10 Best Chia Seeds Substitutes for Every Recipe

September 23, 2023

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that have become popular in many recipes. They are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals. They also can absorb water and form a gel-like texture, which makes them useful as a thickener, binder, or egg substitute in vegan and vegetarian dishes.

But what if you don’t have chia seeds in your pantry or want to try something different? Don’t worry. Plenty of chia seeds substitute can be used in your cooking and baking. Whether you need a substitute for chia seeds in pudding, smoothies, oatmeal, granola, or baked goods, you can find an alternative that works for you.

In this article, I will show you the 10 best chia seed substitutes that can be used in various recipes. So let’s get started!

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are tiny edible seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant, a member of the mint family. They are native to Central and South America and have been consumed for centuries. Chia seeds are small, oval-shaped, and gray with black and white spots. They have a mild, nutty flavor.

Chia seeds are highly nutritious and contain various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a good source of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Chia seeds are also low in calories and fat.

Chia seeds can be eaten raw, cooked, or soaked. They can be added to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, baked goods, and other dishes. Chia seeds can also make chia pudding, a popular healthy snack or dessert.

How to Use Chia Seeds in Cooking?

Chia seeds are a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes, both sweet and savory. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or soaked. Here are some tips on how to use chia seeds in cooking:

  • Sprinkle chia seeds on top of food. Chia seeds can be added to yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, salads, and other dishes to boost nutrition and texture.
  • Add chia seeds to smoothies. Chia seeds will thicken up your smoothie and give it a boost of fiber and protein.
  • Use chia seeds as a thickener. Chia seeds can be used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Use chia seeds to make chia pudding. Chia pudding is a popular healthy snack or dessert made by soaking chia seeds in milk or plant-based milk.
  • Use chia seeds as a binder. Chia seeds can bind ingredients in recipes such as meatballs, burgers, and veggie burgers.
  • Use chia seeds to make egg substitutes. Chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute in baking recipes. To do this, combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and sit for 5 minutes. The mixture will thicken up and become a gel-like consistency, which can be used instead of an egg in recipes.

Best Chia Seeds Substitute for Every Recipe

Sometimes, you might run out of chia seeds, or you might not like their taste or texture. You can use one of these 10 chia seeds substitutes with similar properties and benefits. Here they are: 

1. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is a seed high in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. It has a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture when whole and a smooth consistency when ground. You can use flaxseed as a chia seeds substitute for smoothies, salads, cereals, or baked goods. You can also make a flax egg by mixing one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with two and a half tablespoons of water and letting it sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes gel-like. It will replace one egg in most recipes. 

2. Quinoa

Quinoa is high in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and other minerals. Like flax seeds, it has a mild nutty flavor and a fluffy texture when cooked. You can use quinoa as a chia seeds substitute in salads, soups, stews, or casseroles. You can also use quinoa to make puddings by cooking it in milk or plant-based milk with some sweetener and spices until it becomes creamy.

3. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are tiny oval seeds from the sesame plant native to Africa and Asia. These seeds are high in calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin B1. You can use sesame seeds as a substitute for chia seeds by sprinkling them on your salads, cereals, yogurt, or smoothies. You can also use sesame seeds to make tahini, a paste in hummus, baba ganoush, halva, or salad dressings.

4. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are edible hemp plant seeds that belong to the cannabis family. They are high in protein omega-3, just like chia seeds. You can use hemp seeds as a chia seeds substitutes for adding them to your salads, cereals, yogurt, or smoothies. You can also use hemp seeds to make milk, butter, or protein powder.

5. Psyllium husks

Psyllium husks are the outer layer of the Plantago plant seeds that grow in India and other parts of Asia. They are high in soluble fiber, forming a gel when mixed with water. They have no flavor and a slightly gritty texture when dry. You can use psyllium husks as chia seed substitutes for breadcrumbs, smoothies, soups, sauces, or baked goods.

6. Banana

You can use bananas to add natural sugar to your recipe by meshing it and adding it to your smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes, or muffins. In most recipes, you can also use a banana to make a banana egg by mashing half a banana and using it instead of one egg. This way, you can use bananas as a chia seed substitute for eggs.

7. Oat bran

Oat bran is a cost-effective substitute for chia seeds in patties, crackers, energy bars, and smoothies. It is a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals and has a binding effect that helps hold dishes together. Additionally, oat bran has a more robust and nutty flavor than chia seeds, which can enhance the taste of many dishes. 

8. Eggs

Eggs are the perfect time saver for making gel for dessert and cake. Instead of making gel with chia and flax seeds, you can use eggs as a chia seed substitute for various recipes. This way, you can save time, especially when you are a vegan and in a hurry. They are high in protein, choline, selenium, and vitamin B12. When cooked, they have a mild flavor and a firm texture, making them a perfect substitute. 

9. Yogurt

Chia seeds are often used in overnight oats because they give them a nice, creamy texture. However, adding yogurt instead can still make overnight oats without chia seeds. Reduce the amount of milk by half and replace it with yogurt. This method works well with both original and plant-based yogurt. If you want to flavor your oatmeal, I recommend choosing unflavored yogurt. 

10. Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is a nutritious part of the wheat kernel that is often removed during processing. It is a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese. Wheat germ can be used as a chia seed substitute in various recipes, including smoothies, yogurt, energy bites, etc.

To use wheat germ as a chia seed substitute in a recipe, substitute wheat germ for the chia seeds in a 1:1 ratio. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, use 1 tablespoon of wheat germ instead. 


 I have shared the 10 best chia seed substitutes in this article for every recipe. These substitutes are all nutrient-rich and have a similar texture or flavor to chia seeds, making them ideal for various dishes.

When choosing a chia seed substitute, it is essential to consider the flavor and texture of your dish. You will also want to choose a substitute with a similar nutritional profile to chia seeds.

If you are looking for a substitute with a flavor similar to chia seeds, try flaxseeds or hemp seeds. If you are looking for a substitute that has a similar texture to chia seeds, try psyllium husk or ground flaxseed. And if you are looking for a substitute with a similar nutritional profile to chia seeds, try oats, amaranth, or quinoa.

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