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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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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25 Responses to How to Make an Egg Substitute with Chia Seeds
  1. rafael
    September 24, 2013 | 7:23 am

    Look at this paper:
    Chia (Salvia hispanica L) Gel Can Be Used as Egg or Oil Replacer in Cake Formulations

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822310002312

  2. Shannon
    September 24, 2013 | 2:05 pm

    I literally was just thinking about this within the last couple of days! Thank you for posting!!! :)

  3. Karen Wood
    September 26, 2013 | 11:37 am

    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.

  4. Scott
    September 26, 2013 | 12:20 pm

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

    • Kristen
      September 26, 2013 | 4:24 pm

      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.

  5. Michelle
    September 26, 2013 | 2:17 pm

    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.

    • Kristen
      September 26, 2013 | 4:22 pm

      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
        October 3, 2013 | 1:26 pm

        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.

  6. Kaitlyn
    September 27, 2013 | 1:32 am

    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?

    • Kristen
      September 27, 2013 | 2:03 pm

      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.

  7. Mae
    September 27, 2013 | 8:45 am

    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?

    • Kristen
      September 27, 2013 | 8:25 pm

      Vitamin C is in a lot of food. Cooking those foods does diminish the Vitamin C, but it in no way renders the food toxic.

  8. Mae
    September 27, 2013 | 9:20 am

    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?

    • Kristen
      September 27, 2013 | 8:25 pm

      I’ve never tried it in a VitaMix. You could try it and let us know how it works!

      • Cindy Brunk
        December 18, 2013 | 9:26 am

        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…

  9. noriko
    September 28, 2013 | 5:06 am

    if its omega-3 oil is sensitive to heat, it cannot be used for baking then? the oil will be oxidized??

    • Kristen
      September 28, 2013 | 9:56 am

      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
        October 3, 2013 | 1:35 pm

        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.

  10. Jillian Shanahan
    October 1, 2013 | 3:06 pm

    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?

    • Kristen
      October 1, 2013 | 3:18 pm

      Add extra baking powder or soda (alum-free!).

  11. Faith
    October 13, 2013 | 10:08 am

    I just started using chia as an egg replacer – works so much better than flax. I do heat my water slightly, which seems to work really well.

  12. Amyah
    October 15, 2013 | 1:24 pm

    Can we use this substitute in the making of gluten free bread?????

  13. Mae
    October 18, 2013 | 12:26 pm

    In regard to that “grind or not to grind” question I ran across the following article and thought I would share.

    http://longevity.about.com/od/antiagingfoods/a/Chia-Seeds-Ground-Or-Whole.htm

  14. Mia
    December 4, 2013 | 7:28 pm

    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.

  15. Toni
    March 25, 2014 | 6:00 pm

    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!!

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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