Are you looking for egg substitutes for meatballs? Eggs are an amazing binding agent in the preparation of meatballs. They also add flavor and taste.
Perhaps you have allergies from eggs or you are a vegetarian or you have just run out of them and don’t know how to get that firm, unbreakable and cute shape of meatballs. No worries!
In order not to end up with crumbled pieces of meat, you may need to use another ingredient instead of egg. Here we are to help you save your dish and prepare it just the way you want, without using eggs.
Can you make meatballs without eggs?
The answer is YES! There are many binding agents that work perfectly instead of egg in the preparation of meatballs. Let me tell you about my experience.
I actually hate eggs in any meal and especially meatball dishes and soups. So, I usually use lukewarm water as a binding agent in meatballs. Maybe you are surprised, but this works even better for soups and tomato paste-based hot sauces including meatballs.
So, if it happens none of the below-offered substitutes are found in your kitchen, you can just use water.
Other egg substitutes for meatballs that will also add additional taste to your dish are milk, bread, mayonnaise, plain yogurt, ground flaxseeds or chia seeds, tomato paste, crackers, cheese, applesauce, mashed potatoes and aquafaba.
Best Egg Substitutes for Meatballs To Try
1. Lukewarm Water
Indeed, some kind of moisture is required in the preparation of meatballs and water is the easiest substitute for eggs in this dish. It is able to keep the shape of the meatball in a soup or a pasta sauce. This substitute works well with beef, pork and chicken.
A little bit of water (like 50-100gr) will let you get that round shape and hold it in place just the way you do with meatballs mixed with egg or egg whites. Make sure you don’t add too much water and avoid overmixing it.
Water is also a great option for those who have allergies from eggs, dairy products and other binding ingredients as well as look for egg substitutes for vegan meatballs.
Buttermilk can be your next choice if you are not dairy-intolerant. It keeps the meat moisturized, juicy and doesn’t let it dry out or fall apart while cooking.
It best works with chicken and turkey but you can use it with other types of meat too. It adds a delicious taste and flavor to the dish and harmoniously goes with hot pasta sauces. It is also an easy-to-find substitute for eggs. ¼ cup buttermilk is equal to 1 egg.
3. Bread Crumbs
There is no need to buy bread crumbs if you have leftovers or even dry loaves of bread at home. They will serve as good replacers of eggs in meatballs.
All you need is just soak them in milk or water and then add to the meat to bring some moisture. It will bind the ingredients together and will keep the shape of meatballs in cooked, fried or baked versions.
Just keep in mind that too much or too little breadcrumbs can’t hold the meat in place and you’ll end up with broken pieces of meat instead of meatballs. So, try to use it in appropriate ratios.
Mayoneses is an egg-based product and it can be an ideal replacer for eggs in meatballs. It is made of emulsifying eggs and if you have allergies from eggs, then skip this substitute.
It comes with a richer taste and has some saltiness, which means you should be careful with the ratio and seasonings. Use 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise to replace 1 egg.
5. Plain Yogurt
Plain yogurt is like buttermilk because it’s another dairy product. It is richer in protein, vitamins and calories than buttermilk. You can use it as a binding ingredient in meatballs and get a juicer result.
It is easy to find this substitute in grocery stores. Compared with other substitutes, it may be more watery, so you may add breadcrumbs into it, let them absorb the liquid and then use in meatballs. 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt is equal to 1 egg.
6. Ground Flaxseeds or Chia Seeds
If you have seeds like flax seeds or chia seeds in hand, they can also serve as a good replacer for eggs. Before adding them to the rest of the ingredients, you may need to soak them in water or milk.
This way, they will get a softer and gel-like texture, which allows you to use it as an emulsifying ingredient in meatballs. For a better result, you can mix flaxseeds and chia seeds and then soak. Soaking also helps to make them easier-to-digest. Seeds are vegan friendly substitutes for eggs.
7. Tomato Paste
As for tomato paste, it is often used in the recipes of meatballs as a seasoning ingredient. It is one of the most important ingredients in pasta sauces where meatballs are also added. This means that it goes well with meat and you can safely use tomato paste with meatballs.
Just make sure you choose lemon-free tomato paste to avoid sourness. Depending on the consistency of the paste you may need to mix it with water before adding to the meat. Mix 1 tablespoon of tomato paste with water and replace it with 1 egg.
8. Crumbled Saltine Crackers
Maybe you have some crackers in hand but you don’t know that they can be used instead of eggs in meatballs. If they are saltine types of crackers, then you can soak them and use them just like breadcrumbs. You can even mix crumbled or grinded crackers with the seasonings and then add to the meat.
Clackers best work with beef and pork but they are not a good substitute for eggs in chicken and turkey meatballs.
Ricotta and parmesan are the best types of cheese to choose instead of eggs as emulsifying agents. Ricotta cheese comes with a creamy consistency which makes it suitable to mix with meat and shape it. It looks like beaten eggs. If your ricotta cheese is watery, you may add some breadcrumbs to balance it.
As for parmesan, it’s one of the most popular types of cheese for pastas. So, mix it with your meatballs and you’ll get an awesome result. Both the taste and the texture of your meatballs will be well-balanced and astonishing.
You can use ¼ cup of ricotta cheese or shredded parmesan instead of one egg.
10. Unsweetened Applesauce
Applesauce may be a weird substitute in this guide, but it works well instead of eggs in meatball recipes too. You can choose unsweetened applesauce to avoid sweetness. This sauce is made of cooked apples.
3 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce is equal to 1 egg. You can mix it with oil and seasonings and then add to the meat. This way you’ll get softer meatballs. Applesauce is also good for vegetarian recipes.
11. Mashed Potatoes
Just like applesauce, mashed potatoes are another good option for vegan meatballs. However, it equally goes well with meat, veggie or lentil-based meatballs. Mashed potatoes have a thick and starchy texture which allows other ingredients to stick together.
You can find non-sweet mashed potatoes in stores. They come with a mild taste and allow you to add other seasonings according to your taste. If you have time, you can make this substitute at home too.
And the final substitute is aquafaba. Maybe the name of this product is unfamiliar to you but it’s just the liquid of canned chickpeas. You can choose it as another vagan replacer. It is more similar to egg whites in its consistency.
3 tablespoons of aquafaba is equal to 1 egg. It comes with a neutral taste and allows you to add different seasonings according to your recipe. You can use it both with meat and vegan friendly recipes.
FAQs on Eggs in Meatballs
Is egg necessary in meatballs?
Egg is the most widely-used binding ingredient in meatballs but it is not the only option. You can find several other good products that offer emulsifying consistency.
Is there a vegan substitute for eggs in vegan meatballs?
Yes, there are several good substitutes like chia and flax seeds, tomato paste, unsweetened applesauce or mashed potatoes, aquafaba and water to use in vegan meatballs.
Do I need to beat eggs before adding them to meatballs?
If you want it to combine the rest of the ingredients better, then beat it beforehand. Also, if you are going to use milk or any other liquid in the recipe then it’s better to mix it with eggs and then add to the meat.
Do you add milk or water to meatballs?
If you want to add moisture to your meatballs then add either milk or water. Some people think that it’s the egg that adds moisture to meatballs, but eggs are actually meant to bind the meat with other ingredients and seasonings. So, you may need a moisturizing ingredient even if you use eggs in meatballs.
A piece of advice: in order to keep your meatballs firm and steady you need to be careful with the quantity of the binding ingredient. If you add more or less, the meatballs will fall apart. Also, pay attention to the flavor of the chosen product and make sure it works well with your recipe, ingredient list or seasonings.