How to Substitute Ground Flax Seed for Egg
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There comes a time in every baker’s life when comfort baking is needed, but the egg carton is empty. In more extreme times, we may need sustenance for our family but have to conserve eggs. Or, perhaps you have a vegan friend coming to dinner. In any of these instances, there is a shelf-stable, pantry supply that can save us in a pinch – FLAX.
What is Flax?
Flax is an ancient seed, like chia, known for being high in Omegas. According to Julie Morris, author of Superfood Kitchen, flax is also a great source of protein and is “exceptionally high in fiber.” Flax also contains a high level of “mucilage” which Morris explains helps flax to absorb moisture easily when ground. This makes is a great thickener for sauces – and a great egg substitute!
Before using flax as a substitute for eggs, it needs to be ground. Ground flax allows your body to access all of its nutrients. Grinding also creates more of a fine powder that can collect and absorb water, thus creating a similar texture to that of an egg.
Flax can be purchased either as whole flax seeds (which you can easily grind a bit at a time in a coffee grinder dedicated to seeds and herbs), or as already ground flax powder (also called ground flax, flaxseed powder, flaxseed meal, or milled flax).
We prefer to buy flax seed because it is cheaper (especially when purchased in bulk) and lasts longer. Ground flax should be stored in the refrigerator and can lose nutritional value as it gets older.
How to Make a Flax Egg
Making a flax egg substitute is quite easy, but there are a few tips that will help you be successful.
First, when grinding flax to use as a flax egg, be sure to grind it to a fine powder so that it will absorb as much water as necessary. Second, while not all recipes including this note, we prefer to put the flax mixture in the refrigerator while it sets. This step helps to ensure a nice gel. The result if you don’t follow both of these tips is a flax egg that is way too runny and a baked item that is way too wet.
For each egg you want to substitute with a flax egg, you’ll need:
1 Tablespoon of Ground Flax
2.5 Tablespoons of water
The process is simple. Place the ground flax into a small bowl, add the water, and stir somewhat vigorously with a small whisk or spoon. The more you mix your flax egg, the more gel-like it will become. Once well blended, place the bowl in the refrigerator and let sit for 15-20 minutes or until the texture is thick and resembles that of a stirred up egg.
That’s it. Now you have an egg substitute you can use in almost any baking recipe (as long as the recipe also has either baking soda or baking powder to ensure appropriate rise).