15 Best Egg Wash Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Egg wash is a beaten egg that is diluted with milk or water. It is lightly brushed onto pastries and breads before baking and provides a crispy, golden sheen to the bread. It is also used to bind breading to deep-fried foods. There are many reasons a person may not be able to use eggs in their baking, from food allergies to diet. At such times, you may need an egg wash substitute to recreate the crunchy, tempting crust that an egg wash can provide.

Egg Wash Substitute

The best egg wash substitute is milk. You can also use custard and water, melted butter, olive oil, honey, maple syrup, yogurt, and vegan options like soy or almond milk.

Milk or Cream

One of the easiest egg wash substitutes is to simply brush on milk or cream on your dough before baking. This will recreate the color of an egg, without adding unwanted flavor or oil.

Melted Butter

This is a popular egg wash substitute and even adds to the flavor of certain recipes. But use the melted butter sparingly, as the butter will soak into the dough and can add a lot of grease.

egg wash substitute

Almond Milk

Almond milk, an alternative to traditional milk can also be used as a wash. It will give the pastry a dark gold hue, but also add a touch of nuttiness to the dough.

Oil

A light brushing of oil will give your dough a crunchy crust but use lightly, to avoid over-greasing the dough or burning the crust.

Honey or Maple Syrup

Sweet options like honey or maple syrup will turn your pastry a deep gold, with lots of caramelized crunch. However, it can also burn very quickly in a hot oven, so it’s best used with quick recipes, or washed on towards the end of the baking time.

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a thick spread that works as a great substitute for egg wash when making fried chicken.

Soy Milk and Rice Milk

Rice milk or soy milk can be substituted for egg wash to make a pre-batter dip, or combined with flour to make a sticky batter.

Yogurt

For oven-baked bread, try dipping the food in milk or yogurt, then rolling in the breading or crumbs. The dairy will help bind the breading while retaining the moisture.

Olive Oil

Using olive oil as an egg wash alternative is a great choice as it can give your recipe a golden brown crisp shine.

Malt Syrup

While baking bread delights, using a malt syrup as an egg wash alternative gives your dish a nutty and caramelized flavor.

Molasses

Your fruit-based baking should not stop if you find yourself out of egg wash or its other well-known alternatives. Using molasses will give you a similar flavor leaving behind a unique taste.

Golden Yolk

Any recipe that calls for a golden glaze, should definitely get it! Use golden yolk while making puff pastries and see the magic.

Custard Powder

A combination of custard powder and water can give your pastries the perfect finish, making them look appealing.

Ground Flaxseed

If you subscribe to a vegan diet and wish to avoid dairy as well, mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of warm water until it is thick. This flax paste will bind the breading or batter, and can also be used to apply some shine to pastries and dough.

Other Alternatives

If you want to try out more options, you can use aquafaba, agave syrup, and many butter substitutes like coconut oil, coconut butter, etc.

Knowing the best egg wash substitutes will help you stay cool in the kitchen, particularly if you love to bake but need to avoid eggs!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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