Do vegans eat eggs?

Quick Answer

No, vegans do not eat eggs. Veganism is a lifestyle that seeks to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, including the consumption of animal products like eggs. Vegans avoid eggs because the production of eggs involves keeping hens in exploitative conditions that are cruel.

What is Veganism?

Veganism is a lifestyle and philosophy that seeks to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty as much as possible. Vegans do not consume or use any animal products or by-products. This means avoiding not only foods like meat, eggs, and dairy, but also leather, wool, honey, cosmetics tested on animals, and more.

The philosophy behind veganism is that animals have a right to live freely without human exploitation. Vegans believe that the industries that produce animal products subject animals to cruel practices in order to maximize profits. As a result, vegans boycott these industries by avoiding all animal products.

Why Vegans Don’t Eat Eggs

Vegans avoid eggs because the commercial egg industry involves the exploitation of hens. In factory farm settings, hens are kept in small, cramped cages or overcrowded barns with no access to the outdoors. This prevents hens from engaging in many of their natural behaviors. Additionally, hens are genetically manipulated to lay more eggs than they naturally would, which takes a toll on their health.

Male chicks are also killed shortly after hatching in the egg industry because they cannot lay eggs and are not suitable for meat production. This practice is considered unethical by vegans. Even small-scale or backyard egg operations still exploit hens and kill male chicks. For these reasons, vegans believe that eating eggs supports cruelty to animals, so they avoid eggs completely.

Common Vegan Egg Substitutes

Because eggs are excluded from the vegan diet, vegans have come up with many creative egg substitutes to use in cooking and baking. Here are some of the most common vegan egg substitutes:


Flaxseeds can be mixed with water to make a thick gel that mimics the texture of eggs. The golden color also imitates egg yolks. Flax eggs work well in denser baked goods like muffins and breads.

Chia Seeds

Like flaxseeds, chia seeds can be used to create a thick gel by mixing them with water. Chia eggs work similarly to flax eggs and are best for heavy, dense baked goods.


Applesauce has a neutral flavor and can be used to replace eggs in recipes for cakes, muffins, and quick breads. The texture and moisture content of applesauce gives a similar mouthfeel to real eggs.


Mashed ripe bananas can mimic the texture of eggs in baked desserts and pancakes. Generally, 1 egg can be replaced with 1/4 cup of mashed banana. Bananas also add moisture and sweetness.

Commercial Egg Replacers

There are a variety of powdered commercial egg replacer products made from starches or legumes that can be mixed with water to substitute for eggs. These work well for baking light and airy cakes or cookies.


The viscous liquid from a can of chickpeas can serve as an excellent vegan egg white replacement. Aquafaba whips up into stiff peaks like real egg whites and can be used to make vegan meringue or macarons.

Mashed Tofu

Blended silken tofu can mimic scrambled eggs in texture and color. Adding turmeric or nutritional yeast also gives it an eggy flavor.

Nutrition Comparison of Eggs vs. Vegan Egg Substitutes

One concern about eliminating eggs from the diet is missing out on the nutrients eggs provide. Here is how eggs compare nutritionally to some popular vegan egg replacements:

Nutrient (per 100 grams) Chicken Egg Chia Seed Egg Flax Egg Tofu
Protein 13g 17g 18g 8g
Fat 10g 31g 42g 5g
Carbohydrates 1g 42g 29g 3g
Calcium 50mg 630mg 255mg 350mg
Iron 1.2mg 7.7mg 5.7mg 3.4mg

As you can see, many vegan egg replacements like flax eggs, chia eggs, and tofu contain comparable amounts of protein and important minerals like calcium and iron. In some cases, the substitutes contain more nutrition than real eggs. Following a balanced vegan diet with sufficient calories can provide all the same nutrients found in eggs through plant-based sources.

Egg Substitutes in Baking

When baking without eggs, it helps to understand the roles eggs play in order to choose the best substitute:

Binding and Structure

Eggs give baked goods structure and a dense texture. For this purpose, banana, applesauce, or flax eggs work well depending on the recipe. Aquafaba can also provide structure in vegan baked meringues or macarons.


Eggs help cakes and breads rise. Vinegar and baking soda activate leavening and give lift to baked goods when replacing eggs.


Eggs add moisture and prevent baked goods from drying out. Applesauce or mashed bananas can add similar moisture. Commercial egg replacers also help retain moisture.


Egg yolks contribute a golden yellow color. Turmeric, carrot puree, or nutritional yeast can replicate this color in vegan baked goods.


Eggs also provide fat needed for texture. Vegan yogurt, avocado, or oil can stand in for the fat content eggs provide.


