Egg Substitutions in Baking

Raspberry Loaf Photo

Whether you're stirring up a batch of from-scratch cookies or making a packaged cake mix, eggs are usually among the ingredients.

Eggs are essential in most baked goods. Both the whites and yolks perform important functions. Egg whites add volume and act as a drying and leavening agent. Egg yolks provide fat, which adds flavor and tenderness, and protein, which helps thicken custards. The yolk also acts as an emulsifier, helping to blend liquids, like oil and water, that are hard to combine.

Because of the fat and high cholesterol in yolks, many healthy cooks eliminate yolks when baking and use fat replacers such as applesauce instead. What comes out of the oven, however, is often rubbery or dry.

To get the best results from low-fat baked recipes, our home economists prefer to combine whole eggs with egg whites or fat-free egg substitute instead of eliminating all the yolks.

In the recipe for Raspberry Lemon Loaf (shown above right), the egg yolk helps combine heart-healthy canola oil with lemon yogurt to create a fine-textured quick bread.

Carol Dodds of Aurora, Ontario shares this easy-to-prepare quick bread flavored with tangy lemon peel and fresh raspberries. The loaf is refreshing as a snack, at breakfast…or any time of day.

In our Creme Brulee we reduced the original number of egg yolks from 6 to 2 and substituted some egg whites for the rest. This lighter version still has rich creamy flavor.

This lightened-up classic from our Test Kitchen is smooth and creamy with a pleasant vanilla flavor. Instead of broiling the sugary sauce on top, we used a foolproof stovetop method so the custard is evenly coated.

Consider these tips when modifying your baking recipes:

  • When reducing eggs in a from-scratch recipe, substitute 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute for 1 whole egg. It's best to leave at least 1 whole egg in the recipe.
  • One large whole egg has 75 calories, 5 grams fat, 1.6 grams saturated fat and 213 mg cholesterol. Two egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg substitute) have 30 calories and no cholesterol.
  • Packaged cake mixes usually include ingredients that help with tenderness, texture, etc., so using only egg whites often works fine.
  • Using eggs at room temperature helps them blend better with the other ingredients. To bring eggs to room temperature, cover with warm tap water for exactly 2 minutes. Set a timer, and turn the eggs over after 1 minute. Dry eggs before using.
  • Remember, when you eat a cookie or a slice of cake, you're consuming just a part of the recipe and, therefore, only a fraction of the calories and fat from the yolk.

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