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Egg Wash vs Butter Wash: 5 Differences You Need to Know

Baking is a delicate science.

Get the recipe right, and you’ll be rewarded with a lightfluffy cake or a flakygolden brown pastry.

If you don’t do it right, you’ll end up with a disaster.

There are a few key steps when it comes to getting the perfect flaky pie crust.

One of the things that can make all the difference is using the right wash for your dough.

But what exactly is an egg wash?

And how does it differ from a butter wash?

An egg wash is a mixture of egg and water brushed on the surface of the dough before baking.

This wash gives the dough a shiny, golden appearance.

butter wash is melted butter that is brushed on the surface of the dough before baking.

This wash gives the dough a rich, golden color.

It sounds simple enough, but different recipes call for different washes. 

So which one should you use?

Here’s a quick guide to help you decide.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at both egg wash and butter wash and the difference between them so you can decide which is right for you.

Egg Wash vs Butter Wash
The main differences between Egg wash and Butter wash are the texture, preparation, color, flavor, and cost. The egg wash gives baked goods a glossy, golden sheen with a crispier texture, while the butter wash gives baked goods a more even brown coloration with a tender texture.

What is an Egg Wash?

Egg wash is the most common type of wash used in baking.

It’s what it sounds like: a mixture of eggs and liquid (usually water, milk, or cream) that is brushed onto the surface of the dough before baking

This wash gives the dough a shiny, golden appearance.

The egg wash helps to create a crisp, golden brown crust on pies and pastries and also helps to seal in the fillings, so they don’t leak out during baking.

Egg washes also help to seal in flavor and prevent moisture from escaping.

The protein in the egg white creates a barrier that helps to keep the moisture in, while the yolk contains fat which helps to brown the crust.

It’s also great for adhering toppings like seeds or cheese to the surface of your bread or rolls.

Whisk together one whole egg and one tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. 

If you find that your egg wash is too thick, you can add another tablespoon of water.

If it is too runny, you can add another egg. 

When using an egg wash, use only cold eggs so that the fat in the yolks doesn’t melt and make the dough greasy. 

It is unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans, as it contains animal products.

What is a Butter Wash?

Butter wash is less common than egg washes, but they’re still used in some recipes.

It is similar to an egg wash, except that instead of using eggs, you use melted butter.

To make a butter wash, melt 1/4 cup of butter and whisk in 1/4 cup of milk. 

Allow the mixture to cool for a minute, so it doesn’t cook the egg when applied. 

Then, use a brush to apply the wash to the surface of the food.

As with an egg wash, evenly coat the entire surface

Butter washes are often used in recipes where an egg wash would make the dough too dense (such as with certain types of biscuits).

Like egg washes, butter washes help to create a crispy, golden brown crust on baked goods. 

When using a butter wash, use only clarified butter so that any milk solids don’t burn during baking. 

The downside of using butter wash is that it can make baked goods greasy. 

Butter wash is also unsuitable for people with dairy allergies or intolerances, as it contains Dairy products

What are the differences between Egg wash and Butter wash

When prepping food for baking, there are a few different ways to give it a nice sheen and color.

Two of the most popular methods are using an egg wash or a butter wash. 

But what’s the difference between the two?

Let’s take a closer look.

1. Texture

Egg wash is made with, you guessed it, eggs.

The egg wash gives baked goods a beautiful sheen and golden color.

It also helps seal the dough and prevents it from drying out during baking. 

The downside of egg wash is that it can make baked goods heavy and dense.

On the other hand, butter wash doesn’t add any extra moisture to the dough. 

This means butter-washed baked goods are less likely to become soggy or heavy. 

Butter wash also tends to burn quickly, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on your baked goods in the oven.

2. Preparation

Egg wash is simply a beaten egg (usually one egg mixed with a tablespoon or two of water) that is brushed onto the surface of unbaked dough.

This creates a shinygolden crust when baked.

Butter wash is made by melting butter and brushing it onto the surface of unbaked dough.

This also creates a golden crust but tends to be more evenly browned than egg-washed goods.

3. Color

Egg wash is going to give your baked goods a more uniform color. 

The egg whites reflect light, giving the dough a beautiful sheen.

On the other hand, butter wash will result in a more rustic-looking baked good.

The butter browns in the oven, creating darker patches and streaks of color.

4. Flavor

Because egg wash contains egg yolks, it will add a subtle eggy flavor to your baked goods.

Butter wash won’t add any additional flavor, so this is the way to go if you’re looking for a neutral-tasting wash.

5. Cost

Eggs are generally cheaper than butter, so egg wash will likely be the more budget-friendly option.

Egg wash vs butter wash: Are they the same?

Two primary schools of thought regarding washes for baked goods are egg wash and butter wash.

Both have pros and cons, and which one you choose ultimately depends on personal preference.


The egg wash helps seal the dough’s moisture, giving you a softer, more tender end product.

It also gives baked goods a lovely sheen and color. 

Egg wash can be used on most types of dough, including yeast bread, rolls, pies, pastries, and more.

Butter wash is best for already relatively tender doughs, like biscuits and scones.

The butter helps to create a crispier crust.

It also gives baked goods a nice flavor.


Egg wash can sometimes make baked goods too moist, leading to a gummy texture. 

It can also be challenging to get even coverage with egg wash, resulting in uneven browning.

Butter wash can make baked goods greasy if you use too much.

It can also be hard to control the amount of butter you use, leading to wasted butter (and money).

So both egg washes and butter washes can add flavor, texture, and color to your baked goods.

Consider the recipe you’re making and the desired outcome when deciding which one to use.

If you’re looking for a crispyflaky texture, go with a butter wash.

If you want a dish with a glossy sheen, go with an egg wash.

And if you’re looking for something in between, you can always use half butter and half eggs!

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