How to Separate an Egg

updated May 12, 2022
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We just read a tip at Saveur’s website and learned something new. No, not about separating an egg in your hands, although that’s a good one, too. There’s something else…

Saveur claims eggs will separate more easily when they are cold, not room temperature. We occasionally do have trouble getting that last bit of white film away from the yolk.

In the past, we’ve tried those plastic separators- you know, the ones where you have to land your yolk in a tiny well and let the white dribble through the slats on the side. It can be hard not to bust the yolk on the edge of the plastic holder. Same goes for passing the yolk back and forth between broken eggshell halves. We sometimes pierce the yolk on a jagged edge, and we find that there’s always a dribble of white left in the bottom of the shell.

We like using our hands. It’s easier to control and coddle that delicate little yolk, turning it slightly to get the whites to fall through our fingers. But would that last smidge of white roll off more easily if the egg were really cold?

So many baking recipes call for the ingredients, eggs included, to be at room temperature. Everything blends together more smoothly that way, and cold eggs don’t turn soft butter into hard chunks. We usually let whole eggs roll around on the counter for a while, but now we know that if the recipe calls for yolks or whites, we’ll try separating them first, then letting them warm up.

See the tip here: Separating Eggs, from Saveur

Have you found this to be true? How do you separate eggs?

Related: How Do You Break an Egg?

(Image: Andre Baranowski for Saveur)