How To Pasteurize Eggs

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If you’re making a recipe at home that calls for uncooked eggs, you may want to pasteurize your eggs first to make them safer for consumption, and reduce the chance for a food borne illness. Learn how to pasteurize eggs at home safely!



 

Until I got pregnant I have to admit I never gave much concern to whether or not my eggs were pasteurized. I never really concerned myself with consuming desserts with raw eggs in them. Then pregnancy happened.

Suddenly everything seemed like a mine field! And one of my favorite foods, a runny yolk, was suddenly off limits. It was then that I realized I also had to give up some of my favorite dessert too! I was reading labels on bottles of mayonnaise and Caesar dressing.

Of course this got me looking into pasteurizing my eggs at home. I mean 10 months without Tiramisu? I don’t think so. So I reached out to the American Egg Board on the safest way to pasteurize eggs at home. Just to be on the safe side you know!

What are pasteurized eggs?

A pasteurized egg means that it has been heat treated to kill off bacteria that could potentially cause a food-borne illness, such as food poisoning. Fresh eggs can carry the salmonella bacteria. And the pasteurization process kills the bacteria, but doesn’t cook the egg.

This process of pasteurization allows the consumption of eggs in recipes where they are uncooked like chocolate mousse or Tiramisu for example safe for consumption for certain groups like pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems.

cropped-Tiramisu-E-5.jpg

Are eggs in the grocery store pasteurized?

Most regular eggs in the grocery store are not pasteurized. Pasteurized eggs will be clearly marked, sometimes stamped with a letter P.

If eggs are sold without their shell, then they are required to be pasteurized, as mandated by the United States Department of Agriculture. These products include liquid whole eggs, liquid egg whites, hard-boiled eggs, and powdered egg whites. These pasteurized egg products can safely consumed without any further heating or cooking.

Can I pasteurize eggs in their shell?

Some methods will suggest to pasteurize the eggs in their shell on the stovetop and slowly be heat-treated in hot water on the stovetop. The internal temperature of the egg yolk must reach a temperature of 140oF (60oC) and stay at this temperature for 3 1/2 minutes.

Although you will be able to take the water temperature of the water, it’s hard to determine if the yolk has been heated to the correct temperature. Therefore, this method is NOT recommended by the American Egg board. It’s not 100% guaranteed that egg yolk reached the desired temperature for long enough ensuring all pathogens have been eliminated and should be avoided.

It can also be difficult to achieve because the egg whites will begin to firm up and coagulate between temperatures of 144-149oF (62oC – 65oC).

For best results, it’s best to pasteurize eggs out of their shell.

saucepan with water and eggs in it

Can I use a sous vide machine to pasteurize raw eggs?

Using a sous vide machine is NOT a reliable way to pasteurize your raw eggs. Not all sous vides machines will heat the same, so again it’s difficult to determine if the yolk has been heated to the correct temperature for the necessary amount of time.

If the temperature drops below 140oF then the timer has to start all over again. So again a sous vide method is not recommended.

How to pasteurize eggs at home

Buying pasteurized eggs may be difficult to near impossible to find at the grocery store and will be more expensive than unpasteurized eggs. So this may mean you want to learn how to pasteurize eggs at home.

For pasteurizing eggs at home, the American Egg Board recommends pasteurizing eggs out of the shell. You can pasteurize whole eggs, only the egg yolks, or only the egg whites.

You will heat the egg with either sugar or liquid (sometimes both) to dilute the egg proteins on the stovetop and heat to 160oF.

Pasteurizing whole eggs

You may want to use pasteurized whole eggs for recipes, like a no cook ice cream that uses raw eggs.

Here is how to pasteurize whole eggs:

  1. In a saucepan, combine eggs (out of their shell), with either sugar, water, or another liquid from the recipe. Add 1/4 cup total for each egg. This means you could add 1/4 cup sugar or water, or add 2 tablespoons of each.
  2. Cook over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a metal spoon with a thin film and reaches 160oF. I like to use a digital thermometer for this step.
  3. Once the temperature is reached, immediately place the saucepan over an ice bath and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Use in the recipe as directed.
bowl of ice cream with a spoon in it

Pasteurizing egg yolks

You may need just pasteurized egg yolks, like when making a chilled souffles, chiffon cake or a chocolate mousse. You would also use them in certain savory recipes like a Hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, or mayonnaise.

How to pasteurize egg yolks:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the egg yolks and liquid from the recipe. You can use lemon juice, white wine vinegar or cream. Do not use oil. You will need to use 2 Tablespoons of liquid for each yolk.
  2. Cook over low heat until the egg yolk mixture coats the back of a metal spoon with a thin film and bubbles at the edges, and reaches an internal temperature of 160oF.
  3. Once the temperature is reached, immediately place the saucepan over a bowl of ice water and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Use in the recipe as directed.
dish of chocolate mousse with a spoon in it

Pasteurizing egg whites

Pasteurized liquid egg whites can be expensive to buy at the grocery store, so you may find you want to pasteurize them at home.

You might use these pasteurized egg whites in frosting recipes, such as Royal Icing, Seven-minute frosting.

How to pasteurize egg whites:

  1. In a heavy saucepan or in a double boiler, combine the raw egg whites, and 2 teaspoons sugar per egg white, 1 teaspoon water per egg white, and 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar for every 2 egg whites.
  2. Cook over low heat beating with a whisk (making sure they don’t foam) or an electric mixer on low speed until the egg white mixture reaches a temperature of 160oF. It’s important they don’t foam during this process.
  3. Pour the egg white mixture into a bowl and whip to soft peaks and then use in your recipe.

