Here are 7 tried-and-true methods for separating eggs like a pro.

Learning how to separate an egg cleanly without breaking the yolk and getting any of the yolk in the whites takes practice. 

If you're beating the egg whites for meringue or a souffle, for example, even the tiniest bit of yolk in the white can cause them not to whip up nicely, so separating eggs is a skill you will want to master. 

Using the freshest eggs you can find is a good start. 

There is a membrane that encases the yolk which starts to break down as the egg ages, making the yolk more susceptible to breaking. So you have the best chance of successfully keeping the egg yolks intact if the eggs are very fresh when you separate them.

Cold eggs will separate better, so it's best to use eggs from the refrigerator not the kitchen counter. And of course you need to wash your hands thoroughly before starting, no matter which method you choose. And rinse your eggs under warm water to clean them as well.

Next, learning how to properly crack an egg is important. Eggs should always be cracked on a flat surface, never against the sharp edge of a counter or bowl. And lastly, have three bowls ready. 

You'll need two medium or large bowls and one small bowl. The first larger bowl for your whites, the second larger bowl is for your yolks and the third small bowl is for the egg you're currently separating.

When you crack the egg, you let the white fall into the third (empty) bowl, then add the yolk to your bowl of yolks and discard the shell.

Only once you are sure your whites are free of yolk and pieces of eggshell, should you add the whites in the third bowl to the larger bowl of whites. Then repeat with your next egg. 

Now for the methods to separate eggs.

7 Methods to Separate Eggs like a Pro

As far as methods for separating eggs, here are some that are tried-and-true:

Using the Egg Shell to Separate Eggs

This is probably the most common way to separate eggs. After giving the egg a firm rap on the counter in the middle (widest) part, trying to end up with two eggshell halves of equal size, and holding the egg over a bowl, carefully pry the two halves of the shell away from each other. 

Let any egg white drip over the side of the shell half holding the yolk, and tip the egg white in the second half into the bowl as well. 

Then transfer the egg yolk from one shell half to the other, tilting the eggshell halves slightly to let the egg white drip into the bowl. 

Repeat several times until all that's left in the shell is the yolk. Add the yolk to your bowl of yolks and discard the shells.

Using your Fingers to Separate Eggs

This method is similar to the first, but in my opinion, not any easier and quite a bit messier! To use your fingers to separate eggs, crack the egg as described above, but then dump the contents into your palm, cupping your fingers and holding them slightly apart. Be sure to do this over your bowl!

Let the egg whites drip through your fingers into the bowl. When all that's left in your hand is the yolk, add that to your bowl of yolks.

The problem with this method, especially if you're going to be whipping your egg whites, is that even clean hands have oils on them, and that can interfere with your egg whites beating up into nice tall peaks.

Using an Egg Separator to Separate Eggs

For this method, you'll need a handy little gadget like the one pictured above to separate your eggs. Egg separators work really well, it's just a question of whether or not you want or need yet another kitchen gadget. 

But egg separators aren't expensive and you can find a more traditional style like this  or go with this clever design that allows you to separate two eggs at once. 

Using the same method described above to crack your egg, you will then drop the contents into the separator and let it do its thing. Easy peasy.

Using a Slotted Spoon or Skimmer to Separate Eggs

Similar to the method above, but using something you likely already have in your kitchen, you can use a slotted spoon or skimmer to separate eggs. 

Holding the spoon over a bowl, simply crack the egg into the bowl of the spoon and let the whites drip through the holes. Shake the spoon gently to get all the whites to drip into the bowl.

Using a Funnel to Separate Eggs

If you have a small funnel, you can use that to separate eggs. Simply set the funnel over a glass and then crack the egg into it, so the whites drip into the glass and the yolk remains in the funnel. 

When no whites remain in the funnel, drop the yolk into your bowl of yolks and pour the whites in your egg white bowl.

Okay, here's one more fun method to separate eggs that kids will enjoy....

Using the Suction Method to Separate Eggs

This is a method that will appeal to kids! 

For this method, you crack the egg into a bowl, then use a plastic water bottle to suck the yolk out of the whites and into the bottle.  

Don't use water bottles? For just a few dollars, you can invest in this cute silicone frog egg separator, this adorable fish egg separator, or this precious pig egg separator!

Either way, the method is the same. Crack your egg into a bowl. Squeeze the bottle (or egg separator) in the middle, then hold the mouth right up against the egg yolk and carefully suck the yolk out of the bowl by releasing the pressure on the bottle. 

Then lift the bottle out of the bowl, hold over your bowl of yolks and squeeze again to allow the yolk to drop into the bowl.

And lastly, the method that professional pastry chefs use when they need to separate large numbers of eggs quickly.

Using your Hands to Separate Eggs

Crack all the eggs you need to separate into a large bowl. Then with both hands, reach into the bowl and scoop up the yolks, letting the whites slide through your fingers. 

Start by removing one yolk at a time, then practice removing several at once. Once the yolks have all fallen back into the bowl, drop the yolks into your yolk bowl and go back for more!  

One problem with this method is that if a yolk breaks in the large bowl, you have likely ruined all of your egg whites. 

Personally I usually just use the eggshell halves to separate eggs. I find it the quickest and easiest way. But it's always fun to try different methods.

And I will admit that I use an egg separator if I'm making meringue because it's easy to snag a bit of the egg yolk on the jagged edge of the shell and even a tiny bit of yolk can prevent your whites from whipping up nicely.

But, now that you have your eggs separated, you might wonder what happens if there's some yolk in the whites or egg white in the yolks? Or maybe there's a piece of eggshell in your bowl of egg whites.

How to Remove Egg Shell from the Egg Whites

The easiest way to remove a piece of eggshell that has inadvertently gotten into the egg white is to use one of your discarded eggshells to scoop it out. 

Other methods include using the tine of a fork or a moistened finger, or even a finger you've rubbed on a sliced garlic clove, but hands down, the egg shell is the best way to remove a small piece of eggshell.

How to Remove Egg Yolk from your Bowl of Egg Whites

Similarly, if a small amount of egg yolk has gotten into your bowl of egg whites, using the empty egg shell half to remove it will work the best. Dip the egg shell into the whites and scoop out the yolk. 

In both instances, the eggshell works like a magnet to remove yolk or eggshell.

It's important to get any traces of yolk out of your egg whites before you beat them, because the egg yolk contains fat which will interfere in the whipping process.

How to Remove Egg White from your Bowl of Egg Yolks

If, on the other hand, there's some egg white in your bowl of yolks, it's likely not going to matter much to your recipe. But again, you can try using an eggshell half to scoop out the wayward whites.

How to Store Eggs Once you Separate Them

Although fresh eggs still in the shell will last for weeks and weeks, if not months, in the refrigerator and at least a few weeks out on the counter, after being separated, their shelf life is greatly diminished. 

Egg yolks should be tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator and used within 2 days - and egg whites should be used within 4 days. 

Separated yolks and whites can be frozen for up to a year.

©2022 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc.  and updated in 2024 for Coop to Kitchen. All rights reserved