In the wake of a widespread egg shortage, prices for eggs have increased from $1.79 for a dozen in December of 2021 to $4.25 for a dozen in December of 2022. A little bit of math shows us that an individual egg now costs about 35 cents. With this trend in mind, thrifty students may want to consider more cost-effective substitutes for their baking needs.
Here’s a list of egg-cellent and cost-efficient substitutions:
Baking Soda and Vinegar (7 cents)
No, we’re not remaking the iconic grade-school science project. We’re baking, and if we’re baking, we need a leavener: baking soda and vinegar fits the bill.
It’ll also fit your budget. Baking soda can be found at about eight cents per ounce — if you’re willing to buy in bulk, that number shrinks further. You don’t need a full ounce for this replacement, though, so the cost per substitution is as low as one to two cents. White vinegar, on the other hand, is a bit pricier, at around 12 cents per ounce when using online price-comparing tools. This means that each tablespoon of vinegar necessary in the substitution will cost about 6 cents.
Adding the costs together, we find a total cost of seven to eight cents per substitution.
For a substitute that egg-cels both in your ledger and in science fairs, combine one tablespoon of vinegar and one teaspoon of baking soda.
Carbonated Water (10 cents)
Carbonated water, also known as sparkling water or seltzer water, serves as an effective leavening agent, making it a great substitute when baking something fluffy. Examples of this include cake, cupcakes and quick breads.
Carbonated water can be found for as little as five to 10 cents per ounce using online price-comparing tools. This brings its total cost to 10-20 cents per ¼ cup (2 oz) substitution.
Mashed Banana (11 cents)
According to Food Network, mashed banana is a handy substitute for eggs when used in baked goods like waffles, quick breads and muffins — aka, the ones that don’t rely on eggs for leavening. It imparts moisture to a dish that would otherwise come from eggs.
After calculating everything out, we find that each banana substitution costs only 11 cents: about a third of the price of a regular egg.
Aquafaba is the liquid that chickpeas are cooked in, or the liquid that comes with them in a can. This makes it an extremely cost-effective substitute for those already consuming chickpeas regularly. Instead of draining the liquid, you can save it for the next time you need an egg or an egg white, all without any extra cost.
Unfortunately, aquafaba is far less cost-efficient if you’re not already buying chickpeas, so if hummus isn’t your style, it may be better to look into the other options on this list.
Ground Flaxseed (15 cents)
Food Network notes that flaxseed is a good substitute for denser baked goods, like muffins or cookies, due to its tendency to turn out denser recipes than regular eggs would.
The price of flaxseed varies widely depending on whether or not it’s organic, but regular ground flaxseed can be found for a reasonable 30 to 35 cents per ounce using online price-comparing tools. This brings the total per substitute to somewhere between 15 and 18 cents.
It’s recommended that you mix one tablespoon (0.5 oz) of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water and allow it to sit for a short time before using it as an egg substitute.
Buttermilk (16 cents)
Historically, buttermilk referred to the liquid left behind after making butter. However, in the modern era, buttermilk is typically made separately from butter as a distinct fermented dairy drink and baking liquid. Its acid makes it good for cakes, muffins and quick breads.
Through the use of online price-comparing tools, it’s possible to find buttermilk that costs about eight to 10 cents per fluid ounce. With two fluid ounces in each ¼ cup necessary for an egg substitution, you can expect each substitution to set you back by 16 to 20 cents. Be careful when shopping, though: high-end and organic buttermilks tend to be more expensive, to the point that you might end up spending more on the substitution than you would on an egg!
Substitute ¼ cup of buttermilk for each egg in your recipe.
Egg prices may be soaring to egg-regious levels, but some clever substitutions can allow thrifty bakers to continue wowing taste buds without breaking the bank. This egg-lectic list will get you started on that path.