Whenever I’m asked what I do with the extra eggs we get from our hens, I always say that we first freeze enough to make it through the winter. The other person usually looks confused and then says, “Can you freeze eggs?”
Yes, you can freeze eggs. In fact there are several ways of freezing chicken eggs to use later. The great thing is, when frozen and used correctly, frozen eggs don’t taste any different than fresh eggs.
During the spring and early summer our hens lay a ton of eggs. Way more than we can eat fresh. We do share these eggs with friends and even sell a few here and there. But before we do any of that, I freeze eggs so that when the hens stop laying in the winter we don’t have to buy eggs from the store.
My favorite way to freeze eggs is to freeze them whole and use ziplock bags (I’ll show you in a minute how I do that) but you can also freeze just the egg whites, just the yolks and cooked eggs such as scrambled eggs and hard boiled eggs.
There are a few things you need to do in order to successfully freeze eggs, so don’t just toss a whole egg in the freezer and call it good. The shell will crack and expose the egg which will lead to freezer burn and plain yolks don’t freeze well – they become very gelatinous.
When deciding how to freeze eggs start with the end in mind….how will you use frozen eggs? Do you want to use frozen eggs for baking? Do you want to use frozen eggs just like fresh eggs for things like omelets? Do you want eggs that are already cooked and all you have to do is thaw and heat up instead of cook them?
How to freeze eggs
My personal opinion is that freezing the whole egg in ziplock bags is the most versatile way to preserve eggs. These eggs can be used to make scrambled eggs or omelets, used in baking or even for making ice cream.
I freeze eggs in a few different increments – 3 eggs per bag, 6 eggs per bag, and 1 dozen eggs per bag. I find that these work well for what we do. If I end up with a recipe that calls for two eggs, it’s never mattered that I used three.
Eggs come in all sizes and unless you’re making a super fussy recipe, it’s not going to mess up the recipe.
If it will matter for your recipe, you can measure the thawed eggs, just know that “officially” 3 tablespoons of whisked eggs = 1 whole egg.
The key to freezing whole eggs, is to mix the egg yolk and egg white together like you’re making scrambled eggs. That’s the secret. Some people add a pinch of salt to their frozen eggs which helps keep the yolk from becoming so gelatinous. I usually forget.
Crack the number of eggs you want to freeze into a bowl and whisk them together.
Write that number on a ziplock bag (do this before filling the bag).
Pour the whisked eggs into the bag and zip it up, try to get as much air out as possible.
Lay the bags of frozen eggs on a baking sheet and put in the freezer. This will ensure they freeze flat and take up less space. Once they are frozen they can be moved to a container (I use an reclaimed square ice cream bucket) and stored in the freezer.
Eggs can be frozen for up to a year, according to the USDA.
**If you’re really trying to reduce plastic in your home or don’t happen to have any ziplock bags, you can freeze the whisked eggs in ice cube trays or muffin tins (I would use silicone ones so it’s easier to remove them). Once they are frozen pop them out and put them into another storage container. To thaw them you’ll need to put the frozen egg puck in a bowl and let it slowly thaw out.
How to thaw frozen eggs
Frozen eggs thaw pretty quickly. I usually just put the bag of frozen eggs in a bowl of hot tap water. If the bag only has 3 eggs in it, it’s usually thawed out in about 5 minutes. If it has a dozen eggs it will take closer to 10 minutes and I’ll need to keep adding warm water to the bowl.
They can also be thawed out overnight in the refrigerator, just put them on plate or in bowl in case the bag in case the bag ripped while the eggs were freezing. This doesn’t happen often but it can happen.
Once thawed, the eggs will look a little thicker than they did before they were frozen. I promise, they will cook up just fine.
I usually cut a corner from the bottom of the ziplock bag and squirt the eggs out. This seems to be less messy than opening the bag from the top.
Can you freeze egg whites?
Absolutely, in fact, eggs whites are the part of the egg that freezes best. There’s nothing special that you need to do, just put the egg whites in a ziplock bag, write the number of egg whites on the bag, and freeze flat. Thaw just like you would frozen whole eggs (see above).
