Eggs are truly a kitchen marvel, as they can be cooked in so many ways and can keep for over a month in the fridge. While some already know about freezer-friendly make-ahead breakfasts, many home cooks don’t know they can actually save extra raw eggs by freezing them(!). This doesn’t mean you can simply toss a carton into your freezer, though — the trick is preparing eggs to be stored correctly so various parts of the egg can properly freeze on their own.
You can freeze a whole liquid egg entirely or just its whites alone — but freezing egg yolks can be quite tricky and disastrous, explains Penny Stankiewicz, a professional chef and instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. “Egg whites freeze perfectly, and whole eggs whisked together freeze fine as well; however, yolks do not,” she tells Good Housekeeping, adding that they should remain fresh for up to 8 weeks. “Egg yolks contain zero water, and it’s the water content in eggs that freezes, so they don’t behave as well (or as they should!) after being frozen.”
Believe it or not, you may be better off freezing raw eggs than fully cooked eggs, depending on how much time you have to spare in preparation. Below, we’re recapping how to freeze raw and cooked eggs and the pros and cons of each method of freezing.
How to Freeze Raw Eggs:
The best way to freeze an egg is to freeze it in its whole form, Stankiewicz explains, as you cannot freeze eggs in their shells. You can use this method for as many eggs as you’d like (hopefully, at least 3 or 4!). The best way to freeze eggs often involves freezer-friendly plastic storage bags. But if you know you’re going to need these eggs for a certain dish or recipe (bakers, this is all you!), you can portion them out individually in smaller pinch-top bags by freezing the mixture in a plastic ice cube tray first.
Follow these directions for best results:
- Beat your eggs until yolks have been incorporated, but not so uniform that you’ve introduced a lot of air into the mixture. Your eggs shouldn’t be foaming.
- Pour the egg mixture into a plastic storage bag, or a mold of your choice. If you’re using an ice cube tray, it’s likely translating to a half egg per cube, for recipe planning purposes.
- If you’re using a plastic bag, place the sealed bag on a sheet tray or another surface so it lays flat in the freezer (you can remove the tray once it has frozen).
- If using a mold, allow the egg mixture to freeze entirely (a few hours at most!).
- Remove the mixture from the mold and place it in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
- Stack your plastic bags in a cold corner of your freezer.
Egg whites can also be frozen in a similar manner: Simply separate the yolks from the egg, and pour the mixture either into a mold of your choice or a plastic bag. Either of these mixtures can be used for virtually any recipe you have in mind, and according to Stankiewicz, they can be kept for up to a year if the bag is free of air (vacuum sealed if possible!). Try using them in quick scrambles or even as a pre-portioned addition to almost any baking recipe you have in mind.
While the quality is never as good, you can also technically freeze yolks on their own — if you add salt, sugar, or acid to keep them from becoming thick and unusable. “My suggestion is 1tbsp of sugar per pint of yolks,” Stankiewicz says. “It would also help the final product of the beaten whole eggs to add about half the amount of sugar, so about 1/2 tablespoon per pint of whole beaten eggs.”
You’ll need some time to defrost these eggs properly, however; allow them to thaw gradually overnight in the refrigerator to prevent any illnesses. “Eggs have to be kept cold to control foodborne illness risk, especially those that have their shell or outer protective coating removed,” Stankiewicz says. “If you know what you might use them for, prior to freezing, you could portion them out to your required amount so you are only ever defrosting exactly what you need.”
How to Freeze Cooked Eggs:
Freezing eggs that you’ve cooked in advance can be more difficult, as it’s likely that the texture and quality of your breakfast-to-be can suffer if you’re not careful. The best way to freeze cooked eggs is by folding them into other ingredients that’ll hold up well in cold temps; believe it or not, the moisture from the ice formed when freezing certain egg dishes can actually help the eggs taste better when they’re reheated.
Some of our favorite make-ahead breakfasts are burritos and classic egg sandwiches, which can be held in the freezer for up to a month. Often, a recipe will indicate when cooked eggs can be frozen — and instruct you on how to wrap them beforehand, explains Catherine Lo, a food editor in the Good Housekeeping Institute. In most cases, you’ll need to maintain moisture by adding in a damp paper towel and then wrapping the whole sandwich in tinfoil. You’ll have to reheat your breakfast, likely, in a microwave, which means a damp towel of some kind can help retain steam and keep eggs from entirely drying out.
Making breakfast for the week ahead is easier since you can store cooked eggs in the fridge and simply reheat them in the same manner in which they were cooked. And if you’re looking to preserve hard-boiled eggs, great news — they stay fresh in their shell for up to a full week in the fridge, Lo says. That’s a boon for any Easter gathering or deviled egg enthusiast!
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