We can all think of plenty of uses for egg yolks, from mayonnaises and creamy carbonara sauce, to rich, custard-based desserts. If you enjoy making any of these things, you’ll often find yourself with lots of leftover egg whites to use up, but luckily there are plenty of tasty things you can make with these, too.
Egg whites are particularly popular with people following a healthy diet, because they’re rich in muscle-building protein and low in fat, with less than a third of the calories found in yolks. They can be made into healthy breakfast scrambles or egg-white omelettes for a delicious energy-boost to start the day right.
On the other hand, everyone deserves a treat once in a while, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can use egg yolks to add a light, fluffy texture to your favourite desserts and snacks. Indulge yourself with buttercream frosting, mousse, meringues and pavlovas.
If you find yourself with a bowl full of leftover egg whites, here are our top ten ways to make the most of them.
Egg White Mayonnaise: this simple but elegant sauce from Serious Eats is all about cutting the richness and allowing other, more interesting ingredients to take centre stage.
Egg Whites Omelettes: this tasty brunch recipe from Healthy Recipes Blogs is light and fluffy and packed with healthy protein.
Savory Cheese Soufflé: this dinner-party favourite from Serious Eats is virtually fool-proof. Impress your guests with a perfect rise every time.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream: if you’re looking for something a little different for frosting your favourite cupcake or muffin, try this light, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream recipe from Fine Dining Lovers.
Frosting: we love the white angel frosting from this BBC Good Food recipe for a winter celebration cake. You can use it as part of the original recipe, or to decorate your own creations.
Chocolate mousse: this decadent dessert from BBC Good Food takes just 7 minutes and 4 ingredients to make. Who doesn’t love chocolate mousse?
Flourless Fudge Brookies: this genius invention from Best Recipes combines the gooey, fudgy centre of chocolate brownies with the crunchy edges of a cookie for the ultimate dessert.
Matcha macarons: these melt-in-the-mouth macarons from Fine Dining Lovers are made with matcha tea for a unique twist on a much-loved French classic.
Pavlova: the ultimate celebration of the meringue, this sugary, creamy dessert from Fine Dining Lovers is topped with boozy cherries and shavings of dark chocolate.
Greek almond biscuits: these traditional Greek biscuits, also known as amigthalota, symbolise happiness, prosperity and new beginnings, and are often served at baptisms and weddings. Recipe courtesy of Best Recipes.
With so many delicious recipes to choose from, you might find yourself cracking into a few more eggs. But don’t worry, if you do need to use a few more, we’ve also got plenty of ideas for using your leftover egg yolks.
How to store egg whites
Unless you’re super-organised and can make two recipes at the same time, you’ll probably want to store your egg whites for at least a day or two before you use them. They will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator, so if you’re planning on using them very soon, simply place them in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate.
However, you should avoid keeping egg whites in the refrigerator for longer than two days, as this can increase the risk of food poisoning. Luckily, egg whites freeze very well, and stored in this way they will keep for up to three months, so you have plenty of time to decide what to do with them.
To freeze egg yolks, pour them into ice cube trays so you have individual portions. Once frozen, you can either keep them in their trays or move the frozen cubes to a sealed freezer bag. When you want to use them, simply select the amount you need and defrost in the fridge overnight. Egg whites should never be refrozen after defrosting, so any leftover will need to be discarded at this point.
How to whip egg whites
You may have noticed that many egg white recipes involve whipped egg whites, which can be used to add an airy, fluffy texture, and even to add some rise to baked goods. Whipping egg yolks is pretty simple, but different recipes may need you to do it in slightly different ways. A mousse, for example, will usually call for soft peaks, while a meringue requires stiff peaks.
When whipping egg whites, you should avoid plastic bowls, as they have a thin oily coating that can stop the eggs from whipping. Similarly, you should make sure that all your equipment is clean and completely dry.
Fresh eggs tend to achieve the greatest volume, as they are slightly more acidic, which helps to stabilise the proteins, but if you’ve stored your leftover whites for a day or two, you can achieve the same effect by adding a pinch of salt or cream of tartar.
Whipping egg whites with a mixer is easiest, but if you prefer the hands-on approach, you can also do it by hand, using a large balloon whisk to beat briskly, in a wide, circular motion, to mix in as much air as possible. If you’re using a mixer, start on a low setting until the eggs become foamy and frothy, then increase the speed.
Knowing when to stop whipping is also important, and this will depend on the instructions in your recipe.
Foamy egg whites will still be a liquid, but with some bubbles and a slightly opaque colour.
Soft peaks are white in colour, and hold their shape in the bowl. If you lift the beater out of the bowl, the liquid should form a soft peak, with the tops drooping over to one side.
Stiff or firm peaks
When you lift the beater out of the bowl, the mixture should form a stiff peak, with the tops standing firmly in place and not drooping over to one side. Once your egg whites reach this stage, you should stop beating them right away. Over-beating egg whites will cause the proteins to break down and everything will collapse.
Once you have whipped your egg whites, you should use them right away before they start to lose volume. Fold them into your other ingredients as gently as you can, and be careful not to over-mix them.