chia seed substitutes

9 Best Chia Seed Substitutes 

Every fitness blog you come across mentions chia seeds in their diet plans. And for good reason! 

Chia seeds are the definition of a superfood. Rich in fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids, with a high amount of protein and antioxidants, you can see why this is a must-have for anyone serious about improving their health.

But the flavor might not be for everyone. Not to mention they can prove to be quite expensive, especially if you’re using them as a vegan substitute for eggs. 

So how do you substitute a substitute? 

To help you out with this dilemma, I have listed 9 ways to substitute chia seeds. 


9 Best Chia Seed Substitutes 

Whether you put them in yogurt, oatmeal, a smoothie, a muffin, or a bar, chia seeds are extremely versatile. 

And contrary to what you might think, the chia seed is incredibly easy to substitute! So if you want a cheaper (or a tastier) alternative, here are your options: 

1. Flax Seeds (Linseeds) 

flax seeds

Flax seeds are hands down one of the best substitutes for chia seeds. They might taste slightly nuttier, but can be sprinkled directly on salads, yogurt, etc. The flavor profile might even enhance your dish, whereas chia seeds would have tasted neutral. 

Flax seeds are just as nutritious as chia seeds, with a higher Omega-3 content. You’re not losing out on the health benefits by choosing this substitute. 

People often use chia seeds as a vegan replacement for eggs as a binding agent. You do this by soaking the chia seeds in water and letting it soak for a while till it becomes a sticky gel. You can use flax seeds as a binding agent as well by grounding them up. 

How to Substitute: 

Flax seeds can be sprinkled on top of dishes directly, or mixed in with them. Can be used in a 1:1 ratio to chia seeds. To create a binding agent, flax seeds need to be ground into a powder first. Put one tablespoon of flax seed powder into 2 ½ tablespoons of water to create a sticky gel. 

2. Sesame Seeds 

Sesame Seeds

A perfect addition to your next vegetable stir fry, sesame seeds can prove to be an ideal substitute for chia seeds. Put sesame seeds directly on breads, salads, cooked vegetables, smoothies, and so much more.

Also Read:  7 Best Substitutes for Fava Beans

Sesame seeds can be garnished on or mixed in with both sweet and salty dishes. This gives you more reason to experiment and improvise. You can even make a delicious Middle Eastern paste known as Tahini by blending sesame seeds.

They taste more intense than chia seeds and are relatively inexpensive. Sesame seeds have been used in baking for ages.

How to Substitute: 

One teaspoon of sesame seeds can replace one teaspoon of chia seeds. Can be mixed into recipes, or sprinkled on top. Mix or toast it with butter for added texture. If the taste feels too strong, add ¾ of the amount of chia seeds you would have required. 

3. Psyllium Husk 

Psyllium Husk 

If your goal was increasing your dietary fiber intake, then psyllium husks are a viable alternative to chia seeds.

People use psyllium husks in their meals to feel less hungry during the day, making them a great addition to your diet if you want to restrict unnecessary calories. Since they lack a noticeable flavor profile, you can add them to your dishes without affecting the overall taste. All this, while getting the same nutrients and fiber! 

Psyllium husk is usually available as a supplement or in a powdered form. However, it is advised to use the whole husk form whenever possible.  

How to Substitute: 

One teaspoon of psyllium husk can substitute for one teaspoon of chia seeds. You can ground them to powder and mix it with water to form a gel. Alternatively, soak the husks overnight and drain the excess liquid. 

4. Oat Bran 

Oat Bran

Another inexpensive substitute for chia seeds, oat bran could be your new favorite pantry staple. Not only is oat bran cheaper, but it is just as versatile as chia seeds.

Some might even prefer the deeper nuttiness and the semi-sweet flavor profile that oat bran provides. With that said, oat bran easily takes on the dominant flavor of any dish. It can be used as a binding agent and is packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins. 

Also Read:  11 Best Substitutes For Navy Beans

Oat bran is an excellent substitute for chia seeds if you’re making veggie patties, desserts, smoothies, energy bars, crackers, and so much more. If chia seeds have made you feel bloated, try this substitute instead! It is worth noting that oat bran contains gluten. If you want a gluten-free alternative, you can pick any of the other options on this list. 

How to Substitute:

You can use oat bran as a 1-to-1 replacement for chia seeds in any recipe. Mix it in with your ingredients directly in order to use it as a binding agent.

5. Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds

Chances are that whatever recipe includes chia seeds, has some mention of adding hemp seeds with it too. Hemp seeds are a tastier and cheaper substitute for chia seeds for some. 

Although it does not create the soluble gel coating that flax and chia seeds do, hemp seeds provide the same amount of nutrients to the dish. They are high in protein, fiber, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, 9 amino acids, and even contain omega-6, making them a worthy replacement. 

Simply sprinkle them on salads, smoothies, or oatmeal to add a little crunch to your meal.

How to Substitute: 

Hemp seeds can substitute chia seeds directly. You can soak them in water or use them in dishes as is. Alternatively, you can use hemp seed oil for similar results. 

6. Quinoa


Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is a type of seed, not grain. Quinoa is rightfully referred to as a superfood, with its high protein content, 9 required amino acids, fiber, and vitamins. Their nutrition and high volume make quinoa a viable substitute for chia seeds.

They taste-neutral and slightly nutty, but become crunchy and fluffy when cooked. Quinoa can be eaten by itself, or be made into veggie patties and added to salads. Using quinoa to make pudding is widely popular, and a must-try for anyone who hasn’t! 

How to Substitute: 

Quinoa can be added raw with the same proportions as chia seeds. However, it is advisable to cook them in water for 15-20 mins first before you introduce them to milk or any other dish. 

Also Read:  9 Best Substitutes For Borlotti Beans (Cranberry Beans)

7. Eggs 


Chia seeds are typically used by vegans to substitute eggs as a binding agent. And as you might have guessed by now, eggs work as a non-vegan substitute for chia seeds too! 

If you want to skip the hassle of making gel out of chia seeds, you can try out eggs as an alternative. A versatile ingredient in the kitchen, eggs are typically used as binding agents in cakes and desserts. Use them in your baking recipes to add a bit of protein to your baked goods. 

How to Substitute:

One spoonful of chia seeds can be substituted with one whole egg.  

8. Yogurt


Overnight oats are all the craze for several fitness bloggers and influencers. If you wanted to give it a try but didn’t like the taste of chia seeds, or have run out of them, you can substitute chia seeds for yogurt instead. 

Chia seeds are put in milk overnight to create a creamy texture. However, if you’re using yogurt, you can use half the amount of milk you would have needed, and replace the other half with yogurt. 

How to Substitute:

For the most ideal texture and taste, use an organic plant-based yogurt. Use half the milk you would have needed for a dish that required chia seeds. If you garnish and spice your dish, use unflavored yogurt. 

9. Bananas


Finally, we have mashed bananas. As absurd as it might sound, mashed bananas are a great substitute for chia gel when it comes to binding agents

Bananas are naturally sweet and come with their own distinct health benefits. You can use bananas as both a binding agent as well as a sweetener for desserts. 

How to Substitute: 

For every tablespoon of chia seeds with water, replace it with ¾ cup of mashed bananas. As for sugar, reduce the total sugar content by 10 grams for each banana you add. 


Whether it is your favorite salad, dressing, or dessert, you can find substitutes for chia seeds, no matter what you’re making. Try them out for yourself and expand your culinary horizons! 

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