An adorable image of mother chicken / hen covering her baby chicken

Re-thinking eggs.

Do chickens suffer for egg production? Read on to see why more and more people are choosing to cook and bake kindly for hens and their chicks – and what they are substituting eggs with instead!

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated May 3, 2024

Chickens are remarkably intelligent and social animals, each with a distinct personality. Like any animal, they deserve a life free from cruelty.

You can help change the lives of these sensitive animals by choosing not to support an industry that still confines most of its laying hens to battery cages, and sentences millions of unwanted male chicks to a cruel death every year.

Why go egg-free? Hens and chicks suffer in all egg systems.

With less space per bird than one A4-sized piece of paper, a laying hen in the cage egg industry is forced to stand on wire 24 hours a day and cannot even stretch her wings. While “free range” and “organic” egg farms afford birds more space and some access to the outdoors, hens in all commercial egg systems are sent to slaughter when their egg production wanes at about 18 months of age (when their natural lifespan could be 10 or more years).

To replace ‘spent’ hens, millions of chicks are hatched yearly, of which only half – the females – will grow up to lay eggs. The other half is made up of approximately 12 million economically ‘worthless’ day-old male chicks.They are either gassed to death or ground up alive. Sadly, these baby animals face being discarded regardless of the ‘production system’ they were born into; cage, barn or free range.

This industrial-scale system has been designed to meet the consumer demand for eggs. Fortunately, this means the power is in our hands to reduce that demand and ultimately change the system!

Can you cook and bake without eggs? Yes – egg-free cooking is simple and delicious!

Whether you’re making cupcakes, pancakes, meringues, or your classic breakfast scramble, you can bookmark this handy egg-swap guide for lots of ways to make a recipe work without eggs. And if you just need a little convincing that life is delicious without eggs, here are nine of our favourite recipes…

1. Chai-spiced raspberry cupcakes

To be honest, it’s easy to find recipes for egg-free cupcakes online nowadays, but we’re putting this chai-spiced raspberry one front and centre because it’s a tried and tested recipe for a soft, fluffy little cake-in-a-cup with a bit more pizzazz than your classic chocolate or vanilla variety.

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Egg free Chai Raspberry Cupcakes
Chai-spiced raspberry cupcakes

2. Mini pavlova cups

This is perhaps one of the more surprising treats to make our list – because if you’ve never heard of aquafaba, you may not realise there’s another way to achieve that crunchy, airy, whipped sweetness we associate with meringues and pavlovas! Gone are the days of beating eggs, and so begin your days of saving chickpea water, AKA aquafaba. There’s a reason this obscure egg-alternative seemed to take the internet by storm a few years back – as this fun and simple recipe demonstrates, the resulting treat is indistinguishable from its egg-borne counterpart.

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Three individual sized pavlova topped with berries and garnish sit on a green plate.
Mini pavlova cups

3. Classic, cakey pancakes

A lot of egg-free pancake recipes simply omit the eggs from your ‘standard’ recipe, and honestly? You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. This recipe incorporates a touch of cornflour to give them a hint of crumbly cakey-ness. If you can get your hands on a commercially-produced ‘egg replacer’ product, give these spiced pumpkin ones a go, too!

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Delicious looking egg free classic pancakes with berries on top
Classic, cakey pancakes

4. The most moist banana bread

This banana bread is a crowd favourite, always. It calls for a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed, which is a popular way to help bind your egg-free baked goods – but full disclosure, we can confirm this recipe is just as big a hit with friends and family when that little ingredient is forgotten!

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A loaf of comforting banana bread sits on a chopping board with a couple of slices pre-cut. To the right is a small plate with two slices buttered, accompanied by some berries.
Comforting banana bread

5. Rich, fudgy chocolate cake

A sinfully rich, fudgy chocolate cake like this will have you questioning whether it was all a big hoax that we ever needed eggs for baking! If you’re looking for a healthy cake, well, this is not it. But if you’re looking to treat yourself to something decadent or send shockwaves through the birthday party – this is your guy.

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Delicious looking egg free chocolate
Rich, fudgy chocolate cake

6. Sun-dried tomato, spinach and olive muffins

A savoury muffin might be just what you need for a quick bite in the morning or a little afternoon pick-me-up. This one calls for precisely zero eggs, and tastes like a warm Italian summer day, herbed and salted to perfection!

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Egg free muffins on plate and cup of tea
Sun-dried tomato, spinach and olive muffins

7. Artichoke and olive quiche

Another morning classic that doesn’t need the eggs – this artichoke and olive quiche is heartier than its eggy counterpart, using beans and cashews to make it rich and nutritious, while leeks and spring onions infuse it with savoury flavours that will insist you reach for seconds.

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Egg free vegan quiche
Artichoke and olive quiche

8. Spinach & tofu scramble

For many people, it’s the classic eggs-on-toast meal that they can’t imagine living without. But we have many a kitchen experimenter to thank for the invention of the now ubiquitous tofu scramble. The texture of tofu, gently crumbled, perfectly mimics the feel of scrambled eggs. And there’s a lot more room to play with different flavours when you’re working with a blank slate like tofu – start with this basic spinach scramble, and then try mixing it up with other spice combos or your favourite sauces.

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Tofu scramble in frying pan
Spinach & tofu scramble

9. The Egg Mock Muffin

Ever heard the expression, “you eat with your eyes first”? It’s incredible the tricks we can play on our own minds just by simulating particular smells and visuals. Similarly to how you can add liquid smoke to a veggie burger to give it that hot-off-the-grill taste, you can also simulate the experience of a fried egg by making tofu and sauce look and feel like a fried egg… If it sounds far-fetched, just try this sausage and egg ‘mock muffin’ recipe and see for yourself!

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Vegan mock egg muffin
The Egg Mock Muffin

Adapting your favourite recipes

Naturally, sometimes you’ll just want to make a familiar dish but swap out the one ingredient you’re trying to avoid – there are hacks for this. For a quick, no-fuss egg substitute, look out for ready-to-make packet egg-replaces in major supermarkets, specialty shops, and online. They’re great for scrambled eggs, quiches, and omelettes. If you don’t have access to such a product, then tofu or some kind of bean is likely to make a fabulous egg replacement in most savoury egg-centric dishes. The internet is your friend here, and whatever you are craving has probably already been made egg-free!

Here are the most tried and tested swaps:

This image contains content which some may find confronting's egg-free baking guide poster

Bananas or apples make perfect replacements for egg in sweet baked goods — simply stir through half a mashed banana, or a 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce to replace each egg and this will act as a binding agent with a nutritious bonus. Or add 1 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar along with your liquid ingredients, and sift 1 teaspoon of baking soda into the dry mixture – these two react to help create super fluffy muffins and cupcakes! Another option you might have in the fridge already: a 1/4 cup dairy-free soy or coconut yoghurt adds a delicious tang and airiness to baked goods.

For wholesome, nutrition-rich muffins, cookies, slices and cakes, try ground flax/linseed or chia seeds – soaked in 3 tablespoons of water per 1 tablespoon of seeds, the resulting mix will thicken to a gelantinous consistency, which will bind your other ingredients when stirred through.

And most magical of all, you can use aquafaba to make many things, including fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth meringues!

Enjoying learning about egg-free eating? This is just the tip of the iceberg! It’s easier than ever to eat animal-friendly food, and there are heaps of resources out there to help you do so. You may like to start by ordering your free Veg Starter Kit – it’s packed with handy tips, inspiration, and recipes to guide you through the world of animal-friendly food choices.

Get your free veg starter kit now