Plant based cooking and baking has become hugely popular for many different reasons. With our health, the climate and the planet at the heart of conversations around the world, many of us re-think how we can live, eat, produce and consume better.

If you're only new to plant based baking the start can be pretty confusing as it can be hard to know what ingredients you should substitute with what. Replacing them requires a good understanding of the role of the original ingredient in the taste and texture, and of its chemical behaviour in the recipe.

To make it easier for you, we have established an overview of which plant based ingredients can substitute animal ingredients. We always recommend to start replacing one ingredient at the time and test the end result until you're happy, and only then substitute out the next ingredient.

Plant Based Ingredients to Replace Milk

With so many options out there when it comes to plant based milks, it can be hard to decide which one you should use when baking.

Different vegan milks have different textures, taste and nutritional content and those are all going to play a part in how your recipe comes out in the end.

Almond, oat or soy milk will be your best bet as a one-size-fits-all ingredient. They have the closest texture to cow's milk and can be subbed out 1:1 in most recipes.

Rice milk on the other hand is more diluted and have a more watery texture so it is not ideal as a replacement for all the applications.

Plant based alternatives for milk when baking

Plant Based Ingredients to Replace Egg Whites

The best egg white substitute is aquafaba. Not only is this substitute vegan, but it comes free with every can of chickpeas! In fact, by opting for aquafaba, you’ll actually be helping to reduce food waste.

There are some other great alternatives that you can use as well, just have a look at the table below.

Plant based alternatives for egg whites baking

Plant Based Ingredients to Replace Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are used in a variety of recipes, both sweet and savoury. In desserts like custards and creme brulee, egg yolks act as an emulsifying agent. Egg yolks are also an integral part of egg wash, which is what different ingredients are dipped in, before coating them in breadcrumbs and frying them. They are also used to make liqueurs like eggnog. 

Plant based replacement for egg yolks when baking

Plant Based Ingredients to Replace Whole Eggs 

The key to egg substitutes is to know what role it plays in the recipe. Understand that eggs have varying functions from one dish to another. And these specific functions will tell you the best way to replace them. 

There is no one egg substitute that will fit all recipes. So you must ask yourself (or Google)  – does the recipe need eggs for binding? Or is it to help the batter rise? Is it there for flavour or for texture?

Plant Based Ingredients to Replace Butter

If you're using a vegan substitute for butter, replace the butter with something of similar substance. Solid for solid and liquid for liquid.

If your cookies call for cold butter, use a solid vegan butter, solid coconut oil or coconut butter. If your recipe calls for melted butter, use melted coconut oil, olive oil or applesauce.

Plant Based Ingredients to Replace Honey or Sugar

Did you know that refined white sugar is not always vegan?

To obtain the colour, it is often refined using bone char. If you pick a white sugar, choose a beet sugar, which is always vegan or opt for brown, unrefined sugars.

To replace honey in your bakings you'll have few options. Date syrup, maple syrup, molasses, golden syrup and agave nectar all are great substitutes. 

How to Organise Kitchen for Vegan Baking?

When making vegan products, there are a few important rules of thumb to take into account. Vegan claims are about honesty and transparency towards your customers. 

Kitchen Environment

Vegan products don't need to be produced in a segregated kitchen, but separation of ingredients, tools, finished products and good hygiene are necessary to minimise cross-contamination with animal ingredients.


Vegan products cannot contain any animal ingredients, though it is allowed for vegan products to have traces of dairy or animal ingredients.
Be mindful about using ingredients in an already opened packaging. They can be mixed or contaminated with animal ingredients. When in doubt, use unopened packs to minimise cross-contamination.


Vegan ingredients can be stored in the same space, fridge or freezer as regular ingredients. If possible store them in dedicated space away from other ingredients to make sure they won't get contaminated.

It is also good practice to label dedicated ingredient containers for vegan products. 

Tools and Equipment

Clean all your tools, equipment and tabletops well before starting your vegan production to minimise cross-contamination. Ideally, if possible, use completely different set of tools for making vegan products. This is especially important when using plastic bowls, scrapers and tools. Residues tend to stick more easily to plastics and can be harder to clean thoroughly.


Whenever possible clean the tools used for vegan production separately from rest of the items. When dishwashing it is recommended to run empty cycle first and only then wash the vegan tools in it. 
It is also recommended using new cloths and cleaning tools before starting vegan production.


If possible, always plan vegan production at the start of the day, before any other production. If this is not possible try to plan dedicated days in the week purely for vegan products. If this is also not possible and you're planning to do some vegan baking in between regular baking you'd need to clean all the surfaces and tools thoroughly before starting.


Special disclaimers apply to every vegan or vegan certified product. These apply to inform consumers about the potential presence of milk, eggs etc.
So as you can see there is lot to learn and know about vegan baking and all the requirements involved. 
Consumers are increasingly reconsidering what they eat and how they consume and vegan industry is ever growing so getting familiar with it will give you edge over the non vegan bakeries and possibly larger client base.
November 23, 2022 — Sirley Persidski