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You’ll often see it called for when making pie, croissants, or rolls and if you’ve ever wondered how to do egg wash and which recipe is the best one, then you’ll want to read this post.

We are testing out all the different combinations of egg and milk and water to discover the BEST way to make egg wash for pie!

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beaten egg in bowl with pastry brush

What is Egg Wash?

Basically, it’s beaten egg either plain, or mixed with milk or water. You brush the wash over your pastry dough before baking so that it browns and gets nice and golden.

ingredients in egg wash - egg, cream, water

Egg Wash Ingredients

This is the question, right? Which recipe is better? That’s what we’re testing out today.

Here are the different ingredients you can use to make a wash for pie:

Egg: You can use a whole egg, egg yolk, or whites. You can even use egg beaters!

Milk: Whole milk, cream, half and half, nonfat milk can all be used, although I do not recommend nonfat milk.

Water: This is an option if you do not want to use milk.

How to make Egg Wash

Regardless of your ingredients, you’re going to do the same basic steps:

  1. Beat the egg, yolk or white.
  2. Add water or milk and beat with a whisk or fork.
  3. Use a pastry brush to brush lightly over your pie crust.
10 squares of baked pie crust with words

Which is best: Milk or Water or Plain Egg?

I did a test using several combinations:

  • Whole egg plain, with milk and with water
  • Egg yolk plain, with milk and with water
  • Egg white plain, with milk and with water
  • Plain Heavy Cream – no egg at all

You can see the results in the photo:

Egg White didn’t brown at all, whether mixed with water or milk.

The whole egg and egg yolk browned about the same, regardless of whether we used water or milk.

The heavy cream didn’t brown at all – so never use plain milk!

Which is best?

My recommendation is to use a whole egg or egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon milk/cream or water. Your choice!

Having the choice makes it easier because if you don’t want to separate eggs you can use the whole one. If you don’t have milk or are allergic, you can use water.


How do you store egg wash?

Chances are you’ll have some left over, so store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (if using milk) or 5 days (if using water).

Which is better milk or egg wash?

We can clearly see from the results that milk doesn’t brown at all, so egg wash wins!

When do you use egg wash or butter wash?

I use the egg when making pie or pastry, and I use butter wash when making yeasted recipes, like white bread or dinner rolls.

Ways to Use Egg Wash

Have you made this recipe?

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beaten egg in bowl with pastry brush

Basic Egg Wash Recipe

5 from 30 votes
This easy wash will help your pies and pastry get golden brown in the oven.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield 1 recipe
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 large egg or just the yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cream or milk or water
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  • Whisk the egg to break up the yolk. Whisk in milk or water.
  • Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the wash over your pie crustl.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

  • May substitute egg beaters for the egg.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 207mg | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 80mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 491IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
10 squares of baked pie crust with words on photo

Last Updated on May 20, 2022

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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