Egg Wash Substitutes for Vegetarians and Not Only

There are several reasons why you look for egg wash alternatives. You may need it if you have allergies from eggs or you are on a vegan diet. Others may consider their health issues and avoid using egg products. 

Whatever your reason, we are going to provide you with a list of best vegan substitutes as well as substitutes for frying.

Beaten eggs mixed with water or milk provide us with egg wash. This is an essential substance in bakery and for frying. If you are a vegan baker, then you may prefer using alternatives of egg wash to keep your dishes appealing and tasty.

The main functions of egg wash are as follows: emulsifying, stabilizing the crusty texture of a baked dish, providing color and an esthetic touch.

Vegan Egg Wash Substitutes

1. JUST Eggs / Plant-Based Eggs

JUST eggs are plant-based eggs sold in common stores. They are used as egg alternatives in almost all recipes calling for chicken eggs. So, you can use them as vegan egg wash and get the same result as you get with chicken eggs. 

2. Dairy-Free Milk: Soy Milk, Rice Milk or Almond Milk

If you neither use eggs nor dairy products then choose dairy-free milks such as soy milk, rice milk or almond milk as egg wash alternatives. They will provide your dishes with a golden caramelized color and nuttines. 

Dairy-free milks are quite suitable for vegan diets. Avoid using sweetened and flavored milk for deep frying poultry and other meats as the taste won’t be pleasant. Almond milk will also add an almondy nutty flavor to baked goods. 

3. Veggie Oils

The choice of veggie oils is quite wide and you are free to choose the one that best goes with your recipe. Vegetable oils can make your dough look fresh and shiny. Try to use flavorless oils such as sunflower oil or olive oil. They will provide a bakery with a golden brown color and a crusty texture. You can also use coconut oil and canola oil. Vegetable oils are also perfect for frying. 

Slightly brush oils on dishes or pastry and avoid over-greasing so as not to make them burn. Also, keep in mind that oil is not a good option if you are looking for a binding substitute for egg wash. 

4. Sweeteners: Malt Syrup, Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup or Molasses

It is quite acceptable to use natural sweeteners instead of egg wash in a bakery. Between them the most popular alternatives are malt syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup and molasses.

They bring a golden color, crustiness and they make dough look appealing. These liquid sweeteners add a pleasant taste and flavor. 

Choose the option that compliments your personal taste. They are again vegan-friendly substitutes for egg wash. The only disadvantage of these alternatives is that they can’t be used in savory dishes.  

5. Corn starch

Corn starch is a good option if you want to add gloss to the surface of baked goods. However, they may not be a good match for binding. 

It is basically used in frying as it has the ability to absorb moisture and make the dish as crispy as possible. If you decide to use it in a bakery, then it’s better to add it at the end of baking instead of adding on before baking. 

6. Plant-Based Butter

Plant-based butters are actually dairy-free and gluten-free butters produced by plant-based oils. If you have, for example, coconut butter on hand, then you can melt it and use it instead of egg wash. 

Coconut butter is amazing especially for sweet baked goods. It offers a pleasant coconutty flavor. 

Try to use any melted butter in small amounts in order to avoid over-greasing and moisturizing the dish. If you want to use a plant-based butter for savory dishes, then choose an option that’s flavorless or at least suitable for your recipe in its taste and flavor. 

7. Seeds: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds

We usually use seeds as dressing for buns, muffins and biscuits but few of us know that they can be used as egg wash replacers too. In this case chia seeds and flax seeds are the best alternatives. 

You can mix some ground flax seeds with water and there you go with an excellent replacer of egg wash. 

As for chia seeds, they tend to swell in size and become kind of gelatinous when mixed with water. This texture allows them to replace egg wash. 

8. Aquafaba

Aquafaba is the liquid of soaked chickpeas or canned chickpeas. We often see it between egg substitutes as it looks like beaten egg whites when mixed or whipped. 

