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How to Separate Eggs

Many recipes, especially British bakes, call for just egg whites for treats such as meringues or just egg yolks for desserts such as custards. It’s important to separate your eggs cleanly in order to achieve the best final result, but what is the best way to separate eggs? Do you need a special tool to do so, or can you get those whites away from the yolks without the help of an egg separator?

Best Way to Separate Eggs

  1. Wash your hands with soap and hot water before you begin.
  2. Crack the egg on a flat surface.
  3. Over a bowl, open the egg into your hand and allow the egg whites to pass through your fingers. You can gently move your fingers to work all of the egg whites through.
  4. Deposit the egg yolk into a separate bowl.

Pros: This method is quick and doesn’t require the help of any additional tools.

Cons: Your hand will be messy at the end and require washing before moving on to any additional baking steps.

Other Egg Separating Methods

We explored various additional ways to separate eggs so that you can decide which method works best for your kitchen.

Separating Eggs with the Shell

  1. Crack the egg on a flat surface.
  2. Over a bowl, separate the shell at the widest point to create two halves. You will want to angle the egg upward and lift off the top half.
  3. Pass the egg yolk back and forth between the two halves, allowing the egg white to drip down into the bowl.
  4. Repeat until you are left with just the yolk in the shell.
  5. Deposit the yolk in a separate bowl.

Pros: No additional tools are needed to separate the egg.

Cons: The edge of the egg shell can pierce the egg yolk, causing it to get into your whites. Additionally, harmful bacteria like salmonella can linger on the shell and get in contact with the white or yolk during this method.

Separating Eggs with a Water Bottle

  1. Crack the egg on a flat surface.
  2. Open the egg onto a plate.
  3. Grab a clean bottle and squeeze it slightly.
  4. Hold the bottle opening over the yolk and slowly release your grip to suck up the yolk.
  5. Deposit the yolk in a separate bowl by slowly squeezing and tilting the bottle.

Pros: A water bottle is a common item that you may already have in your home.

Cons: You may need to practice this method a few times in order not to suck up egg whites with the egg yolk or break the yolk.

Separating Eggs with a Slotted Spoon

  1. Crack the egg on a flat surface.
  2. Over a bowl, open the egg onto a slotted spoon.
  3. Slightly rock the spoon to encourage the egg whites to fall through the slots and over the sides.
  4. Deposit the yolk in a separate bowl.

Pros: This method will keep your hands clean, and you may already have a slotted spoon in your kitchen.

Cons: The egg whites may be too thick to run through the openings of the slotted spoon.

Separating Eggs with an Egg Separator

  1. Crack the egg on a flat surface.
  2. Over a bowl, open the egg into the egg separator.
  3. Allow the egg whites to drip through the openings.
  4. Deposit the yolk in a separate bowl.

Pros: These tools are designed to make separating eggs simple. There are various styles of egg separators available for you to try.

Cons: You may need to rock or tap the separator for eggs with thick whites.

Separating Eggs with a Funnel

  1. Crack the egg on a flat surface.
  2. Open into a funnel.
  3. Allow the egg whites to run through the funnel opening.
  4. Deposit the yolk in a separate bowl.

Pros: This common kitchen tool is easy to use for egg separating.

Cons: Some egg whites are very thick and may require some pulling to separate from the egg yolk. You may need to stir the egg in the funnel, which may lead to the yolk breaking.

Separating Eggs with a Turkey Baster

  1. Remove the bulb from a turkey baster.
  2. Crack the egg on a flat surface.
  3. Open the egg onto a plate.
  4. Squeeze the bulb of the baster slightly and let go slowly to suck the yolk into the bulb.
  5. Deposit the yolk in a separate bowl by slowly squeezing and tilting the baster bulb.

Pros: The bulb of a baster provides an ergonomic tool to separate eggs.

Cons: You would need to take apart your baster, and it can prove difficult to clean when you’re done.

Why Separate Eggs in Baking

When separating eggs, you’ll want to make sure to do the process carefully. Getting some white with your egg yolks shouldn’t impact your recipe too severely. On the other hand, if egg yolks end up in the egg whites, the fat from the yolk will minimize the egg white’s potential to fluff into stiff peaks. This can impact recipes like delicate macarons and smooth meringues.

Tips for Cracking Eggs

Chilling The Egg: The key to a clean egg separation is to start with a cold egg that has been refrigerated for at least 20 minutes to ensure that the egg yolk is firm and less likely to break.

Flat Cracking Surface: You want to crack the egg on a flat surface to keep egg shell shards out of the egg whites. When cracking an egg on the corner of a bowl or countertop, egg shell pieces tend to be pushed into the egg.

Tips for Egg Storage

Egg Yolk Storage: You can store egg yolks in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 days before use. Simply place the egg yolks in a bowl and fill the bowl with enough water to cover the yolks. Pour out the water before using the eggs. Egg yolks do not freeze well.

Egg White Storage: You can store egg whites in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 days or in the freezer for 12 months. Pour the egg whites into an ice cube tray and allow them to freeze. You can then place the cubes in a freezer bag. Thaw out the cube before using.


Whether you need egg whites for an extravagant angel food cake or egg yolks for a decadent brown sugar cinnamon bread pudding, learning how to separate eggs properly can be the secret to a great dessert that your guests will love.

Posted in: Bakeries | By Janine Jones
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