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17 Easy Egg Substitutes For Meatballs

Need a good egg substitute for meatballs? Here are the top 17 substitutes including pantry staples and vegan options, plus yummy recipes!

So you’re making your favorite meatball recipe, and you run out of eggs . . .

Don’t worry!

There are plenty of easy egg substitutes for meatballs that you probably have on hand!

Below, you’ll find several great options to replace eggs in meatballs including vegan options and simple ideas for those with an egg allergy.

Your yummy homemade meatballs will be just as good with one of these simple stand-ins.

Keep scrolling to find the best substitute for your needs!

Meatballs 101

Several browned meatballs in a black skillet with green garnish on wooden cutting board.

Before we help you find the best egg substitute for meatballs, here’s some meatballs 101.

Meatballs are a popular food across several cuisines including Italian, Middle Eastern, and Greek.

You can serve them with gravy, a tomato-based sauce, yogurt sauce, and more.

And they’re great for soups and pasta dishes.

Meatballs are often made with eggs to help them hold their form and create a juicy bite.

Eggs are a common leavening agent, binding agent, and emulsifier for baked recipes like meatballs as well as meatloaf and pastries.

They produce ultra-tender meatballs by holding in the liquid content as your recipe cooks.

However, it’s possible to produce similar results with eggless meatballs.

Below, you’ll find the perfect substitute when you’re in a pinch or need to work around dietary restrictions!

The Best Egg Substitutes

1. Flax Seed

Flax seeds in bowl with wooden spoon next to bowl of white starch.

Flax seeds make delicious and juicy vegan meatballs.

When ground and combined with water, they have a texture similar to egg whites.

To make a flax egg, whisk 1 tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit until it forms an egg-like consistency. Replace 1 flax egg to 1 regular egg in your meatball recipe.

2. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste in can next to garlic cloves and spoon of paste on white plate.

You can also use tomato paste in place of eggs. This works especially well for Italian-style meatballs.

It’s a great option because you probably already have some in your pantry.

Use 2 tablespoons of paste to substitute per egg.

3. Chia Seeds

Large glass of water with chia seeds next to wooden spoon on checkered tablecloth.

Chia seeds are a similar egg replacement to flax seeds. And as such they also require a few extra steps.

First, you’ll need to grind and soak the chia seeds in water or milk to create a jelly-like substance similar to the texture of eggs.

This process takes about a half hour to complete.

Once you have the proper texture, use 3 tablespoons of the chia mixture per egg in your recipe.

4. Mashed Potatoes

A large bowl of buttery mashed potatoes with green garnish on top.

Mashed potatoes are another great vegan egg substitute for meatballs (so long as they’re free of butter and milk).

They serve as a great binder and they may add some extra flavor to your meatball mixture.

Use 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes per egg.

RELATED: Top 10 Ideas For What To Serve with Mashed Potatoes (Meats, Mains, Sides)

5. Nut Butter

Assortment of nut butters in glass jars next to their whole nut counterparts.

Nut Butter may seem like an odd choice, but they have similar nutrients to eggs.

This substitute works especially well for Asian meatballs in a stir-fry recipe or curry, for example.

Use 3 tablespoons of nut butter per egg and try to find an unsweetened version!

6. Sour Cream

Sour cream in wooden bowl with wooden spoon on white and blue kitchen towel.

If you have a tub of sour cream in the fridge, you already have the perfect egg substitute for meatballs!

Sour cream will help lock in the moisture as your meatballs cook and help them keep their form.

Use 3 tablespoons of sour cream per egg if you don’t mind a little tanginess.

7. Aquafaba

Chickpeas in a strainer with aquafaba liquid draining into glass mixing bowl.

Did you know the leftover liquid from canned beans is actually incredibly useful?

That starchy liquid, called aquafaba, is an excellent vegan egg substitute and it helps prevent waste.

Substitute 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per egg in your recipe.

8. Apple Sauce

Bowl of applesauce next to a bundle of cinnamon and fresh apples.

You can also use unsweetened apple sauce as an egg replacement for meatballs.

This is an especially great option for pork and chicken meatballs.

Use 3 tablespoons of unsweetened apple sauce per egg.

9. Buttermilk

Buttermilk pours from a glass jug into two small cups on a tiny wooden cutting board.

Buttermilk is another decent binding agent to replace eggs in meatballs as long you don’t mind some extra tanginess from the sour buttermilk flavor.

Use 2 tablespoons of buttermilk per egg.

10. Ricotta Cheese

Shallow wooden bowl filled with ricotta cheese with green garnish and wooden spoon.

You can also use ricotta cheese to substitute for eggs in meatballs.

This cheese has a very mild flavor, so it can meld well with any meatball recipe.

Use 1/4 cup ricotta cheese per egg.

11. Mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise in bowl on shredded burlap with whisk and fresh eggs.

Mayonnaise is another staple ingredient that can replace eggs.

However, it’s not a good egg substitute for meatballs for those with an egg allergy.

