Pasteurizing eggs at home is EASY! All you need is a few minutes and an accurate digital thermometer.
Many classic recipes call for the use of raw eggs that never get cooked in the recipe, for example royal icing, eggnog, chocolate mousse, or chiffon pie. Most people these days shy away from eating uncooked eggs because of the risk (albeit a low risk) of salmonella.
For recipes that call for the use of uncooked eggs, you can buy pasteurized eggs, or you can pasteurize the eggs yourself, at home.
Home pasteurized eggs
It’s easy to do! All you need is an accurate candy thermometer or digital thermometer.
The trick is to heat the eggs long enough and at a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria, but not so much as to cook the eggs.
Salmonella bacteria die if kept at 140°F (60°C) for 3 1/2 minutes. (See the International Egg Pasteurization Manual if you want to geek out on the science and stats.)
Egg whites start to set at temps between 144°F (62°C) and 149°F (65°C).
So if you can keep the eggs at 140°F but not let them get so hot as to reach 144°F, you’ll be fine, and have pasteurized eggs that you can safely use for recipes.
How to Pasteurize Eggs
For home pasteurization, I recommend warming the eggs while the water in the saucepan is coming to temperature, then placing the eggs in the hot water and keeping the eggs at 140°F for 5 minutes.
Warming the eggs first will help the eggs heat more evenly when placed in the 140°F water.
5 minutes will be enough time to kill most of any pesky salmonella bacteria.
Once you’re done, chill the eggs and use them as you would in any recipe that calls for eggs.
How to Pasteurize Eggs at Home
If you have a sous vide circulator, you can use it (instead of using a thermometer) to maintain a 140°F temperature to heat the eggs.
- Eggs, raw, in shell
1 Warm the eggs: Remove eggs from the refrigerator and put them in a bowl with warm water from the faucet to warm them while you are heating the water in the saucepan.
2 Heat water to 140°F: Fill a saucepan halfway (enough to cover the eggs) with water. Bring to 140°F (60°C).
3 Place eggs in the hot water: Place the eggs in the hot water. Monitor the water temperature. Keep the temperature of the water at 140°F. Don’t let the water temperature get above 142°F.
Keep eggs in the 140°F water for 5 minutes.
4 Remove and chill: Remove from heat, rinse with cool water. Chill the eggs until needed.
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