Note: If using an unlined aluminum saucepan, omit the cream of tartar as it can react with the metal and create a grey colored meringue.

a sugar cookie iced with royal icing

Alternatives to pasteurizing egg whites

If you want to use pasteurized whites, but do not want to pasteurize them yourself at home there are alternatives you can purchase pasteurized egg whites at the store.

You can use pasteurized shell eggs and separate the eggs, pasteurized dried or pasteurized refrigerated liquid egg whites- all of which are available at most grocery stores.

However these products will not generally form a proper foam to be used in certain desserts recipes like an angel food cake or meringue topping. Be sure to read the package on liquid egg whites, as some contain gums and salts that prevent proper foaming.

Some pasteurized liquid egg whites are designed for foaming and will be labeled as such. Be sure to read the carton to see if the brand you are using is designed this way or not.

You can also use powdered egg whites or meringue powder, which is found in the baking aisle, are perfect to use in a royal icing recipe, or to make a stable meringue foam. Be sure there no other added ingredients that could inhibit foaming. Be sure to follow the label on how to substitute for raw eggs.

angel food cake on a platter

How To Use Pasteurized Eggs

​Pasteurized eggs can be used in so many delicious recipes! Like a homemade mayonnaise, or a caesar salad dressing. 

Or in the case of dessert I love using them in my Tiramisu recipe, and a chocolate mousse. 

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How To Pasteurize Eggs

Learn how to safely pasteurize eggs at home to use in your desserts!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

Equipment

Instructions

Here is how to pasteurize whole eggs:

  • In a saucepan (or double boiler), combine eggs (out of their shell), with either sugar, water, or another liquid from the recipe. Add 1/4 cup total for each egg. This means you could add 1/4 cup sugar or water, or add 2 tablespoons of each.
  • Cook over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a metal spoon with a thin film and reaches 160°F (71°C). I like to use a digital thermometer for this step.
  • Once the temperature is reached, immediately place the saucepan over an ice water bath and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Use in the recipe as directed.

How to pasteurize egg yolks:

  • In a large saucepan (or double boiler), combine the egg yolks and liquid from the recipe. You can use lemon juice, white wine vinegar or cream. Do not use oil. You will need to use 2 Tablespoons of liquid for each yolk.
  • Cook over low heat until the egg yolk mixture coats the back of a metal spoon with a thin film and bubbles at the edges, and reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
  • Once the temperature is reached, immediately place the saucepan over a bowl of ice water and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Use in the recipe as directed.

How to pasteurize egg whites:

  • In a heavy saucepan or in a double boiler, combine the raw egg whites, and 2 teaspoons sugar per egg white, 1 teaspoon water per egg white, and 1/8 teaspoon for every 2 egg whites.
  • Cook over low heat beating with a whisk (making sure they don't foam) or an electric mixer on low speed until the egg white mixture reaches a temperature of 160°F (71°C). It's important they don't foam during this process.
  • Pour the egg white mixture into a bowl and whip to soft peaks and then use in your recipe.

Notes

Note: If using an unlined aluminum saucepan, omit the cream of tartar when pasteurization as it can react with the metal and create a grey colored meringue.
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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I recently found this fantastic guide on how to pasteurize eggs at home, and it’s a game-changer! Pasteurizing eggs is essential for recipes that include uncooked eggs, making them safer to consume and reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. I used this method for my homemade Caesar dressing, which requires raw eggs, and I felt much more confident about serving it to my family. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, ensuring a worry-free cooking experience. Highly recommend checking out this tutorial if you love recipes like homemade mayonnaise, mousses, or tiramisu!

    1. Thank you so much for your great feedback! I’m so glad to hear that the guide on pasteurizing eggs has been so helpful for you!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you found the tips useful. It’s always great to share helpful information. Happy cooking!

  2. Dina and Bruce says:

    5 stars
    I am so glad I found this. We love tiramasu, but a friend is pregnant. I am so excited that we were able to make this treat for a party and she loved it! Thank you!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story! I’m very happy to hear that the guide helped you safely enjoy tiramisu with your friend. It’s wonderful that everyone could be part of the celebration. Enjoy your cooking adventures!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m going to start doing this right away. It’s good to be safe by pasteurizing eggs. I appreciate this tutorial and have bookmarked for future reference.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you found the guide helpful and are planning to use it for pasteurizing eggs. It’s great to hear that you’re taking steps to ensure safety in your cooking. Thanks for bookmarking and happy cooking!

  4. Hi, when you pasturize egg yolks, you say to use the liquid from the recipe but then it says to use cream, lemon juice or vinegar. I am planning to make mayonaise so not sure what to use, ideally just water and then season as needed as using so much lemon juice might ruin the mayonaise. Could I pasturize just with water, then add oil once pasturized? thank you.

    1. I think it would be fine to use some water and some lemon juice so it’s not overpowering. Or all water but I haven’t tried so hard to say!

  5. Appreciate these instructions! Please, what do you do to pasteurize egg whites for tiramisu, where plain egg whites are to be whipped before being folded into the mascarpone/egg yolk/sugar mixture?

    1. Hi Lauren, you can either buy pasteurized egg whites or pasteurize as instructed in the post – whichever is easier for you 🙂

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