I am someone who has a family history of high LDL cholesterol and my LDL is within 4 points of 100 (the barrier between "ok" and "healthy"). Therefore when I cook eggs straight up, I always cook without the yolk, since the yolk has all the cholesterol of the egg. However, I have never done this when cooking pancakes, cake, cookies, etc. Therefore I wanted to know if I could use egg for it's intended function (i.e. binding mixed ingredients) without the yolk.


What is the binding agent in eggs, is it the white, the yolk, or both?

  • Dear all, health discussions are off topic here. Please do not state any opinions on whether eating eggs is connected to cholesterol or not, just take it as a given that the OP does not want to eat yolk, and only consider the culinary implications from there.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 29, 2019 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


Egg whites contain a significant amount of protein, which is an excellent binder when cooked. This protein is what makes a cooked egg white somewhat rubbery.

Egg yolks contain lecithin, which is an emulsifier. The lecithin in an egg yolk is what combines with oil to make the emulsion we know as mayonnaise.

The white (with its protein) and yolk (with its lecithin and fat) are both critical to the chemistry when baking. If you eliminate just the yolk, you may get a tough and flat result. Substitutes like silken tofu, yogurt, applesauce, or mashed banana can all be used to replace either the yolk or a whole egg.

The best substitute will depend on the exact recipe and desired result. Applesauce and banana tend to impart added flavor, which can be a consideration as well.

  • 6
    Additional substitutes for various intentions also include aquafaba, flax "egg", and even leaving out the ingredient altogether and doing some clever manipulation of temperature / composition of the ingredients in the recipe. On a second note, the "eggs are bad for your cholesterol" myth has been long debunked - correlation is not causation. Oct 28, 2019 at 9:18

It depends what binding you're looking for. In an emulsification, the yolk is the relevant part as it contains both polar and non-polar components. One of these components is lecithin, which can be extracted from both vegetal and animal sources and is commonly used on its own. It's a powerful ingredient that prevents fats from separating from watery substances.

The white contains no fat and a significant amount of protein, which provides a binding effect in that it can be worked into another liquid and cooked to provide solidity. Proteins can also be whipped into and maintain an aerated structure, binding air to the finished dish.

I'm primarily restating AMtwo's perfectly acceptable answer because I can't comment and I would like to provide the real source for moodboom's link to a pop-science article, which does in fact describe a correlation between cardiovascular events and egg consumption, but only when overall cholesterol intake is not accounted for.

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