Top 16 ways with leftover egg whites and yolks
If a dish calls for separating eggs, don’t throw one half away. Egg yolks and whites can be used in a variety of recipes, from fluffy meringues to mayonnaise.
If you’re a keen baker, you’ll be familiar with the process of separating eggs. The binary characteristics of egg yolks and egg whites mean they can be used in very different ways. Translucent whites offer lightness but also body to desserts such as meringues and macarons, while deep yellow yolks are rich and oily, making them a perfect binding agent. A lot of recipes require one but not the other, so if you’re faced with a bowl of leftover whites or yolks, try using them up with one of our suggestions.
How to store egg whites
Egg whites will keep in the fridge for up to two days, but they can also be frozen for up to three months. Put them into freezer bags or individual ice cube trays so you can use as many as you need. Label them carefully, noting the number of egg whites – once you’ve defrosted them they can’t go back into the freezer. Defrost in the fridge overnight before using.
How to store egg yolks
Egg yolks will also keep for two days in the fridge but can dry out easily, so store them in small containers with less air in them, or food bags with all of the excess air squeezed out.
Eggs carrying the British Lion mark guarantee that the hens are vaccinated against salmonella. Be aware of use-by dates and also consider whether your yolk or white is fully cooked if serving to pregnant women and those with special dietary needs. We recommend that you check the latest NHS advice on foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Top 10 ways of using up egg whites
The ultimate egg white recipe, fluffy meringues with crispy outsides are easy to achieve and usually freezable, meaning you can have a batch on standby for last-minute desserts. Try our rainbow meringues with fruit and flavoured cream, crumbled into ice cream, stirred into Eton mess or to make a pavlova.
Watch our video on how to make meringues:
2. Bread glaze
Give bagels and burger buns an authentic shiny top with a light layer of egg white before baking. As shown in this Edd Kimber bagel recipe, not only will it give a professional seal, it also allows seeds to stick easily to the top – try sesame, poppy or sunflower. This one is ideal if you have only one or two whites.
3. Frosting and topping
Achieve a cartoon-like fluffy ‘angel cake’ frosting by whisking your egg whites, then stabilising them with liquid glucose. Follow our easy recipe to achieve glossy royal icing.
The stiff nature of whisked egg white means it can be used for gelatine in set mousses (gelatine is meat based unless otherwise specified). Go for classic chocolate, or replace cream with yogurt in a lighter version. You could even knock up a savoury version with egg yolks to get your guests talking.
Surprisingly, only a couple of egg whites are required to make a whole batch of these patisserie-style macarons. An electric whisk will be useful, but good old fashioned elbow grease applied at length is just as good. Use a little of the macaron mixture to hold down the four corners of your baking parchment and a bottle lid to draw templates for your biscuits – just remember to turn the paper over to avoid the pencil marks spoiling your bake.
Follow our video guide on how to master this French patisserie classic:
This may not seem like the obvious choice, but egg whites can really enhance the texture and flavour of cocktails. When incorporated correctly, egg whites can add a luxuriously smooth and foamy quality to classic sours (like a whisky sour, amaretto sour or a gin fizz). Flavour-wise, they act to tone down the sharpness of a drink and make it taste richer, for example in a pisco sour, or it can soften and hold the flavours on your palate, as it does with a white lady cocktail.
Read our guide on cocktails with egg whites for all the info you need on how to incorporate egg whites into your favourite drinks.
Looking for a light brunch or treat for Shrove Tuesday? These American-style healthy pancakes are given a super fluffy texture by folding in whipped egg whites to the batter. This will create extra volume in the pancakes without any added calories.
Looking for a kitchen project? Spend an afternoon making these fluffy vanilla marshmallows. They use three whipped egg whites, which are combined with heated sugar syrup to create these sweet treats. Enjoy them toasted over the barbecue, sandwiched in a s'more, or popped into a mug of hot chocolate. Or, if you are feeling generous, why not wrap them up as gifts at Christmas?
If you’re watching your fat intake, an LA-style, egg white omelette is lean and light, plus if you finish it off under a grill you should achieve a souffléd finish. If going fully yolk-free leaves you cold, play around with ratios – adding a couple of whites to a standard omelette will make it fluffier. If you’re feeling decadent, you could try making an egg yolk omelette, but we recommend adding a splash of milk to loosen it up a mite.
Give your sponge batters a lift using whipped egg whites. These are especially effective at making the texture lighter in our date, banana & rum loaf which combines heavier ingredients such as dried fruits, nuts and polenta.
Top 6 ways to use up egg yolks
Making your own custard can be easy but there are a few stumbling blocks to be aware of. Pour your hot cream and milk slowly over the yolks, cornflower, sugar and vanilla extract, whisking all the time to distribute the heat and stop the yolks from cooking. When it’s back in the pan, keep the custard over a gentle heat, stir slowly and it should be plain sailing.
2. Ice cream
Take your homemade custard one step further by using it to make a batch of rich and creamy ice cream. Try a traditional vanilla ice cream or make the most of seasonal fruits in our strawberry ice cream, which uses five egg yolks. Also check out more ice cream recipes.
While traditional Italian recipes usually call for the whole egg, using just a yolk in your carbonara sauce will make it rich, glossy and less likely to be grainy. Our next level carbonara recipe also uses an extra yolk on top to up the luxe factor. Use the traditional method of mixing the yolks with Parmesan cheese, lots of pepper and, if you like, a touch of cream, then pour it onto the hot pasta, stirring carefully to coat the pasta without scrambling the eggs.
Wobbly, shop-bought mayonnaise is a far cry from the real deal. Usually only one or two yolks are required for a basic mayo, as the rest is made up of vinegar or lemon juice, a touch of mustard and oil. There’s no need for a fancy blender either, as our video guide to making mayonnaise proves. Try adding watercress, tarragon or chives. This basic method can be applied to making béarnaise and hollandaise sauces, too.
5. Binding agent
Mince can sometimes be stubborn when it comes to holding neatly in meatball or burger shapes. Just one egg yolk will improve the situation considerably without having any effect on the finished flavour.
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6. Enriched dough and pastries
Egg yolks can add depth and richness to various dough and pastry recipes. Two yolks are used in these toffee apple cookies to accentuate their rich, caramelised flavour. Doughnuts are made from firm dough that needs to keep its shape when fried quickly and our traditional hot sugared doughnuts recipe chooses to ditch the egg whites. You can also just use the yolks in shortcrust pastry, and don’t forget to finish off your bake – egg yolk is a traditional glazing agent that works well on sweet breads, such as brioche, and also puff pastry pies.
More leftover guides
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