Few food condiments are as divisive as mayonnaise, which people either absolutely love or totally hate. But even if you don’t love to glom mayonnaise all over your food, its turns out it can be a great swap for egg wash. Random, right?
Not necessarily. According to food writer Claire Lower, who one day found herself short a few eggs while cooking a broccoli stem tart, substituting mayonnaise for egg wash is a great fix if you’ve found yourself in a bind. (Pun intended!) “The emulsion of egg, oil, and vinegar can do wonders as a (virtually undetectable) ingredient,” she argues for why to try the mayo route. She describes the mayo’s taste as “undetectable.” TK
Admittedly I was skeptical when I first read Lower’s trick (I’m definitely not usually a mayo fan in my normal cooking life) but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. While you’ll never catch me using mayo in large quantities, it can taste good when it’s spread thinly on bread for a grilled cheese sandwich in place of butter or on similar dishes. I thought, why not see if it can give the same great taste?
I had some DIY pizza crusts lying around my fridge, so whereas I normally spread some egg wash on the outer edges before popping the loaded pizza in the oven, I decided to test out what a thin layer of mayo instead. It ended up looking identical to a typical egg wash, and I didn’t notice any issues when the crust was cooking. When I finally took a bite, I could taste only a slight tanginess that normally didn’t exist with my pizza crust. All in all, I didn’t mind it and would probably use it again in the future! Other than that, it seemed to work in terms of being an easy swap for a little extra flavor and convenience. After all, you won’t have to waste an entire egg like you do with a traditional wash, and you can brush the layer of mayo on as is without having to add anything to it. TK
Obviously, there are some recipes that I wouldn’t use this on; I don’t think mayo would necessarily go great spread over an apple pie, for instance. However, I’m willing to give it a shot with any dish that’s more savory in taste. (And I actually want to test this out on something like dinner rolls for a burger!) It’s a great minor boost of flavor that requires no additional effort. TK