Why Do Brownies Need Eggs? (And 6 Egg Substitutes You Can Use Instead)

Brownies are one of the most delicious treats on the planet!

But… eggs aren’t always the most favored ingredient to add, especially if you have dietary restrictions, an allergy, or you’re vegan.

So, why exactly do brownies need eggs?

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned baker, making brownies just right can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have a good brownie recipe.

Some prefer them extra fudgy and chocolatey while others prefer a traditional, yet yummy brownie.

The secret to quality brownies usually lies in eggs and how they’re incorporated. But don’t worry, there are workarounds to use egg substitutes if you want a brownie recipe without eggs.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about using eggs in brownies (and whether you need them in there or not to make a great brownie). Plus, we’ll cover six egg substitutes (vegan and non-vegan options) you can use instead that work great!

Let’s begin!

Here’s Why Brownies Need Eggs:

The main reason brownies need eggs is because eggs emulsify the dry ingredients in the batter. Egg yolks contain lecithin – an animal-based fat. When you add eggs to brownies, it helps the dry ingredients attach to other fats like butter, oil, or shortening. This helps create a clean, creamy brownie batter that rises nicely.

Why Brownies Need Eggs

One of the main functions of eggs in brownie batter is to act as an emulsifier. Egg yolks contain a fat called lecithin. Adding egg yolk to brownies helps the dry ingredients combine with the butter or shortening. You can thank them for the creamy texture of your brownie batter.

Brownies also need eggs for another reason: they bind the mixture together and they also leaven the mix.

This means eggs actually help make your brownies rise so they’re not super hard, flat, and dense!

Since they contain protein, eggs allow the mixture to stick together and leaven the batter so it rises. With moisture and heat combined within the brownie batter, it triggers a reaction causing the batter to expand before solidifying in that risen shape once done baking.

Carbon dioxide bubbles are produced as this occurs, trapping these tiny bubbles in the brownie batter, giving your brownies both a nice height and a wonderful texture that makes them easy to chew and enjoyable to eat.

What Does Just Egg White Do For Brownies?

What if you skip using the egg yolk and just use the egg whites in brownies? Will that work?

Yes, it will certainly work well if you only use egg whites.

The effect of only using egg whites in your brownies (rather than the entire egg) is that you will end up with a brownie that’s much lighter overall. 

This is because egg yolks are much fattier than egg whites, causing your brownie to be much fattier (and richer in texture).

By only using egg whites, it will still emulsify (bind) and leaven (rise) your brownie so it has a nice fluffiness and texture. But, the difference is that it won’t be quite as fatty — and it will be slightly less creamy in texture.

What Does Adding an Extra Egg Do for Brownies?

So, what about adding an extra egg to your brownie mix? What will that do to your brownies?

Well, eggs act as a binding agent. This means they will help make all the ingredients in your brownie recipe stick together. So, adding an extra egg will increase this effect. 

But, an extra egg will also increase the leavening power of your brownies.

This means your brownies will rise more, creating a drier, lighter, and more cake-like texture.

If you’re into rich, fudgy, brownies, then adding an extra egg may not be the best choice. But, if you like cakier, fluffier brownies, then adding an extra egg could be something that works well for you!

But… just be careful and go overboard. If you think adding an extra two or three eggs will make it increasingly fluffy and light, then you may want to pump the breaks a little.

If you add too many extra eggs, it will have the reverse effect. Instead of making your brownies lighter and fluffier, it will make them hard, dense, and tough.

Just be careful when experimenting with adding extra eggs. If unsure, always lean on the side of caution and only add one to see how your brownie batter turns out before adding an additional egg to your next batch of brownies.

What Happens If You Don’t Put Eggs in Brownies?

What about if you don’t use eggs in your brownies?

Maybe you’re vegan, you have allergies, or you’ve got a craving for freshly baked brownies but you’re all out of eggs!

Well, you can rest assured that you can still whip up some brownies even if you don’t have eggs. While eggs can help bind and rise your brownies, you can still create a delicious batch without eggs.

Just know that they will be a bit thinner and won’t rise as much in your oven.

But, there are ways around this! In the next section, we’ll cover eight of the best egg substitutes you can use in your brownie recipe!

Is it okay to make brownies without eggs? Without eggs, baked goods will become a little thinner and not rise as much in the oven. 

What Can I Use if I Don’t Have Eggs for Brownies?

If you’re all out of eggs at home and you really want to make some brownies, you’re still in luck!

There are dozens of substitutes you can use for eggs in brownies. But, in this section, we’ll cover the eight best options you can use (including both vegan and non-vegan options).

Just remember, as long as you replace the moisture from the egg with something else, you will get a similar effect from your egg in your brownies.

While it may be hard to match the leavening (rising) effect, there are a few options that can work really well below!

Here’s how to make brownies without eggs:

1. Applesauce

Vegan? Yes.

Amount? Replace 1 egg with ¼ cup of applesauce (unsweetened).

You can use applesauce instead of eggs and it works wonders. Just remember there are two types of applesauce: sweetened and unsweetened. You want to use the unsweetened kind in your brownies.

Applesauce works really well because of the pectin from the fruit – adding a nice binding effect.

2. Aquafaba

Vegan? Yes.

Amount? Replace 1 egg with 3 tablespoons of aquafaba..

Aquafaba is a fancy word for chickpea liquid. You can simply drain the liquid from a can of chickpeas and use it as needed.

You can also use the liquid from other cans of legumes or beans. Just be cautious if you use kidney bean liquid as this will certainly lead to increased activity in your stomach!

3. Flax Seeds or Chia Seeds

Vegan? Yes.

Amount? Replace 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of seeds and 3 tablespoons of water.

If you have flax seeds or chia seeds at home, then you can whip these up into a vegan egg replacement for your brownies in no time.

Simply grab one tablespoon of either seed, and pour it into your coffee grinder. Grind away until it’s almost in a powdery form. Then, add three tablespoons of water and mix it together with a spoon.

4. Gelatin

Vegan? No.

Amount? Replace 1 egg with1 tablespoon of gelatin and 1 tablespoon of water.

Gelatin is an animal-sourced ingredient (collagen) that has been used for centuries to help add texture to different foods (think jell-o and corner store candies).

While it’s not vegan, it’s a dairy-free option that can provide a great binding agent to you brownies if you aren’t using eggs.

5. Yogurt

Vegan? No.

Amount? Replace 1 egg with ¼ cup of yogurt (plain).

Yogurt is a great option if you can’t eat eggs but you can eat dairy. It provides moisture and fat just like eggs to ensure you make some tasty brownies. Plus, it also acts as a leavening agent to help your brownies rise.

Just remember to use plain yogurt as any added sugar could throw off the sweetness level of your brownies.

6. Buttermilk

Vegan? No.

Amount? Replace 1 egg with ¼ cup of buttermilk.

Are you wondering… “Can I use milk instead of eggs in brownies?”

The short answer is… yes!

Another dairy option for non-egg eaters is buttermilk. It’s a better option than regular milk since it has a higher fat content (like eggs). This adds richness, creaminess, and even a leavening effect to your brownies. It’s also a good option if you want to avoid a brownie that’s too dry.

Looking for a Great (No-Egg) Brownie Recipe?

Well, I’ve got three for you — and they’re all vegan — which means no eggs!):

These three recipes are so delicious (even my husband who isn’t vegan loves them and can’t tell the difference between “regular” dairy brownies)!

Looking for more tips on baking the perfect brownies? 

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