Meatloaf is a popular dish made with ground meat mixed with other ingredients like herbs and spices, breadcrumbs, and eggs. The eggs are usually used as a binder and don’t add any flavor to the dish, and meatloaf can be made without problems using egg substitutes.
The best substitutes for eggs in meatloaf are olive oil, mayonnaise, cornstarch and beef broth, flax egg, breadcrumbs, chia seeds, parmesan cheese, plain yogurt, mashed potato, and store-bought, ready-made egg replacement mixture.
Before reviewing substitutes, it’s worth finding out why eggs are used in making meatloaf.
Why Are Eggs Added to Meatloaf?
Meatloaf is made with ground beef or ground turkey that crumbles and falls apart if a binding ingredient isn’t added. Eggs are high in protein and act as a binding agent. They’re also nearly tasteless and don’t affect the flavor of meatloaf.
Eggs add moisture to meatloaf, preventing the ground meat from drying out during the cooking process.
What Can I Substitute for Eggs in Meatloaf: 10 Best Substitutes
Many egg substitutes don’t affect the taste or texture of meatloaf. With these egg substitutes, the meatloaf is just as delicious as the original recipe.
Egg substitutes, some of which are pantry staples, are useful when you don’t have any eggs on hand. Some people use egg substitutes because they’re allergic to eggs, follow a low-cholesterol diet, or have other specific dietary requirements. Certain cultures exclude eggs from their diet.
Olive oil is the most effective egg substitute for meatloaf because it adds moisture to the meatloaf and works as a binding agent without altering the dish’s flavor. Olive oil is also a common pantry staple, making it a readily available substitute.
Olive oil has a higher liquid content than eggs. Use 1 tablespoon of olive oil in place of 1 egg. If the meat mixture is too dry, gradually add a little more olive oil until the consistency is right.
Mayo has a thick, creamy texture and works as a good binding agent in meatloaf, and adds moisture. Use 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise in place of 1 egg. Mayo isn’t a suitable egg substitute for someone with an egg allergy because it’s made with eggs.
Cornstarch and Beef Broth
Cornstarch is an excellent thickening and binding agent when mixed with a little liquid. Mixed with water, cornstarch doesn’t change the flavor of meatloaf, but cornstarch mixed with beef broth enriches the meatloaf’s flavor. Mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with ¼ cup of beef broth to replace 1 egg.
Flax egg doesn’t contain real egg and works as a good binder in meatloaf. Make a flax egg by mixing 1 tablespoon of flax seeds with ¼ cup of water and substitute for 1 egg.
Most meatloaf recipes already include breadcrumbs, which act as binding agents and as fillers that add bulk to the dish. Add extra breadcrumbs when making eggless meatloaf. An additional ¼ cup of breadcrumbs replaces 1 egg. However, adding extra breadcrumbs may make the meatloaf dry. Add some meatloaf sauce or barbecue sauce to prevent dryness.
Chia seeds are filled with fiber and antioxidants and are a healthy egg substitute for meatloaf. Mix 1 teaspoon of chia seeds with ¼ cup of water. Leave the mixture to stand for at least 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to absorb the water. Use the chia seed mixture in place of 1 egg in eggless meatloaf.
Parmesan cheese melts easily and binds the ground meat for meatloaf. Use ¼ cup of parmesan cheese as a substitute for eggs in meatloaf.
Parmesan cheese has a distinctive flavor and changes the taste of meatloaf. Reduce the amount of spice in the recipe to compensate for the flavor of the parmesan.
Plain yogurt adds moisture to meatloaf and can be used instead of eggs. Yogurt doesn’t bind in the same way as eggs. Use ¼ cup of yogurt instead of 1 egg for a soft but firm loaf.
Mashed potato is often served as a side dish to accompany meatloaf. Mashed potato has a soft, creamy texture that acts as a binding agent when mixed with ground meat. Use ¼ cup of unseasoned mashed potato as an egg substitute for meatloaf.
Ready-Made Egg Replacements
There are numerous ready-made egg replacement mixtures available in grocery stores. These egg replacements are usually suitable for a vegan diet and work well as egg substitutes in vegan meatloaf. Certain meatloaf recipes use soy-based meat replacements instead of ground beef or ground turkey.
Follow the recommended replacement ratios that are listed on the product boxes.
Tips for Cooking Meatloaf
Follow these tips to make the perfect meatloaf:
Make your breadcrumbs — Use bread that’s three to four days old because fresh bread is too soft and the meatloaf may fall apart if you use fresh breadcrumbs.
Pack the ground meat mixture tightly — Push the meat into the loaf pan so that the loaf holds its shape well throughout the cooking process.
Cover the meatloaf in the oven — Cover the meatloaf with aluminum foil while cooking and uncover for the last 15 minutes to brown the top of the loaf to retain moisture.
Use wet seasonings — Add wet seasoning like dijon mustard, barbecue sauce, or ketchup to make a delicious meatloaf with a moist texture.
Serve immediately after slicing — Serve meatloaf immediately after slicing it so that it remains moist. Slicing meatloaf long before you’re ready to serve it results in dry slices.
A Simple Meatloaf Recipe
Here’s an easy recipe for an eggless meatloaf:
- Non-stick spray
- 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 ½ pound ground turkey
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (optional)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Spray a 9-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray, or line the pan with baking paper
- Place the tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth
- Use a large bowl and a spoon to mix the tomatoes with all the other ingredients
- Pack the mixture tightly into the prepared loaf pan and cover it with aluminum foil
- Bake, covered, for 45 minutes
- Remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes
- Remove the loaf from the oven and let it stand in the pan for 20 minutes before unmolding and slicing
- Serve immediately once sliced
Cooking the meatloaf covered for the first 45 minutes retains the meat’s natural juices, and dijon mustard adds flavor and moisture to the meatloaf mixture.
Cooking a mouthwatering meatloaf without eggs by using an egg substitute for meatloaf is possible. Egg substitutes bind the ground meat in the same way that eggs do, and add moisture to the dish.
FAQs About Egg Replacement in Meatloaf
Here are the answers to common questions about replacing eggs in meatloaf:
What Happens if You Don’t Put Eggs in Meatloaf?
If you don’t put eggs in meatloaf, the ground meat will be dry and crumbly and the loaf may fall apart. Leaving out the eggs won’t affect the meatloaf’s taste, but adding eggs or an egg substitute improves the loaf’s texture and consistency.
What Is the Best Meat to Make Meatloaf?
The best meat to make meatloaf is either ground beef or ground turkey. It’s also possible to make a delicious vegan meatloaf using a soy-based meat substitute.
Can You Freeze Meatloaf?
Yes, you can freeze meatloaf. Allow the meatloaf to cool completely before freezing it. Either wrap the meatloaf tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze it. Meatloaf lasts for up to 6 months in the freezer.
How to Reheat Meatloaf?
Reheat meatloaf in a covered, ovenproof dish, in the oven, at 350°F. While the oven is preheating, place the meatloaf in an ovenproof dish with a lid, or cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place the dish in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meatloaf is heated through. It’s also possible to reheat meatloaf in a microwave or an air fryer.