Every Home Cook Should Own a Pastry Brush—Here's Why

Plus, learn about the different varieties and shop a few of our favorite versions.

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basting skewers over grill with silicone brush
Photo: courtesy of williams sonoma

Used to brush egg wash on pie dough or puff pastry, seal the edges of ravioli or dumplings, or even brush a glaze or marinade on roasted meat, a pastry brush is an inexpensive but useful tool that home cooks and bakers should keep on hand. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in practicality. Ahead, we're explaining exactly how you can use this tool, plus what to look for when buying a pastry brush.

What Is a Pastry Brush?

A pastry brush is usually made with either a wood or plastic handle, and natural or silicone bristles. The handle can range in length and we recommend having both a short and longer pastry brush on hand for simple baking projects, as well as when you need to reach far into an oven to baste our Perfect Roast Turkey or tenderloin.

While a silicone pastry brush is more durable and dishwasher-safe (unlike a wooden pastry brush made with natural bristles), a pastry brush with natural bristles is more likely to create an even coating of egg wash, melted butter, or glaze without streaking.

How Is a Pastry Brush Used?

Generally, a pastry brush is used to brush egg wash on pie dough, puff pastry, or biscuits. It can also be used to brush a sweet glaze or simple syrup on a cake. Adding a pastry wash can help to create golden brown color on the crust, as well as seal in the sides of any formed pastry, such as these Apple Turnovers, to prevent the filling from leaking out. A pastry brush can also be dipped in water and used to brush sugar crystals off the side of a saucepan when making homemade caramel sauce or candy. If you want to brush grilled meats with barbecue sauce or a turkey with a butter and white wine sauce, use a silicone brush.

metal handle silicone pastry brush

Silicone Pastry Brush

The plastic material and larger bristles mean it's much easier to clean afterwards. This longer silicone pastry brush measures 9 3/4" long and can withstand temperatures up to 500°F.

Shop Now: Open Kitchen by Williams Sonoma Silicone Brush, $12.95, williams-sonoma.com.

wood handle pastry brush

Wooden Pastry Brush

Featuring a 5.5" wooden handle and 1.5" flat bristle brush, this pastry brush is perfect for glazing baked goods with icing or simple syrup, or brushing pie crust with egg wash before it bakes in the oven.

Shop Now: Winco Flat Pastry and Basting Brush, 1.5-Inch, $10.02, amazon.com.

Pastry Brush Set
Courtesy of Amazon

Tezzorio Pastry Brush Set

This set of wooden brushes comes in two sizes—1" and 1.5" inches. To avoid cross-contamination, particularly with raw egg, try using one brush for dry ingredients, such as brushing excess flour off of pastries, and the other for a water or egg wash.

Shop Now: Tezzorio Set of Two Pastry Brushes, $9.99, amazon.com.

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