There are many great reasons to cook with flaxseed, you’ll want to incorporate this delicious and healthful ingredient into your meal plan. But what happens if you forget to buy it on your weekly shopping trip and you’re in the middle of preparing dinner?
Fortunately, there are a ton of flaxseed substitutes you can use to save yourself or the family dinner. From tofu, to chia seeds and even wheat germ, these nourishments can more than do the trick.
Flaxseeds have many qualities that make them a great addition to many recipes. Their nutty flavor and crunchy texture add depth to a variety of dishes.
Flaxseeds also boast an impressive nutrition profile including manganese, thiamine, copper, and magnesium as well as omega-3 fatty acids and a healthy dose of soluble fiber.
Of course there are other reasons you may want a flax meal substitute. Do you want to enjoy the many health benefits of flaxseed, but are sensitive to its high fiber content? Is the flavor or texture not to your liking?
5 Recommended Flaxseed Meal Substitutes
The alternatives we recommend have similar nutrient profiles, such as heart-healthy omega-3 fats and cholesterol-lowering components, with a slightly different flavor and fiber profiles that may better suit your diet and health goals.
We looked at texture, flavor, nutritional value, and the role flaxseed plays in a recipe when compiling our list of the top five flaxseed substitutes.
We also considered availability since a substitute is of little value if you can’t find it at your local grocery store. Use these suggestions when you don’t have flaxseeds on hand or can’t find them locally and you can still prepare your favorite recipes with similar results.
Chia seeds are one of the most widely used flaxseed substitutes. They can stand in for flaxseed in a lot of situations, making it one of the most versatile options.
Chia seeds have similar fiber and omega-3 fatty acid profiles that make them optimal for use in place of flaxseeds where they act as a binder or egg replacement. Both seeds are rich in a variety of minerals, which makes chia an excellent nutritional substitute as well.
When you use chia as a flaxseed meal substitute in a recipe where they act as an egg replacement, the swap is very simple. One flax egg uses a ratio of 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal to 3 tablespoons of water.
You will often see this in vegan recipes where eggs are not used. Of course, you can also substitute a flax or chia egg in baking when you’ve run out of the real thing.
Chia seeds are also an excellent stand-in for flaxseed when used as a thickening agent in soups, stews, and gravies.
They behave much like ground flaxseeds in this application, and it’s suggested that you use ground chia in an equal amount to the flaxseed meal called for in these types of recipes. If you’re on a keto or similar diet, do keep in mind that this is the highest carb substitute on the list.
When flaxseeds aren’t available, reach for chia seeds. You’ll achieve similar results to flaxseeds as egg substitutes and thickeners with a nutritious punch. Furthermore, the chia seed have neutral flavor and low calorie count
For those times when you can’t find flaxseeds, you probably don’t think of tofu as a viable substitute. But in certain recipes, it will work as a great alternative.
Tofu is easy to find and has similar fat content to flaxseeds with comparable amounts of manganese, magnesium, iron, and zinc. It’s also the lowest calorie and lowest cost replacement for flaxseed meal.
When using tofu as a ground flaxseed substitute, you need to make sure the ratios are correct for comparable results. You should use a one-quarter cup of plain blended silken tofu for each tablespoon of ground flaxseeds.
If you’re using tofu to replace a flaxseed egg, omit the 3 tablespoons of water. This should ensure proper binding and moisture content for your chosen recipe.
Where flaxseeds are included for their plant-based fats to act as a binder and add moisture, you’ll find that tofu can often be used in their place with delicious results and nutritional benefits.
Tofu works best as a ground flaxseed alternative in baked goods with denser textures such as quick bread or brownies. It’s also a great flaxseed replacement in smoothies.
With so many good qualities, you’ll find tofu is an excellent substitute to keep at hand. You can even buy it in shelf-stable packaging to keep in your pantry for a flaxseed cooking crisis.
Hemp seeds make a fine substitute for flaxseeds in many recipes. They are easy to find and have a similar crunchy texture and nutty flavor that will yield satisfying results when used as a replacement.
Of our suggested substitutes, hemp has the closest fat content and double the amount of protein that flaxseeds contain.
You want to use hemp seeds as a ground flaxseed substitute in equal amounts. They are close enough in texture and bulk that it works out as a one-to-one ratio in any application.
Keep in mind that hemp seeds do have more calories per serving than flaxseed meal if that’s a consideration for you.
Substitute hemp seeds where you like to have some nutty crunch, such as a topping for yogurt, salads, or stir-frys. They also work well in smoothies and baked goods when you want to boost protein and mineral content.
Just be aware that hemp seeds do not act as a binder, so don’t use them as a sub in recipes where ground flaxseeds play that role.
This powdered husk from the seed of the Plantago plant is one of the top flaxseed meal alternatives. You can find this ingredient at most grocery stores, which makes it easy to have on hand.
With a healthy dose of fiber, iron, and potassium, it’s a nutritious choice when flaxseeds aren’t available.
Psyllium husk powder can be used in equal amounts, or a 1:1 ratio when substituting for flaxseed meal. This makes it an easy swap when putting together your dish.
The best time to use psyllium husk powder in place of flaxseed meal is as a binding agent. Its high levels of mucilage, or soluble fiber, allow it to hold a great deal of water. This property makes it a good egg replacement in baked goods when flaxseed isn’t available.
Psyllium husk is also great as a texture enhancer when you want a chewy consistency in items such as pizza crust.
To maintain the fiber boost with a readily available substitute, psyllium husk powder is a shelf-stable choice that may be more readily available than flaxseed. Keep some in your pantry as a flaxseed meal pinch-hitter with a long shelf life.
Wheat germ isn’t a seed. It is the part of the wheat kernel responsible for sprouting into a new plant. This part of the wheat berry’s similar crunch and impressive nutrition content make it a solid stand-in for flaxseed meal.
Wheat germ is a manganese powerhouse, with 246% of your daily requirement in a single serving, and contains antioxidants to help protect you from disease.
When substituting wheat germ for flaxseed meal, you use a 1:1 ratio or an equal amount. This keeps your recipes simple with no extra calculations required.
Like flaxseed, it’s wise to keep wheat germ in the refrigerator to prolong shelf life. The fats in both foods will go rancid if stored at room temperature for an extended time. It’s a good idea to buy both of these items in smaller quantities to maintain freshness.
You’ll get great results in baking with wheat germ, particularly with bread, as it contains gluten. You may notice that the texture is less chewy than when using flaxseed, but that is a matter of taste.
It also makes a great topping for yogurt or breakfast cereal, adding similar nutrients and crunch to flaxseed.
Chia seeds are the superior substitution for flaxseed in baking. Their similarities in moisture content and omega-3 fatty acids make them the best replacement for a flax egg and as a binder in most baked goods where flaxseed is used.
Almond flour is a favorite flaxseed substitute for baking, particularly if you’re gluten-free. It has a high moisture content much like flaxseed.
You can substitute it in equal amounts, making it an easy alternative for baking that yields similar results for cookies, muffins, scones, and more.
Almond flour’s lower carb content and high level of antioxidants are a bonus in addition to the similar mineral profile it shares with flaxseed. These qualities make it an especially attractive baking replacement if you’re on a keto or other low-carb diet.