Elevate Your Pan-Fried Dishes With This Easy Egg Wash Swap

Do you know what doesn't get enough credit? Egg wash. The simple whisking of an egg or two in a bowl yields a beaten egg and nothing more; But when brushed on meats, the corners of hand pies, and atop pastries, egg wash quickly works its magic, transforming their otherwise dull hues into golden-browned goodness during the baking, frying, or roasting process (via Cook's Illustrated).

Sometimes the egg is combined with a liquid such as water, milk, or heavy cream, while other times it's left to coat meats used for fried chicken and pork schnitzel without any additions whatsoever. The finished taste and color of such dishes may also vary depending on which of the above routes you take, especially when it comes to baked goods like bread. For instance, using a beaten egg on its own will yield a shinier crust when compared to an egg and water mixture, which instead encourages browning.

But sometimes, the fridge or the nearest grocery store is fresh out of eggs. Rather than ordering takeout, you can reach for the following condiment and be well on your way to the beef wellington of your dreams.

Approved by a Food Network star

Once upon a time, Food Network's Alton Brown didn't have any oil or butter on hand to make a pan-fried steak dinner. So naturally, he put on his creative cap, marched to the fridge, and pulled out a jar of mayonnaise (via Instagram). Yes, you read that right.

Mayonnaise can most certainly be used to coat steaks, as well as other meats that require pan-frying. Chef Scott Schroeder advised Food & Wine the condiment should be rubbed on meat after it's seasoned, but before being coated with some kind of outer layer like breadcrumbs. (You know, the same way you use egg wash.) The New York Times states that such wizardry comes from a winning combo of mayo's fat content, emulsion mixture, and Maillard reaction potential.

Mayo is able to deliver all the taste from "fat-soluble aromatics" without imparting any flavor of its own, meaning you won't pick up any mayonnaise taste when frying up your favorite ribeye steak. And if you're worried about mayonnaise sliding off chicken or pork, you can stop. The fact that it's an emulsion makes mayo super thick, creamy, and spreadable, which means it isn't going anywhere.