Cooking process. Minced meat and ingredients, salt, pepper, spices, onions, eggs, parsley, mix the ingredients with a spoon. A woman is preparing minced chicken for meatballs. Top view.

7 Best Egg Substitutes for Meatballs

Everyone has been in a horrifying situation where they have already started mixing up the meatballs only to realize there are no eggs. Do not despair! These egg substitutes are here for you!

People love meatballs. They are easy to make and can be seasoned and sauced into any style of cuisine you can imagine. Meatballs may be the perfect way to get your protein, but how do you keep them together when you’re all out of eggs? Worry not because there are plenty of choices for egg substitutes in meatballs.

Why You Need Eggs in Meatballs

A basic meatball consists of three things: meat, breadcrumbs, and a binding agent. That is where the egg comes in. The egg has the amazing ability to hold everything together. Without the egg, a meatball might fall apart when it is cooked.

Thankfully, eggs are not the choice in binders for meatballs. This list is here to help you find a great substitute for egg binders in meatballs.

Health Benefits of Substituting the Eggs

Eggs work culinary magic keeping all the ingredients of meatballs together, but are they good for you? While eggs are widely accepted as a great protein source they are also known to be very high in cholesterol. As many meatballs feature red meat, another high-in-cholesterol food, swapping out the eggs can help to make this more heart-healthy.

How to Choose an Egg Substitute for Meatballs

The biggest factor to consider when choosing an egg substitute for meatballs is the flavor. Eggs really do not add much in terms of flavor and many of these swaps have more complex flavor notes. Consider the spices you are planning to add to your meat blend and choose a substitute with complimentary flavor notes.

The 7 Best Egg Substitutes to Use in Meatballs

No.SubstituteHow much Cholesterol in a Serving
5Potatoes0mg (plain potato w/ no additions)
6Tomato Paste0mg
7Unsweetened Applesauce0mg

1. Buttermilk


Buttermilk is a commonly on-hand ingredient and an excellent substitute for eggs in meatballs. This dairy product is made from mildly fermented milk. It has a thicker texture than milk which allows it to function as a binder in meatballs.

Buttermilk is a great choice for an egg substitute because it is easy to find or make at home. Buttermilk can be homemade by mixing 1 cup of regular milk with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar. Both store-bought and homemade buttermilks have a creamy and tangy flavor.

2. Yogurt


Dairy products make excellent substitutes for eggs in meatballs and one such dairy product is yogurt. Yogurt is made from dairy that has had specific cultures introduced to it to create healthy fermentation. The resulting product is thick enough to bind meatballs without the egg.

Yogurt is easy to find and inexpensive so it is a great option as an egg substitute. Yogurt has a much bolder flavor than eggs. Yogurt is tangy and almost sour so it can really add a lot of depth to your meatballs.

3. Ricotta


Ricotta is a soft and crumbly cheese that works very well as an egg substitute in meatballs. Ricotta is an Italian-style cheese made from whey. It has a creamy texture and mild flavor profile.

Ricotta is a perfect binder, especially in Italian-style meatballs. Its creamy and nutty flavor notes work very well with rich Italian herbs and tomato sauces. The mild flavor of this cheese is not just for Italian-style cooking. Adding a little ricotta instead of eggs brings richness to any style of meatball.

4. Mayonnaise


Since mayonnaise comes from eggs it seems only natural that it would make a great egg substitute in meatballs. Mayonnaise is made from egg yolks, acid, and oil so it has the powerful binding capability of eggs right there in its recipe. Mayonnaise is inexpensive and usually already on hand, giving this substitute an advantage.

Although mayonnaise comes from eggs it has a much bolder flavor than eggs. It brings a lot more tang to meatballs than plain eggs. One small drawback of mayonnaise as an egg substitute in meatballs is that it does not cut down on cholesterol. Mayonnaise is just as high in cholesterol as eggs, so this substitute does nothing for the heart health of this dish.

5. Potatoes


One excellent substitute for eggs with meatballs is mashed potatoes. It might sound wild but potatoes have a mild and fairly neutral flavor much like eggs and they are sticky enough to help hold the balls together. This is a great trick for when there is little in the fridge except for yesterday’s mashed potatoes!

Mashed potatoes, if they are made simply with potatoes, have no cholesterol at all so this substitute can be much healthier for the heart. Mashed potatoes are frequently made with butter or milk so they already have a small bit of dairy to help them act as a binder. If mashed potatoes are made simply with only a few extra seasonings they can bind the balls without adding much extra flavor.

6. Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste can add so much to recipes and it can even be a good egg substitute for meatballs. Tomato paste is a concentrated form of tomato with an extremely thick texture. It packs a ton of umami, sweet, and savory tomato flavor into every teaspoon, and thanks to its thick texture it can be a great binder in meatballs.

Tomato paste helps to wake up the red meat flavor. It makes the meat taste more rounded and sweet, so even though this substitute has a lot more flavor than eggs that can be a big plus. It is very concentrated, though, so a little bit of this paste goes a long way for flavor. If your meatballs are dry and you think they will need a lot of binder, this is not a great choice.

7. Unsweetened Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce

It may sound a little out of the box but applesauce is an excellent egg substitute across the board including in meatballs. Applesauce has the perfect texture and volume to replace eggs as the binder in any recipe.

The obvious drawback of applesauce is its flavor. Even unsweetened applesauce is bright and sweet, so using this swap may really affect the flavor of the meatballs. If you are planning on a barbeque sauce or using a lot of pork in your meatball mix, the flavor of applesauce may actually be surprisingly nice.

The Runner-Up

The runner-up for best egg substitute in meatballs is apple sauce. It may sound shocking, but applesauce has a lot to offer. In small quantities, its flavor may be hard to notice in the busy meatball taste. Applesauce is commonly on the shelf and it has no negative effect on your cholesterol. Try something new and make an Asian spiced meatball using turkey, pork, and applesauce, the results are delicious!

The Best Overall Egg Substitute for Meatballs

The winner of the best egg substitute for meatballs is buttermilk. It has an excellent flavor profile and wonderful binding capabilities. Buttermilk is available in stores everywhere and can even be made at home with everyday staples. It has a neutral flavor profile that makes it almost indistinguishable from eggs. Try substituting eggs with buttermilk as the binder in your next batch of meatballs.

Cooking process. Minced meat and ingredients, salt, pepper, spices, onions, eggs, parsley, mix the ingredients with a spoon. A woman is preparing minced chicken for meatballs. Top view.

7 Best Egg Substitutes for Meatballs

Seasonal and Savory
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • Buttermilk
  • Yogurt
  • Ricotta
  • Mayonnaise
  • Potatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Unsweetened Apple sauce


  • From the list of substitutes above, pick your favorite to use in its place.
  • Use your imagination and be creative with these substitute recipes!

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