They worked hard to give you those eggs

By Allison Robicelli
February 07, 2018
illustration by lauren kolm

Sometimes you come across a recipe that calls for a crap-ton of egg whites, like angel food cake or meringue. Sometimes you come across a recipe that calls for a crap-top of yolks, like lemon curd or spaghetti carbonara. In either situation you’ll find yourself kicking yourself for that time you tossed a whole bunch of unneeded egg halves down the drain. Now you have to go and throw away half of a new class of perfectly good eggs. You know how much work it takes for a hen to pop out an egg? A LOT. Would you like to pop eggs out of your body just to have them disrespected like that? No, you wouldn’t. So stop being a jerk, stop losing money by wasting perfectly good egg parts, and start freezing egg whites and yolks.

How to Freeze Egg Whites

Whites are all protein and water, which makes them incredibly easy to freeze. All you really need to do is put them in an airtight container. Use a piece of masking tape to remind you how many whites are in there, as well as what date they went in the freezer. They can stay frozen for up to a year. When you want to thaw them, let them sit out on the counter overnight, or put them under cold running water for an hour or so. Do not attempt to defrost them in the microwave, because they will end up cooking and being gross.

If you don’t think you’ll ever need an entire container of egg whites at once, you can freeze them individually by putting them in ice cube trays, popping them out when solid, then storing them in a zip top bag. These will thaw relatively quickly at room temperature, which is ideal when you want to whip up an omelet or make an egg wash. 

How to Freeze Egg Yolks

Yolks are a little trickier because they’re made up of a lot more than just protein and water, like fat, phosphorus, lecithin, a whole bunch of other stuff, plus an enzyme called lysozyme. That last one causes egg yolks to gel under extremely hot or cold temperatures, so freezing them straight will result in an unusable goo once thawed. You can stop this reaction by adding a little f salt before freezing: whisk up your yolks well, then a teeny pinch of salt for every 4 yolks (about 1/8 teaspoon).

Unlike whites, there will rarely be a time where you’ll need a huge amount of yolks in one go. To save in small quantities, place a small sandwich or snack bag into a mug, pour in the yolks, seal and freeze. Once solid, take it out of the mug and label with masking tape.