Being vegan doesn’t mean hanging up your baking mitts or giving up your favorite baked goods. It’s easy to veganize any recipe with a few simple swaps. We put together this vegan baking guide to help take the guesswork out of plant-based baking.
Ditch Dairy Milks
Swapping out cows or any animal-based milk in recipes is simple and easy. There are many plant-based milk types available to purchase in grocery stores, or if you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can always make your own from scratch. Remember to choose the original unsweetened milk when purchasing from a store to avoid adding unwanted sweetness and flavoring to baked goods.
Some common vegan milks are oat, almond, soy, rice, hemp, coconut, or hazelnut. In most cases, the amount of milk needed for baking will not change, but some types, like coconut milk, may alter the flavor of your recipe so keep that in mind.
Does your recipe call for buttermilk? Don’t fret. Mix one teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice with a cup of plant-based milk. Set it aside for a few minutes before adding it to other ingredients.
Some baking recipes may call for heavy cream, and that’s easy to substitute with full-fat coconut milk or cashew cream. Full-fat coconut cream is sold in cans, and cashew cream is a mixture of three parts soaked cashews to one part water mixed in a high-powered blender.
Sugar Swaps are Simple
Sugars are a staple of most baking, but not all are vegan, including refined white sugar and confectioners’ sugar. Both refined white and confectioners’ sugar are made through a process involving animal bone char which is why vegans avoid it.
Granulated organic sugars are not processed as much as refined white sugar and have larger crystals that must go through a food processor before adding to baked goods. Maple sugar and coconut palm sugars are more effective in baking when blended before use.
Egg replacements don’t seem as apparent as some of the other swaps on our list, but there are many ways to replace animal-based eggs when baking. Here are some of our favorite vegan-friendly replacements for eggs in baking:
JustEgg takes the guesswork out of substitutions and is one of the easiest vegan egg swaps for baking. A fourth cup of JustEgg is the same as one egg, so simply pour and move on to the next step.
Chia seeds are not only a great egg substitute in baking but are also great for health. To use chia seeds as an egg replacement, mix one tablespoon of seeds with three tablespoons of water for each egg the recipe calls for. Let it set until it turns into a gel-like consistency before adding it to the other ingredients.
Powdered egg replacers can be found in most grocery stores and is a good option for baking recipes that require many eggs. Each brand and type will have different directions listed on its packaging.
Tofu is a versatile ingredient that makes an excellent egg substitute in recipes. Blend ¼ cup of silken tofu in a food processor or blender until smooth for each egg required. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Vegans love bananas, but some may not realize that they are a delicious snack and a fantastic egg substitute for baking. Substituting one banana for each egg will moisten up baked goods. Unlike most egg substitutes on our list, bananas will add flavor to the recipe, so add them to recipes like banana bread, muffins, or pancakes. Ripe bananas work best, and the more mashed up, the better.
Ground Flax Seeds
When replacing flax seed for eggs in baking recipes, choosing foods that complement the hearty flavor, like muffins or cookies, is best. Make flax eggs by combining ground flax seed with water in a one-to-three ratio. You can substitute one egg with one tablespoon of ground flax added to three tablespoons of water; just like chia seeds, flax eggs will also need a few minutes to set and gel before using.
Better Than Butter
Replacing dairy-based butter in a recipe is just as easy as replacing dairy milk. Non-dairy butter brands are becoming more prevalent daily and are the perfect swap. In most recipes, vegan butter is substituted as a 1:1 ratio for dairy butter.
If vegan butter is hard to find or you don’t have any on hand, you can use vegetable oil instead of dairy-based butter. Substitute butter for oil in baking by using 1/3 cup vegetable oil in place of every ½ cup butter. Some types of vegetable oil will change the flavor of recipes so use a lighter oil like grapeseed or canola.
Baking without oils is also possible for vegans who want to avoid fats or processed ingredients. One way to accomplish oil-free baking is with applesauce. If the recipe calls for ½ cup oil, use ½ cup applesauce instead. This method can change the texture of baked goods and may not work well with some egg substitutes, so don’t use this method for a special occasion or gathering until testing it out first.