Are you craving brownies? Do you have a brownie recipe that you love? Great! Then you’re ready to bake!
You go to start your recipe, excitedly anticipating the chocolatey goodness that will be the end result, but as you reach for your ingredients, you notice you are missing some key things.
Maybe you’re out of eggs, possibly missing butter or maybe there is barely any flour in your kitchen- what to do now?!?
Do not give up hope! You can still have warm gooey brownies in your future without having to run to the store!
I will help you make brownies even if you are missing key ingredients. A few simple substitutions and alterations and you will have that brownie you are craving in your hand in no time.
Eggs are usually a very important part of a brownie recipe. Not only do they bind the ingredients together (you don’t want a brownie that falls apart in your hand!) but they also help the brownies rise. So what to do if you do not have eggs? You actually have a few options here.
First, you can use ground flaxseeds as a replacement for eggs. Flaxseeds will act as a binder as well and they will also add some nutrition to your brownies. Full of omega-3’s and fiber, you can use flaxseeds and then pretend you made healthy brownies- now you can eat more!
To use flaxseeds as an egg replacer, use one tablespoon ground flaxseeds mixed with 2 tablespoons water as a substitute for one egg. Add the mix into the recipe just as you would do with the eggs- perfect replacement.
Applesauce, banana and pumpkin also all make great replacements for eggs and create delicious, dense brownies. Each of these also are great ways to reduce oil.
Use half of a banana to replace one egg or 1/3 cup of pumpkin or apple sauce. Just keep in mind, adding pumpkin or banana will give your brownies a little flavor (applesauce however is pretty mild).
Tofu also can be used rather than eggs. This will add some protein to your brownies too and guide you toward making vegan brownies (if that’s something you need!).
One quarter cup tofu is all you need to replace one egg. With so many choices, who ever needs to use eggs!
Most brownie recipes require oil and most commonly, vegetable oil. If you have none, you can still easily make brownies. First, try looking for an oil substitute. If you don’t have vegetable oil, try coconut oil or canola oil which can be swapped out in even quantities. No oil at all, move on to the next option.
Butter is a pretty obvious substitute for oil. Lots of people have butter on hand so this makes a great option to put in your brownies.
Both oil and butter are solid fats so they will act in practically the same way when baked. One thing to note is to melt the butter before adding it to the batter. This will help make the batter smooth and your brownies delicious.
Shortening is also the perfect substitute for oil as it is literally just a solidified oil. Melt the shortening and measure it in place of the oil. Perfect brownies are on the way!
If you have no fats at all in your house, grab some apple sauce instead of oil. Applesauce will add moisture just like oil and also reduce the fat content in your brownies-yay for healthy brownies (I’ll take four please!).
If your recipe asks for 1/2 cup oil, just use 1/2 cup applesauce. Simple enough!
Make sure to check out our article about making cake out of brownie mix!
No Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder may seem like something that is imperative to a brownie recipe. So what to do when you have none? The first option is to use chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is the best option and will make the richest brownies.
For every three tablespoons of cocoa powder, use one ounce of chocolate. Chop and melt the chocolate over a double boiler then let it cool. Pour it into the batter along with the wet ingredients. Tasty, fudgy brownies are in your future.
Hot cocoa mix can be used as well, however, you should anticipate your brownies being not as chocolately as usual. Hot cocoa mix is made of cocoa, powdered sugar, dried mix and other additives so it really is not straight chocolate.
Use double the amount of hot cocoa but then also reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by 1/3.
You’d think sugar would be imperative to brownies. Guess what- it can be replaced! You can have brownies without sugar!
If you are lacking white sugar, first look for brown sugar as a replacement. Brown sugar is not only easy to substitute but it will give the brownies a nice rich, molasses taste.
Next option is to reach for some syrup or honey. Both will make your brownies sweet and add some moisture which will help them be dense and chewy. If your recipe asks for a cup of sugar, use 3/4 cup of honey or syrup. Agave will also work great with the same ratio. To make sure your batter is not too runny, remove one egg white when using one of these substitutions.
Dried fruit purees are a good substitute for sugar and will also make your brownies a little healthier. Puree dates, cranberries or figs in a food processor (see our recommendations) and then replace one cup of sugar with one cup of fruit puree.
Dried fruit as a sugar replacement will make your brownies much more dense and add a little subtle flavor but the sweetness level will be the same!
Time to Make the Brownies!
So there you have it- some simple replacement options for the most common ingredients in brownies. Hope is not lost, you can now make brownies despite not having key ingredients.
One thing you should keep in mind is that it is perfectly fine to replace one, even two ingredients in your brownies but if you start replacing more than that, your recipe may be a little off. So if you are missing the cocoa, oil, eggs and sugar, maybe you just weren’t meant to make brownies.
However, if you just need to replace eggs or you only need a substitution for sugar, you can still make fantastic brownies! Some versions may even turn out better (and healthier) than your original recipe!
If you give one of these replacements a try, let us know how it turns out in the comments below!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.