What to do with leftover egg yolks

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What to do with leftover egg yolks

We’ve all been there. You’ve whipped up an impressive meringue and now you’ve got a leftover egg yolks to deal with. Don’t chuck them – and certainly don’t leave them in the fridge to go bad (and end up chucking them!). We’ve got some clever ideas for all the ways to use up leftover egg yolks.

One thing to remember

The best way to avoid being left with a pile of egg yolks is to try and find a way to incorporate them elsewhere into the original dish or menu. For example, if you’re making a pavlova, you could make a lemon curd to stir through the whipped cream before serving. Make a starter that would use them up, like a quiche, or serve a Hollandaise sauce with your mains. Planning a menu like this not only reduces waste (or thinking up ways to use leftover ingredients), but is also more cost effective.

4–6 egg yolks leftover


The first and most obvious use of leftover egg yolks is mayonnaise. This is simply because the recipe isn’t dependent on a specific number of egg yolks and the ratio can be easily scaled up. For example, the standard mayo recipe is one egg yolk to one cup of oil, so if you’ve got 2 or 3 egg yolks left over, you could make a large batch of mayo. What then to do with all this mayo? Aside from slathering it on burgers and sandwiches, you could add some finely diced garlic to make an aïoli, or you could thin it down to make a Caesar dressing of sorts.

While on the subject of egg-based sauces, Hollandaise is another excellent way to use up egg yolks. Four yolks to 125 g butter is the general ratio, and it’s easily halved or doubled. Add tarragon to make a Béarnaise or keep as is to spoon over eggs, asparagus and grilled fish.

Get the recipe for mayonnaise here.

Get the recipe for Hollandaise here.

2–4 egg yolks leftover


Another great way to use up egg yolks is in a basic custard or crème Anglaise, which is also based on a standard ratio of 2 egg yolks to 3/4 cup of milk. Once again, this is easy to scale up depending on how many yolks you’ve got to use up. Once you’ve got this custard, either pour it all over your favourite dessert or churn it in to make ice cream.

curdle-proof custardGet the recipe for custard here.

Crème brûlée

This perfect dessert isn’t such a far cry from the custard mentioned above, but if you’re looking to use up those yolks in one dessert and be done with them forever – crème brûlée is the recipe you need. Depending on how many people you’re feeding, 3 egg yolks normally does the trick, but the recipe is easy to scale as you need.

Get the recipe for crème brûlée here.


The most indulgent of all pastas, carbonara is a combination of eggs, bacon and cheese. And while recipes vary on the number of eggs and egg yolks, we’re here to tell you that you could very easily make a sauce entirely out of yolks. It will be rich, but we can guarantee it will be delicious.

Carbonara pastaGet the recipe for carbonara here.

Can I freeze egg yolks?

Lastly, if all these options sound like too much work, you can also pop the yolks into the freezer to use at a later stage. The only thing to bear in mind here is that once egg yolks freeze, they tend to take on a gel-like consistency and could become unstable in recipes once defrosted. Counteract this by beating the yolks together, with either a pinch of salt or teaspoon of sugar for every four yolks. Make a note of what you’ve added as you don’t want salty custard or sweet Hollandaise! Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a year. When you’re ready to use them, leave them to defrost in the fridge overnight and proceed with your recipe as usual.

Jess Spiro Article by: Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a freelance food writer, chef and restaurant critic based in Cape Town, who can often be found in search of the next great plate of food. Follow her on Instagram @jess_spiro to see what she's eating.

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