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When I first started cooking, I realized that some recipes called for eggs to help bind ingredients together, especially in dishes like meatballs. Eggs act like glue and really help hold them together. But it also helps keep the meatballs moist. Two key things that are important when finding good egg substitutes for meatballs.
But what do you do when you are out of eggs or someone’s dietary needs these meatballs to be egg free?
After doing some research, I discovered that there’s a wide range of egg substitutes for meatballs, so I wanted to share this information with you to help ease your time in the kitchen.
In my experience, trying different egg substitutes can also lead to new and awesome flavors and textures in your meatballs. Some popular alternatives include ricotta cheese, which is great for adding moisture and a subtle flavor, while others rely on mashed potatoes for a sturdier texture.
I’ve realized that egg substitutes don’t just cater to dietary restrictions. They also allow you to create unique and flavorful meatballs that your friends and family will love. So don’t be afraid to get creative and try new alternatives – you might discover a game-changing element to your homemade meatballs!
Egg Substitutes for Meatballs
In this section, I’ll discuss some of the popular egg substitutes for meatballs, including Ricotta Cheese, Yogurt, Breadcrumbs, Mashed Potatoes, and Ground Up Crackers.
Ricotta cheese is a great egg substitute for meatballs. It acts as a binding agent and adds a lovely cheese-creamy texture. When using ricotta, I recommend using about 2 tablespoons per egg your recipe calls for.
Ricotta also brings along the bonus of adding an extra layer of flavor to the meatballs. Just be mindful that you want firm nor wet ricotta, otherwise, this could cause some issues with binding.
Yogurt, especially plain yogurt, can be another fantastic option for substituting eggs in meatballs. It’s a thick and tangy alternative that helps bind the ingredients together.
To use yogurt as a substitute, I typically replace one egg with 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt. You can also use Greek yogurt or even buttermilk, which will give a similar effect.
Just be sure to whisk the yogurt well before adding it to the other ingredients.
Breadcrumbs have always been a staple in my kitchen pantry, and they work surprisingly well as an egg substitute for meatballs. Just like you would in meatloaf!
Use about 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs for each egg in the recipe. However, you might need to increase the amount of liquid in your recipe, such as milk or water, as breadcrumbs will absorb moisture. This option is especially helpful if you’re crafting vegan meatballs, as breadcrumbs are free of animal products.
Believe it or not, mashed potatoes can be a fantastic egg substitute for meatballs. We actually use these in a traditional Sicilian dish called polpetti with the addition of eggs as well.
Personally, I love the extra layer of flavor and consistency they bring to the dish. To replace one egg, I use about 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes. And you don’t have to have fancy mashed potatoes for this to work. You can use a mashed boiled potato.
Ground Up Crackers
Lastly, ground-up crackers can work as a handy egg substitute in meatballs as well. When you’re out of breadcrumbs, crackers can be crushed into a fine crumble to help bind the ingredients together.
To replace one egg, simply use about 1/4 cup of ground-up crackers. This option is particularly suitable if you or someone you’re cooking for is allergic to eggs.
Vegan Egg Replacement In Meatballs
If you’re a vegan, here are some great options for replacing eggs:
- Flaxseed Meal: This is an excellent choice for vegans. To replace one egg, you need to mix one tablespoon of flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes. It will thicken and offer the binding property of eggs. Plus, it adds a pleasant, nutty flavor to your meatballs!
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds can also act as an egg substitute. Just combine one tablespoon of chia seeds with 2.5 tablespoons of water and wait for about 5 minutes. It forms a gel-like consistency, just like an egg.
- JUST Egg: This is a plant-based egg substitute made from mung beans. It’s perfect for those who want a taste and texture that’s very similar to real eggs. Use it as you would use regular beaten eggs in your recipe.
- Mashed Potato or Mashed Sweet Potato (no dairy added): These are great for adding moisture and binding ingredients together. A quarter cup can replace one egg. Plus, they add a nice, hearty texture to your meatballs.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste can add a rich flavor to your meatballs while also acting as a binder. Around two tablespoons can effectively replace one egg.
- Vegan Crackers: Crushed vegan crackers can absorb moisture and help bind your meatballs together. The quantity can vary based on the recipe, but generally, around a quarter cup can replace one egg.
- Aquafaba: Aquafaba is the liquid left over from cooked chickpeas, and it’s a fantastic egg replacement. Three tablespoons of aquafaba can replace one egg. It’s virtually tasteless, so it won’t alter the flavor of your meatballs.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal, when cooked and mashed, can serve as a binder and add a nice, chewy texture to your meatballs. Use about a quarter cup of cooked oatmeal to replace one egg.
Binding Agents and Mixtures
Now, lets go a little deeper into some these binding substitutes. The last thing you want is to have your meatball break apart while cooking.
In my experience, one great egg substitute for binding meatballs is aquafaba. This is the liquid that you can find in a can of chickpeas, and it serves as an excellent binding agent. Simply drain the chickpea liquid, and you can replace one egg with about three tablespoons of aquafaba.
Another option I found is using a panade. A panade is a mixture of bread or breadcrumbs soaked in milk or another liquid, which adds moisture and helps to bind the meatballs together. This is my go-to option when I need a binding mixture for my meatballs. This is usually used in meatloaf as well!
I discovered that tapioca starch can also be used as a binding agent in meatballs. It’s a starchy powder made from the root of the cassava plant, and it’s often used in gluten-free recipes. To use tapioca starch, mix 1 tablespoon of it with 2 tablespoons of water to replace one egg.
Flax and Chia Seeds
When it comes to binding meatballs, I also found success with flax and chia seeds. To use these seeds as an egg substitute, mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, and let it sit for a few minutes until it becomes thick and gel-like. This mixture can replace one egg in your meatball recipe.
Lastly, I’ve tried using nut butter (almond, walnut, etc…) as an egg replacement in meatballs, and it works surprisingly well. Nut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, so it not only keeps your meatballs together, but it also adds flavor and nutrition.
I’d recommend using 2 to 3 tablespoons of nut butter per egg you want to replace. Just make sure to choose a mild-tasting nut butter to not overpower the flavor of the meatballs.
By trying these alternatives, I’ve found the perfect egg substitute for my meatballs without compromising on taste or texture, and I encourage you to try them, too! Happy Cooking