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The 5 Best Substitutes for Pastry Brush

Are you looking for an easy way to spread crust and fillings on your next treat? A pastry brush could be the answer.

These tools are great for adding ingredients to fruit tarts, turnovers, pies, and cakes.

But what about if you don’t have one? Don’t worry; there are several substitutes for pastry brushes that you can use in their place.

Depending on the job, some options are better than others.

Learn how to cook and use a pastry brush, plus find out our top five alternatives.

What is Pastry Brush?

A pastry brush is a simple kitchen tool used to spread oil, butter, sauce, and other liquids evenly over food.

It is an essential tool for any baker who wants to achieve beautifully glazed pastries.

This useful tool typically has soft bristles, which are made of natural animal hair like that of a boar or horse, or synthetic fibers that can withstand high temperatures.

Using it properly can be the difference between perfectly golden brown buns and averagely glazed ones.

To use one, simply dip the brush in a bowl of liquid ingredients like melted butter and lightly brush it on top of the desired food.

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Doing this will give your dishes an even finish with just the right amount of coating.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pastry Brush

If you’ve ever wanted to make the perfect flaky pastry crust or brush melted butter on top of cobblers and pies, you know that a pastry brush is an essential kitchen tool.

Unfortunately, not everyone has one lying around in their kitchen drawer.

But fear not.

Here are five clever alternatives to using a pastry brush.

1 – An Unused Paint Brush

A paintbrush is a tool with many – often underappreciated – use.

The untapped potential of an unused paintbrush can be surprising.

It is especially valuable in the kitchen.

From marinating meats to greasing pans, this humble tool can be used in place of costly pastry brushes.

For example, a simple amount of oil on the bristles of your paint brush works better than paper towels or sponges for spreading it thinly and evenly over your dish.

Additionally, the stiff fibers help ensure that oil and spices will stick firmly to food during the marinating process.

Paint brushes also offer versatility due to their low prices and ability to be reused, so they are not just a great investment but also an environmentally friendly one.

2 – Towel or Paper Towel

Towels and paper towels are some of the most versatile tools in any kitchen.

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Towel is generally made of cotton fabric, which provides great absorbency and softness.

Paper towels, meanwhile, are a cost-effective alternative that often comes pre-cut for convenience.

They come in handy when drying hands and dishes or cleaning up spills and messes quickly.

Not to mention their use as makeshift pastry brushes, where you can easily dip them into melted butter or oils and brush pastries for an extra glaze.

If you find yourself out of pastry brushes, try using paper towels instead.

Simply fold it until it’s small enough to fit inside the container with your melted butter or oil, then use a pair of tongs to remove the paper towel without burning your fingers.

Additionally, they are biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about leaving behind more waste than necessary.

3 – Coffee Filters

A coffee filter is a paper-like material used to brew coffee with the help of a percolator or a drip coffee maker.

This inexpensive and disposable product is available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes as unbleached filters made of natural materials or bleached dimensions made from synthetic polymer sources.

Coffee filters offer many advantages like easy handling while avoiding wastage of raw materials, better filtration of grounds and oils that can produce interesting flavors, and no-mess cleanup.

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Additionally, these filers are also ideal for those seeking to substitute pastry brushes for controlling oil or butter when baking – simply grab a sheet from the kitchen drawer, cut it into small strips and grease up any pastry accordingly.

4 – Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is an indispensable kitchen staple, limiting mess in the PANTRY and oven alike.

Made out of thin wax-treated paper, parchment paper allows for easy and mess-free baking.

Without having to clean murky muffin tins and excess cream cheese, work in the kitchen becomes much simpler.

Parchment paper also has nonstick properties, making it perfect for kneading dough – no flour residue needed.

Parchment paper can even take the place of a pastry brush when oiling a cake pan; simply use a sheet of parchment paper to rub on any oil or butter.

As if that’s not enough, parchment is so reliable you can reheat food without worrying about lingering flavors or questionable ingredients from store-bought liners.

So next time you want to bake like a pro but without all the fussiness, get yourself some parchment paper for that winning kitchen touch-up.

5 – An Unused Toothbrush

Every household typically has a few toothbrushes lying around that rarely get used.

An unused toothbrush can have many more uses than just cleaning teeth, such as prepping and highlighting foods.

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The bristles are perfect for a gentle, sweeping motion needed for brushing pastry dough with butter or egg wash, for example.

And since it’s the same size as a regular pastry brush, you don’t have to worry about other sizes or shapes from special kitchen brushes.

Furthermore, since most toothbrushes are made of nylon or plastic fibers, food won’t stick to them compared to natural bristle brushes.

Finally, an even distribution of egg wash is guaranteed thanks to the longer and stiffer bristles found in a typical toothbrush.

You won’t need expensive kitchen equipment to get professional-level results.


In conclusion, pastry brushes are a convenient kitchen necessity, but when they are not available, there are plenty of substitutes that can help you achieve the same results.

Whether it be an unused paintbrush, paper towels, coffee filters, parchment paper, or even an unused toothbrush lying around the house – baking with these alternatives is a breeze.

Get creative and try them out next time you’re in the kitchen.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pastry Brush

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pastry Brush
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • An Unused Paint Brush
  • Towel or Paper Towel
  • Coffee Filters
  • Parchment Paper
  • An Unused Toothbrush


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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