Eggs are a staple ingredient in most of our favorite categories of sweets, but that doesn't mean those who don't consume eggs—whether for reasons of ethics, religion, environmental concerns, or allergies—have to miss out on dessert, especially if said dessert is cookies. The key is identifying the right recipe.
A universal egg substitute that will work in any cookie recipe is tough to come by, since eggs can play multiple roles—binding, tenderizing, and more—in a single formula. Instead, try seeking out one of the many types of cookies out there that are eggless by nature, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the number of options you have to experiment with. Keep reading for 15 egg-free cookie recipes, ranging from homemade Oreos to gingerbread to the best vegan chocolate chip cookies.
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Given the wealth of excellent dairy-free chocolate available these days (check out our list of favorite supermarket dark-chocolate bars, which includes some vegan options), there's no reason vegans should be excluded from enjoying a gloriously chewy, melty chocolate chip cookie. We took a methodical approach to creating the best vegan chocolate chip cookie possible, adding dry malt extract and nutmeg to replace some of the toastiness butter typically provides, and substituting the egg with an oat slurry. The slurry, a quick purée of rolled oats and water, provides water, protein, and emulsifying power, just like an egg, with none of the odd flavors that purpose-built egg replacers sometimes bring into the mix. Using chopped chocolate bars instead of commercial chips ensures better and more interesting flavor, but also does the crucial work of helping to thicken the dough.
Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies
What if you want a vegan chocolate chip cookie without going to the trouble of sourcing specialty ingredients, like malt extract and refined coconut oil? If you have a bottle of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, rolled oats, chocolate chips, and a handful of other pantry staples (chocolate chips are staples, right?), you can make a rich egg- and dairy-free chocolate chip cookie with a lovely golden color and distinctive aroma and flavor. We recommend commercial chips here to keep the chocolate flavor from becoming overwhelmingly assertive; see our guide to chocolate chips for advice on creating your own mix.
Vegan Lactation Cookies
For ages, nursing mothers have turned to certain ingredients said to promote the production of milk, and devised tasty ways to get a big dose of those ingredients in one swat. So-called "lactation cookies" are a popular solution, though not all recipes for them are created equal. Stella's original lactation cookie recipe produces a hearty chocolate chip cookie, loaded with delicious-in-their-own-right ingredients like oats, barley malt syrup, macadamia nuts, chocolate, and warm spices; this vegan variation simply swaps in an oat slurry for the egg and refined coconut oil for butter. We can't affirm that these or any other lactation cookies work as intended, but we can guarantee they're darn tasty.
Vegan Chocolate-Covered Digestive Biscuits
Grainy, crunchy McVitie's digestive biscuits, whether plain or chocolate-covered, are a beloved English treat, and making a copycat version at home is easy. Our original chocolate-covered digestive biscuits rely on a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flours to nail that wholesome texture, while buttermilk lends the dough moisture. Since the original formula is already eggless, a vegan version is as straightforward as swapping coconut oil for butter, replacing buttermilk with toasted sugar and cream of tartar, and using a vegan dark chocolate for the topping.
All right, so brownies are arguably a class unto themselves, not just another type of cookie—but can you blame us for wanting to bring more brownies into your life? Made with a combination of cocoa butter, chopped dark chocolate, and Dutch cocoa, these fudgy vegan brownies are loaded with chocolate aroma and flavor. Soy milk powder helps to emulsify the batter, ensuring that tantalizingly glossy top. The best part: Because all the ingredients in these brownies are highly shelf-stable, you can combine most of them ahead of time and keep your very own brownie mix on hand for months, allowing you to whip up a batch on short notice.
High-quality Dutch cocoa, not specialty "black cocoa," is the secret to making chocolate wafer sandwich cookies as inky-dark as true Oreos. The cookies are basically chocolate shortbread, snappy and crisp and buttery, while the filling is a simple mix of clarified butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. You'll need an embossed rolling pin to produce Oreo-like designs on the surface of your cookies, but they'll be just as good unadorned if you don't want to expend the extra effort.
No-Bake Cookies With Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Chewy Oats
Once you realize that no-bake cookies are nothing more than a type of fudge, and arm yourself accordingly (read: with a thermometer appropriate for candy-making), they become a lot less intimidating. This eggless recipe uses creamy peanut butter, Dutch cocoa powder, a small amount of dark chocolate, and oats to create soft, rich, chewy little bites in just about 40 minutes, start to finish. We prefer two types of oats—instant oatmeal and old-fashioned rolled oats—for a good balance of thickness and chewiness, but using the same amount by weight of just one of these will work fine, too.
Homemade Biscoff (Belgian Speculoos) Cookies
These crisp, elegant speculoos cookies depend on the complex caramel flavor of Belgian candi sugar or deeply toasted white sugar; don't try to substitute American brown sugar or any other kind and expect the same results. Ceylon cinnamon, too, is a necessity for producing these cookies' delicately floral aroma. Make extra, and you might end up with enough left over for DIY Cookie Butter.
Homemade Star Crunch
Fans of the Little Debbie product line may fondly recall these chewy rounds of caramel- and chocolate-coated crunchy rice, which are essentially no-bake cookies in another form. Don't let the homemade caramel scare you off—with a good-sized pot and clear instructions (ours!), it's a simple matter requiring just four basic ingredients. Once the caramel is done, stir in chopped milk chocolate and Rice Krispies, then portion out the mixture into disks and wait for them to set.
Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies
Making a standout shortbread—a type of cookie that frequently contains no eggs by design—is easily done by upgrading some of the items on its (very short) ingredient list. In our case, that means browning the butter to give it extra nuttiness and toasting the sugar for added complexity of flavor; a bit of malted milk powder also contributes flavor and aids in browning.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Whether you call these Russian tea cakes, snowballs, or Mexican wedding cookies, they're irresistible when served as part of a holiday cookie selection (or any time, really). A food processor makes quick work of combining the ingredients to make a lightly sweetened dough studded with toasted pecans. We save most of our sugar to dust the tops of the cookies, giving them their signature snowy look.
Speaking of holiday cookies, the most classic of them all, rolled gingerbread cutouts, are perfectly friendly to an egg-free diet as long as you omit the royal icing. We use a heavy hand with warm, aromatic spices in the dough, amplified by a bit of orange zest. Make sure the molasses you use here is plain, unsulfured molasses for baking, not blackstrap.
Lacy Brown Butter and Ricotta Cookies
These aren't the traditional Italian ricotta cookies Stella originally intended to make, but they might be the happiest accident we've ever tried. Brown butter loads them up with nutty richness, while the ricotta helps them spread out into thin, lacy, bubbly disks. Once they've cooled, they turn crisp around the edges, with a soft and chewy center.
E.L. Fudge–Style Chocolate and Vanilla Sandwich Cookies
You don't need a magical elf or three to enjoy E.L. Fudge–like sandwich cookies whenever you want—just some basic baking ingredients and Dutch cocoa to flavor the piped filling between the wafers. Using nearly equal parts sugar and butter produces a crisp-tender cookie, while a little milk encourages gluten development for crunch.
Chipwiches aren't made just by packing any old ice cream between any old chocolate chip cookies—the best DIY version of these ice cream truck classics starts with a cookie that's soft and tender enough to be bite-able at freezing temperatures. The right combination of brown sugar, milk, and malted milk powder gets the job done. As for the filling, you can use any vanilla or sweet cream–flavored ice cream you like—our fior di latte gelato just happens to be eggless.