Not too long ago I was working through a pantry challenge, trying to use up what I already had in the kitchen to help us get ahead for the school year.
But in the midst of this batch cooking session, I started to run out of a key ingredient: eggs!
Fortunately, I was able to make flax eggs instead using ground flaxseed!
I’ve very briefly mentioned the health benefits of flax before, but they’re packed with:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid (a “good” fat for heart and bone health)
- Lignans (free-radical fighting antioxidant found red wine; also shown to interfere with cancer-promoting effects of estrogen and promotes regular digestion)
- Fiber (helps keep the pipes clean)
So really, anytime you make flax egg in lieu of traditional eggs, you’re not just making a boring substitution – you’re actually boosting the nutrition of whatever you’re making!
Using Flax Egg in Baking
You might think that your options with using flax egg are limited because of the dry/wet issue in baking, but I’ve found that the opposite is true!
You can use flax egg instead of eggs in lots of baked goods, like…
- pancakes (like paleo almond flour pancakes and protein pancakes and strawberry pancakes and sourdough pancakes and soaked pancakes)
- quick breads
- brownies (a la triple fudgy paleo brownies and pumpkin swirl black bean brownies and the original black bean brownies and white bean blondies)
- muffins (ex: banana nut muffins with crumb topping and zucchini muffins with apples and carrots and banana chocolate chip muffins)
- cookies (may I suggest healthy peanut butter oatmeal cookies and healthier candy cane cookies and healthier sugar cookies and molasses breakfast cookies and pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting
- baked oatmeal (as in leftover oatmeal cake)
- fritters (carrot and sweet potato are my fav!)
- cornbread (a la cast iron skillet cornbread)
The question then isn’t really when you CAN use flax eggs, it becomes when you CAN’T.
For example, you can’t use flax egg to make scrambled eggs, or meringue.
You also can’t use flax eggs in cakes because they won’t add air that eggs will do, and you typically want a light a fluffy cake, right?
Flax egg also won’t work in a dough-type of bread that calls for eggs like choux pastry or popovers. Stick to regular eggs for those.
Finally, flax egg won’t work in recipes that use a lot of eggs. It’s a great substitute for those that need just 1-2 eggs, but a good rule of thumb is to use regular eggs recipes that call for 3 or more.
Cost of Making Flax Egg
Personally though, I don’t make pastries or cakes that often, so I’m fine using regular eggs for those and thinking about using flax egg for all the other baking I do because believe it or not, flax egg is CHEAPER than regular eggs!
I’ve seen 48 oz bags of resealable organic ground flax seed at Costco for just $6.79. You only need one tablespoon to make one flax egg, which comes out to just 2¢ per tablespoon.
One dozen of organic brown eggs at Trader Joe’s cost $2.99, making one egg 24¢. That means choosing to bake with flax egg instead of traditional eggs can save you money big time!
In fact, the only time it would be smarter money-wise to use regular eggs is if you can get them for less than 24¢ per dozen. In that case, buy them all and bake until you drop!
Whole flaxseed has a protective outer coating that naturally contains oils. It’s best to buy whole flax seeds whenever you can, simply because their shelf life is longer than the pre-ground flax seed meal.
Whether you choose whole flaxseed or ground flaxseed though, it’s best to store them in the fridge or the freezer. Those naturally occurring oils can go rancid, and you certainly don’t want to eat rancid oil OR risk imparting a negative flavor in your baked goods.
Here are a few more interesting and fun tidbits about making and using flax egg:
- One flax egg is the equivalent of one large egg.
- You can make more than one flax egg at a time if that’s what your recipe calls for.
- Anytime you use flax egg instead of regular egg, make the flax egg FIRST – before you do anything else – so it has enough time to gel without disrupting your baking plans.
- If you’re in a pinch, chia seeds work too! (although they’re definitely more expensive)
- You can freeze flax eggs! This is great for prepping at the start of the week. Simply make your flax egg and then pour into an ice cube tray. Most ice cube trays hold 2 tablespoons, so you’ll either want to split one flax egg into two cubes (and then remembering to thaw two cubes when you bake) or get a larger ice cube tray like this one which holds 6 ½ tablespoons in each cube.
- If you’re in a rush, use hot water to make the chia gel faster.
- Both golden and brown flaxseeds work just as well.
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 2 Tbsp water*
- Combine flaxseed and water together in a small dish and stir together well.
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes a sticky, stretchy, gelatinous mixture.