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What to Use Instead of a Pastry Brush

Pastry brushes are considered to be essential kitchen tools by many chefs. The pastry brush is used to coat foods with oils, egg washes, sauces, marinades, and glazes.

A pastry brush makes work easier in recipes where you want your final product to have a nice crusty, moist, or sticky finish

However, you shouldn’t sweat and worry if you cannot find yours or have never bought one. You can improvise a pastry brush substitute using various items readily available in your kitchen. They include:

Related: What to use instead of a pastry cutter.

What can I use Instead of a Pastry Brush?

A pastry brush can be substituted with leafy greens, paper towels, coffee filters, paintbrushes, a freezer bag, or your fingers.

Leafy Greens

Leafy green such as celery and lettuce can make a temporary substitute for pastry brush. These herbs are safe to use for sauces, marinades, or oils when basting veggies or meats.

You can use fresh vegetables from your garden and use them to brush your foods just like you would with a pastry brush.

Paper Towels

Paper towels come in handy in the kitchen in various ways. They are particularly perfect for basting foods with egg washes, melted butter, and oils.

Simply roll the paper into a small ball and soak it into the liquid you want to use and then rub it gently over the food that needs to be basted.

Make sure no small pieces of the paper if left on your food.

Coffee Filters

If you love coffee, you must have coffee filters in your kitchen. The filters are thin and therefore come in handy when dealing with thin liquids.

They are used like a kitchen towel only that it’s not thick and can tear easily

Unused Paint Brush

Paintbrush has similar bristles to a pastry brush. The shape is the same, and it’s, therefore, a good alternative if you do not have a basting brush in your kitchen.

However, it should be new, unused, and clean. A brush that has been used to paint is likely to have harmful chemicals, which can contaminate your food.

Also, make sure all bristles are firm because loose ones can get into your food.

Make sure to thoroughly wash your paint brush before using it on food.

Freezer Bag

This is one of the most straightforward pastry brush substitutes to use. You simply put your food in a freezer bag along with the basting liquid.

Seal the paper and shake them; be careful, especially with baking products, to avoid crumbling them. When done basting with a freezer bag, throw it away.


This sounds funny, but yes, you can use your fingers if you do not have a pastry brush. However, make sure your hands completely clean before you start working any food.

Drizzle the basting liquid with a spoon and then spread it with your fingers. However, this may not work when basting hot foods cooking over a grill.

Pastry Brush Substitute
Pastry Brush – What makes a Good Pastry Brush Substitute?

Frequently Asked Questions about a Pastry Brush

Do you need to have a pastry brush?

Yes, a pastry brush is good to have in the kitchen. It applies a thin coating on food to give a sticky, wet, or gooey finish with a fruit glaze, egg wash, melted butter, and sometimes just plain water.

It helps you carry out the basting process easily and efficiently on different foods, including porous, dry, crumbly, flaky, and delicate ones.

But, if you don’t have a pastry brush on hand, you can use one of the pastry brush substitutes above.

How is a pastry brush cleaned?

The best way to clean a pastry brush is by using your hands. Use hot water and dish detergent as you rub the bristles gently.

Remove all food particles lodged at the base of the brush and make sure it’s thoroughly clean. Rinse it with clean water, shake the excess water off, and leave it to dry.

How do you identify an excellent pastry brush?

The best brush is made of natural bristles. These may be boar bristles and they do a great job of having your basting liquid stick to them, making your job easier. Also, they will not harm delicate pastries.

Can you use silicone brushes?

Silicone pastry brushes are excellent because they come with firm strands that do not fall out easily. They are also the easiest brushes to clean, usually in the dishwasher.

One downside of silicone pastry brushes is that your liquid will tend to run right off of the brushes, meaning that you will get less basting done per swipe.

Also, strong silicone pastry brushes may damage delicate pastries. They are great for meat, however.


A pastry brush brush or a basting brush is an essential cooking tool used to glaze food. Most of them are made of soft natural bristles, but modern ones are made of silicone bristles.

But if you don’t have one, and find yourself asking what to use instead of a pastry brush, check out the solutions above.

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