Eggs have a light flavor that complements other ingredients. Salt, vanilla extract, almond extract, or lemon juice can round out flavor when omitting eggs.

Everyday Egg Substitutions

Vegans have also come up with egg substitutions for common recipes and foods outside of baking:

Scrambled Eggs

Blend tofu, nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, and pepper for flavor and texture just like scrambled eggs.

Fried Eggs

Use thin slices of tofu pan-fried in oil for a similar look and texture to fried eggs.


Chopped veggies and vegan cheese or meat substitutes wrapped in a tofu egg mixture makes a delicious vegan omelet.


A flaky vegan pie crust filled with blended tofu, unsweetened plant milk, nutritional yeast, and sautéed veggies gives a tasty vegan quiche.


Silken tofu blended with sweeteners like maple syrup or sugar and vanilla makes a creamy vegan custard for pies and other desserts.


Vegan mayo varieties are widely available, or you can make your own using aquafaba, oil, lemon juice, and seasonings.

French Toast & Pancakes

Banana or flax eggs make great substitutions when making vegan versions of pancakes, waffles, or french toast.

Salad Dressings

Aquafaba can emulsify oil and vinegar to create creamy vegan salad dressings without eggs.

Nutritional Considerations for Vegans

While well-planned vegan diets can easily meet all nutrient needs, there are a few nutrients vegans should be especially mindful of since they are abundant in eggs and other animal products:


Getting sufficient protein can be done by incorporating high-protein vegan foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, tempeh, and tofu.


Eggs contain some omega-3s. Vegan omega-3 sources include flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and algae oil.

Vitamin B12

Since B12 is not found in plant foods, vegans should consider taking a supplement or eating B12 fortified foods.


Choline is abundant in eggs. Vegans can get choline from beans, cruciferous veggies, grains, and peanuts.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D3 is often sourced from lanolin. Opt for vegan D2 from mushrooms or lichens and get sun exposure.


Zinc is plentiful in eggs and meats. Whole grains, nuts, legumes, and soy foods provide zinc for vegans.

Following a well-balanced vegan diet full of diverse plant foods will provide adequate nutrition without the need to consume any animal products like eggs. Being mindful of key nutrients can help vegans thrive without eggs.

Ethical Concerns With Eggs

Aside from dietary restrictions, many vegans also avoid eggs because of ethical issues with egg production:

Short Lifespans

In nature, chickens can live 10 years or longer. Hens raised for eggs are slaughtered at around 18 months when their egg production declines.

Chick Culling

Male chicks are killed shortly after hatching since they cannot lay eggs and do not grow large enough to be raised for meat.


To reduce stress and infighting in cramped conditions, egg facility workers often sear off part of the beaks of hens without anesthesia or analgesia.

Lack of Space

Even cage-free hens typically only have 1 square foot of space per bird, preventing them from engaging in natural behaviors.

Reproductive Stress

Through selective breeding, laying hens produce up to 300 eggs per year compared to just 15 in nature, taking a toll on their bodies.

Long-Distance Transport

After their egg production declines, “spent” hens may be shipped in trucks for several days to slaughterhouses.

For these ethical reasons and more, vegans believe that eating eggs implicitly supports cruelty, so they avoid all egg consumption or use.

Sustainability Issues

Besides ethics, sustainability is another reason some choose to avoid eggs:

Water Usage

The livestock industry accounts for about 24% of freshwater use worldwide. Producing eggs requires significantly more water than growing vegetable crops.

Feed Requirements

Hens in the commercial egg industry are fed mostly corn and soy. It takes over 8 lbs of feed to produce 6 eggs. Growing feed takes land and water resources.

Waste Production

Large factory farm egg facilities generate tons of manure waste that must be carefully managed to prevent contaminating waterways and groundwater.

Land Usage

Grazing land and land to grow animal feed takes up land that could be conserved or used to grow food directly for human consumption.

Greenhouse Gases

Agriculture generates about 25% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. The livestock sector contributes disproportionately to this. Producing eggs emits more carbon than growing most plant crops.

For vegans who are environmentally-minded, avoiding animal products like eggs in favor of more eco-friendly options aligns with sustainability values.


Vegans do not consume eggs because vegan philosophy seeks to avoid harming or exploiting animals whenever realistically possible. The commercial egg industry subjects hens to cruel practices and living conditions. Additionally, male chicks are killed as part of egg production.

Thankfully, the rise in veganism has brought about many innovative plant-based egg substitutes that can allow vegans to enjoy their favorite recipes. With some techniques and substitutions, it is entirely possible to bake, cook, and eat without eggs. Though eggs contain some important nutrients, these can also be found in plant sources. Overall, avoiding eggs allows vegans to live more compassionately and reduce their environmental impact.

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