Allergy-free baking substitutions

Food allergies can pose a problem when it comes to baking, especially if you're allergic to dairy, eggs, and wheat.  My daughter happens to be allergic to all 3 (as well as nuts), but luckily there are all sorts of wonderful substitutions available.  Here are my favorites:


Milk: Coconut milk (in a carton), rice milk, soy milk

Half and half: coconut creamer, soy creamer

Cream: canned coconut milk (full fat)

Butter: Earth Balance vegan margarine, Coconut oil, Spectrum vegetable shortening

Cream cheese: Tofutti 'Better than Cream Cheese'

Yogurt: Coconut yogurt, Soy yogurt


Eggs are a tricky thing to replace because they contribute moisture, binding, and leavening. I try to only make recipes that call for 1-2 eggs at the most.  If it calls for more than that, the following substitutions will not work well.

1. 1T ground flax + 3T water=1 egg: This substitution works well in cookies, pancakes, and breads.  It doesn't have a strong flavor, and it adds some great omega-3 fats to your recipe. This option only contributes moisture and some binding, so there has to be another leavening item in the recipe (like baking powder/soda)

2. 1 1/2 t Ener-G egg replacer + 2T water=1 egg: This substitution works well in most recipes, although some say it has a distinct chalky flavor.  This product stores well in the pantry, so you can almost always have it on hand. It contributes moisture, binding, and leavening but has little to no nutritional value.

3. 1t baking soda + 1T cider vinegar=1 egg: This substitution has been around since the times of rationing during World War II.  It works well in cakes, cupcakes, and muffins.  The key is to add the vinegar at the very last moment before baking. Obviously, this contributes only leavening to the recipe, so the baked good may be susceptible to becoming dry and crumbly.

4. 1/3 c pureed pumpkin= 1 egg: This substitution (as well as other mashed fruit such as applesauce or banana) adds some moisture, vitamins, and fiber to recipes and works well in quick breads and muffins.  It will make the baked good more dense, so a little extra baking powder (1/2 t) is helpful.

Wheat Flour

Replacing wheat flour is challenging because wheat contains gluten, a wheat protein and binding agent that is responsible for the elasticity of dough.  Gluten is also good at absorbing and retaining moisture.  In gluten-free baking, a lot of the substitutes only replicate one or two of the gluten properties.  No matter what gluten-free flour is used, either xanthan or guar gum are typically added to mimic gluten's elasticity.

When I replace wheat flour with a gluten-free flour, I typically combine them.  Most of my recipes contain 2-3 different kinds of gluten-free flours.

The following are some of my favorite wheat-free flours. They can be found at most natural foods stores.:
For an excellent gluten-free all-purpose flour, I like the combination Cybele Pascal came up with in her fabulous book, 'The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook':
  • 4 c Superfine brown rice flour
  • 1 1/3 c potato starch
  • 2/3 c tapioca flour
Baking without dairy, eggs, and wheat can be tricky but not impossible.  With the right combination of substitutions, you can create some delicious allergy-free baked goods!

Shared on: Gracelaced Mondays, Gluten Free Mondays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Allergy-free Wednesdays, Gluten free Fridays, Whole Food Fridays
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  1. What a wonderfully helpful post! Thanks so much. I'm starting to experiment with skipping eggs because my daughter's classmate is allergic, so that was particularly helpful.

  2. This is a GREAT resource, I have it book marked!! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! What a fantastic link up of recipes and other GF goodies! Each week, I am so amazed! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) I hope that you'll join us this week! Cindy from

  3. Be careful with the vegtable oils- they list "SOY" as a vegetable

    1. I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to. I don't list any vegetable oils on this post. The only ingredient with a vegetable oil blend is the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks. Of course, soy oil is not usually a problem because it doesn't contain the soy protein. True allergies are an immune response to the proteins in certain foods, so oils are typically not a problem. I understand the vigilance, though. My daughter is allergic to sesame seeds, and I stay away from sesame oil. :)