How To Separate Egg Whites

When creating a rich angel food cake or a tasty macaron, the ability to separate egg whites from yolks is an essential cooking and baking skill. When using the right method, it becomes easy to avoid breaking the yolk or letting shards of egg shell fall into your egg whites. Read more to learn how to separate egg whites from egg yolks and discover recipes that allow you to practice this essential skill.

How To Separate Egg Whites From Egg Yolks: A Guide

When cooking or baking from a recipe that calls for egg whites, knowing the proper method to separating egg whites from egg yolks is a crucial skill. Separated egg whites can be used when baking fluffy meringue, whereas egg yolks are great for making a sweet and tangy custard.

  • 1 set of egg whites and 1 egg yolk per egg
  • Whole, raw eggs

  • Bowls
Total Time
  • 1 minute
A stack of bowls

Step 1: Prepare Bowls

In order to separate egg whites from egg yolks, you will need a place to put them once they are divided. Place two bowls side by side on your countertop.

A carton of eggs, some of which are cracked

Step 2: Crack Egg

Carefully crack your egg against a hard, flat surface. While holding the egg upright, use your thumbs to delicately push the crack in the middle of the egg wider until you are holding two roughly equal halves of egg shell in each hand. The egg should be sitting in one of these halves.

Hands cracking an egg

Step 3: Pass Egg

Begin to slowly pass the egg back and forth between each egg shell. As you do this, allow the egg white to drip into a designated bowl below.

A small bowl of egg whites

Step 4: Remove Egg Yolk

Once you have separated all of the egg white from the egg yolk using this method, remove your egg yolk from its shell half and place it into the other bowl. You can reserve the egg yolks for use in other recipes such as custards, aioli or a zesty pomelo lime curd.

A stand mixer with a bowl of mix A stand mixer with a bowl of mix


Separating egg whites from egg yolks is a delicate process. Luckily, there are a few tips that can make the process both run both smoothly and more fool-proof.

A carton of chilled eggs

1. Use Chilled Eggs

The easiest way to ensure that your egg yolks don’t break, which makes it impossible to separate them, is to use chilled eggs. This ensures that the yolk is harder and therefore easier to handle.

Hands cracking an egg

2. Crack Egg Against a Flat Surface

When it comes to not breaking the yolk, make sure that you crack your eggs against a flat surface. This is because curved surfaces, such as the rim of your bowl, are more likely to penetrate your egg yolk and may make it difficult to separate it from your egg whites.

A hand mixing batter in a bowl

3. Wash Hands Before and After Use

It is important to wash your hands before and after separating egg whites from egg yolks. Wash them before to remove skin oils that can stop egg whites from fluffing. Wash them after to remove any possible contamination of salmonella with your other ingredients.

Hands slipping egg yolks between shells Hands slipping egg yolks between shells

How Do You Separate Egg Whites Without an Egg Separator?

Instead of using a specialized tool, you can simply drop the unshelled egg into your hand and let the whites run through your fingers. For a less messy approach, pass the egg yolk back and forth between two halves of the shell, letting the egg white spill out as you go.

Egg separators are specialized tools that are used to separate egg whites from egg yolks. They are a single-use tool that are unable to be used for other processes in the kitchen. Using hands-on methods for separating egg whites are just as effective and will help you quickly move to the next step in your recipe.

Is It Easier To Separate Egg Whites Cold or at Room Temperature?

It is best to separate egg whites from egg yolks when the eggs are chilled as opposed to room temperature. This is because the yolk will be firmer and less likely to break when passing the egg back and forth. However, let the egg whites rest until they reach room temperature before using them in a recipe that calls for them to be beaten.

A pie plate of meringue pie with a slice cut out A pie plate of meringue pie with a slice cut out

Recipes That Use Egg Whites

Although not as prevalent as whole eggs, egg whites are an important ingredient to many sweet and savory meals. Recipes range from rich late-night meringue desserts to hearty frittata breakfasts that make the careful process of separating egg whites worth it.

Plates of bite-sized meringue dessert

1. Meringue

This fluffy and delectable dessert epitomizes cooking with egg whites. With its golden-brown peaks and white sugary valleys, you can spread your meringue onto pie filling or enjoy as a bite-sized treat by using a KitchenAid® food chopper to rapidly whisk egg whites.

A plate of colorful macarons

2. Macarons

Equal parts sweet and nutty, these lemon and lime macarons are the perfect finger food. With some help from your KitchenAid® slide-in range, you can bake these cookies until they are just hard enough to take the perfect bite.

A cheesy frittata

3. Frittata

When it comes to fluffy textures and rich flavors, this tomato tortellini frittata recipe is unbeatable. The key is using your KitchenAid® stand mixer and flat beater to beat your egg whites until frothy and ready to help make the base for this dish with your additional ingredients.

A glass of an orange whiskey cocktail

4. Whiskey Cocktail

There is no better way to unwind from a long day than this recipe for a refreshing and satisfying winter orange whiskey cocktail. To top off this acidic drink, make sure to use a KitchenAid® blender to whip your ingredients into a delicious froth.


A relaxing process that leads to a delicious and satisfying conclusion, experimenting with egg whites can allow you to create rich, decadent desserts. No matter what recipe you’re exploring, KitchenAid® tools are designed to help you elevate your baked creations. Whether you need a KitchenAid® stand mixer or a KitchenAid® food processor to easily cut cold butter into flour, or KitchenAid® stand mixer attachments1 and accessories to help create delicious, fresh fillings, KitchenAid brand has the necessities you need to create inventive desserts.

1. Sold Separately

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