Keep in mind, eggs are often a main ingredient in mayo.

Use 3 tablespoons of mayo per egg.

12. Plain Yogurt

Large clear glass bowl filled with white yogurt with rustic wooden spoon.

Like sour cream, you can substitute 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt per egg in your meatball mixture.

Your meatballs will have a slightly tangy flavor, but they’ll still be delicious!

13. Panade

A crusty loaf of bread on parchment paper and a glass of milk.

Ever hear of panade?

A panade is a mixture of starch and liquid, typically milk and bread crumbs.

It’s already a common ingredient in meatball recipes so it’s an easy stand-in.

Use 1/4 cup to replace one egg.

14. Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Large wedge of parmesan cheese on wooden cutting board next to grated cheese.

Shredded parmesan cheese is another great binding agent for meatballs.

The cheese will melt and help hold the meatballs together as your recipe cooks.

And it will add some extra flavor.

Use 1/4 cup per egg in your recipe.

15. Saltine Crackers

A stack of saltine crackers in front of a bowl of brothy chicken noodle soup.

You can use saltine crackers with pork and ground beef that’s no leaner than 85%.

This substitute does not work well for chicken or turkey meatballs.

Saltines require meat with a higher fat content so the juices can mix with the crackers while they cook to form a panade-like mixture

Use 1 cup of cracker crumbs to replace any eggs in the recipe.

16. JUST Egg (Vegan Egg Substitute)

A large white bowl filled with vegan liquid eggs and a fork.

Vegan liquid eggs are a great ready-made substitute that you can purchase in the grocery store.

You can use this stand-in as a 1-to-1 substitute.

It’s arguably the easiest vegan egg substitute for meatballs!

17. Tapioca Starch

A bowl of tapioca starch next to potatoes and a wooden spoon.

You can also use tapioca starch as an egg replacement for meatballs.

Simply use 3 tablespoons of water mixed well with 1 tablespoon of Tapioca to replace one egg.

Basic Recipe

Here’s a basic eggless meatballs recipe to try:

  1. Combine 1 pound of ground meat of your choice and 1-2 substitute eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Season to taste using appropriate seasonings for your overall dish. (For Italian meatballs this could be garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and herbs).
  3. Next, mix together the meat, egg substitute, and seasonings using your hands. It may feel a bit icky, but it’s the best way to blend everything together!
  4. After the mixture is fully combined, use a small-medium ice cream scoop to form your meatballs.
  5. Place the meatballs in a Dutch oven or skillet with olive oil so they don’t touch and cook over medium-high heat until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  6. Or, you can bake them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes.

PRO TIP: If you want to taste the seasonings in your meatballs before they cook, simply take a small pinch of the meatball mixture and heat it in the microwave until browned and give it a try!

RELATED: 15 Simple Ways to Substitute for Olive Oil

Fun Ways to Use Meatballs

Once you’ve picked your favorite egg substitute for meatballs, it’s time to use them in some fun dishes.

Here are some creative ways to use meatballs:

RELATED: 15 Easy Ways To Substitute for Marinara Sauce

What to Serve with Meatballs

If you have the perfect meatball recipe, but don’t know what to serve with them, here are some great options:


Do meatballs need eggs?

Not necessarily.

You can make meatballs without eggs, but for the best results, you’ll need to replace the egg with another binding agent.

Binding agents hold the meatballs together so they’re not crumbly and hold in moisture for a tender texture.

Here are some common substitutions:

– Mashed potatoes
– Tomato paste
– Buttermilk
– Ricotta cheese
– Parmesan cheese
– Unsweetened applesauce
– Plain yogurt
– Sour cream
– Saltine crackers

Can I substitute mayo for eggs in meatballs?


Mayo is a great substitute for eggs in meatballs. However, if you need an egg substitute due to an egg allergy, mayo isn’t the best option as it typically contains eggs.

If you’re not allergic to eggs, you can use 3 tablespoons of mayo to replace one egg.

What’s a vegan substitute for eggs in meatballs?

There are several great vegan substitutes for eggs in meatballs.

Here are some of the best options:

– Aquafaba
– Unsweetened applesauce
– Chia seeds
– Flax seeds
– Vegan egg substitute like JUST Egg
– Nut butter
– Mashed potatoes
– Tapioca starch
– Tomato paste

Delicious Recipes

Now that you’ve found the perfect egg substitute for meatballs, here are some of our favorite delicious meatball recipes to try!

The Easiest Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and sour meatballs over cooked white rice in gray bowl with chopsticks laying on bowl.

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs feature frozen meatballs, pineapple chunks, and peppers all covered in a tangy sauce. It’s an easy dinner to throw together that’s perfect for a crowd!

Authentic Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs

Italian spaghetti and meatballs in a white dish with fork and gray and white kitchen towel.

This Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is savory and delicious. It has been handed down for generations from my Italian great-grandma, so it’s 100% authentic! You’ll love the homemade tomato sauce and savory seasonings!

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