What Can I Use Instead of Egg When Making Fried Chicken?

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Eggs take on a double role when you’re using them for fried chicken: they add moisture and they help the flour or breading stick to the surface of the chicken. Whether you’re out of eggs or you’re looking to cut back on cholesterol, a few alternatives will get your flour or breading to stick and might even perk up your original fried chicken recipe.

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is thick and sticks well to fresh chicken. Slather on a layer of tomato paste with a brush and then roll your chicken into the breading or flour mixture. The tomato acts as a moisture barrier too, so you will still have a moist fried chicken. The chicken might take on a slight tomato taste, but if you’re serving your fried chicken with barbecue sauce it won’t be as apparent.

Flour and Water

A homemade coating substitute can be used in place of egg. Mix together equal parts flour and water to make a thick paste. Brush the paste onto the chicken and roll the chicken into the dredge. There won’t be any flavor changes if you use this method, but because you’re not adding a layer of fat, your chicken might dry out slightly.


Milk has the moisture, fat and consistency to help your flour or breading stick. Regular milk works just fine, but buttermilk will add more moisture and texture. If cow’s milk isn’t an option for you, soy, almond and rice milk add enough fat and have the right consistency for your breading to stick. Avoid vanilla-flavored milks because these can alter the flavor of your fried chicken.


Mayonnaise is thick, creamy and contains fat, just like egg. You can use mayonnaise out of the refrigerator by brushing a thin coating onto the chicken and rolling it into the flour dredge. If your mayonnaise is too thick, thin it out with a little milk or cream. The flavor of the mayonnaise won’t be apparent after your chicken is fried.


Applesauce works as an egg replacement in baking, but it also works in fried chicken recipes and adds a little apple flavor to the final dish. Use a plain, unsweetened applesauce and roll the chicken into it. Dredge and fry as usual. Don’t use an applesauce with sugar, because the sugar will burn in the hot oil, leaving a burnt taste and an over-browned fried chicken.