If you’re like me and my family, a carton of eggs is on the grocery list every week. There’s no way you’re not going through a dozen eggs in 7 days – between breakfast and baking, there’s a plethora of recipes that call for eggs. But you might’ve noticed recently that you may need more than just a couple bucks when you visit your grocery store for these hot commodities.
You’re not mistaken.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, egg prices have risen nearly 60% since December 2021. By January last year, the average price for a dozen eggs was $1.93. A month ago, the average was up to $4.25, an 11% increase from this past November. CNN even reported cartons being sold for $11.49 in New York, and reaching $10.99 in Hawaii.
Besides reasons like holiday demand and farming costs going up, eggs have been getting increasingly expensive because of an outbreak of avian influenza – or bird flu – that has been spreading across the country since the outbreak last February.
Per the USDA, “By the end of December, more than 43 million egg-laying hens were lost to the disease itself or to depopulation since the outbreak began in February 2022,” causing egg inventories to plummet 29% from the start of 2022 until the last week of December.
Gregory Martin, a poultry educator at Penn State Extension, told USA Today, “We have seen infections get into a flock, where they look perfectly fine one day, and then the next day they’re all dead. That’s how quick this thing moves. And so the losses are very, very severe.”
He assures, though, that the virus is not a foodborne illness, so eggs and poultry that you purchase at grocery stores remain safe to eat.
Besides breakfast, eggs are typically an essential ingredient in baking recipes. Their functionality is diverse in producing what you want your final product to look, taste, and feel like. Eggs can help hold ingredients together, while creating air pockets, causing them to rise when cooking (like in soufflés or meringues). Also, “The liquid from eggs is absorbed into the other ingredients in a recipe, which helps add moisture to the finished product,” according to Healthline.
With these outrageous egg prices, and at least until this virus goes away, you might want to look into various egg substitutes that you can use for baking. Unfortunately, there aren’t really other options for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich or a nice Southwest omelet in the morning. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at 5 substitutes that you can use when baking other than the shiny white pearl that comes from a hen.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
A rule of thumb is that 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vinegar is equivalent to 1 egg while baking. The mixture causes a chemical reaction that “produces carbon dioxide and water, which makes baked goods light and airy,” per Healthline.
Certain Puréed Fruits
Mashed fruits like bananas, avocados, and pumpkins can work as an effective base ingredient instead of eggs. ¼ cup of these puréed fruits is equivalent to 1 egg. With fruits with more potent flavor, however, like bananas, the end product might have a hint of that same flavor. Avocados and pumpkins shouldn’t noticeably affect the flavor, though. This is a useful substitution for various pastries like cake, muffins, and brownies.
¼ cup of applesauce should be enough to substitute 1 egg, according to MarthaStewart.com. Like puréed fruits, this will make the dish more dense than if you were to use eggs. ½ teaspoon of baking soda is recommended to lighten it up. It should also be noted that unsweetened applesauce is the preferred method when baking, as you may need to adjust the amount of sugars and sweeteners you add to the dish if you were to use sweetened applesauce.
This is a substitute that excels at binding the ingredients together similarly to how eggs would. ¼ cup of buttermilk should suffice. Marthastewart.com suggests that if you don’t have buttermilk, 1 cup of whole milk and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice should combine to be like buttermilk after sitting for 10 minutes or until it curdles.
Ground Flaxseed or Chia Seed
This is a popular substitution for vegan diets. Simply mix together 1 tablespoon of ground chia or flaxseed (which you can either grind yourself or buy pre-ground) and 3 tablespoons of water until fully absorbed. Healthline says it may cause a nuttier flavor, which could be useful in foods like pancakes or waffles.