For that bakery-style sheen and golden color, egg wash is a must! Here’s how to give all your baked goods an instant upgrade.

Egg wash is one of those simple little baking tips that has a big payoff. Whisk together some liquid and egg, brush it onto breads and pastry before baking, and you’re rewarded with something that looks like it came straight from a fancy bakery.

Whisking egg wash in small bowl with fork
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I use egg wash to give my Baked Brie in Puff Pastry and Baked Goat Cheese and Honey Appetizer a shiny golden finish and to seal Easy Wonton Ravioli.

What Is Egg Wash?

Egg wash is a mixture of egg and milk, cream, or water. Although it can be used for sealing pastries (and dumplings or ravioli), it’s most common only used to add a golden color and glossy sheen to yeast breads (not quick breads!), crusts, pastries, and other baked goods.

Egg washes also seal in flavor and moisture by forming an outer layer that prevents steam and other liquids from escaping during baking.

You can make egg wash with whole eggs, egg whites, or yolks, and each yields slightly different results. The egg yolk adds a deeper color, while egg white forms a firmer crust that is less glossy. 

Do You Really Need Egg Wash?

Egg wash isn’t always necessary, but if you’re making a recipe that calls for it, it’s a good idea to use it! Otherwise, if you’re baking a recipe that does not need a browned, crisp, or glossy exterior, like a cake or muffins, you can skip the egg wash. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • Effortless – Whisk together an egg and a tablespoon of liquid, then brush it onto your baked goods. That’s it!
  • Golden Color – You’ll love the deep, rich golden color your baked goods get after baking with egg wash.
  • Glossy Sheen – Just like the pastries at a French patisserie!
Ingredients for egg wash: water in small bowl and egg

Ingredients and Substitutions

See printable recipe card for complete ingredients and instructions.

  • Egg – You’ll need one whole egg, or one egg white or one egg yolk.
  • Liquid – Water makes the crust crispier and darker, while milk or cream yield a softer crust, subtle dairy flavor, and more shine.
Overhead view of egg wash being whisked in small white bowl with fork

How To

  1. Combine – Crack the egg into a small bowl and add the liquid.
  2. Whisk – Mix together the egg and liquid until it’s frothy.

How to Use Egg Wash

Once you’ve whisked together your egg wash, here’s how to apply it:

  • Lightly brush the egg wash mixture over the top of the pastry or bread using a pastry brush.
  • Use only enough egg wash for a thin coating. You’ll have extra and that’s okay! Don’t try to use it all.
  • If desired, apply a second coating of egg wash 10 minutes before the baking time ends.


  • If you’re using egg wash to seal ravioli, crusts, or pastries, use only a small amount. Too much will have the opposite effect!

  • Don’t brush the egg wash onto your pastries and breads too far in advance. Instead, apply the egg wash just before you’re ready to pop them in the oven.

  • Be sure to clean the brush very well after using it to apply egg wash to prevent contamination.

Brushing egg wash over pastry-wrapped brie
Brushing egg wash over pastry-wrapped brie

Tools to Use

I like to use a silicone brush instead of one with bristles, as it’s easier to clean and sanitize after use.

How to Store

Refrigerate – Store leftover egg wash in an airtight container or jar for up to 3 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use milk or egg wash?

This depends on the desired effect. Egg wash will give the pastry a deeper golden hue while milk washes are usually more subtle visually, but add more flavor to the crust.

How can I do an egg wash without a brush?

If you don’t have a pastry brush, you can take the back of a spoon and dip it into the egg wash mixture. Then, gently spread the wash over your pastry. Another option is to use a paper towel to spread the egg wash over your pastry.

Should egg wash be just yolk?

Most egg washes are made with the whole egg, although you can use just the yolk if you’d like. An egg wash made with the yolk only will have a richer color.

More Kitchen Basics

Whisking egg wash in small bowl with fork
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Egg Wash

For that bakery-style sheen and golden color, egg wash is a must! Here’s how to give all your baked goods an instant upgrade.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
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  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water, milk, or heavy cream


  • Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl until the yolk is broken up and incorporated, and the mixture is frothy.
    Overhead view of egg wash being whisked in small white bowl with fork
  • Brush a thin layer of egg wash onto the top of yeasted breads, pie crusts, puff pastry, and other baked goods.
    Overhead view of egg wash being brushed over unbaked brie en croute on parchment-lined baking sheet

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