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How to Make an Egg Wash

Two Methods:Making an Egg WashAdjusting the Recipe

An egg wash is commonly used to brown and add shine to pastries and crusts, but it can also be used to seal or bind food. An egg wash is very simple to make, and it's easy to adjust the process to get the shade and shine you want for your baking project.

  • Total time: 5 minutes


  • 1 whole egg
  • 1-3 teaspoons milk, heavy cream, or water
  • Salt (optional)

Method 1
Making an Egg Wash

  1. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 1
    Decide if you are going to use water, milk, or heavy cream in your egg wash. If you are not interested in achieving a particular look, you can use any of the three you have on hand. Keep in mind it is the yolk of the egg that determines the shade and the gloss. The other liquids (including the egg white) are used to thin the yolk so it won't dry out your pastry and cause it to crack in the oven, and also to help you control the shine and shade of brown of your finished pastry.[1]
    • Water will make a less shiny (more of a matte), golden brown glaze. Adding water will make your wash extra flexible, and is good for things like bread that will expand a lot as they bake.[2]
    • Milk will add more shine, but otherwise will have a very similar affect as water.[3]
    • Cream will give your pastry a shiny, rich brown finish. It doesn't add as much give, so try to use it only on things that won't expand very much as they bake, like pie crust.[4]
  2. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 2
    Crack egg into a small bowl.
  3. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 3
    Whisk egg until well blended. Make sure the yolk is broken up and thoroughly mixed with the white.
    • Don't beat the egg too vigorously--you don't want the eggs to to become foamy.[5]
  4. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 4
    Whisk in milk, water, or heavy cream. Start with 1 teaspoon per egg used.
    • If you are glazing something that is going to expand quite a bit (like a pastry or loaf of bread that is going to rise significantly), mix in another 1-2 teaspoons of liquid. This will give your glaze a little more give and prevent cracking as the pastry expands.[6]
  5. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 5
    Use to brush on unbaked bread, pastry, or unbaked pie crust.
    • If you are glazing something in a pan, like pie or bread, try not to let the egg wash spill over or drip down between the crust and the pan. This could cause your pie or bread to stick to the pan and could damage your finished product when you de-pan it later.[7]
  6. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 6
    Bake as usual. If you have leftover egg wash that is not contaminated with raw meat or fish, you can cover the bowl and store it to make breakfast the next day.[8]

Method 2
Adjusting the Recipe

  1. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 7
    Increase the shine with egg yolk. Separate the white from the yolk. Whisk the yolk and add water (for a shiny, golden brown) or cream (for a shiny, deep brown). Discard the white (or use it to make an omelette).
    • A few dashes of salt can also thin the yolk, though not as much as the addition of another liquid. Egg yolk with a little salt will give you a shiny, golden brown finish.[9]
  2. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 8
    Make a crispier, pale surface with egg white. Separate the white from the yolk. Gently whisk the white and glaze the pastry using only the egg white.
  3. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 9
    Make a binding egg wash. This is a simple wash used to help one food adhere to another, like breadcrumbs on a chicken parmesan. In this instance, you would coat the chicken with flour, then dip it in the egg mixture, and finally cover the chicken with breadcrumbs.[10]
    • Use 1 whole egg and a dash of salt.[11]
  4. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 10
    Use an egg substitute. If you only have something like liquid Egg Beaters on hand, it's fine to use that as an egg wash. Don't add anything to the mix, it will probably already be pretty thin. Just go ahead and brush it on your pastry.[12]
  5. Image titled Make an Egg Wash Step 11
    Make a vegan substitute. If you need a wash so your vegan pastry still gets that shiny, golden brown look, try soy milk or olive oil.[13]

Things You'll Need

  • Whisk
  • Small bowl
  • Pastry brush to brush wash onto unbaked breads or pie crust.

Article Info

Categories: Egg Basics | Baking