How to separate egg yolk and whites – step by step


Egg separation tutorial, May 2012

Sometimes in conversations about food, people will tell me they don’t cook. When I hear that, my first thoughts are, “Oh you poor thing,” and “…What do you eat?” Then I want to help them any way I can, so when I write about food, I think of this population and try to give some basics.

One basic task that’s brought me lots of frustration is separating egg yolks from whites. I was taught to pour the yolk back and forth in the halves of the shell while the white dropped into the bowl. But that method gave me a lot of broken yolks. Egg separator gadgets can do the job, but I would never remember to use mine, and I don’t need another gadget cluttering up the utensil drawer. When I finally tried just letting the egg slide into my hand and the white drain through my fingers, I had much more consistent success.

What can you do with leftover yolks or whites? Intact yolks can be covered with water and stored for a few days for use in scrambled eggs, lemon curd, pound cake, tiramisu, or hollandaise sauce. Whites can be placed in a small container and frozen for use in scrambled eggs, angel food cake, coconut macaroons, or meringues.

Here’s a tutorial.

First, wash hands well with soap and hot water, since you’ll be directly handling the eggs. ↓ 

Wash Hands

Next, Crack the egg. If you rap the egg in on the flat counter (rather than on the rim of a bowl), you’re less likely to get shells in the egg. Make a dent in the shell. ↓ 

Crack the Egg


Gently open the shell at the dented spot with your fingers, and allow the egg and yolk to slide into your hand. 

Open Up the Egg

Let the white drain through your fingers into the bowl. This may take a few seconds. 

Drain the White

Done! Place the yolk in a separate container. 

Done!Troubleshooting. If a bit of shell falls into the container, carefully scoop it out with a larger piece of shell. If you accidentally drop the yolk into the container, gently scoop it out with your fingertips.

Retrieve the Yolk


Happy cooking!



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2 Responses to “How to separate egg yolk and whites – step by step”

  1. Beck says:

    I love your photos!

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