A Complete List of Vegan and Gluten-Free Baking Swaps
Baking is a beloved pastime. Pulling a fluffy loaf of bread or easy-to-share pan of brownies out of the oven can be one of life's simplest pleasures. But what happens when a recipe doesn't suit your dietary needs? Instead of dairy, gluten, and eggs, opt for these easy allergen-free swaps to create delicious baked goods without the off-limit ingredients.
Milk: Replacing dairy is actually a relatively simple baking swap. With the current large selection of dairy-free 'milk' products on the market, ranging in everything from coconut to cashew, you're spoiled for options. Most milk substitutes can be switched 1 for 1 when in a baking recipe, just make sure that you're using dairy-free options that have a similar thickness to dairy milk (steer away from watery varieties like rice or potato milks) to avoid a texture difference in your final product.
Buttermilk or yogurt: If you're trying to replace buttermilk or yogurt, mix 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup of your milk alternative of choice and set it aside for a few minutes. The acidity of the lemon juice will 'curdle' the dairy-free milk, resulting in a thicker texture and more sour flavor similar to buttermilk.
Heavy cream: Heavy cream is a rich ingredient, which means richer alternatives are your best bet. Coconut cream, coconut milk, or cashew cream can all stand in for heavy cream, but may add a slightly tropical taste.
Sour cream: To substitute sour cream, add a little lemon juice to unsweetened coconut or cashew cream. Cashew cream has a more neutral flavor than coconut cream, so it may be better for baked goods that don't pair well with a coconut taste.
Butter: The best substitute for butter depends on how it's going to be used. If a recipe calls for melted butter, any liquid fat (like coconut oil, olive oil, or melted vegan butter) can be used as a 1:1 replacement. For a recipe that needs "softened" butter, use a fat that's not quite liquid. Softened coconut oil, vegetable shortening, or vegan butter will all work. If the butter needs to be cold, like for a pie dough, use refrigerated or frozen versions of the above semisolid fats.
All-in-one flours: Since wheat flour is almost always the base ingredient for baked goods, gluten-free baking can sometimes be a tricky task. To easily match these recipes with a gluten-free substitute, opt for an all-in-one gluten-free flour blend. These blends combine different gluten-free flours with stabilizers to mimic wheat flour, and overall fit seamlessly as a 1:1 substitute. Keep in mind that the flour blend must be an all-in-one, and that not any gluten-free flour blend will do. We recommend Bob Red Mill's Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour, King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, or Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour.
Specific flours: There are a wealth of individual gluten-free flours available, including almond, rice, coconut, and tapioca flours. These specific flours cannot be used alone as a substitute for wheat flour, as they do not contain stabilizers and have different textures that can dry out your baked goods. Your best bet is to find a recipe that specifically calls for these flours, like our Macadamia-Almond Cake or Brown Rice Pecan Sandies.
It can sometimes be a struggle to find specific, egg-free baking recipes. Whether it's yolks, whites, or the whole thing, eggs are a common ingredient for most baked goods. The main issue with eggs is that they're used for a variety of reasons like binding, rising, or glazing baked recipes. If you can pinpoint the main function of the eggs in your baking recipe, then you can easily swap them out with some simple replacer options.
- Flaxseed: To replace one egg, mix together 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons warm water. Set aside for a minute until the mixtures 'gels' and then mix into your baking recipe. This shouldn't affect the taste and the gelatinized flaxseed will act as a great binder, but for lighter colored dessert (like chocolate chip cookies or vanilla cake) the seeds will change the color of the finished product.
- Banana: If you don't mind a strong flavor addition, mashed banana is a naturally sweet binder for baked goods. 1/4 cup of finely mashed or pureed banana replaces one egg and can be mixed into recipes before baking.
- Unsweetened applesauce: If you're baking from a boxed mix, use 1/4 cup of applesauce for every egg that's needed. If you're baking from scratch, add one teaspoon of baking powder for each 1/4 cup of applesauce.
- Vegan egg replacer: A powdered egg replacement, like Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Vegan Egg substitute, can stand in for any type of egg based on the amount of water with which it's mixed. It can be used in everything from pancakes to cookies, but doesn't make a great replacement for meringue or egg wash.
- Aquafaba: Don't pour out that bean liquid! Aquafaba is an easy ingredient to use as an egg replacer. Simply substitute one egg by mixing 3 tablespoons of aquafaba into your recipe before baking. Aquafaba also whips wonderfully into stiff, white peaks, making it a great replacer for egg whites in baking or cocktail recipes.
- Baking soda: A common baking ingredient to begin with, baking soda makes a powerful rising agent when combined with the pantry staple of vinegar. While vinegar in your baked goods might sour you on the idea of using baking soda, most recipes need such a small amount that you can't taste it in the final product. To replace one egg, combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into your batter just before baking. This method works best on small dishes like cupcakes or a pan of brownies, since with larger baking recipes (like a sheet cake) the middle can occasionally sink in.
- Aquafaba: Adding a glaze to your recipe just before baking can result in a wonderfully shiny and Instagram-able baked good. An easy egg-free way to achieve this is to use a pastry brush to coat dishes with a thin layer of aquafaba to achieve a smooth finish.
If you prefer not to bake with honey, there are plenty of liquid sweeteners that can work as a 1:1 replacement. Maple syrup is the best (and most commonly used) option, but agave syrup, brown rice syrup, or corn syrup can also be used.