How to Make an Egg Substitute with Chia Seeds

make egg substitute chia seeds

Do you want to know how to make an egg substitute with chia seeds? Did you even know that was possible?

I am an egg addict. I love eating eggs from pastured hens, love their firm, bright orange yolks, love how nutrient-dense and healthy they are. Yet sometimes I (gasp!) run out of eggs before I have the chance to buy them again from my local farmer.

When that happens and I need an egg substitute for some baked goods, I use chia seeds as an egg substitute. (This is also particularly useful for those with egg allergies!)

Chia Seeds are Healthy

Chia seeds have a lot of great things going for them:

  • Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Chia seeds promote a healthy digestive tract — relieving constipation, diarrhea, and inflammation.
  • Chia seeds are gluten-free and grain-free.
  • Chia seeds are an excellent source of magnesium.

Because of this, they’re useful beyond just egg-replacement. I enjoy sprinkling chia seeds on morning bowls of oatmeal and mixing them into my children’s favorite bananas and yogurt snack.

How to Make an Egg Substitute with Chia Seeds

Did you ever indulge and make the now-famous Chia Pets as a child?

You’ll remember that when you add water to the chia seeds, you get goo. That goo is the magic egg substitute.

make an egg substitute with chia seeds

Here’s how you make it. It’s so easy!

Chia Egg Substitute

Yield: 1 egg replacement

The Players

The How-To

1. Using a food processor, spice grinder, or mortar & pestle, grind the chia seeds into a meal. (If you want to grind more at once, that’s okay. Just remember that chia seeds are full of delicate omega-3 oils which are prone to spoilage when exposed to heat and oxygen. So you’ll want to store your pre-ground chia meal in an airtight container in your freezer for up to a year.)

2. Mix the water and ground chia seed meal in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or so, or until it takes on a goopy texture similar to raw egg yolk.

3. Use in your favorite baked goods or morning smoothies.

Where to buy Chia Seeds

make egg substitute chia seedsYou want to find Chia Seeds that are sourced sustainably and non-irradiated. (It’s harder than it sounds.)

For that, I buy the Frontier Brand of Chia seeds in bulk, 1 pound bags.

One pound of chia seeds will make about 45 egg substitutes.

When possible, I like to make bulk purchases like this from small, family-owned companies I know and trust. It’s my way of supporting their work. Thankfully, one of my sponsors, Radiant Life, has started carrying select Frontier brand goods, including chia seeds.

(Click here to buy Chia Seeds from Radiant Life.)

(photo credits, top to bottom: ljguitar, sweetbeetandgreenbean, radiantlifecatalog)


Standard disclosures apply.

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Comments

  1. Karen Wood says

    I have so been meaning to try this because I have heard of it, just didn’t have confidence that it would work, but since you say so…….
    I know I like chia seeds for making instant pudding with and I bet there are other good things to use it as a substitute for. One of these days I want to grow my own. I need to get to using them for sprouts too.

  2. Scott says

    Eggs contain lecithin, which bonds oil and water together for making things like mayonnaise.
    Does Chia contain lecithin? Does it bond oil and water?

    • says

      Yes, Chia seeds contain lecithin. I’m not sure how *much* they contain compared to eggs, but I’m fairly certain that’s one of the reasons Chia makes a good egg substitute in baked goods.

  3. Michelle says

    Both chia and flax should NOT be used for baking since they rancidify with the application of high heat. Your own words confirm it; “chia seeds are full of delicate omega-3 oils which are prone to spoilage when exposed to heat” I see too many “nutritional” folks promoting recipes for baked items with chia and flax, and this is a terrible practice. The heat from baking causes the oils to become rancid which is toxic for your body.

    • says

      While I agree with this regarding flax, Chia seeds are different because they are considerably higher in anti-oxidants. This is why Chia seeds are shelf stable for up to two years, whereas flax seeds need to be stored in the refrigerator and spoil quickly.

      • Michelle says

        Kristen,
        I agree with Chia seeds being higher in antioxidants, but that property only allows them to be shelf stable longer. A higher antioxidant content does nothing to prevent delicate oils from being rancidified with the application of heat. As a matter of fact, many antioxidants are damaged or oxidized very easily in the presence of heat, so while the antioxidants may prolong shelf life, I don’t see the correlation with preventing oils from being rancidified, since with the application of heat, the antioxidants themselves can be destroyed, thus stripping any protection for the delicate oils.

  4. Kaitlyn says

    My husband and I use chia seeds in our morning raw kefir smoothies. I just take the whole seeds and make them into a gel with water, which we store in the fridge, and then we add that. Should we be grinding the seeds first, or do you think we still get the benefits with the whole seed?

