Egg substitute is listed in many low-fat or low-cholesterol recipes as an alternative to whole eggs. Egg substitute looks a lot like beaten eggs, but what’s it actually made of?
The Yolk's on You
Most egg substitute products—fresh, frozen, or powdered—contain mostly egg whites, so if you have an egg allergy, these are not suitable as egg alternatives.
But egg substitute is an excellent alternative to eggs if you want to cut your intake of fat and cholesterol which are concentrated in the egg’s yolk.
Although whole eggs are not especially high in fat—just 5 grams of total fat and less than 2 grams of saturated fat per egg—they are notoriously high in dietary cholesterol, containing more than two-thirds the daily recommended total.
So multi-egg dishes such as omelets and frittatas, which often contain cheese or other high-fat, high-cholesterol ingredients, are good candidates for using egg substitute, at least in part.
What Else Is in Egg Substitute?
Egg substitute products such as Egg Beaters brand, contain 99% egg whites. The other 1% comprises undefined " natural flavor," coloring, spices, salt, onion powder, xanthan gum and guar gum.
Many nutrients are added to make up for the ones lost from the yolk, so egg substitute usually will contain varying amounts of iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins A, E, B6 and B12, and have an equivalent amount of protein as whole eggs.
While some brands, like Egg Beaters, contain no fat or cholesterol, others use vegetable oil as an ingredient, which adds to the fat content again although the fat is largely unsaturated.
Read the Label
Check the label on the egg-substitute product to see if it’s low enough in fat, and also to see whether the egg substitute is suitable for all your needs.
Some egg-substitute products are great for adding leavening qualities to baked goods, but unless the egg-substitute also contains added lecithin, which is normally found in egg yolks, it can't act as an emulsifier or thickener.
This also makes egg substitute unsuitable for custards. In these cases, it's wiser to replace some of the whole eggs rather than all of the whole eggs in a recipe if you need to lower its fat and cholesterol content. Powdered egg substitute may work very nicely in baking, but not at all in scrambled eggs. If you need an egg-free alternative for this then tofu would be your best bet.
Here is more information on egg-free substitutes.
Egg to Liquid Egg Substitute Conversion
- 1 large egg = 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 2 large eggs = 1/2 cup egg substitute
- 4 large eggs = 1 cup egg substitute
- 8 large eggs = 1 pint carton egg substitute