From Fran Costigan, the Queen of Vegan Desserts, here is a list of baking substitutions to use for vegan baking!
What it does: Cream creates a smooth and sometimes fluffy texture in baked goods. It adds richness, and can make for a satin-like quality.
How to substitute: The richness of coconut milk can make a good replacement for cream. For a homemade replacement, blend one-part cashews and one part water until smooth. There are also a variety of non-dairy creams and creamers on the market.
What it does: Honey acts as a natural sweetener. It also helps to brown your baked goods, adds color, and retains moisture.
How to substitute: Simply reach for other viscous liquids, such as maple syrup, rice syrup, or agave nectar. They add the same natural sweetness and contribute to the browning effects. Costigan recommends cooking them a little to simmer out some of the water to create a thicker syrup.
What they do: Eggs add moisture and act as a binding agent in baking. They are also a leavening agent, helping food to rise during baking.
How to substitute: Milk might be the easiest ingredient to sub, but a close second goes to egg substitutes. Ground flax seeds are a popular substitute that are also nutritious—three tablespoons of water to one tablespoon of ground flax seeds equates to one egg. Mashed banana and applesauce are other healthy alternatives that completely cut out the cholesterol eggs add to baking. “Baking powder, baking soda, and vinegar are aces,” Costigan says. And soy yogurt is a creative way to replace eggs and can add a rich texture to your baking, as can puréed black beans.
What it does: Milk adds flavor and richness and creates texture in baking.
How to substitute: Milk is definitely the easiest to substitute in vegan baking, as many non-dairy milks already exist. Full-fat soymilk will help create the richness of whole milk, while rice milk is lighter. Almond milk sometimes can add a subtle almond taste, as can coconut milk, and both will contribute to the richness of a recipe. For added vanilla oomph, try vanilla-flavored non-dairy milk.
What it does: In baking, butter adds flavor and a rich and sometimes a spongy texture. It also helps baked goods rise evenly and adds to both the density and sweetness.
How to substitute: Butter is extremely easy to substitute in vegan baking. If baking a recipe that has natural spice or flavor to it, such as spice cookies or gingerbread, olive oil or untoasted sesame oil work well. Unrefined coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature) can add the thickness that butter would, and canola oil works in recipes with liquid sugars (think agave) or solid fats, such as groundnuts or chocolates in cakes. Vegan shortening works well with cookies and pie-crusts. And of course, there’s margarine, which creates the buttery taste so many holiday cookies require.