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What do you brush rolls with before baking?

Baking rolls from scratch is a delicious undertaking, but there are a few key steps to ensure your homemade rolls turn out light, fluffy, and golden brown. One important step is brushing the unbaked rolls with some type of liquid before popping them in the oven. But what exactly should you brush your unbaked rolls with? Here’s a look at some of the most common options.

Egg Wash

Brushing unbaked rolls with an egg wash is one of the most popular choices. An egg wash helps rolls develop a beautiful golden brown exterior and adds a subtle glossy sheen. It’s easy to make an egg wash – simply beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water or milk until combined. Use a pastry brush to gently brush the egg wash evenly over the tops of unbaked rolls before baking.

Melted Butter

Melted butter is another excellent option for brushing rolls before baking. It adds rich flavor and helps the rolls develop a deliciously golden crust. Melt a few tablespoons of unsalted butter and use a pastry brush to brush it over the tops of rolls right before baking. Make sure to brush evenly so the melted butter coats the entire surface area.


Plain milk is also effective for brushing on unbaked rolls. The milk proteins and sugars undergo a reaction during baking that promotes browning. Simply dip a pastry brush in milk and evenly coat the tops of rolls before popping them in the oven. Milk creates a subtly sweet flavor and beautiful golden color.

Egg and Milk Combination

You can also combine milk and egg to create a brushing liquid for rolls. Simply beat 1 egg with 1-2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Brush the egg-milk mixture over rolls before baking for enhanced browning and a tender, moist texture.

Olive Oil or Melted Butter with Herbs

For added flavor, try brushing rolls with a combination of olive oil or melted butter mixed with dried herbs before baking. Options like rosemary, thyme, oregano, or Italian seasoning blend nicely with olive oil or butter. Simply combine 2-3 tablespoons of melted butter or olive oil with 1 teaspoon dried herbs of your choice. Brush over rolls for an aromatic and flavorful touch.

Honey Butter

For a deliciously sweet topping, you can brush rolls with honey butter before baking. Simply mix 3 tablespoons of melted butter with 1 tablespoon of honey until smooth. Brush the honey butter over rolls for a caramelized, crunchy exterior with a hint of sweetness.

Sugar Syrup

A simple syrup made from equal parts sugar and water can also create a lovely sheen and hint of sweetness on homemade rolls. Bring 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Brush the syrup over roll tops just before baking for a shiny, candied exterior.


From beaten eggs to herb-infused butter, you have ample options for brushing your homemade rolls before baking. Coating the rolls provides moisture, enhances browning and caramelization, and adds tasty flavors. For beautiful, golden rolls with scrumptious textures and tastes, take a few minutes to brush them with one of these liquids prior to sliding them in the oven.