How to Pasteurize Eggs at Home

How ToEgg

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

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes

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.

Ingredients

  • Eggs, raw, in shell

Special equipment:

Method

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).

Heat water to 140°F to pasteurize eggs

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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4 Comments / Reviews

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  1. Sheila

    I never considered pasteurizing eggs for recipes where they are not cooked. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I am delighted you shared this.

  2. John Meyer

    I’ve done this a few times, but most of the sites that have information on using sous vide to pasteurize eggs use a 135, not 140 temperature, but for 75 minutes. You obviously have seen time/temperature food safety charts, so you know you can achieve the same food safety goal at slightly lower temperatures that leave the egg white in better shape for whipping, if that is what the recipe calls for, but you have to maintain that temperature for a much longer time, and hold that temperature far more accurately.

    I realize you are providing a recipe for people who don’t have a sous vide machine and therefore can’t guarantee exact temperatures. For them, I think your 140 is an excellent way to go. However, you might want to provide the additional information on the lower temperature coupled with longer time that might give better results, while maintaining food safety, for those who have sous vide equipment.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi John, thank you for your comment! I have seen those references on sites for the sous vide temperature, but I didn’t see the technical papers that backed up those numbers. The research I did through the scientific papers actually turned up much lower numbers, like 135°F for 40 minutes. So, I though I would do more research before making a recommendation. What I don’t know is if cooking the egg for a longer period of time at 135°F would help it whip up any better than cooking it for 5 minutes at 140°F. I think that is what would be worthy of testing. Since why bother to sous vide something for 40 minutes or more when you can accomplish the same thing at 5 minutes? So, if I end up researching this further, I will happily update the post.

Pasteurize EggsHow to Pasteurize Eggs at Home