Thawed egg whites will beat to better volume if you let them to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before beating.
If you want to freeze individual egg whites use an ice cube tray and then transfer the frozen egg whites to a freezer bag for storage.
If you have a recipe that call just for the egg yolks, there’s no need to toss the white or stress about finding something to do with it. You can easily just add the frozen egg white to the next batch of scrambled eggs or even a breakfast casserole, like this Baked French Toast.
For reference 2 tablespoons egg whites = 1 large egg white.
Can you freeze egg yolks?
Yes…but it needs this hack. I mentioned before that the egg yolk tends to get very gelatinous when frozen. To keep that from happening, you need to mix in 1/8 teaspoon salt for every four egg yolks. This will keep the yolks from becoming a gel.
Once it’s mixed in put the egg yolks in a freezer bag and write the number of yolk on the bag.
This is great for those who have someone in their family who only eats the egg whites and not the yolks.
The frozen yolks can be thawed like you do frozen whole eggs (see above) and added to recipes to make them richer. While I use the whole egg when I make lemon curd traditionally only the yolk is used – these would be great for that.
For reference 1 tablespoon egg yolks = 1 large egg yolk.
Can you freeze hard boiled eggs?
Yes…but you probably don’t want to. When cooked egg whites are frozen without being whisked into the yolk, they get very rubbery. I’m all about freezing food that others don’t think should be frozen – but there’s no real use for the whites of a frozen hard boiled egg.
The recommended way to freeze hard boiled eggs is to remove the yolk from the boiled egg and just freeze the yolk and discard the whites. Put the yolks in freezer bag and remove the air. They can also be frozen on a baking sheet in a single layer and then put into a freezer bag if you’re worried about them getting squished together.
To me, that’s a waste. There’s no scenario in my life where I need boiled just egg yolks and not the whites.
That being said, if you have a family member who makes hard boiled eggs and only eats the whites, then yes, freeze the yolks. They can be added to things like egg or tuna salad.
Can you freeze scrambled eggs?
Absolutely and they are fantastic. When done correctly reheated frozen scrambled eggs taste pretty much like fresh scrambled eggs. So how do you freeze scrambled eggs?
First, don’t overcook the eggs – they need to look a little wet.
Add a little salt to the eggs to help them retain their moisture.
Let the eggs completely cool before freezing.
I don’t freeze scrambled eggs in large amounts, if we ever need a large amount of scrambled eggs we just make it fresh. However, I do use these eggs to make frozen breakfast tacos by putting them into a flour tortilla, rolling them up in a paper towel and then freezing them. When we want to use them, we just microwave them for a few minutes. It would be better if we would let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator but we never think of that.
You can also make and freeze egg casseroles. I will often freeze a whole casserole to use later or to take to someone in need. They can also be frozen in individual portions. Biscuit and egg muffins freeze very well, too.
Can you use eggs that have been frozen?
If you follow the guidelines above it’s perfectly safe to use eggs that have been frozen. It’s recommended that you use them within 48 hours of removing from the freezer. And never refreeze thawed eggs.
But what about eggs you didn’t intend to freeze and are now frozen in the shell – for instance from the coop getting too cold or your refrigerator being too cold?
Can those frozen eggs be used?
I cannot find any official safety recommendations on using eggs that have been frozen in the shell, so I’m just going to give you my thoughts and you can decide what you want to do in your kitchen.
The purpose of the shell and membrane is to keep bacteria out of the egg. If an egg shell cracks for whatever reason but the membrane is intact, the egg is perfectly safe to eat.
If the membrane has been broken, there is a chance that bacteria can enter the egg.
For me, if the egg froze in the coop and cracked even if the membrane broke, I would probably still use the egg but make sure it’s cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria. However, if it froze all the way through it the yolk probably turned to gel. In that case, I would cook it and give it to the dog as a treat.
You’ll have to make your own decision on whether or not you should use eggs that have frozen in their shells.