Vegan Noms

Vegan Baking Basics

A hand kneading a dough on a floured surface, a rolling pin on the side

In recent years, vegan baking has gained immense popularity, with an increasing number of people embracing compassionate and sustainable alternatives to traditional animal-based ingredients. Baking without dairy may seem daunting at first, but fear not! With a few simple swaps and creative techniques, you will soon be able to whip up delectable treats that rival their dairy-filled counterparts.

Gone are the days when removing butter, milk, and eggs from recipes meant compromising on taste and texture. Nowadays, an abundant variety of plant-based ingredients like nut milks, oils, and alternative sweeteners offer an exciting playground of flavors and textures. The possibilities are endless, and you might just stumble upon your new favorite pastry or bread recipe along the way!

Let’s explore various dairy substitutes, tips for successful vegan baking, and share some mouthwatering recipes to get you started. Whether you’re yearning for a buttery croissant, a tender cinnamon roll, or a crusty baguette, you’ll find a range of delicious, dairy-free options to satisfy your baking cravings.

Veganizing Your Baking Basics

When transitioning to vegan baking, it’s helpful to start by veganizing your baking basics. These are the fundamental ingredients that form the building blocks of many recipes, such as flour, sugar, fats, and leavening agents. By making a few simple swaps, you can ensure that these pantry staples are vegan-friendly, while still achieving stellar results in your baked goods. Let’s dive in and explore how to veganize your baking basics!


Flour is a key ingredient in most baked goods, providing structure and texture. Luckily, flour is naturally vegan, as it is made from ground grains like wheat, rice, or oats. Just be sure to check that the flour you’re using doesn’t contain any unnecessary additives that may not be vegan-friendly.


Traditional white sugar is vegan, as it is derived from sugarcane or sugar beets. However, some sugars go through a refining process that involves bone char, which is not vegan. To ensure your sugar is vegan, look for organic or unrefined options, such as cane sugar or coconut sugar. There are also alternative sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar, or date syrup, which can add unique flavors to your baked goods.

Solidified coconut oil on a wooden spoon

Butter and other animal-based fats are commonly used in baking to provide moisture and enhance flavor. Thankfully, there are numerous plant-based alternatives that can be used as substitutes.

Coconut oil, vegan margarine, or non-dairy spreads can all be used in place of butter. Additionally, nut butters like almond or cashew butter can add richness and moisture to your recipes.

Leavening Agents

Leavening agents, such as baking powder and baking soda, help your baked goods rise and become light and fluffy. Luckily, these are already vegan-friendly, so there’s no need to make any changes here!

Essential Vegan Bread Techniques

When it comes to vegan bread, mastering a few essential techniques can make all the difference in achieving that perfect texture, flavor, and rise you desire. Let’s explore some tried-and-true methods that will take your vegan bread baking to the next level.

  • Activate the Yeast

Yeast is a crucial ingredient in bread baking as it helps the dough rise and creates those delightful air pockets that give bread its light and fluffy texture. To ensure your yeast is active and ready to work its magic, mix it with warm water (around 110°F/43°C) and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for a few minutes until it becomes frothy and bubbly. This step, called “proofing the yeast,” ensures that your bread will rise properly.

Pair of hands kneading dough on a wooden surface
  • Knead the Dough

Kneading is an essential step in bread making as it develops gluten, which gives bread its structure. With vegan bread, the absence of dairy can make kneading a bit trickier, but fear not! Vegan dough can still be kneaded to perfection with a little patience. Use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or knead by hand, using slightly wetter dough to compensate for the lack of moisture from dairy. Keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth, elastic, and springs back when lightly pressed.

  • Add Moisture

One common challenge when baking vegan bread is achieving a moist and tender crumb without the help of butter or milk. To overcome this, incorporate alternative sources of moisture into your recipe. Some options include using plant-based milk (such as almond, soy, or oat milk) or adding a bit of applesauce, mashed banana, or even a touch of oil to the dough. These ingredients will contribute to a soft and moist interior in your bread.

  • Experiment with Binders

In traditional bread baking, eggs are often used as binders, helping to hold the ingredients together and create structure in the final loaf. However, there are numerous vegan alternatives that can work just as well. Flaxseed meal mixed with water creates a gel-like consistency that mimics the binding properties of eggs. Another option is using applesauce or mashed banana, as these fruits contain natural pectin that can act as a binder. Silken tofu can also be blended and used as a binder in certain recipes.

Vegan Pastry for Sweet and Savory Treats

Now that you’ve mastered the basics of vegan baking, it’s time to delve into the marvelous world of vegan pastry. Whether you’re craving a flaky pie crust or a buttery puff pastry, there are plenty of plant-based options that will leave you feeling satiated and satisfied.

