Learn how to make a flax egg which is a quick and easy vegan egg substitute. This all natural kitchen hack is fantastic for vegan or egg-free baking!
What are flax eggs?
Whether you or a family member have an egg allergy or are vegan, it can be difficult to say no to so many delicious baked treats that call for eggs.
Many other typical baking ingredients are quite easy to replace. For example, coconut oil can be used instead of butter, or almond (or soy) milk substituted for dairy milk. But eggs can be a little tricky.
There are commercial egg replacement powders available for purchase. Unfortunately, these are usually highly processed. If you are looking for a more wholesome egg substitute for baking, this flax egg recipe might be just right for you.
Flax eggs include a simple mixture of flax meal and water that can be used in many baking recipes to replace chicken eggs. When combined, this mixture becomes gelatinous, similar to the texture of runny egg white. This flax egg mixture can help bind baking ingredients together similar to traditional whole eggs.
How to Make a flax egg
Making flax eggs is as easy as combining 1 tablespoon of flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water. This 1:3 ratio for a flax egg equals about 1 egg.
Whisk the mixture well until combined and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then you are ready to use the flaxseed egg replacement in your recipe. You can also place the mixture in the fridge. This does seem to help the gelling/thickening process.
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How to make flaxseed meal
If you are anything like me, you might not always have ground flaxseed meal at home, but only whole flaxseeds. Often, whole flaxseeds tend to be more inexpensive than ground as well, which is another reason for you to purchase them over the ground meal. They are also more versatile than ground considering that you can grind them into meal yourself or use the whole seeds in crackers or to sprinkle on top of baked bread, oatmeal, or smoothie bowls. Making your own flax meal (also called milled flaxseed or ground flaxseed) is super quick and easy.
You just need a spice mill or electric coffee grinder. Place a couple of tablespoons of whole flax seeds in the grinder and pulse until the seeds break down into a powdery meal. Don't let the grinder run continuously for too long as that will heat up the flax seeds and release their oils. This mixture could then turn into flax paste very quickly. As a result, only pulse long enough to grind the seeds so that they stay cool and turn into a fluffy flax meal. Be sure to store any leftover ground flax in the freezer to keep it from going rancid. I actually store my whole flax seeds in the freezer for the same reason. Once flaxseeds or flaxseed meal come out of the freezer, you can use them straight away without having to thaw them.
I have also tried to make flax meal in my food processor but that didn't work out at all. The food processor bowl is simply too large and the blade doesn't grind the seeds very well. However, when I want to make a larger batch of flax meal I use my high-speed Blendtec blender with the twister jar and that always turns out well.
I haven't yet tried my Vitamix to grind up flax seeds. Let me know in the comments if you have, and whether it works or not.
How does a flax egg work
Flax seeds can absorb a lot of water and have gelling properties. Water activates that viscoelasticity. When you combine flax meal with water, it forms a congealed mixture that is quite similar to the texture of an egg and perfect in an abundance of vegan recipes.
Do Flax eggs really work?
Instead of asking whether flax eggs actually work, I think the question should be 'when to use flax eggs?' You won't be able to make a vegan omelette from flax eggs, but it is a great egg replacement in baking. And flax eggs also make a great egg substitute for binding meatballs and bean burgers.
From cookies to quick breads and cakes, I've had great success in many recipes with this flax eggs as a replacement for traditional eggs. But be advised though, that while the consistency is very similar to chicken eggs, the replacement is not 100% perfect and might not work in every recipe.
In my experience, if a recipe only requires a small number of eggs (1-2), the flax egg substitute will most likely turn out fine. However, in recipes that call for a large number of eggs, the flaxseed egg substitute might not have the best results, or might significantly alter the final texture. The flavour of the seeds can be quite prevalent as well with a slight nuttiness, whereas eggs don't offer that taste. You may need to do a little bit of experimenting to turn your favorite recipes into egg-free (or vegan) versions.
Benefits of Consuming Flaxseeds
Besides being a perfect replacement for eggs in vegan recipes, flaxseeds are a wonderful, healthy food. In fact, they have omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, protein, and more. Their fibrous nature is a wonderful pairing with sweet desserts as they ensure that you absorb the sugars in the dessert at a much slower rate, reducing the chance of blood sugar spikes.
Flaxseeds contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, which are important for healthy diets and help people maintain quality digestion. Flaxseeds are also a wonderful food to have if you are trying to maintain healthy cholesterol levels as consuming them has been linked with lower cholesterol levels.
Generally, ground flax is considered more beneficial than whole seeds as it is easier to digest. However, whole flaxseeds will still aid the digestive system, even if your body has a challenge absorbing all of the nutrients from them.
Chia Egg - Another vegan egg substitute
Chia seeds also work well as an egg alternative similar to flax eggs. It is then called a chia egg.
The method and ratio are the same as with flax eggs but there is no need to grind up the chia seeds first. Just combine 1 tablespoon of whole chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water for every egg you want to replace. The chia seeds will soften and absorb the fluid so that the water becomes gelatinous.
Like flaxseeds, chia seeds are very nutritious. They include lots of fiber, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, among other nutrients. While chia seeds are also beneficial to digestion and provide omega 3 fatty acids, they also may help in reducing inflammation, supporting bone health, reducing heart disease risks, and aiding in weight loss by promoting satiety.
If you don't love the taste of flax, chia seeds could be a great alternative. They have a much more neutral taste while producing an effective vegan egg.
Items I use to make a flax egg
I usually buy my organic, non-GMO flax seeds in bulk and store them in an airtight container in the freezer to keep them fresh and from going rancid.
To grind up a small amount of flax seeds I use my electric coffee grinder.
When I need to grind up a larger amount of flax seeds I use my Blendtec blender with the twister jar.
If you are in a pinch, you could also use a mortar and pestle to grind up the flax seeds. This would be ideal if you only have a small number of flax seeds to grind.
Uses for Flax Eggs
There are many uses for flax eggs, especially if you can't have regular eggs or enjoy a vegan diet. You can also use them in gluten free recipes since they don't contain gluten. Here are some dishes you could use flax eggs in:
- Gluten free of vegan Pancakes
- Quick Breads
Recipes that use flax egg substitute:
How to Make a Flax Egg
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed also called flax meal
- 3 tablespoons water
- If you only have whole flax seeds, use an electric spice mill or coffee grinder to grind the whole flax seeds into finely ground flax meal. Pulse in short bursts (instead of grinding for long continuous periods) so the flax seeds don't overheat and turn into seed butter.
- In a small bowl stir together 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of water until fully combined.
- Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. It will thicken and turn gelatinous - very much like an actual egg.
- Use the gelled flaxseed egg in your cake, cookie, or muffin/cupcake recipes.
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