How to Separate an Egg: 3 Super Easy Ways

Updated: Feb. 07, 2024

Making a key lime pie? A mousse? Angel food cake? You'll need to learn how to separate egg whites from the yolks. Our Test Kitchen makes it easy.

Carton of eggs besides two bowls one with egg whites and the other with yolksTaste of Home
Taste of Home

In cooking and baking, there’s nothing more versatile than an egg. We use them to make cakes, cookies, delicious breakfasts and more. Sometimes, though, a whole egg won’t do. Airy meringue cookies need the lift that only egg whites alone can provide, and the perfect hollandaise sauce (for my all time favorite breakfast: eggs Benedict) requires just the yolks for maximum richness.

So how do you go about separating the two? Our Test Kitchen shows you that it’s simple to separate the egg white from the yolk. You just need a little patience and a super simple tool.

Let’s get cracking!

Egg separator over a small glass with a carton of eggs on the sideTaste of Home
Taste of Home

Method 1: Use an Egg Separator

The easiest way to separate an egg is to use an egg separator. This inexpensive gadget helps you separate the egg from the yolk perfectly every time. To use, place the tool over a dish and crack the egg into the separator. The egg white will slip through the slots and the yolk will remain in the cup portion. Super simple!

Person holding the insides of an egg inside a slotted spoon to separate out the whitesTaste of Home
Taste of Home

Method 2: Try a Slotted Spoon

If you don’t have an egg separator, grab a slotted spoon. Like the separator, just set it over the top of a dish and crack the egg into the spoon. The whites will slide through leaving you with the yolk. You also can crack the egg into a bowl and carefully scoop the yolk out with the slotted spoon. Just let the whites drain through.

Person carefully using the egg's own shell to separate the yolk from the whitesTaste of Home
Taste of Home

Method 3: Dare to Use Just the Shell

To separate eggs, I typically rely on this method because it requires no tools at all – and the fewer dishes the better! For this technique, simply give the egg a good crack right in the middle. Then, over a bowl, tip the yolk back and forth between the shells allowing the white to fall to the dish below.

Separating eggs this way can be a bit tricky – the yolk might slip right out of the shell, or it might catch on the edge and break. Work slowly and be sure to use cold eggs – cold yolks are less likely to break. If your recipe calls for room temperature egg yolks or whites, separate the eggs while they’re cold and leave the yolks and whites out on the counter until they warm up a bit.

What to Do With Extra Egg

If you find yourself with extra egg whites or yolks, feel free to freeze them for another time. You can pop whites or yolks into a freezer container and store. If I find myself with extra egg whites, I like to whip up a fluffy omelet. And extra egg yolks? Well, they go straight into a homemade pudding.

If you’re looking to freeze whole eggs, whisk the whites and yolks together and then pop in the freezer. Frozen eggs can keep for up to a year. To use, let the eggs come up to room temperature and then use as normal. Two tablespoons of this mix equals one large egg.

Ready to separate? Ty some of our favorite lemon meringue pie treats! The fillings use just the yolks, and the meringue makes use of the whites. They’re all super tasty to boot.