top of page

How to Crack Your Eggshells and Separate Your Egg Whites and Yolks

There are many ways to separate egg yolks from egg whites and different chefs feel strongly about how they do it.

For all these techniques, it is easiest to separate them when they are cold and just out of the refrigerator. For all these methods you should also have at least 2 bowls prepared, one for the yolks and one for the whites. For folks who are extra careful, they use a third bowl where they will put the completed whites after they’ve separated them so that if they mess up and get some yolk into the whites, it won’t contaminate all of them. In every instance, you should crack the egg over the bowl you intend to be your egg white catcher bowl.

How to crack and egg

Before separating the egg white from yolk, you need to crack the egg. There are several popular methods for cracking an egg

1. On a bowl rim or counter edge

This has historically been one of the more popular ways for non-professional cooks to crack their eggs. However, cracking an egg on the rim of your bowl isn't ideal for achieving a mess-free egg split. It also breaks more of the shell in a way that makes it easier for shards of shell to get into your bowl. If cracking an egg on the edge of something is your only option, try to find something that has a sharper edge so that the break is cleaner, then use your fingers to carefully pull apart the two halves.

2. On a flat surface

A better way than cracking an egg on an edge us by cracking it directly on a flat surface - like a countertop or cutting board. This should create one vertical crack that you can then separate using your fingers.

3. With a knife

Using a knife offers a little more control when cracking your egg, but is also a little more time consuming. Use a blunt knife like a butter or palette knife and hold the egg in one hand and strike it quickly and swiftly right in the middle. However, you don’t want to strike so hard that the yolk ends up breaking.

4. One handed

This is a more difficult technique popular among professional chefs, because you can crack several eggs quickly. In this method, you use your pinky and ring fingers to grip the bottom of the egg while using your thumb, pointer, and middle finger to pry the top off.

How to separate the egg once your cracked the shell

Now that you’ve cracked your egg open, it’s time to separate the egg white from the yolk. There are many different ways to do this:

With your hands

  • Crack an egg directly into your hand over your designated egg white bowl (make sure your hands a clean).

  • Keep your hand cupped and separate your fingers slightly. Not so wide that the yolk can slip out, but enough that the white can slide through.

  • You can help the egg white along by pulling it from the other side of your hand.

  • After this, only the yolk should remain in your hand. At that point, drop it into your yolk bowl.

Using the shell

Historically, this has been the most popular method among home bakers

  • Crack the egg across the center, or fattest part of the shell in order to cleanly break the shell into two even halves.

  • Transfer the yolk from one shell to the other, tilting the eggs back and forth and allowing the white to drip out of the shells and into the bow while catching the yolk in one half of the shell and then the otherl. Repeat until most of the white has dripped into the bowl.

  • Drop the yolk into your yolk bowl.

With a slotted spoon

  • Place a slotted spoon over your egg white catcher bowl.

  • Crack the egg onto the slotted spoon and let the white to drip into the bowl. Tilt the spoon slightly to help the process along.

  • Drop the yolk into your yolk bowl.

Using a water bottle

  • Crack the entire egg into your egg white catcher bowl.

  • Squeeze a clean plastic bottle and while keeping it squeezed, place the mouth of the bottle on top of the egg yolk.

  • Release your grip slowly and the air pressure will suck the yolk into the bottle, tilting it slightly so it doesn’t spill out.

  • Drop the yolk into your yolk bowl from the bottle.

Using a funnel

  • Hold a funnel over your egg white catching bowl.

  • Crack the entire egg into the funnel.

  • Allow the white to drip into the bowl.

  • Drop the yolk into your yolk bowl.

How to remove bits of shell from egg whites

If the eggshell is broken, you have to be extra careful when separating the white from the yolk. Here are a few things to try:

  • Use the shell: You can fish out the piece of eggshell using one of the eggshell halves and scooping out what’s landed in your bowl.

  • Use your finger: You can wet your index finger and pludge it directly onto the shard, then drag your finger up the side of the bowl until it is clear of the liquid and see if you got the piece.

  • Use a sieve: If your eggs are beaten, you can pour the eggs through a sieve or strainer, something with small enough openings that the shard won’t also slip through.

  • Use a spoon: You can try to fish the shell out with a spoon by cornering the piece of shell and dragging the spoon up the side of the bowl.

What to do if you got a little yolk in your egg whites

The best way to collect a broken yolk from egg whites is by using an empty eggshell. Dip half of the shell into the eggs and scoop up the broken yolk.

The scoop on cracking and separating eggs

Even though there are many tips and tricks, in general, cracking open an egg and separating the whites from the yolk is very easy. These are just some handy things to have in your back pocket to make it even easier for you!


bottom of page