Whether you're following a vegan diet or you just ran out of eggs, sometimes you might need to find an egg substitute. Depending on what you need the egg replacement for (baking, breading, etc.) there are options that you probably have at home.
But what are the best egg substitutes for breading? Read on to find out the 10 best options.
The Purpose of Eggs When Breading
Why do people use eggs when breading? The main purpose is to make the breading stick. If you were to take a slice of zucchini and roll it in bread crumbs, the vast majority would fall off and you wouldn't get the crunchy texture you're looking for.
However, if you whisked up a whole egg and dipped the zucchini in it first, then the bread crumbs stick to it. But what if you're vegan, have an egg allergy, or just are out of eggs? There are some great options listed below.
1. Water and Corn Starch
A mixture of water and corn starch is one of the best options to get those bread crumbs to stick. It doesn't add any flavor, fat, and barely any calories. You can combine it in a ration of about 4 parts water to 1 part cornstarch. For example, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons of water.
Mix the cornstarch and water well and start dipping your item for breading. After a while, you'll want to stir up the cornstarch and water mixture as the cornstarch will start to settle to the bottom of the bowl.
Milk is another good option to replace eggs for coating and breading. If you're not dairy-free, you can just use regular milk. But if you're vegan or allergic to milk, you can use one of the great unsweetened milk alternatives.
I love using soy milk or almond milk, but you can you use your favorite non-dairy milk. I don't like using rice milk as it's is a little thin or coconut milk as it gives a coconut flavor.
Wondering what's the best type of plant milk? Check out Vegan Milk Options - A Look At Non-Dairy Milks.
3. Flour and Water
Similar to combining cornstarch and water, another option is to make a flour water slurry. To do this, you combine equal parts of flour and water. Mix with a fork in a bowl and it's ready to use.
If you don't eat regular flour, you can also use chickpea flour.
4. Melted Butter
Another substitute for egg for breading is melted butter. This can be regular butter or vegan butter. One drawback is that butter isn't the healthiest option and you are adding a lot of fat and calories to your dish.
Also, depending on your dish it might make the food a little soggy. But if you like a buttery flavor, this one could work.
You can simply put the amount of butter you want in a bowl and microwave it in 30 second intervals. Make sure you let the melted butter cool slightly before using it. You don't want to burn your fingers or partially cook the food your dipping in it.
5. Heavy Cream
A lot of people like using heavy cream for an egg substitute. The good news is that there is also an option out there for dairy-free heavy cream. You can simply coat your piece of food in the heavy cream before pressing it into the bread crumbs.
Depending on the dish you're making, mayo is another great option for an egg substitute when you want your bread crumbs to stick. There are also many different kinds of vegan mayo out there if you are trying to stay away from eggs.
Unlike other alternatives, you can't just dip your food in the mayo as it's too thick. You can use a knife to spread it on or a pastry brush would work as well.
Haven't heard of aquafaba before? It's just the name of the liquid in a can of chickpeas. It's a great vegan egg substitute. It has a ton of different uses as it whips up like egg whites. It's also used to make whipped cream.
But it's also great for coating before breading. For best results, make sure you whisk it up a little with a fork before using.
Wondering what to do with the chickpeas? Try out my favorite soup: The Best Vegan Mulligatawny Soup.
While you may not have buttermilk on hand, you can easily just make some in minutes. All you need to do is mix milk (cow's milk or plant-based milk) with vinegar or lemon juice. You let it sit for a few minutes and voila - you've got buttermilk.
The proportion is 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. For directions on making your own buttermilk, check out: Vegan Buttermilk Substitute.
9. Plain Yogurt (regular or dairy-free)
Plain yogurt is also a good egg alternative. Similar to mayo, you can't just dip your food in it. You need to use a knife or spoon to spread the yogurt on. You want to make sure it's unsweetened yogurt.
10. Flaxseed and Water
No surprise that flaxseed in on the list. Flaxseed is commonly used to make flax eggs for vegan baking. You simply mix ground flaxseed with water and let sit for about 5 minutes before using.
The best ration is 3 to 1 water to flaxseed. For example, 3 tablespoons of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed. You can make it thinner by adding a little water if needed. It gives a very slight nutty flavor. Make sure your flaxseed is ground!
The Best Way to Bread Something
When you are breading something, you want your final product to have a crispy coating. You just need to follow a few steps and you'll have a tasty meal.
- First, prepare what you're breading by cutting or slicing. I'll use eggplant slices as an example.
- Dredge the eggplant slice in some flour. Shake off the excess flour.
- Next, dip the eggplant in your egg substitute mixture.
- Then press the eggplant slice in your breadcrumbs. Flip over to make sure both sides get coated.
- Repeat with each slice. Bake in the oven, fry in oil or in an air fryer until crispy.
This works great with anything - eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and tofu. If using tofu, make sure you use firm or extra firm, not silken tofu.
Looking to make some healthy crispy eggplant cutlets? Check out: Eggplant Cutlets (Vegan and No Oil)
Can I use olive oil or another type of vegetable oil as an egg substitute?
I do not recommend using oil in place of eggs. It doesn't do a good job of getting the breadcrumbs to stick. Depending on the food, it might just soak up the oil and not leave a layer of oil for the crumbs to stick to.
Should I add seasoning?
I highly recommend adding a little seasoning to your egg substitute, whichever one you pick. It can be as simple as some salt and pepper. Or you can add other types of herbs.
What's the best kind of bread crumbs to use?
Some people like using regular bread crumbs and some like panko. Panko bread crumbs are larger and are crispier. Because of the small crumb size, regular bread crumbs have good coverage. I actually like using a mixture of regular and panko.
So which is the best substitute for real eggs when breading? That's hard to say as it depends on what you need it for. I like using the flour and water slurry or the water and cornstarch mixture the best. But whatever you're breading, there are great options available that can be found in grocery stores or in your pantry.
Wondering about other types of substitutions? Check out: