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5 Best Pastry Brush Substitutes to Consider

Are you looking for a pastry brush substitute to make the perfect baked dish? Then you’re in luck.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the best alternatives for pastry brushes, so you can still create scrumptious treats without one.

You won’t believe which items can be used as a creative yet effective replacement.

What is Pastry Brush?

A pastry brush, also known as basting brush, is a kitchen above that is used to spread butter or oil on pastries, cakes, and various other foods.

It traditionally consists of a handle with bristles made from natural or synthetic fibers.

The bristles can be soft or stiff depending on the type of pastry brush being used.

This type of kitchen tool can be used for basting meat, applying egg wash to pastry doughs, greasing pans and more.

It works by spreading a thin layer of liquid ingredients such as melted butter or oil over the entire surface evenly and with precision.

Pastry brushes are available in many styles and materials with the most common being wood and plastic handles with either pig bristle brushes or nylon/silicone bristles.

Pig bristle brushes are preferred for baking applications because they are able to hold more liquid than their synthetic counterparts which makes them great for quickly spreading egg wash over larger areas without leaving gaps.

Plastic handles are ideal for recipes that require frequent cleaning due to their durability over wooden handles which can warp or crack if exposed to water for extended periods of time.

Using your pastry brush is easy.

Start by ensuring all ingredients you need are within reach before you begin prepping your food item so you don’t have to pause during use.

Also make sure that your pasty brush has been washed thoroughly before use in order to ensure no bacteria is transferred into the food by mistake.

When ready, carefully dip the brush into your liquid ingredient of choice such as butter and then gently run it across whatever you’re working on – repeating this process until you’ve evenly spread a desired amount of coverage across the entire surface.

After use simply rinse off any excess ingredient from the bristles using warm water – allow the pastry brush to dry naturally before storing it away again in its designated spot.

5 Best Pastry Brush Substitutes to Consider

While it’s beneficial to have a pastry brush available when cooking, there are other kitchen tools that can be used as substitutes in cases where the brush isn’t available.

Here are five great substitutes to consider when working with pastries and other baked goods:

1 – An Unused Paint Brush

One of the most common, and readily available, pastry brush substitutes is an unused paint brush.

Most households have a paint bush around at all times — which makes it a really convenient tool to use.

However, keep in mind you do need to make sure that the paintbrush is brand new and unused.

A paintbrush with any leftover paints might lead to adding unwanted flavors or colors in your baking process.

If you opt for an unused paint brush, select one that has natural bristles (such as boar’s hair) for best results.

The softer the bristles, the better your food will end up looking — and tasting.

2 – Towel or Paper Towel

Towels and paper towels can help you apply glaze to your baked goods and ensure even coverage.

To use a towel, wet the cloth and wring out the excess water.

Lay the damp cloth on top of your pastry.

If you opt to use a paper towel, saturate the paper with water before laying it onto your pastry.

Carefully dab or swirl the towel on top of the pastry in whatever pattern you choose–it must be done gently to get an even coverage.

For any glaze that is too thick to make contact with your pastries directly, mix a tablespoon of very hot water first for best results.

After applying glaze using this method, dab or swirl only once or twice as towel fibers may stick in larger amounts.

3 – Coffee Filters

Coffee filters, particularly those made of unbleached paper, can be great substitutes for pastry brushes as long as no linings, such as wax cores, are present in them.

These thin sheets also have more surface area compared to regular brushes that can help evenly distribute the liquid or glaze over a larger portion of baked goods.

To use them, simply dip the filter into the liquid and lightly brush it over your pastries with a gentle tapping motion.

Coffee filters work perfectly with glazes and rubs but may not be suitable for thicker coatings.

Make sure to use gentler strokes and avoid brushing multiple times using the same filter to prevent tearing and leaving marks on your final product.

4 – Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is an ideal substitute for a pastry brush when it comes to greasing pans or dishes.

You can quickly and easily spread out a thin layer of oil or butter using parchment paper.

Simply tear off a sheet of parchment paper and, using your fingers and thumbs, pull the sheet apart so that it’s divided into two thinner sheets.

Turn one sheet onto one side, fold into quarters and use this as your brush to apply oil or butter to whatever you’re baking.

Parchment paper is ideal because you don’t need any additional tools and it won’t absorb any of the oil or butter you use, unlike some alternatives like cloth or natural bristle brushes.

Parchment paper also has the added benefit of helping your cake release from the pan more easily once baked.

5 – An Unused Toothbrush

An old toothbrush can make a good substitute for a pastry brush.

It allows you to evenly spread glaze or egg wash with ease, but the main disadvantage is that it takes time to clean and sterilize an old toothbrush before each use.

In addition, it must be kept separate from new toothbrushes used in food preparation because of potential bacterial contamination.

If using an old toothbrush as a substitute, make sure to clean it thoroughly before using it.


Whether you are a professional baker or home cook, a pastry brush can make certain tasks easier.

It will help you spread an even layer of butter or oil onto bread and muffin tins, evenly glaze food items with egg wash, grease cake pans and help you create intricate frosted patterns on cakes or pastries.

But if your pastry brush is missing or not available, don’t despair; there are several effective substitutes that will help you achieve the same results.

While some may be easier to find than others, each substitute can provide satisfactory results when used correctly.

Ultimately, the only real way to know which substitute works best for your particular needs is through trial and error.

With so many inventive alternatives — from makeshift piping bags to kitchen sponges — the culinary possibilities are virtually endless.

5 Best Pastry Brush Substitutes to Consider

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – An Unused Paint Brush
  • 2 – Towel or Paper Towel
  • 3 – Coffee Filters
  • 4 – Parchment Paper
  • 5 – An Unused Toothbrush


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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