ground seeds, you add three tablespoons of water. Mix the seeds and water together and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes for chia or 10-20 minutes for flax until you get a sticky egg-like consistency with a gelatinous stretchy texture. This will give you the equivalent of one large chicken egg for any recipe. The important thing to note is that you want to measure your tablespoon of flax or chia seeds after they are ground, not when they are whole.
With flax seeds, it doesn’t really matter how you mix it. But chia seeds are incredibly hydrophilic and immediately get sticky when they come into contact with water. I found the best way to avoid clumping when mixing ground chia seeds with water was to measure out the water first, then add the chia seeds, and immediately begin whisking vigorously (if you are making more than one egg you can put them in a small mason jar, cap, and shake).
That’s it, pretty easy!
How to Use Flax (Chia) Eggs as A Substitute for Chicken Eggs in Baking
The difficulty with flax (or chia) eggs are that they cannot to treated the same as you would use chicken eggs. Chicken eggs provide many varying qualities to baked goods including emulsion, texture, thickener, and leavening. Depending on what you trying to accomplish, what part of the egg you use (whites, yolk, or both) and how you use it, will drastically change your finished food. For example, when I wanted to make fudgy brownies before with chicken eggs, I would avoid overbeating them into the batter as that would produce a brownie that was more cake-like.
This is not true for flax and chia eggs, however. Flax eggs will give you emulsion and structure to the baked goodie but don’t have quite the same leavening effects. So you can use flax eggs in items like cookies, brownies, pancakes, muffins, scones, bread, and other baked items. However, they don’t work quite as well in foods that require a light and delicate texture like chiffon cakes, angel food cakes, meringues, macarons, and marshmallows.
Some Do’s and Don’ts For Egg Substitutions
- Flax eggs do not have the same leavening effect that egg whites have so you don’t have to worry about overbeating them. In fact, you want aeration otherwise your goodies will come out pretty flat. I usually add the flax eggs at the beginning of the recipe along with the initial wet ingredients into a stand-up blender or electric mixer and mix on a high setting to incorporate air into the batter. You can try whisking them by hand but I haven’t had as much success with this.
- Flax eggs and chia eggs have different flavors. Flax eggs will add a nutty flavor to your finished foods so it might be better to stick to recipes with stronger flavors (like chocolate) or ingredients that would be complemented by it such as peanut butter or savory bread and the like. Chia eggs have a much more neutral flavor than flax eggs. So for recipes that have delicate flavors, you might want to use chia instead. If you don’t want the chia seeds to be visible, try using white chia seeds.
- Always prepare the flax and chia eggs ahead of time. Since many baked recipes do better when the wet ingredients sit at room temperature for thirty minutes, I usually just mix my flax eggs then. Don’t worry! They’ll be fine at room temperature for a while.
- Don’t assume that flax and chia eggs will work in any recipe especially converting a non-vegan one. As I stated earlier, many recipes call for qualities in chicken eggs that flax and chia eggs just don’t have. So it probably wouldn’t do a great job at achieving a lighter texture in a chiffon cake, or a creaminess needed from egg yolks in a crème brûlée, or a food with a very eggy flavor like crepes. A good rule of thumb I’ve found is that if it requires egg whites, egg yolks, or more than two large eggs; flax eggs probably won’t work.
I think that about covers it!
Do you have experience using flax eggs as an egg substitute in baking?
I would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below so that everyone (myself included) can benefit from it.
How to make flax (chia) eggs and use them as an egg substitute for vegan baking.
- 1 tbsp. ground flax or chia seeds (must be ground not whole)
- 3 tbsp. water
In a small bowl, place the water and ground flax or chia seeds.
Mix thoroughly with a whisk or fork.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes (chia) or 10-20 minutes (flax).
This makes one large egg.
Calorie count is for flax seeds.
34 kcal for chia seeds.
Chia seeds are very hydrophilic. To avoid clumping add all the water first, then the ground chia seeds, and immediately whisk for about a minute.
Of course, if you have any questions I am always happy to help! Look forward to chatting with you!