Vegan Wonder

Cracking the Code: Egg-Free Alternatives for Vegan Sauces, Custards, and Fillings

The humble egg has long been the unsung hero of sauces, custards, and fillings. Whether it’s binding the ingredients together in a silky custard or thickening the sauce just enough to coat the back of a spoon, eggs have been the go-to ingredient for cooks for centuries. But what if you’re vegan and want to enjoy these creamy, rich treats? Fear not! In this guide, we’ll explore how to make vegan sauces, custards, and fillings that are just as delicious and indulgent as their dairy- and egg-laden counterparts.

The Role of Eggs

Before we dive into the world of egg replacers, it’s important to understand what eggs are doing in these dishes in the first place. In sauces and custards, eggs act as emulsifiers, combining fat and liquid to create a smooth, creamy texture. They also help to thicken the mixture and bind it together. In fillings, eggs provide structure and texture, giving the dessert a pleasing bite.

Egg Replacers for Vegan Sauces

When it comes to making sauces without eggs, your options are plentiful. Here are a few of our favorite egg replacers and how to use them:

Aquafaba (Chickpea Liquid)

You might be surprised to learn that the thick, starchy liquid from a can of chickpeas can serve as a great egg replacer. To use aquafaba (as the liquid is called) in sauces, simply blend it in a blender until it becomes frothy and reaches a volume that’s double what it was when you started. This will help the sauce to emulsify and thicken, much like eggs do. Aim for about 1/4 cup of aquafaba per egg that the recipe calls for.

One thing to keep in mind is that aquafaba can make sauces quite thin, so you may need to adjust the recipe by adding a thickener such as cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Start by adding 1-2 tablespoons of the starch mixed with a little water and bring the sauce to a simmer. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened to your liking.

Nut and Seed Butters

Cashew butter, almond butter, and tahini are all excellent options for adding richness and creaminess to sauces without the use of eggs. To use these nut and seed butters as an egg replacer, start by whisking them into your sauce until they’re well combined. Then, gradually add more while whisking constantly to help the sauce emulsify and thicken. A good rule of thumb is to use 1/4 cup of nut or seed butter per egg that the recipe calls for.

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is a versatile ingredient that can be used to replace eggs in sauces in a variety of ways. You can either blend the tofu into a smooth puree or use it as a base for making a slurry. To make a slurry, blend the tofu with a small amount of liquid from the sauce until it’s completely smooth, then whisk it back into the sauce. Use about 1/2 cup of tofu per egg that the recipe calls for.

One thing to keep in mind when using tofu in sauces is that it can add a slightly savory flavor to the dish. If you’re making a sweet sauce, you may want to balance this out by adding a sweetener such as agave nectar or maple syrup.

Egg Replacers for Vegan Custards and Fillings

When it comes to making custards and fillings without eggs, your options are a little more limited. Here are three of our favorite egg replacers and how to use them:

Cornstarch and Arrowroot Powder

Cornstarch and arrowroot powder are both thickeners that can help you achieve the thick, creamy texture of custards without the use of eggs. Use about 1-2 tablespoons of either cornstarch or arrowroot powder per egg that the recipe calls for. To avoid lumps, mix the starch with a little bit of water or the recipe’s liquid base before whisking it into the custard. Cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly until it has thickened to your liking.

Chia and Flax Seeds

Chia seeds and flax seeds can both be used to replace the binding properties of eggs in custards and fillings. To use them, mix together 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg that the recipe calls for. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes to allow the seeds to absorb the water and thicken. Then, whisk the “egg” mixture into the custard or filling and cook as directed in the recipe.

Coconut Milk and Cream

Coconut milk or cream is a delicious option for making custards and fillings without eggs. It adds a rich, creamy texture that’s similar to the texture you get from using heavy cream. Use about 3/4 cup of coconut milk or cream per egg that the recipe calls for. If the custard or filling is particularly sweet, you may want to balance out the sweetness of the coconut milk by adding a small amount of acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar.

Techniques for Achieving the Perfect Texture

No matter which egg replacer you choose to use, there are a few general techniques that can help you achieve the perfect texture in your sauces, custards, and fillings.

