15 Surprising Egg wash substitute ideas and When to use them!

Egg wash is a mix of eggs and water that is popularly brushed on top of breads and pastries to give it a very golden brown shine and crispy texture. If you have wondered why those pastries you find in your favorite bakery looks so crunchy and shiny, now you know. Another use of egg wash is for helping things stick to it. So if you are trying to sprinkle sugar, salt, nuts or even bread crumbs, egg wash helps in acting as a glue.

An egg wash substitute is designed to replace the egg wash for glazing bread, pies and pastry items while giving the shiny texture and crunch of the traditional egg wash. This article mentions 15 possible alternatives to egg wash, including few vegan egg wash options!

bread glazed with egg wash substitute2

Egg Wash Substitute

Lets go through different egg wash substitute options. We have tried our best to include the pros and cons of each substitute. Try it out and let us know what you think of each of them.

1. Milk

As simple as that sounds, yes, milk can be used as a substitute for egg wash. It leaves a crispy golden color but does not give off a good shine. Its a good option if you are looking for better texture over visual appeal.

2. Melted butter

Melted butter is widely used as an egg-wash substitute for dinner rolls, roasting whole chicken (such as rotisserie chicken) and pastries in general. We used vegan butter for this Blueberry Galette and Star Bread recipe. It does give alight crispy texture and improve the taste as well, but you need to be careful about how much you use. Use it too much and the dough really soaks it up and prevents it from rising, which is the last thing you want to happen to the dough you worked so hard on.

3. Rice milk, almond milk, soy milk

These leave behind a golden caramelized color. Its not used as often as other egg-wash alternatives but still works for vegan diets. If you use the almond milk, it could leave a nutty flavor, so it might not be appetizing for everyone and it goes without saying if you allergic to almond or soy then this would not be a good option as well.

4. Oil

Depending on the type of vegetable oil you use, the flavor will differ, but in terms of the texture, it still yields a crunchy result and a decent shine as well. If you are looking to sprinkle any salt, sugar or anything else on top, then oil will not give you the best result. It is not as sticky as egg wash, almond milk or water. We used olive oil for this Focaccia as well as Challah recipe.

5. Honey/Maple syrup

This is another good option for giving a brilliant deep golden shine and crunch, thanks to the caramelizing of the sugar in the honey and maple syrup. It goes without saying, it does not go well with savory stuff, unless you like that blend of taste.

Since there is sugar present, you can easily burn it in an oven. So best time to apply the wash would be towards the final few minutes of the baking and keep a close eye on it.

These can burn very quickly in a hot oven. So it’s best used with quick recipes with short baking time. Alternatively, use them towards the end of the baking time.

6. Mayonnaise or Vegan Mayonnaise

Mayonaise can work as a substitute for egg wash for savory food. First time I came across this was in Mumbai where mayo was spread on sandwiches on the outside before toasting it and it was awesome! So this is definitely a good contender as one of our egg wash substitutes. It does not yield the same golden brown shine. To use as a wash, mayo needs to be thinned out by adding milk or water.

bread glazed with egg wash substitute

7. Yogurt

Yogurt that has been thinned out with water and be used as a good substitute for egg wash if you are looking to cover food in breadcrumbs before frying/baking it. Similar to egg wash, you can dip your chicken, fish or anything else in yogurt, smother with breadcrumbs and fry it. Yogurt helps in binding the breadcrumbs and keeps the food juicy and moist.

8. Malt Syrup

While not seen as often as other egg wash substitutes, malt syrup can be used to give a give a glaze while roasting meat such as pork. Malt syrup is thick, so if you are using on pastry, you might want to thin it down with water and use a brush for applying it on pastries.

9. Molasses

Molasses is formed as a result of refining sugarcane into sugar. This viscous syrup goes best with baking that includes fruits. It also goes well with ham or salmon (in this case you use medium or dark molasses). For any kind of baking, like while baking scones, use light molasses for glazing.

10. Custard Powder

Though not used as common as other egg wash substitutes, custard powder and water is another combination that can be brushed on pastries to get a smooth lustrous finish. To get the custard wash, mix equal proportions, by volume, of water and custard powder. So for 1 tbsp of water, use 1 tbsp of custard and so on.

11. Aquafaba

Aquafaba, also called as chick pea water, is the starchy liquid you find in canned chick peas. This liquid can be used to give a slight golden hue and shine when applied on pastries. To do this, first brush the pastries with a light coat of aquafaba and follow it with a coat of non-dairy milk.

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12. Cream

Heavy cream is a really good option for giving a good golden brown color to pastries. We used this in our Cheddar & Chives Scones as well as for our Blueberry Scones and got awesome crunchy results. With cream, the ideal pastry would be something that does not rise or expand a lot. So pies, tarts (like this fruit tart) and scones are a good fit. The high fat content in the cream results in the shine and the natural sugar present in it gives it the golden brown color.

13. Fruit Glazes

While fruit glazes add a definite sweeter and sometimes tangier taste, it still serves as a good substitute for egg washes. Plus, its so easy to make with any type of fruit!

To prepare this, add fruit pulp (or fresh fruit in case of berries) and sugar in a sauce pan of medium heat and wait for the sugar to melt completely. In cases of berries, you will see the berries burst and release its juices to give a liquid mix.

Now add the mixture to a cooled combination of water and unflavored gelatin and mix well. It should start thickening to give you a good syrup that can be used as a glaze. It will need to be used quickly since the gelatin will cause the liquid to form a crust.

14. Flour + water

Simply making a mix of water and flour can act as a good batter for coating and deep frying food. After using as a coating, you can even sprinkle other ingredients on it, as the flour + water mix will be sticky enough to hold it in place before frying or baking. This won’t yield the same golden brown color like when you use egg wash or some of the other substitutes.

15. Ground Flaxseed

Ground flaxseed, also called flax meal, can be mixed with water (1 tbsp flaxseed with 2 tbsp of water) and set aside for 5 minutes to get ‘flaxseed egg wash’ which can be pasted on to pastries. The mix is also popularly used as whole egg substitute in vegan baking.

Commonly Asked questions

Is egg wash necessary?

Egg wash is not a necessary step in baking but using egg wash or egg wash alternates does add a visual appeal to the bread or pastry and gives it a nice shiny, finished look and good crunch.

Why replace egg wash?

While egg wash yields the best visual appeal, it may not be the best option for everyone. People who are vegetarians, vegans or those who are allergic to eggs may prefer to use egg wash alternatives . Some of them yield as good a result as the actual egg wash and most of the replacements can be made with ingredients from the average person’s pantry without having to hunt down any rare ingredients.

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15 Egg wash substitue

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7 thoughts on “15 Surprising Egg wash Substitute Ideas and When to use them!”

  1. Wow – so many options. I’ve heard of a few of these before but quite a few were a complete surprise. I’m definitely going to try the mayonnaise idea, I love the sound of that.

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