Muffin recipe: Chia seeds as an egg substitute

To kick off the chia seed campaign that is currently going on I decided to use chia seeds as an egg replacement when baking muffins. I heard they can be used instead of eggs to act as a binder (to keep things from crumbling apart) but not as a leavener (they won’t make things rise) so I chose a recipe that had baking powder and baking soda as the leaveners. Muffins fit the bill so I made apple muffins with a streusel topping.

Apple Muffins
From Allrecipes.com

Ingredients: (makes 12 muffins)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs (or a mixture of 2 tablespoons chia seeds : 6 tablespoons water)
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped apples

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
  4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
  5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

I’ve always wanted to do an experiment like this ever since I met a girl in my cooking class who was allergic to eggs. I thought “Oh, that sucks! What can you use instead?” I’ve seen Bob’s Red Mill egg replacement which is a powder but I also heard that you can use flax seeds and chia seeds. I used the 3:1 water to chia seed ratio (3 tablespoons water to 1 tablespoon chia seeds) for each egg and put it aside to let it form a gel which would act as the egg replacement. Note: I used white chia seeds as the black chia seeds would be more noticeable. I also made the original recipe that called for eggs so I could compare the two.

The chia seed batter was noticeably thicker than the batter made with eggs because the chia seeds gelled up quite a bit. I had to add more water to loosen it up. The batter made with eggs was noticeably more yellow in colour due to the presence of egg yolks. It was difficult to notice any significant difference appearance and taste wise. The muffins made with chia seeds were lighter in colour compared to the batch made with eggs due to the egg yolks. But taste wise they were both totally acceptable and half of the taste testers did not notice any difference.

chia muffin comparison

Left: Made with eggs; Right: Made with chia seeds

I have noticed that muffins made with chia seeds tend to be slightly more moist, almost gooey because of the gelled chia seeds but in this case there is moisture from the apples so it lends itself to the recipe quite nicely. Several taste testers and I actually preferred the muffins made with chia seeds because we felt that the texture was more moist and the apple flavour a little more pronounced. What a great option to have when I’m short on eggs. I’ll just use chia seeds instead!

Have you ever tried using flax seeds or chia seeds as an egg replacement? Were you happy with the results?