How To Make A “Flax Egg” For Vegan Baking – The RIGHT Way

October 29th, 2011 - filed under: The Food » Recipes

Vegan baking can initially seem intimidating, but really, it’s not so different from the standard procedure that you probably grew up on. For the most part it’s just a simple series of 1:1 substitutions, like plant milk for dairy milk and vegan butter for dairy butter.

And eggs? What of them?

In vegan cookbooks everywhere, and all across the Internetz, you’ll find recipes referencing “flax eggs”. Sometimes they’re actually even written as components, for example “1 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp water”. Which seems pretty self explanatory, right? You’d think!

But nope, if you want your flax to really approximate eggs – to really achieve that gelatinous, goopy goodness that works so very well as a binder (especially important in gluten-free recipes!) – then it helps to have a few tricks hidden in your pastry case. I’ve been baking exclusively vegan for a while now, and this is how I guarantee the perfect flax egg, every time:

Begin with whole, raw flax seeds. Buying pre-ground flax is a dangerous game, as the oil is very unstable, and once released (via grinding) it will turn rancid pretty quickly. So buy your flax seeds whole and grind them yourself, to spec. It’s easy enough; you can use a coffee grinder, a hand-crank spice grinder, a mortar and pestle, or a high-speed blender. Process into a very fine powder.

Store whole flax seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.

Make egg/s. One egg equals [1 tablespoon flax meal plus 3 tablespoons water], and you do not need to make each one individually. In a small bowl, add flax meal followed by water (not water followed by flax), stirring as you go. I use a miniature whisk because it’s adorable, but a fork works just as well.

Refrigerate. This is key! Place the bowl of eggs in the refrigerator for a minimum of 15 minutes, but up to an hour is best. This will allow your egg to “set up”. Don’t skip this important step!

I always make my eggs at the start of a recipe. That way, I can get them in the fridge, and then work through the other steps while the eggs set.

When the eggs come out of the fridge they’ll have formed a thick sticky goo, just the consistency of egg whites. There’s your binder! Add it to the recipe and proceed as instructed.

Note: Flax has a nutty, somewhat distinctive flavor. It’s pretty well masked in recipes such as whole wheat breads, spice loafs, and other “full-bodied” treats. But for something like white cake or sugar cookies, you may notice the flavor. If this bothers you, try using chia seeds instead! They work just the same and don’t add any flavor (though admittedly, they cost about four times as much).

Happy vegan baking!

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  • samara kapich

    I had never heard of such a thing before. I always wondered how to make recipes vegan. I will have to try this in the future even though I am not vegan.

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  • Kidteechr

    Hi there,
    I don’t have a comment, but a question.
    Should someone who is allergic to sesame seed stay away from flax seeds? I am TOTALLY new to this vegan way of life due to health issues and am trying to find a way to make peace with food again.

  • Patvolk

    Now I can bake with impunity and without eggs.
    Laying hens live in hell and male baby chicks are ground up alive.
    And you cannot trust what is on the cartons re: cage-free.
    will now bake using flax(vegan,gluten-free diet)

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  • Sayward Rebhal

    I think that *totally* depends on the individual and their particular sensitivities. I wouldn’t feel comfortable commenting either way, sorry!

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  • Cynthia

    Thank you for this! I had been dependent on the powdered egg replacer because I was never able to get the flax eggs to work for me. My ND told me to add 2 Tbsp of ground flax a day to my diet so I did some googling and found your post and it opened up a whole new world for me. I can return those expensive boxes of egg replacer which require me to heat up the house and measure half hot water & half cold water to get it to set right and just do flax eggs. I do have a question, If I was going to make up 6 eggs worth because one recipe needed 2 and another needed 4 (I usually bake more than one thing at a time if the oven is going to be on) can I do them in the same container or should I do them in different containers. If I do them in the same how much ‘goop’ equals one egg? I like to mix mine in canning jars and just shake (I’m very clumsy so this way I don’t have to worry about it spilling in the fridge).

  • witty_username

    AWESOME! I’m not vegan, but I have friends who are, and I have a good-sized bag of flax seeds in my freezer! Yay! I’m all set!

  • Daniel

    Omg. This is taking FOREVER with a mortar and pestle. :(

  • Maggie Wescott

    I wish I had found this last night when I tried flax eggs for the first time. They never set up and my brownies turned into a goopy oily mess! I was so disappointed and decided to do more research today on it. My egg mix just looked like flax and water stirred together. I will not give up and will try your method of putting them in the fridge next time. Thank you!!

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  • Brenda

    Thank you for all of the wonderful information! I just started my own baking business. Some friends and clients need Vegan & Gluten Free alternatives and I am astounding by how creative these “alternative” recipes are. Thank you again!!

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  • Chikfender

    I’ve been vegan for nearly 9 years and using flax “eggs” for 10, starting in a bakery. I’m glad this information is posted with clear descriptions and photos, but I never refrigerate it (and often have unusual results when I do try to refrigerate to save some for later) and often use frozen, pre-ground flax. In the bakery, we always ground our own flax fresh for every recipe, but that’s not always practical in a household kitchen making small quantities. I live in Arizona and have never needed to refrigerate. I would, however, strongly recommend whipping the flax mixture with a blender of some kind (I use an immersion blender).

  • Kelly

    Worked like a charm! Thanks.

  • Diane

    I always did it this way too, sets up fine, I usually have it sitting for 5 or 10 minutes if I have the time, in the hope it gives something extra…

    Curious, I tried the fridge way but after 15 min and 30 min I’d had enough waiting and used the ‘hot’ one I’d put on hold (was busy baking when I saw a comment from someone on that recipe that refered to this method)… it was, of course, more than thick enough due the extra time, but not notably thicker than it was at 5 minutes.

    Ah, the science of baking!

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  • Struggling Health Nut

    This is awesome! I’m going to try using these eggs in a veggieburger recipe.

  • guest

    there’s a recipe i found that calls for one flax egg, but i don’t think there is any store around me that sell flax seed in any form. is there a possible replacement for it?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    YOu could try chia, though that’s usually harder to find. Depending on the recipe, you may be able to use mashed banana. It might be worth ordering some flax seeds online though, if you’re getting into vegan baking. They’ll keep for a while in the freezer.

  • Annie

    Can you mix the flax with milk (almond or soymilk) instead of water??

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  • Gilbert Pinson

    Macaroons are coconut cookies, and are generally vegan anyway. I guess you meant macarons? Those are yummy, but hard to make even if you’re doing them the non-vegan way.

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  • Margherita

    This worked out perfectly. It was my first time baking vegan and I have to say I couldn’t taste the difference.
    Thank you for sharing

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  • nutfreezone

    Chia seeds aren’t bitter??

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I don’t find chia seeds bitter at all.

  • nutfreezone

    Uh oh I hope I haven’t been eating bad ones.

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  • Cory

    I have never heard of letting it set in the fridge. So thanks!

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  • Ty

    Interesting. I always use hot water and it gels up the mixture perfectly!

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  • Trina Claycomb

    I have a friend who has extreme allergies to dairy and sesame seeds and she uses flax eggs in all her baking. But you should always be sure you are not allergic to them before you use anything new.

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