Emulsifying Ingredients

Emulsifying ingredients means combining fat and liquid to create a smooth, creamy texture. To emulsify ingredients, use a blender or immersion blender to mix them together. If you’re using a blender, start by adding a small amount of the liquid base to the blender along with any solids (such as nut butter or tofu) and a little bit of fat (such as oil or melted butter). Blend on low speed until the ingredients are well combined, then gradually add the rest of the liquid base in a thin stream while the blender is running. This will incorporate air into the mixture, helping the sauce to emulsify and thicken.

Adjusting Cooking Times and Temperatures

One of the biggest challenges when making sauces, custards, and fillings without eggs is preventing them from curdling or separating. To avoid this, be sure to cook the mixture over low heat and stir constantly. If the mixture starts to thicken too quickly or seems like it’s getting too hot, remove it from the heat for a few minutes before continuing to cook it. Use a thermometer to keep track of the temperature and aim for a temperature that’s just below the point where the mixture starts to simmer.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that sauces, custards, and fillings made without eggs will often take longer to cook through than those made with eggs. So be patient and give them plenty of time to cook over low heat. You may also need to adjust the temperature and stir more frequently than you would when making a sauce with eggs.

Flavor Variations and Customizations

Now that you know how to replace eggs in sauces, custards, and fillings, it’s time to get creative! Here are some ideas for how to vary the flavors of these plant-based dishes:

  • Incorporate spices and extracts such as vanilla, almond, or peppermint to add flavor to custards and sauces without adding sweetness.
  • Pair sauces with fruit or berries for a sweet, delicious treat. For example, try serving a vegan cheese sauce with steamed broccoli and a raspberry sauce on the side, or serve a vegan chocolate sauce with sliced strawberries.
  • Get adventurous with savory applications of these sauces, such as vegan cheese sauces, gravies, or hollandaise.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with the best intentions, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Here are a few common issues you might encounter when making sauces, custards, and fillings without eggs and how to troubleshoot them:

  • The sauce/custard is too thick: If the sauce or custard is thicker than you’d like it, add a little bit of the liquid base (such as water, milk, or coconut milk) and whisk it in until the desired consistency is achieved.
  • The sauce/custard is too sweet: If the sauce or custard is too sweet, try adding a small amount of acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) to balance out the flavors. Start with a small amount and taste the sauce or custard as you go, adding more acid as needed.
  • The sauce/custard is grainy or lumpy: If the sauce or custard is grainy or lumpy, it’s likely that the thickener (such as cornstarch or arrowroot powder) hasn’t been mixed in evenly. To fix this, whisk the thickener into a small amount of liquid until it’s well combined, then whisk it back into the sauce or custard and cook it over low heat until the lumps have disappeared. Be sure to cook the mixture long enough to fully cook the thickener and prevent it from thickening the sauce or custard too much.

Delicious Vegan Recipe Ideas

Now that you know the ins and outs of making sauces, custards, and fillings without eggs, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to use! Here are three delicious vegan recipe ideas to get you started:

Creamy Cashew Alfredo Sauce


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Drain the cashews and place them in a blender along with 3 cups water, almond milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until the sauce is completely smooth and creamy.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and let it heat up. Add the cashew sauce and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly and has heated through.

Silky Vanilla Bean Custard


  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together almond milk, sugar, vanilla bean and scrapings, and salt until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the almond milk mixture until the cornstarch is well combined.
  3. Bring the almond milk mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Cook the custard, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes or until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove the custard from the heat and let it cool slightly. Remove and discard the vanilla bean. Spoon the custard into a bowl and let it cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating it.

Decadent Chocolate Ganache Filling


  • 1 pound vegan dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups coconut cream


  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the coconut cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  3. Pour the hot coconut cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Whisk the chocolate and coconut cream together until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  5. Let the ganache cool to room temperature, then whisk it until it has thickened and has a spreadable consistency. If the ganache is too thick, heat it over low heat until it has thinned out. If it’s too thin, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes until it has thickened.