The Ultimate Guide to the Best Vegan Binding Agents for Perfect Plant-Based Baking

The best vegan flours for baking

When it comes to vegan baking, finding suitable thickeners to replace eggs, dairy, and gelatin can be a challenge. However, there are many plant-based alternatives that can provide the necessary gumminess to hold your recipes together. In this article, we will explore the best vegan baking flours and how to use them effectively in different recipes.

What is a thickener?

Binders play a crucial role in adding volume, texture, and firmness to baked goods. While artificial binders are commonly used in the food industry, there are several natural binders that are suitable for vegan baking. Eggs, potato starch, flour, and tapioca flour are some of the most commonly used natural thickeners, three of which are vegan-friendly.

Flours and gluten

Flours, especially those containing gluten, are popular thickeners for vegan baking. Not only do they provide the necessary stickiness to hold the recipe together, but they also add volume and texture without significantly altering the flavor. All-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour are readily available options that work well in most cases. However, there are several other gluten-free flours that can be considered.

  • Buckwheat: This gluten-free flour has gained popularity in recent years. It is sticky and slightly heavy, which makes it good for binding.
  • Chickpea flour: Increasingly in demand, chickpea flour is gluten-free and adds a unique flavor to recipes.
  • Teff and Amaranth: These gluten-free flours have a nuttier flavor compared to traditional white flours, making them a great choice for binders.
  • Sorghum Flour: With the highest protein content among gluten-free flours, sorghum flour is light and ideal for fluffy treats like cakes and muffins.
  • Almond flour: In addition to its binding properties, almond flour is popular for its distinct nutty flavor.

Cereal Seeds

Some seeds can be effective binding agents for vegan baking. However, they must be finely ground before use. The following seeds are popular choices:

  • Psyllium Husk: Known for its use in fiber supplements, psyllium husk can be added to wet ingredients to act as a binder. It expands quickly, so it is important to use the wet ingredients promptly to prevent it from absorbing excessive liquid.
  • Flaxseed: Ground flaxseed or flax meal can be added to wet ingredients to create a gel-like binder. It is best to add flaxseed to wet ingredients just before mixing to allow it to absorb liquids properly.
  • Chia Seeds: Finely ground chia seeds work similarly to ground flaxseed and can be used as an effective thickening agent. Whole chia seeds can be used in a pinch, although they may not be as effective.


Fruit and vegetable purees can add both binding and nutritional value to vegan baking. They are a great way to use up excess fruit or vegetables and can enhance the flavor of recipes. Some common purees used as binders include

  • Sweet potatoes: Cooked and mashed sweet potatoes or yams are excellent binders and work well in sweet recipes such as icings and cakes. They can be heavy, so mixing them with applesauce can help lighten the batter.
  • Applesauce: An effective thickener on its own, applesauce adds a light flavor to recipes and works especially well in cakes and muffins.
  • Pumpkin Puree: Pumpkin and other squash purees are great for softer recipes like pancakes and cookies that don’t require much height. They add moisture to the recipe and should be used in moderation.
  • Zucchini and carrots: These vegetables can be shredded and used as a thickening agent. They are lighter than starchier options and do not necessarily need to be pureed.
  • Beans: Cooked and pureed beans can be effective binders due to their high starch content. However, they can be quite heavy, so care should be taken when using them.

Non-Dairy Butters

Nut and seed butters not only offer a delicious flavor, but are also excellent binding agents for recipes that require shape retention. They are often used in snacks such as granola and protein bars, as well as in vegan meat alternatives. Some popular options include

  • Sunflower seed butter: This butter has a mild flavor and provides a sticky consistency, making it suitable for binding.
  • Almond Butter: With a distinct nutty flavor, almond butter is another versatile binding option.
  • Peanut Butter: Although it has a stronger flavor, peanut butter can be used as a binder in recipes that complement its flavor.


Vegan baking can be just as delicious and satisfying as traditional baking, thanks to the wide range of vegan thickeners available. Flours and gluten, seeds, purees, dairy-free butters, and fruit and vegetable purees are all excellent options for creating the necessary gumminess and texture in vegan recipes. By experimenting with different binders, you can discover new flavors and textures while maintaining the integrity of your baked goods. Whether you choose gluten-containing flours, finely ground seeds, or nutrient-rich purees, there is a vegan thickening agent to meet your needs. Enjoy the process of exploring these alternatives and creating delicious vegan treats that are both satisfying and cruelty-free.


What are vegan binders?

Vegan thickeners are plant-based ingredients used in baking to replace eggs, dairy and gelatin. They provide the necessary stickiness and structure to hold recipes together without the use of animal products.

Why are eggs not good for vegan baking?

Eggs are derived from animals, which makes them unsuitable for vegan baking. Veganism focuses on the elimination of all animal products, including eggs. Therefore, alternative binding agents are used to achieve similar results in vegan baking.

Are gluten-free flours effective as a binder?

Yes, gluten-free flours can be effective thickeners in vegan baking. While gluten is known for its binding properties, there are several gluten-free flours such as buckwheat, chickpea, teff, and amaranth that provide stickiness and help hold recipes together.

Can seeds be used as a thickening agent?

Yes, seeds can be used as a binder in vegan baking. Ground seeds such as psyllium husk, flaxseed, and chia seed can form a gel-like consistency when mixed with liquid, effectively binding the ingredients together.

What is the role of purees as binders?

Fruit and vegetable purees can be used as binders in vegan baking. Purees such as sweet potato, apple puree, pumpkin puree, and zucchini or carrot puree add moisture and help bind ingredients together. They also contribute to the flavor and nutritional value of baked goods.

Can non-dairy butters be used as binders?

Yes, non-dairy butters such as sunflower seed, almond, and peanut butter can be used as binding agents in vegan baking. They provide a gooey consistency and help hold ingredients together while adding flavor to recipes.