What to Use If You Don't Have a Basting Brush

No Brush? Not a Problem, the Solution is in Your Kitchen!

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Working on a recipe that requires a basting brush? Don't sweat it if you don't have one (or can't find yours). You probably have several things in your kitchen that you can use instead.

5 Basting Brush Substitutes

A basting brush is used to coat the top of foods with oils, glazes, marinades, sauces or egg washes. So, you just need to find something that'll do that same job, and you're in business.

Here are a few options:

Leafy Greens

Lettuce, celery and sprigs of various herbs can be used as a makeshift brush for savory dishes. Use these for marinades, sauces and oils when basting meats or vegetables. You can even pick herbs straight from the garden to baste meat on the grill.

Paper Towels

These work particularly well with oils, melted butter and egg washes. Just ball up the paper towel, and soak the bottom corner in your basting liquid. Gently rub this over your food as needed.​ Thick napkins will also work in a pinch, but they may be more prone to falling apart, so make sure you don't end up with little pieces of paper in your food.

Coffee Filters

Grab a coffee filter, and use it just like a paper towel. Since the material is thinner, and more likely to tear, it's best to save this trick for when you're working with thinner liquids. 

A Clean, Unused Paint Brush

Bristled basting brushes are very similar to an ordinary paint brush, so this is a perfect alternative.

Just be sure to stick to a new paint brush. You don't want to use one that's been dipped in paint or some other chemical. And watch for any bristles that may fall out into your food (it's a common issue with kitchen-grade brushes, too). Just pick them out, and you're good to go.

A Freezer Bag

Toss the food that needs to be basted into a freezer bag with the basting liquids; seal it up tight; then, give it a good shake to coat the food.

Toss the bag when you're done.

Your Fingers

In a pinch, your fingers can also be used as a basting brush. Just wash your hands well before you touch the food (obviously). Then, use a spoon to drizzle your basting liquid on the dish, and work it in with your fingers. Easy and effective!

Note: This is not a good idea over the open flame of a grill.

Any of these options will work just as well as a store-bought basting brush, and won't leave you with a messy clean up.

Tip: If you decide to add a basting brush to your collection of kitchen tools, look for one that's made of silicone. It'll save you the hassle of trying to clean oily liquids out of your basting brush, and will last a long longer.

What to Use If You Don't Have ...