How To Use Butter, Dairy, and Egg Substitutes For Vegan Baking

How To Use Butter, Dairy, and Egg Substitutes For Vegan Baking

Giving up baked goods when following a vegan or plant-based diet?


Butter, milk, and eggs have been used for centuries as the foundation in many baking goods. They act as binders, thickeners, and rising agents. They add moisture, flavor, color, and structure.

Without these crucial ingredients, many of our favorite pastries, cakes, and cookies just won't be, well, what they are supposed to be! Glorious deliciousness! 

So without these essential ingredients in baking, do you have to give up your favorite cookies and desserts when you're on a vegan diet?? Absolutely not! There's no need to give up your favorites!

Some really great bakers, willing to take risks (we thank you!), found ways to replace these ingredients to make vegan baking possible and delicious! 

Vegan baking can be tricky when you are new to it, but, as with all things in life, it can be learned and mastered! Once you understand the role of butter, milk, and eggs in baking, vegan baking substitutes are easy to find and use in your favorite baking goods.


Butter Substitutes

Besides adding flavor and fullness to a dish, butter also helps to make baked goods more tender and with the rising process.

Butter substitutes for vegan baking include:

The important thing is to replace the butter with a similar consistency. 

When the recipe calls for solid or cold butter → use solid coconut oil.

And when it calls for melted butter → use melted coconut oil, olive oil, or applesauce.

Keep in mind that the percentage of fat and water in the substitute will affect your baked goods' texture and flavor. Also, check if any salt has been added to vegan butter, and omit any extra added salt.  

Find butter substitutes here: Applesauce, coconut oil, olive oilnut butter.

Butter Substitutes

Dairy Substitutes

Milk helps to moisten dry ingredients, adds flavor, supports browning, softens texture, dissolves sugar, and activates the gluten in baking recipes.

Milk is easy to replace, using a one-to-one ratio, with any vegan alternative such as almond, soy, oat, rice, or coconut milk. You won't easily detect the difference in baked goods. 

Beware, milk alternatives are often flavored or have added sugar. Consider how this may affect your dish, or choose unflavored and unsweetened varieties. 

Looking for richness and body in the recipe? → Use fattier milk substitutes like coconut (if you don't mind the flavor) and oat milk.

Need moisture or thinning? → "Lighter" kinds of milk, such as rice milk, will work great.

Does the recipe call for buttermilk? → No problem! For a recipe that calls for 1 cup buttermilk - add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar, or white wine vinegar to 1 cup of non-dairy milk and let it rest for 10 minutes.   

Need sour cream or heavy cream? → That's replaceable too! Whip unsweetened coconut cream or cashew cream to the required consistency, and add a little lemon juice if you need sour cream. 

Find all your dairy substitutes here! 

Egg Substitutes

Eggs may be one of the most essential ingredients in baking and are also the trickiest to replace. They contribute richness, body, structure, leavening, color, and flavor and act as a thickener and binder.  

When you need a thickener, i.e., in a pumpkin pie filling → you can add tapioca, corn starch, potato, or arrowroot powder. 

When you need a binder, i.e., for cookies →  make a gel using flax or chia seeds mixed with water. This creates a gel-like consistency similar to egg white. For each required egg, mix 1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water and leave to thicken for about 5 minutes. 

In heartier recipes, such as banana bread or morning glory muffins → applesauce and other veggie pure can be used to replace eggs. They may alter your flavor, so keep this in mind. For each required egg use ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce plus a pinch of baking powder. 

When you need eggwhite replacers → The liquid from a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), Aquafaba, is excellent for vegan meringues, macarons, and pavlovas. Use about 3 tablespoons aquafaba, whisked until foamy, per egg. Or simply buy egg replacers such as Neat Egg Replacer.

For anything that relies on a creamy foundation, such as custards, cream pies, and cheesecakes   plain plant-based yogurt will work just as well to replace eggs. ¼ cup plant-based yogurt = 1 egg.

Find egg replacers here: Powder & starches; flax & chia seeds; applesauce, canned chickpeas, egg replacers.

Egg Substitutes

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