Egg wash is a mixture of egg white or yolk beaten with water, milk, or cream. It’s a popular ingredient usually brushed over baked goods to impart a rustic texture and color. You can also use it to seal edges and provide a substrate for breading to stick to. Egg wash is a crucial ingredient for giving baked goods that magical finish. But no one’s a stranger to an abrupt shortage of eggs in the fridge.
To save you a trip to the store, here is a curated list of ingredients you can use as an egg wash substitute.
Egg wash is typically made by beating eggs with water or milk. However, full-fat milk or cream on its own can also work well to provide baked goods with a delicious exterior and glazing. Milk can recreate the color that eggs give without adding any unwanted flavor.
Make sure you use an unsweetened and 3.5% fat variety of milk. Sugar in milk can make baked goods brown faster when exposed to heat. If you want to give your baked goods flavorful glazing, you can mix some honey or artificial flavoring into the milk. You can expect milk or cream to provide a solid crust browning but it won’t give your baked goods that regal bakery shine.
#2. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil is an excellent vegan alternative to the egg wash, especially if you’re aiming for a crunchy finish. If not vegetable oil, there are many other options, such as olive oil or coconut oil. Any cooking oil can do the trick.
If you’re using a thick oil, remember to thin it down with water before applying it. You may also need to adjust the baking time shown in the recipe. Oil cooks much faster than egg wash, but unlike milk, cooking oil will give you that classic golden hue.
#3. Melted Butter
Melted butter gives the final product a light crispy texture, good browning, and an excellent flavor. A lot of traditional recipes for baked goods like lasagna will tell you to grease the pan with butter before adding the contents for baking. Butter also improves the flavor of the bread, which is why it’s often added to toast.
Butter will complement most baked dishes well so there are no concerns when it comes to flavor. The only problem is butter has a tendency to soak, so if you use too much, it may prevent the dough from rising.
#4. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup would be the best egg wash substitute for desserts and confections like muffins, cupcakes, cookies, or pie. It gives baked goods a rustic brown appearance and a delicious, sweet vanilla taste.
And as for its efficacy as a bonding or frying agent, maple syrup can do both. It provides a sticky surface for the breading to stick to and gives the final product a crunchy texture.
Maple syrup is quite viscous, so you might want to water it down a bit before applying. It’s also high in sugar content, which is something to keep in mind if you’re calorie-conscious.
#5. Malt Syrup
Malt syrup is a top-notch alternative to egg wash for baking bread delights and is used widely in the food and beverage industry as a natural sweetener. It’s a staple ingredient in bagels, pretzels, and a variety of bakery products.
The consistency of malt syrup is similar to honey so you might need to thin it down with milk or water first. If it’s not easy to spread, you won’t be able to give your baked dish an even coating. Malt syrup gives baked goods a nutty and caramelized flavor. It has a mellow sweetness compared to maple syrup so it can pair well with sweet and savory dishes.
Mayonnaise works particularly well as a substitute for egg wash for savory recipes, especially fried chicken. It’s not surprising when you consider most brands of mayonnaise contain egg, although there are some vegan options available if you want to avoid eggs.
While using mayonnaise to coat baked goods will get you the finish you’re looking for, it can add an unwanted taste. It is better to use mayonnaise only to coat the type of foods you would normally eat with a mayo-dip. It’s not an ideal substitute for egg wash if you’re using it to glaze sweet desserts or pastries.
#7. Soy Milk/Rice Milk
Soy or rice milk is not a conventional choice for glazing baked goods; however, they work almost as well as milk or cream and almost as well as an egg wash. It’s preferable to use soy or rice milk as a bonding agent for dough rather than glazing because they don’t help to add crispness to the texture.
Soy milk and rice milk can bake goods to a warm golden color when exposed to heat. They also add a nutty flavor that complements sweet dishes really well. And it’s suitable for vegans.
#8. Custard Powder
A combination of custard powder and water can give your baked goods a perfectly smooth and shiny finish. Dilute equal parts of custard powder with water and stir into a paste. Use a pastry brush to apply this paste evenly to the surface of your baked goods.
Custard powder won’t add much in terms of crunchiness, but it does add a fruity sweetness that would go perfectly with cupcakes, muffins, or pastries.
#9. Ground Flaxseed
Ground flaxseed is another suitable vegan alternative to egg wash that can act as both a bonding agent and shiny coating. Just remember, ground flaxseed comes in a dark and light version. They may vary in flavor, so pick the one that best compliments your recipe.
To make the wash, mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of warm water and let it rest until it starts to thicken. Once it’s thick, you can spread it over the food with a pastry brush or grease your baking pan with it.
Aquafaba is the pasty white liquid that emerges from simmering chickpeas in water. You can make it at home easily, and it’s compatible with vegan diets.
It provides good browning and is virtually flavorless, so there’s no need to worry about the taste. If you like, you can still add some sweetener to the aquafaba. It will retain and add the taste to your final product after being baked.