Saturday, March 15, 2014

Vegan "Egg Yolk" Substitute

Since I do a fair amount of eggless and/or vegan baking, I've become relatively skilled in the standard egg replacers and their applications - bananas, tofu, flax, chia, and starch mixtures like my Homemade Egg Replacer. They all work to varying degrees (depending on the application you're looking for) but one thing I noticed is that they all replace whole eggs. Normally, it's not an issue, since most cookies, quickbreads and cakes use the whole thing, but when I was asked to make my mom's infamous shortbreads in a class with an egg allergy, I had a bit of a dilemma. The shortbreads get their trademark tenderness from egg yolk, and yolk alone - something that I had yet to find a replacement for in my travels.

I originally thought I'd have to give up on that recipe and was browsing for another (all the while moping that my kids wouldn't get to have "real" ones), but apparently the Cookie Gods were feeling generous that day and directed me over to the Better Batter website. I'd heard of Better Batter but it's not widely available here, so I don't use it (I make my own gluten free flour blends), but what was interesting was that their site had a recipe for a vegan egg yolk substitute. I cannot tell you how giddy I got (yes, it's sad) - like my whole egg replacer, it's a mixture of starches and water, but it's cooked together before oil (to replace the fat in the yolk) is beaten in.

Now, I didn't have their product to use, and since my mom's shortbreads use regular flour anyway I knew being gluten free wouldn't be necessary. I settled on mixing all-purpose flour with my favourite "batter egg" replacer - chickpea flour - for a blend of rich flavour and convenience (although I can't wait to try this with GF flours too). I also didn't need 9 yolk's worth of the mixture - even though it keeps well up to a month, I had no guarantee that I'd need that much before it went bad! So a little scaling-down went into play and I wound up with a perfect substitute for the two yolks I needed.

Vegan "Egg Yolk" Substitute

I couldn't believe how easy it was, and even though the colour was paler than a "real" egg yolk (obviously), if you need the colour you could easily add a drop or two of dye or a dash of turmeric.The one thing I did notice was that you really do need an electric mixer to make this properly. Surprisingly, I'm loath to drag out appliances for most things (mostly I don't want to clean them!), and thought that because it was such a small batch I could get away with my trusty spatula. Nuh-uh. That oil needs to be beaten into an emulsion with the cooked starch and normal arm strength just can't cut it (if you're a bodybuilder, by all means give it a whirl!).
My Mom's Shortbreads
As you can see, the shortbreads turned out perfectly - nice and tender, just like Mom's! That was the true test - and I have to say this earned a permanent spot in my arsenal.

Shared with Wellness Weekend

Vegan "Egg Yolk" Substitute
Makes ~1/4 cup, replaces 2 yolks
2 tbsp chickpea flour
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour, rice or sorghum flour
½ cup water
2 tsp canola oil
natural yellow food colouring or turmeric, if desired
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together flours and water until smooth.
  2. Heat for 2 minutes, beating with a hand mixer halfway through.
  3. Add oil and beat in well - add enough extra oil to make the consistency of the mixture like beaten egg yolks – this mixture should be smooth, thick, and stirrable, with the consistency of canned icing.
  4. Use immediately or store tightly covered in the fridge up to 1 month.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 92.9
Total Fat: 5.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.8 mg
Total Carbs: 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 2.3 g


  1. Thanks for this! I'm trying to veganize my grandmother's Norwegian cookies, and one called for 2 egg yolks. After researching what egg yolks do to baked goods, I didn't think the usual substitutes would work, and google lead me to your page. THANK YOU!

  2. How would 1/2 cup water and all of the other ingredients only yield 1/4 cup?

    1. Hi! Much of the water evaporates in cooking so the total result is only about 1/4 cup of "gel". Thanks for reading!

  3. After what seems like about 6.75 years, suddenly there are multiple comments. I wonder if that has to do with the pandemic in conjunction with the time of year. Anyway, I feel like I’m in good company to add a comment of my own.

    It’s actually just a question for now though, not a comment. Step 2 of these instructions specify 2 min. for heating, but otherwise don’t provide any details. Is it safe to assume that we should microwave on high power for the entire time? FWIW, I did look at the underlying Better Batter recipe too, but it was equally vague about the microwave settings (it did have double boiler details, but that’s a pain…).

    For example, I randomly did the first minute on high, then eased up a little and did another 30 seconds on 50% power. At that point the appearance seemed to approximate the image above, and I was concerned about ending up with rubber if I heated it further. So I stopped there. The finished product incorporating the substitute yolks turned out fine, but I thought it would be good to confirm the heating process for next time.

    Please let me know, and thank you for publishing these helpful instructions. Happy holidays!

    1. Thanks for your question! It would of course depend on your microwave, I heated this completely on "hi" in my 1100W microwave with a turntable and it was completely fine since beating it halfway through brought the temp down and aerated it. However if your microwave is more powerful your method would be suitable and I'm glad you tried it and found success! Thanks so much for reading!

    2. Thanks for replying so quickly! I should have mentioned at the outset, but I'm also using a 1100W. So next time I'll just do it completely on high like you said. Thanks again!

    3. No problem! Like I said, what works with your appliance is a-OK! Cooking is supposed to be a form of science experiment in essence anyways :) Have a wonderful holiday season!

  4. Hi, can you do this on the hob if you don't have a microwave ?

  5. I don’t have chickpea flour. Is this a problem? Or could I replace it with something else?

    1. You can try soy or lentil flour although I have not tried it myself. The legume adds the necessary protein component to have it function as a "yolk". If you try a different flour and it works please let me know!


Thanks for the feedback!