How to Make a Flax Egg for Babies With an Egg Allergy
Whenever I post a recipe that contains an egg in it on the Real Baby Food Instagram feed, I invariably get questions from parents asking if there’s anything that can be used to replace the egg(s) because their baby is allergic. In fact, eggs are one of the major allergens, but happily, it’s one food allergy that most children grow out of. (Read more about egg allergies here.) In the meantime, though, does that mean no pancakes or zucchini bread? No muffins or meatballs? Nope! Thankfully, in many recipes you can substitute for the egg with a “flax egg”. Here’s how to make a flax egg for babies with an egg allergy. They’re also great for vegan babies!
What is Flax?
Flaxseeds are are also known as linseeds. They are high in fiber and brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. I like to add a tablespoon to smoothies or sprinkle some on oatmeal for an extra nutrition boost.
You want ground flaxseeds—also known as flaxseed meal—for this recipe (and most others). Whole flaxseeds pass through the digestive system intact, so the body can’t extract all that great nutrition from them. If you find yourself with a bag of whole flaxseeds, you can grind them in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, but I find it easier to just buy pre-ground seeds. You can find them at most grocery stores from brands like Bob’s Red Mill. To keep whole or ground flaxseeds fresh longer, store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
When ground flaxseeds are soaked in water or another liquid they expand and become almost gluey, enabling them to act as a binder in baked goods, similar to eggs.
How to Make a Flax Egg
To replace one egg, stir together 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds with a scant 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or until it thickens. It’s that easy! Just add to your recipe in the place of an egg.
When a Flax Egg Will Work (and When It Won’t)
Flax eggs work especially well in muffins, quick breads (like banana and zucchini), and pancakes. Don’t expect them to replicate an egg perfectly, but they should do the job.
They won’t work in recipes that are heavily egg-based, like the Baked Pancake in Real Baby Food, delicate cakes, or any omelet or frittata. In those scenarios, I’ve been recommending JUST, a liquid egg replacer made of plants that acts remarkably like eggs. Full disclosure, although I’ve tried and enjoyed a frittata and baked goods made with JUST, I haven’t cooked with the product myself.