    • says

      The only reason I grind them is for the resulting texture of the baked good. By grinding them first, you ensure you’re not going to get little chia seeds in your banana muffins, for example (although that does sound yummy!)

      I’ve also heard that (as with all nuts, seeds, and grains), they are more easily digested if ground.

  5. Mae says

    Please answer Kaitlyn’s question, for she is not your only reader with that “to grind or not to grind” question.

    I ran across the grinding instruction on some vegan blog years ago, but even after exhaustive research, I cannot confirm whether or not grinding is indeed necessary for ideal absorption of the chia seed’s full nutrition. In fact, that research was more confusing than enlightening. About 80% of the web fails to mention prerequisite grinding of seeds whatsoever, and unfortunately, it is to ONLY that percentage of information most people are exposed. Even the better sources for organic chia seeds–such as Radiant Life and The Chia Co–fail to mention and/or clarify this issue.

    Also, you didn’t really address Michelle’s concern. Does the heat applied when cooking with chia seeds, ground or whole (or any ingredient that contains vitamin C, for that matter), render those seeds toxic to the human body?

  6. Mae says

    You suggest grinding chia seeds in a food processor, spice grinder or a mortar & pestle to render a coarse meal of them before any further processing takes place. Can they be ground in the “dry ingredients” container that some VitaMix blenders came with years ago?

    I ask because the smallest thing I’ve ground in my VitaMix (purchased in 2004) is flax seed, and when done carefully, the result is almost flour, as opposed to a coarse meal. Comparatively, whole chia seeds are tiny and round. Will they actually grind, or will their shape & size cause them to simply whirl around the blades ineffectively?

      • Cindy Brunk says

        I use my vita mix dry cannister for grinding chia seeds. I put the middle knob on 7 or 8 and then switch the right one on so it’s more of a pulse rather than a grind. That keeps it from getting too fine…

    • says

      No. Think of it like this. Salmon is really high in heat-sensitive Omega-3 fats, too. But you still cook it. Almost all of those precious Omega-3s are destroyed by the cooking process. Yes, they oxidize when they do this. No, that’s not a bad thing. Not when you’re cooking. It’s only bad or undesirable when you’re trying to prevent spoilage because the oxidation without cooking will cause the oil to go rancid. Make sense?

      • Michelle says

        Kristen, I would ask you to rethink your reply. This is just plain not true. If your statement was true, then any oil would be safe for cooking, baking or frying when that is not at all the case.

  7. Jillian Shanahan says

    I have a daughter that has an egg allergy. I have been using flax in place if the eggs when I bake. But everything comes out flat and dense. Is there anything you could suggest that would make the cakes/brownies rise?

  8. Mia says

    I think a few people here are getting caught up in losing the antioxidants in Chia seeds when baked. As a vegan, I don’t eat eggs. I also don’t like using egg substitute as it’s a concoction of other powders I don’t need in my baking. Chia is a fantastic substitute and if it binds, helps with bakes and loses any of it’s Omega 3’s and antioxidants so be it. I have a few tablespoons a day in my smoothies to not need to worry.

  9. Toni says

    I think some people are getting a little too ‘uppity’. If you don’t like what she posts then go elsewhere!!! There’s always Google & this information is free! We are all in charge of looking after our own health so stop looking for an argument!!

    • niella says

      I know two egg whites can be used to substitute one full egg. When using chia seed goo as a substitute, do we just treat egg whites as if we were substituting full eggs?

  10. niella says

    Am I the only one that was confused about the amount of chia seeds that are supposed to be used? :/ I followed these instructions, and the cookies I used the chia goo in turned out terribly moist and mushy. :( With some thinking and discussion, testing, and Googling, I discovered:

    *It’s 1 tbsp of GROUND chia seeds, NOT whole chia seeds. DO NOT do what I previously did and measure and grind 1 tbsp of whole chia seeds and combine that with the 3 tbsps of water.
    *It’s best to use freshly grinded chia seeds. For those of you that don’t want to be storing leftover meal- 1/2 tbsp of whole chia seeds makes 1 tbsp of ground chia seed meal.
    *It helps to use warm water, and the water can easily be heated in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
    *Be sure to stir the mixture, and then let it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  11. Craig says

    Neither chia nor flax seeds should be used in baking, as it becomes rancid and thus toxic to the body.

    You say above:
    “Just remember that chia seeds are full of delicate omega-3 oils which are prone to spoilage when exposed to heat and oxygen.”

    And yet here you are touting this as an egg replacer for baked goods. Kind of hypocritical, no?

    Just saying, thanks.

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