How to Make Egg Wash and Bake Like a Total Pro

Mary Berry would be so proud

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

how to make egg wash: pumpkin brioche
Photo: Christine Han/Styling: Erin McDowell

After binging every season of The Great British Baking Show, you’ve opted to channel your inner Mary Berry by whipping up some delicious homemade pastries. But as you’re looking over the recipe, you notice that it calls for egg wash. Luckily, you have eggs, but um, what exactly are you supposed to do with them? Read on to find out how to make egg wash for all your baking needs.

77 Easy, Fun Things to Bake When You’re Bored and Craving Something Sweet

Meet the Expert

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience working in New York City restaurants. After more than five years of writing about all things food, she can tell you which cutting boards are worth your money, the easiest way to chop an onion and exactly how to make the best chocolate chip cookies of your life.

how to make egg wash: bowl of egg shells next to a bowl of egg wash with a whisk in it
Kseniya Sharapova/Getty Images

What Is Egg Wash?

Egg wash is a mixture of beaten eggs and some liquid—either water or milk—that is brushed onto baked goods, like pies and pastries, before baking. "I've found that browning is less about how much liquid you use and actually more affected by type of liquid—so you can make an egg wash with water, but also milk or cream," explains Gillen.

She suggests adding a pinch of salt to your egg wash to give it more flavor as well. This can also "help denature the proteins in the egg, making it more fluid and therefore much easier to brush evenly and gently over delicate doughs," according to America's Test Kitchen.

For a lighter tint on treats like scones or biscuits, Gillen suggests using egg whites and liquid. For a darker hue on treats like brioche or pie crust, she recommends using egg yolks and liquid instead, or substituting the water for milk or cream. (You could even skip the liquid entirely if you want a very dark shine.)

That said, if you're out of eggs, you can just use dairy on its own. "I brush milk or cream on crusts and scones instead. Or, if I do use an egg wash, I’ll save it and add it to scrambled eggs the next day," says King Arthur Baking Company's staff editor Jessica Battilana.

What Is the Point of Egg Wash?

Egg wash adds a pretty sheen to all sorts of baked goods, ranging from dinner rolls to apple pie. It gives dough a golden hue that's both appetizing and Insta-worthy. (Seriously, how good does this pumpkin brioche look?) It also keeps the crimped or sealed edges of dough together for certain recipes, like empanadas or these easy toaster pastries. Bonus? It helps sugar and spices stick to dough.

how to make egg wash: egg wash being whisked in a glass bowl
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

How to Make Egg Wash

  1. Crack one egg into a bowl. Beat it well with a fork.
  2. Add one to two tablespoons of liquid to the egg. Stir until combined. Gillen suggests mixing equal parts egg and liquid to make brushing it on as easy as possible.
  3. Brush on the egg wash. Use a pastry brush to apply the mixture to dough, then bake and marvel at your star baker skills.
how to make egg wash: croissant dough being brushed with egg wash
Helios4Eos/Getty Images

A Note on Pastry Brushes

The brush used for applying egg wash should be thoroughly cleaned before being used for anything else (it did touch raw egg, after all). The best way to do this is to wash the brush with cold water immediately after applying the egg wash; hot water will cause the egg to coagulate and make the bristles stick together. 

After rinsing it in cold water, wash and sanitize the brush in hot water. If that sounds like too much work, use a silicone pastry brush instead, or try this clever trick for making a pastry brush out of parchment paper.

img 0936

Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...