This easy chia egg replacer is a great egg substitute to use in all your vegan baking! Learn how to make and use chia eggs for all your egg-free cooking adventures.
If you've been looking at vegan recipes, you might have noticed that there is a thing called a chia egg. Sounds a little weird, though, doesn't it? So what is a chia egg, you might be asking, and why would one want to use it?
What Is a Chia Egg?
We're not talking chia in the sense of the old chia pets where you would water chia seeds and grow grass. The seeds are the same, but in this case, we're not growing anything. We're talking about making an egg replacer out of chia seeds and water only.
A chia egg is quite similar to a flax egg. Basically, in either case, you are using seeds and water to make a gelatinous substance that acts as a binder (something that holds things together) for baked goods. After adding chia seeds to water, the seeds get slimy, and cling to things–kind of like a raw egg. That's why they can be used instead of eggs in so many applications.
When and How to Use Chia Eggs
Basically, one would use a chia egg, or other egg substitute, if one is allergic to eggs, has an intolerance or sensitivity to eggs, or if you just happen to have run out of eggs while you are in the middle of baking. If you've got chia in your pantry, no need to run to the store at the last minute.
Chia eggs are also really handy as binders in dishes like meatloaf and meatballs.
One thing that they don't tend to work well in is cakes, as you really need something that acts as a leavening agent for cakes. For that purpose, you might want to try my Powdered Egg Replacer.
A chia seed egg substitute will work well for recipes that call for 1 or 2 eggs, especially in recipes that call for all-purpose or whole wheat flour as opposed to grain-free flours.
However, if recipes call for more than 2 eggs, a chia egg substitute will not produce the best result. Just as with flax eggs, the interior of the food will be heavy and too moist and will not rise the way it should. Recipes using coconut flour will not work well either and anything like a meringue or souffle will not turn out either. Ask me how I know :).
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Though eggs are quite nutritious on their own, chia seeds are nothing to sneeze at nutritionally either. Chia seeds are:
- high in omega-3 fatty acids
- high in fiber (1 ounce has 11 grams of fiber)
- are non GMO and typically grown organically
- promote a healthy digestive tract
- are gluten free, vegan, and grain free
- are an excellent source of magnesium, plus are a source of calcium and antioxidants
- promote satiety (feeling full) so you can manage your weight more easily
- increases plasma ALA and EPA
- reduce insulin resistance
We use chia seeds for way more than just as a chia egg substitute in our home. You can eat them plain (many do this as an appetite suppressant), or sprinkle them on hot cereals, add them to smoothies or yogurt, or make chia pudding from them.
Flax Egg vs Chia Egg
While flax eggs and chia eggs are pretty similar, there are some differences that you should be aware of.
You have to grind flax seeds in order to make flax eggs, but you do not have to grind chia seeds to make chia eggs. You can grind them, but it's not necessary.
Flax seeds have more of a flavor than chia seeds. So if you are making a more mild-flavored recipe, a chia egg replacer might be your best bet.
Chia seeds, while they have many benefits over flax seeds, do cost quite a bit more than flax seeds.
Flax seeds need to be stored in the fridge or freezer, whereas chia seeds can often be stored at room temperature for a decent amount of time. So if fridge space is at a premium, you might want to opt for chia eggs.
Appearance in Baked Goods
Black Chia seeds are typically quite dark and don't blend into baked goods as well as flax eggs, especially when using them whole and particularly when comparing them to golden flax seeds. If you would like to not see the chia seeds in your finished product, you can use organic white chia seeds instead.
There is conflicting information about this, but flax seeds are suspected of acting in some fashion on the endocrine system. I recommend talking about this with your health practitioner if this is of concern to you.
Where to Buy Chia Seeds
If possible, you will want to purchase chia seeds that are organic. It is also preferable to purchase the kind that are non irradiated and sustainably sourced. One of my favorite all-time brands is Frontier.
When considering what to buy, note that one pound of chia seeds will make about 45 egg substitutes.
Recipe Notes for Chia Seed Egg Replacer
Note that the recipe for the chia egg substitute states that you should let the chia egg sit for 5 – 15 minutes. Actually, you can even make it up the night before if you like.
If you make the chia egg the same day that you are going to be using it, I recommend making it at the start of your baking / cooking so that it's ready to use when it comes time to add it to the rest of the ingredients.
Chia Egg Substitute
- Place chia seeds in a small bowl.
- Add water to seeds.
- Stir to combine.
- Let chia and water mixture sit for 5-15 minutes to thicken.
- Use in recipes as a 1:1 substitute for eggs.
I'd love to hear what you think after trying out this chia seed egg substitute!