Kitchen

Can you freeze eggs in the shell? Yes, with limitations.

Can you freeze eggs in the shell? Yes. Once thawed, the white will be the same, but the yolk will become stiffened.

I don’t use eggs very often, so when faced with a dozen in my fridge, I wanted to preserve some of them before they went bad. I use them mostly as an ingredient, and not in their eggy form, so I wasn’t too picky if they changed somehow in the process. I just wanted something that I could still use for things like, say, meatloaf — so was there a way to freeze them?

Quickly, the internet came to my rescue, and assured me that I could freeze them, by beating them and pouring them into a greased muffin pan. Beaten eggs were fine for my purpose. So I cracked them individually into a muffin pan, froze them, and removed the eggy ingots to a freezer bag.

All went well. I used them up. But freezing them, and cleaning the muffin pan afterward, was a bit messy.

So, I asked the internet again — can I freeze eggs *in the shell*? And the internet insisted I couldn’t – over and over again. Every article said, yes, you can freeze eggs, but not in the shell — because the shells will crack, and you will have a mess.

But that isn’t a satisfactory answer. If the egg is frozen hard, who cares if the shell is cracked? With the shell still on, at least it continues to look like an egg, which makes it easy to tell your frozen eggs apart from other items in the freezer. Exactly how is this not better than pulling up a bunch of frozen egg puddles that have become stuck in a muffin pan?

So I gave it a shot. These were Grade A large, in a standard paper carton. To be sold by Nov 11, and this was only October 27. I placed four of them in a muffin pan — just in case they leaked — and placed them in the freezer overnight.

And here they are, the next morning. Frozen hard. Yes, some cracks. One of them wasn’t even cracked at all, although I consider that to be very lucky.

So far so good. And I did not dirty a muffin pan. In hindsight, I could have simply frozen them in the paper carton.

But what happens when they thaw? See below. (a) I took an egg out of the freezer and placed it in a bowl. (b) Half an hour later, it thawed enough that the crack closed itself back up – and no leaks. (c) An hour later, it was thawed. I removed the shell, which came off neatly, in two pieces. The white was liquid. The yolk, not so much. It held its shape.

This was promising. I felt that I could still fry this egg, though the yolk may be a bit stiffer than usual. But I did not have that in mind. It was going into a batch of meatballs. I took a fork and whipped it as well as I could. But as you see, even as the white began to get all excited, the yolk could only form squishy fragments, and could not be incorporated into a perfectly smooth mixture.

Bottom line: I squished them as well as I could, and used it anyway, and the meatballs turned out perfectly.

The conclusion: yes, you can freeze eggs in the shell. Here are the caveats:

  • The yolk stiffens, so it will be more difficult to make scrambled eggs or beaten eggs.
  • The egg could be fried, if you are ok with a tall and rounded yolk.
  • The shell develops a crack, so it’s not good for hard-boiling.
  • Excellent if your recipe calls only for egg whites. Once thawed, separating the white from the stiffened yolk becomes extremely easy.
  • But if your recipe calls for a beaten yolk, then not so much.
  • If it relies on a beaten egg, then maybe — but it’s preferable to beat the eggs before freezing, if the beaten yolk plays an important part.

So freezing eggs in the shell can, indeed, work for many purposes. I will continue doing it for those purposes, no matter what the internet thinks.

As always, be sure to label your freezer bags, so you’ll remember what’s in them.

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