How to Separate Eggs Like a Pro!

Learning how to separate eggs is a core competency in the kitchen! In this guide, we’ll share all of our secrets for separating eggs like pro. Once you know how, you’ll be able to tackle all of those recipes you’ve been avoiding that require this fundamental skill.

Why is it important to separate eggs the right way? Many recipes require whipping just the egg whites—but egg whites will not whip properly if there is any yolk in them.

Separated yolks from whites

Separate Eggs Cold

  • Separate eggs cold —yolks that are cold hold their shape better and are less likely to bust open into the whites

You’ve probably read that egg whites whip better warm. For this reason, some people make the mistake of leaving their eggs out to come to room temperature in the shell before cracking them. This is a bad idea because the yolks in room temperature eggs tend to be more prone to busting open when you try to separate the eggs.

It’s much better to separate eggs cold, then bring the egg whites to whatever temperature you want them to be to whip them. For instance, for making Swiss Meringue, you actually need to warm the whites considerably before whipping them.

How to Separate Eggs (Whites from Yolks)

Separating eggs

As we’ve mentioned, egg whites will not whip properly if there is any fat or grease in them—that includes the egg yolk! So, we need to crack our eggs to be sure no yolks bleed into the whites.

Here are a few more tips for cleanly separating egg whites from yolks:

  • Hands are the best tool for separating eggs—let the whites slip through your fingers into a bowl as the yolk stays in your hand
  • Crack each new egg over a smaller bowl, using your hand to catch the yolk
  • Egg white free of yolk? Only then transfer it to the larger bowl where you are collecting the whites

Why use the second smaller bowl? Cracking each egg over a second bowl allows you to be sure the whites from that egg have no broken yolk before transferring the whites to the bowl of cleanly separated whites. If you crack each new egg over the bowl of clean whites, one mistake (a bit of yolk getting through) can destroy the entire batch of whites. This is annoying and a waste of eggs!

We know that there are a ton of different methods for separating the eggs. Some people pass the egg yolk between the two shells, letting the egg white fall into the bowl beneath. Others rely on a commercial egg separator (affiliate link) to do the job. However, we think the shell and tools are just more likely to bust open that delicate yolk. Sometimes the best tool for the job is the cheapest: your hands!

Recipes to Make After Separating Eggs!

Whipped Egg Whites

Now that you know how to separate eggs like a pro, there are countless delicious recipes that you can make. For instance, anything involving whipping egg whites—like meringue! We’re talking about Italian meringue, Swiss meringue and French meringue.

Swiss Meringue, ready for encasing our Baked Alaska recipe!

Or, how about tackling a homemade Angel Food Cake?

Easy Angel Food Cake Recipe
Angel Food Cake

Or, Use Just the Egg Yolks

Almost every use of egg whites require that they be free of yolk. The same is not usually true of egg yolks. If a bit of egg white gets in them, it is not the end of the world. However, there are many recipes which do call just for egg yolks.

For instance, many egg washes (for ravioli or baked treats) do call for just egg yolks. Here we are brushing a wash over the outside of a Beef Wellington!

Brushing egg wash on the outside of puff pastry for a Beef Wellington

The egg wash both helps to prevent juices from escaping, and helps the Beef Wellington to develop a lovely golden crust as it bakes.

Lovely golden crust aided by the egg wash.
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