Vegan Apple Galette:

To make this rustic and elegant dessert, start by preparing a vegan pie crust using flour, vegan butter, and a touch of sugar. Fill the crust with a mixture of thinly sliced apples, cinnamon, and a hint of lemon zest. Fold the edges of the crust over the apples and bake until golden brown. Serve warm with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream for the ultimate indulgence.

Vegan Spinach and Mushroom Puffs:

Impress your guests with these bite-sized, savory delights. Start by sautéing a mixture of spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and onions until tender. Take squares of vegan puff pastry and spoon the spinach and mushroom mixture into the center.

Fold the corners of the pastry over the filling, creating small parcel shapes. Brush the tops with a bit of non-dairy milk and bake until golden and puffed. Serve warm as a delectable appetizer or alongside a fresh salad for a light meal.

Vegan Chocolate Croissants:

Who can resist the allure of a buttery, flaky croissant? With a few substitutions, you can enjoy a mouthwatering version of this classic pastry. Begin by rolling out a vegan puff pastry dough and shaping it into triangles. Spread a generous amount of melted vegan chocolate over each triangle and roll them up, starting from the wide end. Bake until golden and enjoy the heavenly aroma that fills your kitchen.

Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Pinwheels:

These visually stunning pinwheels are perfect for any gathering. Begin by spreading a mixture of sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, and vegan cream cheese onto a rectangular sheet of vegan puff pastry. Roll the pastry tightly, then slice it into rounds. Arrange the pinwheels on a baking sheet and bake until golden and crispy. These savory treats will disappear quickly, so be sure to make enough to share!

Veganizing Sweet Confections

Indulging in a decadent sweet treat is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And just because you’re following a vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the joys of a luscious cake or a gooey chocolate brownie. With a few substitutions and a little creativity, you can veganize your favorite sweet confections and create desserts that are not only delicious but also cruelty-free. So, let’s dive into the world of vegan sweets and explore some simple yet scrumptious recipes.

When veganizing sweet confections, the key lies in finding suitable replacements for traditional dairy and egg ingredients. Luckily, there are plenty of plant-based alternatives that can mimic the taste, texture, and richness of their animal-based counterparts. From substituting eggs with flaxseed or applesauce to using plant-based milks like almond or coconut milk instead of dairy, the possibilities are endless.

Vegan Cake

A soft and tender cake is a classic dessert that is often enjoyed for birthdays and special occasions. To create a moist and delicious vegan cake, start by replacing traditional dairy milk with your favorite plant-based milk. You can also use unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas to replace the eggs. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to help with the rise and texture of the cake. Combine these ingredients with flour, sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt, and you’re on your way to whipping up a delightful vegan cake. Remember to let your creativity shine by experimenting with flavors, such as adding cocoa powder for a chocolatey twist or incorporating fresh berries for a burst of fruity goodness.

Vegan Brownies

If you’re a fan of fudgy, chocolatey goodness, then vegan brownies are a must-try. To create these delectable treats, start by replacing the butter with a plant-based spread or coconut oil. Swap traditional eggs with a combination of flaxseed meal and water, which creates a gel-like consistency that helps bind the ingredients together. Combine these vegan substitutes with cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and a touch of baking powder.

Three slices of brownies on ceramic plate

For an extra indulgence, you can add chopped nuts, vegan chocolate chips, or even a swirl of creamy peanut butter. Bake until the top is set but slightly gooey, and allow the brownies to cool before cutting into delectable squares.

Vegan Cookies

Whether you prefer soft and chewy cookies or crispy and crunchy delights, veganizing your favorite cookie recipes is a breeze. Swap out butter with a plant-based spread or coconut oil, and replace eggs with a mixture of applesauce or mashed bananas. Use your favorite plant-based milk to achieve the right consistency for the dough. From classic chocolate chip to delightful oatmeal raisin, the possibilities for vegan cookies are endless. Don’t forget to add a touch of vanilla extract for that irresistible aroma.

Vegan Muffins

Muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack option, and with a few simple swaps, they can be made completely vegan. Start by replacing butter or oil with coconut oil or vegan margarine. Traditional eggs can be substituted with a mixture of flaxseed meal and water or with applesauce. Combine these vegan substitutes with flour, sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. For added flavor and texture, incorporate your favorite fruits, nuts, or even chocolate chips. Bake until golden brown and enjoy the fragrance of freshly baked muffins filling your kitchen.

Veganizing sweet confections is an exciting journey that allows you to explore the vast array of plant-based ingredients and flavors. From fluffy cakes to fudgy brownies, vegan sweets can be just as delicious, if not more, than their non-vegan counterparts. So, let your culinary imagination run wild and whip up some vegan desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you feeling good inside and out.