This is a great binding agent for doughs. You can even mix a sweetener with aquafaba if you want to use it with sweets.  

You can brush aquafaba directly on the pastry and then bake. It will become golden brown. Now, as you know how useful this liquid is, you can reserve it whenever you open canned chickpeas. 

Egg Wash Substitutes for Frying

9. Mayonnaise

People who are not on a diet and don’t mind using dairy products, can consider other alternatives of egg wash too such as mayonnaise. 

It best goes with deep frying and you can brush it all over poultry. If you decide on making chicken wings, then you can again use mayonnaise instead of egg wash. 

You can either mix it with milk or cream or just brush on the dish and dip into flour, then fry. If the mayonnaise is too thick, you can dissolve it with a little amount of milk or water.

10. Yogurt or Kefir (Matzoon)

Yogurt or kefir are great for oven-fried dishes. They go well with meats and baked goods. While yogurt may be thicker than kefir, you can mix them in order to get a well-balanced substance. Then you can brush that mixture on the dish before baking or cooking (or in the middle of it).

In some cases, chef cooks recommend using dairy products at the end of the cooking process if the dish is oven-fried or grilled. 

In order to act right, you’d better orinatitate by cooking time. If it’s a slow-cooked dish, then add at the end. If it’s a faster-cooked dish, then use this substitute before cooking like egg wash. 

Personally, I prefer Matzoon, an Armenian version of kefir. You can find it in many Armenian stores in the US.

11. Oil: Vegetable Oil, Coconut Oil, Canola Oil, Olive Oil

Oil is one of the most popular ingredients in frying. If the dish you are going to fry requires egg wash, you can safely substitute it with oil.

Oil will maintain the crunchiness of your dish even if you don’t use egg wash in the recipe. 

12. Melted Butter

As for melted butter, it works well with oven-fried dishes.  This is an amazing replacer for egg wash both for sweet and savory dishes. You can use it in baking, cooking and grilling. It’s also easy ,and you can always consider it for baked goods, grilled meats and fish.

Avoid overusing butter as you may end up with a greasy or burnt dish. 

13. Milk

Vegans already know what milks to use instead of egg wash. As for people who use both vegan and dairy products, they can easily go for any kind of milk as a replacement for egg wash. 

Milks keep the dish moisturized and provide it with the desired golden brownish color and crusty surface. If you also have cream on hand, then it’s better to mix these two ingredients for a better result. 

Other Substitutes for Egg Wash

14. Honey

And here are 2 other good alternatives to egg wash. Honey is a natural sweetener and it can make any sweet pastry shine with a fresh glaze as well as make it more delicious. Honey is not a vegan product but you can find vegan honey too; they are actually plant-based sweeteners.

15. Sugar + Water Syrup

Finally, there is something too easy to use instead of egg wash. It’s a syrup made of sugar and water. Again, you can use it in sweet dishes. This substitute is used with buns, biscuits and other baked goods. 

It serves as a moisture-retaining agent and makes the dough shine with an appealing reddish hue after it’s baked.  

FAQs on Egg Wash

What is the aim of using egg wash?

Egg wash is a beaten whole egg, egg white or egg yolk. It is basically used in baking when you want to seal the edges of the pastry together, add color and shine and enhance the appealing appearance. 

Is egg wash optional?

If you decide to bake your pastry without egg wash then you’ll end up with a pale bakery. That is to say, it will look unfinished. Besides giving it a golden color and a crusty texture, egg wash also moisturizes the dish. 

There are many alternatives for egg wash to use in case you don’t have egg wash on hand. 

How to make egg wash?

Crack one egg in a bowl. Add the liquid according to your preferences (water, milk, cream etc.), whisk to combine and brush on the food. If you like, you can separate the yolk from the white and use one of them instead of the whole egg. 

Final Notes

When you use one of these substitutes, try to choose suitable products for your dish. Substitutes that go well with sweet dishes may not work well with savory dishes. Try different methods and share your experience with us. 

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