This article lists 12 different vegan egg wash substitutes, with an easy recipe listed at the end.
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Let’s start with the basics.
🥚What is egg wash?
When baking, some recipes call for the use of egg wash, which is usually beaten egg + liquid (either milk or water) which is used to brush over bread doughs prior (think pies) to baking to achieve a gorgeous golden browning on the finished product. Some recipes call for a full egg, egg yolk or egg whites to be used.
🥚Why use an alternative?
There are a few reasons why using an egg alternative might be important (the below list is not exhaustive);
- Egg allergies
- Diet restrictions such as vegan or plant based
- Health reasons - e.g., cholesterol, saturated fats, cardiovascular disease, diabetes etcetera
🥚What is an egg-wash substitute?
It’s basically any wash (liquid) that replaces the traditional method. However, for the purpose of this article, let’s talk about vegan egg wash substitutes. Which is a form of liquid, that is devoid of any animal products which can be topically applied to food products such as bread and pastries to give them a shiny glaze or browning effect.
The above picture is a great result of freshly baked vegan dinner rolls where I brushed on coconut oil.. The bread rolls came out golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Brushing - as mentioned previously, the liquids are brushed onto bread and pastries.
Gluing - used as a glue to help pastries stick together such as bonding two pastry edges (think pies) or helping toppings stick. For example helping sesame seeds stick to puff pastry, as per my Purslane pockets Lebanese bakleh.
Breading (crumbing), is the process of coating foods with bread crumbs. The substitute egg aids the bread crumbs to stick to foods. A simple method for this is to dip the food into flour, then the substitute wash, and finally into bread crumbs. This is suited for frying or baking, e.g., breaded tofu or jalapeño poppers.
🥚Egg Wash Substitutes
The following list was all tested on individual puff pastry strips.
Various oils such as vegetable, olive, coconut, rice, corn make a good substitute and result in nice golden coloring.
For thicker oils, try thinning out with a little bit of milk (mix in well)
Some oils might be stronger in flavor such as coconut oil, however, most oils are neutral in flavor.
My purslane puff pastry is brushed with olive oil or these vegan dinner rolls are brushed with coconut oil.
- Dairy-free milk
Dairy-free milk such as almond, soy, oat, and rice work well for baking and create a lovely light coloring and sheen.
Try unsweetened versions as sugar browns (quicker) when exposed to heat.
Yield a flavorless result.
Great for bread and pastries.
- Natural Sweeteners
Date syrup, agave nectar, carob syrup, rice malt syrup, molasses, golden syrup.
Can be diluted (1:1 ratio) with water or vegan milk to avoid over-browning.
Undiluted will yield a darker coloring, sticky, sweet, and shiny glaze.
Good for a sweeter type of baking.
- BBQ Sauce
For a savory type of bread/pastry - barbecue sauce is diluted in water.
Undiluted will yield a very dark brown coloring and is sticky.
A diluted version would work better, dilute with milk or water.
Good for pastries such as vegan sausage rolls, pastries, pies, and similar.
- Maple Syrup
This one is listed separately from natural sweetener as it’s thinner in consistency and can be mixed with a little bit of plant milk instead (2:1 ratio).
Undiluted will yield a sweet, sticky, and golden glaze.
Good for sweet baking.
The brine of chickpeas or beans. Can be used on its own as it’s light in flavor or can be mixed with a sweetener.
If used on its own it does result in not much of a difference to uncoated pastry, but the surface of the pastry brushed with aquafaba was smoother.
Check out some amazing uses of aquafaba recipe
Good for bonding
Virtually flavorless, a hint of nuttiness.
This resulted in a matt golden coloring, brushed surface slightly less bubbled.
Good for pastries.
- Flour suspension
This is flour mixed with water.
Not much difference between unbrushed puff pastry.
Great for breading/crumbing, but also good as a simple batter.
Simply mix flour with water to make a thick glue-like paste and then dip food into it.
For a breading example check out vegan jalapeno poppers.
- Vegan mayonnaise
Yielded a lovely golden sheen, left brush marks, which I didn't mind.
Some (thicker) vegan mayonnaises can be diluted with liquid (dairy-free milk or water) and then brushed on.
Good for pastries.
- Vegan Butter
Should be melted prior to use.
Creates a lovely golden color.
Buttery taste, not much gloss.
Great all rounder
- Flaxseed egg
Mixed with water - flaxseed meal comes in a dark and light version.
Will leave a residue, not visually appealing.
Flaxseed is good as an egg replacer rather than a wash.
- Maple syrup + dairy-free milk, or, rice malt syrup + milk
This yielded the best result with more even coloring, slight sweetness, nice sheen and glaze, and slight stickiness but not as much as just brushing on the sweeteners.
A basic 2:1 ratio can be used. Otherwise, find the ratio that works best for your type of baking.
Great for sweet baking.
I highly recommend you test out any vegan egg wash substitute before committing, this will ensure the best results are yielded.
The sweetness from any syrups used will yield a sweet result and may not be suitable for savory baked goods.
Sweet vegan egg wash substitute will caramelize and create a browning effect, this is from the sugar.
Hard oils should be melted before brushing onto goods before baking.
Below is an example of using aquafaba in the breading process, I made vegan gluten-free jalapeno poppers.
Traditionally when baking some recipes call for the use of egg wash. It is usually beaten egg + liquid (either milk or water) which is used to brush over bread doughs prior (think pies) to baking to achieve a gorgeous golden browning on the finished product.
Yes, for a basic vegan egg wash substitute use coconut oil or plant milk with a syrup such as agave or rice malt in a 3:1 ratio. E.g., 3 tablespoon almond milk + 1 tablespoon agave syrup. (this is a general rule of thumb)
Have you got a tried and tested an alternative? Please share it in the comment section below. If you're curious about veganism, check out this list of vegan documentaries for a better understanding.
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Vegan Egg Wash Substitute
- 2 Tablespoons Dairy free milk unsweetened
- 1 Tablespoon Maple syrup
- In a bowl combine maple syrup with dairy free milk.2 Tablespoons Dairy free milk, 1 Tablespoon Maple syrup
- Brush onto breads and pastries as needed.
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.
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