Need to make a simple egg substitute? It’s easier than you think.
The Flax “egg” simple egg substitute
The flax “egg” is a name given this mixture of ground flax seed and water. A few minutes after mixing the flax and water together, mysterious but wonderful components from the flax seed form a gel with the water. I say mysterious because, after browsing around on a number of websites, what I can tell you about what forms the gel is that flax seed is rich in soluble fiber.
In baked goods, this flax-water gel acts very much like an egg does to leaven and bind the dough or batter. In a meat loaf, it adds body and fiber. If you let the flax meal-water mixture sit for 10 minutes or more, it will thicken impressively like this!
In baking, the flax “egg” can be simpler to work with than a chicken egg. If you’ve run out of eggs but have a bag of Bob’s Red Mill ground flaxseed in the freezer (see note), it’s easy to just whisk up a batch.
If you think your recipe might be too moist, just reduce the amount of water. In a recipe like my Apple-Apricot Fruit-Sweetened Muffins, notice you don’t add water as an ingredient, but rely on the moisture in the coconut milk to form the “egg”. The volume of a typical large egg is 1/4 cup, by the way.
Caveats for this egg substitution
- You can’t fry the flax “egg” up like an omelet – or if you have done this, please let me know!! But there are pancake recipes that, with a few other ingredients, can be fried and stay together.
- The flax “egg” does not add the albumin protein that an egg would, so hypoglycemics like me have to be careful of making a recipe too high in carbohydrate.
- It may not work if your recipe calls for more than two eggs, either. That’s pushing the binding properties of the gel, as opposed to the proteins in eggs, according to one source. But another source said that up four eggs should work.
The gel holds together enough to paint a little spiral form. Who says you should never play with your food? Thanks, soluble fiber!
Other recipes using flax eggs
Shop how to make a simple egg substitute
The Flax "Egg"
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 3 tablespoons water up to 1/3 cup - see note
- If making the gel, measure the flax seed into a small dish. Pour in the water while whisking gently. The gel will take a few minutes to form and will continue to thicken over time.
- If using in a recipe, add the flax meal with the dry ingredients and the water with the wet. Or if the recipe already calls for flax meal and there is other liquid, don't add any extra water unless the batter seems quite dry.