What are Some Vegan Baking Tricks?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Vegan baking might seem like a challenge when you think about all of the animal products in many baked goods, but it's actually quite easy. There are a number of vegan baking tricks which can be used to adapt recipes for vegans, and you can also take advantage of a plethora of recipes designed specifically for people on a vegan diet. Many vegan baked goods are indistinguishable from their more normal counterparts, and some are actually quite delicious and very unique.

Soymilk, which can be used to replace milk in a recipe.
Soymilk, which can be used to replace milk in a recipe.

Before discussing vegan baking tricks, it may help to clarify what a vegan is. A vegan is someone who chooses not to eat any animal products, including eggs, dairy, and meat. Many vegans also avoid honey, because it is extracted from bees. Very serious vegans may avoid foods which are refined or filtered with the use of animal products; sugar, for example, is often refined with the use of animal bones, and charcoal filtered beverages like vodka may be filtered with bone charcoal.

Bananas can be used to substitute eggs.
Bananas can be used to substitute eggs.

Because different vegans have different personal boundaries, a vegan may ask you about the ingredients in a baked good or meal. You should not be offended; the vegan may be checking for something that he or she is allergic to or tries to avoid, such as flour or nuts. If you produce something particularly outstanding, take a recipe request as a compliment.

Applesauce can be used as a substitute for eggs in some recipes.
Applesauce can be used as a substitute for eggs in some recipes.

Many baked goods call for dairy products like milk, buttermilk, and butter. One of the most common vegan baking tricks is using milks of plant origin to replace milk and buttermilk. Soymilk, rice milk, and almond milk are all available in many markets, and they can be used to replace the milk in a recipe. For buttermilk, you can try using a vegan yogurt to achieve a tangy texture. Butter can be replaced with a trans-fat free margarine, or you use a mixture of margarine and applesauce, banana, or pumpkin puree. Don't cut the margarine entirely, as some fat is needed in baked goods to keep the flavors balanced.

Baking soda can be used along with vinegar as an egg replacement.
Baking soda can be used along with vinegar as an egg replacement.

Eggs are trickier to replace, even with time-tested vegan baking tricks. In addition to providing moisture and binding foods together, eggs also provide loft and volume. Some vegan baked goods taste very heavy because they lack eggs. Applesauce and other vegetable purees can be used to give food some extra moisture and loft, but they won't make cakes rise and cookies fluff up. This might not be an issue with dense quick breads and muffins, so feel free to experiment with things like mashed bananas, roasted pumpkin, and applesauce; one quarter cup equals one egg.

Flax seeds can replace eggs in some recipes.
Flax seeds can replace eggs in some recipes.

There are two well known vegan baking tricks for replacing eggs. The first is a commercial egg replacer. When purchasing egg replacers, be aware that some companies include eggs in their egg replacers, since the products are intended to reduce cholesterol. Seek out a product which is clearly labeled as vegan safe. You can also use a baking trick which dates back to the First World War, when eggs were scarce in many parts of the world. Blend one teaspoon of baking soda into the dry ingredients, and add one teaspoon of vinegar to the wet ingredients. The chemical reaction will fluff up the food, but be sure to get it into the oven right away, before it starts to collapse.

Flax seeds can also work as an egg replacement in earthy, whole grain recipes like muffins. Grind one tablespoon of flax seeds in three tablespoons of water, and use like an egg. For cakier sweets, try one quarter cup silken tofu, which will provide moisture and some loft.

If you're cooking for a vegan who doesn't eat refined sugar, try using some natural alternatives to sugar, like stevia or agave nectar, or experiment with fruit sweeteners. Remember that vegans almost always appreciate the effort and caring reflected in attempts at vegan baked goods, even if they don't always turn out perfectly.

Ginger is vegan-friendly and gives baked goods a nice, spicy flavor.
Ginger is vegan-friendly and gives baked goods a nice, spicy flavor.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon331525

Thank you anon17912, that is the best laugh I have had today. My daughter is a vegan and when she is invited to someone's home, she takes something to share. Also, anyone likely to ask her for a meal are supportive of her choices, as she is with their health or choice of diet. She doesn't eat animal products or byproducts because she doesn't support factory farming and believes that animals have a right to a dignified life until they die, even if they die to provide food for humans.

anon25548

"Vegans are ignorant people" -that's a generalization and it is wrong. I am a vegan and I am not ignorant. End. Of. Story.

anon24272

some vegans do it for environmental reasons. me for example. i love killing animals and eating them.

however the consumption of factory farmed animal protein approves of the feeding of cornfeed to these animals which could have gone to feeding people in, i dunno, india. or mississippi. or, i dunno, homeless people.

go to any university and strike up a conversation with an environmental studies grad student or professor. veganism is better for the environment, and in the long run saves lives. look up "human carrying capacity" and "risk management" and start using those animal-protein derived brains to think about it smarty fangs.

anon18945

I've been vegan for nearly 4 years now. As far as I know, I've never killed a single person by not buying steaks. So, why not keep our personal choices personal? Also, I'm pretty sure veganism, abortion, and communism are three unrelated topics. Mail all my uneaten meat and milk to India please.

anon17912

I really think a guest coming to your house should eat the food you have prepared.

It is rude for someone to impose their beliefs on the host. Is it really the desire of hinduism to be rude like this to someone who is being hospitable?

I have some dietary restrictions. I make NO noises to my host about them and if necessary i BREAK my health rules and eat what they provide to be a gracious guest.

Vegans are ignorant people who have not looked at their TEETH.

Veganism kills. Look at the starving people in India. With PLENTY of good food available they eschew what the planet has given them and die of starvation.

And you vegans who are pro choice? well.. you are as bad as the communists. You say you are for the people.. but you kill millions and sneer while you do it.

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