Egg Wash Substitute

When making specific bread and pastries, an egg wash is a must for that gorgeous golden brown and shiny finish. But what if you’re out of eggs? Or have an allergy that renders an egg wash a definite no-no

If you don’t have eggs on hand, there are many viable substitutes you can use. A crowd favorite is milk, as milk is typically combined with the egg to create a traditional egg wash. You can also slather on butter, or flavorless oils such as vegetable oil, or honey.

Hey! My name is Michelle, and if there is one thing I love, it’s baking. I’ve spent the last ten years perfecting my skills in the kitchen. And while I’d like to think I always have eggs on hand, sometimes I forget them during my grocery trips (oops).

That said, I have had to find many swaps for eggs for one recipe or another. And today, I’m here to share a few of my absolute favorite egg wash substitutes.

Egg Wash Substitute: Top 5 Picks

Although an egg wash is called an “egg wash” for a reason, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make do without the star ingredient. These top five substitutes will work like a charm and may even add some extra flavoring to your bread and pastries that are highly enjoyable.

1. Butter (Top Pick)

There are a few ingredients I love more than butter. I just can’t deny that irresistible richness, whether it’s on top of toast or mashed into a baked potato. 

It’s also my go-to for replacing egg washes (and sometimes I will use butter instead of an egg wash altogether, even with eggs in my fridge!).

Butter will enhance the overall flavor of your baked good, providing an undeniable richness and a perfectly golden-brown crust.

But be careful when using butter. If you use too much of it, it could end up soaking into your bread or pastry and causing an oily mess. So, be somewhat stingy with your application.

2. Milk (Runner-Up)

Traditional egg washes will mix an egg with milk or butter. That said, you can simply nix the egg altogether and opt for straight milk

The type of milk doesn’t matter much. I have used regular milk and almond milk with exceptional results. The benefit of using almond milk is that it provides a nutty flavor to your treat, which can really amplify the overall taste. It’s also a great vegan-friendly option!

3. Oil (Vegan-Friendly)

Although oil is a wonderful choice for vegans, it can be an excellent option for anyone. That’s because oil creates a superbly crunchy texture. So, if you’re like me and enjoy your baked goods with a bit more crunch, consider brushing oil onto your treats.

What kind of oil, you ask? Any oil will work like a charm. I recommend going with a flavorless option, like vegetable oil, to avoid altering the final flavor. However, you can also use olive oil for a healthier and more intense flavor or use coconut oil for a sweet twist.

4. Honey (Sweet Pick)

If you’re looking for an egg wash substitute that will up the sweetness of your baked treat, I definitely recommend using honey (or maple syrup). Honey will create a deep brown appearance and a caramelized crust bursting with a sugary flavor.

Keep in mind that honey can burn relatively quickly, so this is the best option for recipes with a short baking time. The alternative is to brush honey during the final minutes of baking to end up with the desired texture and taste without burning the tops of your goodies.

5. Flaxseed (Healthiest Option)

Are you on the hunt for an egg wash substitute loaded with nutrients? Then you might consider the powerhouse that is the flaxseed. Flaxseeds are packed with nutrients and are easy to work with. It’s a win-win situation!

To use flaxseeds as a replacement for an egg wash, you must create a “faux egg.” Don’t worry; it’s easier than you think. Just do the following:

  • In a bowl, add one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water.
  • Stir generously until combined.
  • Let the mixture sit for ten minutes
  • Brush the mixture on top of your treats

See? Super simple, and it’s even safe for vegan diets.


Who knew an egg wash substitute could be so easy? If you still want to learn more about this topic, check out these commonly asked questions.

Can I use olive oil instead of egg wash on puff pastry?

Olive oil can be a fantastic option for pastries! Not only does it create a desirable flaky texture, but the flavors will be more robust, too. If you’re worried about olive oil overpowering your pastry, you can easily use another kind of oil with ease.

Does puff pastry need egg wash?

Technically, you can make a puff pastry without an egg wash. Puff pastries contain enough fat to become golden and flaky on their own. But my thought is, why settle for less? An egg wash will promote your treat’s overall flakiness and flavor, so I always recommend using one.

What happens if you don’t egg-wash pastry?

While your puffy pastries may still taste great, there will be a noticeable difference, especially appearance-wise. The egg wash is responsible for creating a golden-brown shine on top of pastries. Without it, pastries can appear dull, dry, and unappealing.

Can I use Aquafaba as egg wash?

Aquafaba (chickpea water) is an excellent choice for replacing an egg wash. It will create the desired sheen and brown appearance, yet it is entirely flavorless so that it won’t disturb the flavor of your treat.

Final Words

An egg wash is crucial for specific bread and pastries, creating a beloved brown and shiny appearance. If you don’t have any eggs on hand, don’t panic! You can slather butter, milk (any kind), oil, honey, or a faux “flaxseed” egg on top and achieve the same results.

Have you ever used one of these egg wash substitutes? Which one is your favorite? Do you have one to add?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Dena

    Thank you! I always brush the top of scones with a beaten egg white but I started to make them before realizing I was out of eggs. I followed your advice and brushed them with the 2% milk I had. They came out just like they do when using the egg white.

    • Michelle

      Hi, Dena! I’m so happy to hear my solution worked for you. Enjoy your scones!