The baking world is full of animal product replacements that oftentimes retain the exact taste of the original recipe.
But can you substitute applesauce for eggs when you’re making a cake?
What about recipes that call for three eggs or more?
Will the taste or texture of your pastry be overwhelmed by the fruity flavor?
Well, the good news is that you can certainly use applesauce instead of eggs, but it may not always be a good idea to do so.
In this article, I’m going to explain when you can do it and offer you a few alternative egg replacers as well.
Can you substitute applesauce for eggs?
Eggs are not only nutritious but also full of amazing chemical properties.
Depending on the recipe they’re used in, they can act as a leavener, binder, emulsifier, or even all three at the same time.
These qualities have made them an indispensable part of most desserts, pastries, and breads.
Applesauce, on the other hand, isn’t as versatile, but it does share the same binding potential as eggs.
With that said, here’s when it makes sense to substitute applesauce for eggs:
Applesauce contains a polysaccharide called pectin that has the ability to trap water. When pectin interacts with sugars, it creates a gel that binds dry ingredients together. This makes applesauce a great replacement for recipes that use eggs as a binding agent such as cookies, cupcakes, or muffins.
Even though applesauce can be used in place of eggs in box cake mixes, the final product tends to have a slightly denser texture.
Anyways, after some research and a few attempts of my own, I’ve found that the perfect applesauce to egg ratio is a 1/4 cup per egg.
This means you’ll need 1/2 cup (130g) of applesauce for two eggs, and 3/4 cup (195g) for three eggs.
I recommend you stick to the unsweetened variety since there’s no risk of messing up the flavor balance of your pastry.
If you don’t have any, then simply deduct the sugar content of the applesauce from the recipe.
For most commercial brands, this means removing 12g of sugar for every egg the original recipe calls for.
One of the great things about applesauce is that it doesn’t leave an aftertaste like other fruit purees.
This lets me use it in pancakes, butterless cupcakes, or other pastries without ruining their original vanilla taste.
However, despite its many merits, applesauce doesn’t do a great job as a leavener or emulsifier.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other plant-based alternatives that do.
Suggested read: How long can you keep eggs unrefrigerated?
What are some other egg substitutes in baking?
Before we get on to the list of alternatives, you should keep in mind that none of them will be suitable for recipes that call for more than three eggs.
In these cases, it would be best to look for an eggless recipe.
With that said, here are six ingredients that can be used as egg replacers:
1. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds may seem like an odd choice, but they’re probably the best egg substitute you can find.
Unlike most other substitutes, they can be used to provide structure, volume, and even emulsify fats and liquids all at the same time. This is thanks to a substance that covers the outer layer of flax seeds called mucilage.
When the mucilage gets combined with water it forms a gel, similarly to pectin.
This gel is commonly referred to as a “Flax Egg” in the vegan community.
To make one flax egg, you need to grind 1 tbsp of flax seeds, combine them with 3 tbsp of water and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. You can use the same ratio and increase the ingredient amount if you need to replace more than one egg.
I don’t encourage using store-bought flax meal, since the “flax oil” may have gone rancid.
For that matter, you should use fresh flax seeds whenever you can.
The only downside to using flax seeds in place of eggs is the slight nutty flavor that they impart.
With that aside, flax seeds can substitute eggs in brownies, cookies, and even cakes.
2. Chia Seeds
When they get soaked in water, chia seeds act in a pretty similar fashion to a flax egg.
Just like flax seeds, they form a gelatinous substance that can be used to hold dry ingredients together in baking.
However, you don’t need to grind them to achieve this effect.
You can simply cover the seeds in water and let them soak for 15 minutes.
To replace one egg, you’ll need to soak 1 tbsp of flax seeds in 3 tbsp of water.
Using whole chia seeds gives pastries a crunchy texture close to that of poppy seeds.
If you want your pastries to have a smoother consistency you can grind the chia seeds in a blender.
Unlike flax seeds, chia doesn’t impart any flavors on the final product so it can be used in most vegan cakes, brownies, and pastries.
3. Carbonated Water
Carbonated water is one of the oldest egg alternatives that’s used to give pastries volume.
The way this seemingly inappropriate replacement works is by filling the batter with tiny CO2 bubbles.
These bubbles expand during baking and push the particles around them which causes baked goods to rise.
This is extremely useful when you need to substitute eggs in pancakes, different variations of waffles, or breads.
When used as an egg supplement, a 1/4 cup of sparkling water is typically enough to replace one egg. Unfortunately, many online sources forget to mention that carbonated water can’t be used as a binding agent.
Therefore, using it for cookies, brownies or muffins is out of the question.
Suggested Read: Why won’t my spritz cookies come out and stick to the pan?
Unlike most other egg substitutes, aquafaba was discovered quite recently.
This however doesn’t make it any less useful.
In fact, aquafaba is the best egg white replacement you can use for meringues and mousses due to its protein composition. And the best part is that it’s dirt cheap and easy to make.
You can make a batch of homemade aquafaba by draining a can of chickpeas and whipping the liquid along with some lemon juice into stiff peaks. This will yield you roughly 2 to 3 cups of aquafaba.
Alternatively, you can use the leftover water from boiled chickpeas in case you need a larger batch.
And don’t worry, your dessert won’t taste chickpea-y at all.
Even though I’ve heard people using aquafaba as a binder or even an emulsifier, I haven’t had the best results using it this way.
I’ve tried it on my eggless brownies twice, and they came out crumbly both times.
This is why I only use it for my eggless macarons, and meringues, and as an occasional marshmallow topping.
5. Peanut Butter
Using peanut butter is one of the easiest ways to substitute eggs in case of an emergency.
The peanut butter’s high protein and fat content turn it into a dangerously sticky concoction that glues dry ingredients together.
These adhesive qualities make it a great binding agent for cookie and brownie recipes.
To replace one egg, simply measure three tablespoons of smooth peanut butter. You can also use other nut butters as long as they have a high oil content.
Needless to say, you should avoid using peanut butter in recipes where it might overwhelm other flavors like vanilla cookies.
Mashed bananas are another great, plant-based alternative to eggs.
Similarly to applesauce, bananas are rich in pectin so they have strong binding properties when they’re mashed into a puree.
However, their intense flavor will carry over to any dessert you’re making which makes their use fairly limited. This is why I use banana puree only when I’m making quick breads or protein pancakes.
It’s no wonder that using applesauce for an eggless banana bread works so well for texture.
Anyways, if you’re going to use bananas as a substitute you should know that a 1/4 banana typically equals one large egg.
It’s also worth noting that the high fructose content in bananas will give your desserts a nice golden brown crust.
Suggested read: Can You Eat a Banana With a Black Center?
My Final Words
Applesauce can be a great substitute whether you’re out of eggs or you’ve cut them out of your diet.
Including it in recipes that use eggs as a binder will give you the best results, but it can also be combined with some baking powder for pancakes or waffles.
For any other occasion, you can try giving some of the other options on this list a try.