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.
Here’s how you make it. It’s so easy!
Chia Egg Substitute
Yield: 1 egg replacement
- 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds (where to buy chia seeds in bulk)
- 3 Tbsp. Water
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
You 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, middle & bottom: sweetbeetandgreenbean, radiantlifecatalog)
Look at this paper:
Chia (Salvia hispanica L) Gel Can Be Used as Egg or Oil Replacer in Cake Formulations
I literally was just thinking about this within the last couple of days! Thank you for posting!!! 🙂
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.
Eggs contain lecithin, which bonds oil and water together for making things like mayonnaise.
Does Chia contain lecithin? Does it bond oil and water?
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.
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.
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.
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.
While it is true that direct high heat such as frying salmon totally destroys the omega oils the same does not seem to hold true for baking. Several studies have been made to determine the effect on EPA And DHA by frying, baking. boiling fish such as sardines. The studies reveal that baking at 200 C (400F) leaves the omegas largely unaffected.
Thus it seems that If the omega fatty acids are baked they do not turn rancid and are perfectly safe for recipes requiring egg substitutes
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?
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.
I have been replacing eggs with chia seeds for almost four years. I have never ground them and have always used them whole, gelled with water before baking. I love the occassional opportunity to crunch on the seed when eating the baked goods. If a recipe calls for three eggs, do you substitute equally with chia seeds? I always have but it seems I have to cook the recipe much longer than the recipe calls for.
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?
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.
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?
I’ve never tried it in a VitaMix. You could try it and let us know how it works!
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…
If you use a coffee grinder to grind the chia seeds, it works beautifully!
if its omega-3 oil is sensitive to heat, it cannot be used for baking then? the oil will be oxidized??
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?
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.
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?
Add extra baking powder or soda (alum-free!).
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.
Thank you for this. It really does work.
Can we use this substitute in the making of gluten free bread?????
In regard to that “grind or not to grind” question I ran across the following article and thought I would share.
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.
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!!
What amount should be used for recipes that only call for egg whites?
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?
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.
Aaaahh, thank you! that explains it. I also tried 1 spoon of whole seeds to 3 of water, which did not work at all. 🙁 it should definitely be written in the ‘recipe’
Thank you for that! Will try chia eggs for the first time later today in a chocolate zucchini snack cake that I’ve made many times with eggs. Will report back
thank you so much for this clarification! I could NOT figure out where I was going wrong these past months!!
Peggyann Veach via Facebook says
Ashlynn Young Johnson
Jill Herron Chapin via Facebook 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.
Samantha Steele via Facebook says
Chloe Smith Amy Davies
Sarah Silverman via Facebook says
Flax seed also works nicely, but usually for a recipe that only calls for one or two eggs.
Liz Leona Kadri Gonzagowski via Facebook says
But…I don’t believe that nutritionally, there’s a substitute for eggs.
Being sensitive to eggs, I really appreciate this! Eggs are only nutritionally superior to chia if your body can handle them. 🙂
I used 1 tbsp GROUND chia with 3 tbsp warm water and it turned out perfectly in my breakfast cookies. Thank you so much!!!
I use chia seeds in all my baking, i couldnt care less if it loses nutritional value like others are saying. When your child has a severe life threatening allergy to eggs you’d be damn pleased to find an egg substitute such as this. Those egg replacer powders are full of far worse crap then what happens to the chia egg when you bake it. Lighten up people!
has anyone tried Chia eggs in coconut flour baking?
do u have to ground the seeds first? or can u use them whole?
if its any consolation i recently read that even olive oil, which is also delicate oil, can be heated up to 350 degrees
I don’t understand these measurements! I put 2 Desert-spoons of Chia seeds in the grinder, ground it into fine meal and added 6 Desertsp. of water. It was waaaaay not enough water! the chia meal went to a hard mass that I couldn´t stir. I had to add a whole cup of water to even be able to stir it, and it was still really thick and viscous even before it had sat for a few minutes.
J Hutcheson says
What is the ratio of chia seed to equal one egg in baking muffins?
Thank you for this information! I’m going to try it today! Also, I love your philosophies in your bio.
Marion Oldham says
Thanks for all this information. Does 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds equal 1 tablespoon of Chia meal? I just need to know so I add the correct amount of water.
Look forward to your reply.
Why do you say eggs are healthy? They are full of saturated fat and cholesterol which promotes heart disease, which is the number one killer worldwide, don’t self harm with what you put in your mouth, don’t needlessly slaughter animals and don’t cause unnecessary damage to the environment. Go vegan. Peace
Steve Daire says
All this time i’ve been having the chia seeds in the house but didnt even bother giving them a try. A friend of mine once visited and happened to leavr the seeds behind and i didnt give them much attention. I’ll have to try them now. Thanks for shedding the light.
Steve Daire says
The last few days have been very resourceful. I have learnt so much about chia seeds and I’m now developing a keen interest. I have lived with these seeds but had no idea how rich they are. Thanks
[email protected] says
I do this every day and I never realized it was equal to having an egg! I’m not a big fan of eggs actually so chia seeds compensate for the nutritional benefits of eggs. Thanks for sharing this great post.