30+ Ways to Stop Wasting Eggs

Whether you are trying to work through your own egg glut from the market or a backyard flock, or you’re looking to help out a neighbor or local farmer who has too many, here are some ways (and a lot of great egg recipes) to use those eggs before they spoil.

Storing Eggs

Store eggs in their carton, which helps protect them and keep refrigerator smells away from their porous shells. Keep them on a shelf, rather than the fridge door, which fluctuates more in temperature. Eggs will last up to five weeks from the purchase date; to check their freshness, place the eggs in a bowl of water. If they float, they are past their prime and should be composted.

The FoodPrint of Eggs

How to Preserve Raw Eggs

Although not as common as it once was, preserving eggs is a great way to extend shelf life. Two popular 18th century methods for preserving eggs were water glassing and liming the eggs. If that feels outside your comfort zone, there’s always pickling.

Century eggs are a delicacy in China and Hong Kong. These eggs are cured raw in a solution of brewed tea, ash, lime and salt for up to five months. The eggs turn shades of deep green, brown and navy blue with a jelly-like texture, and despite their strong aroma, are a much loved delicacy.

You can also freeze raw eggs, out of their shells, for up to one year. To freeze whole eggs, first gently whisk them together. Storing the mixture in an ice cube tray will give you an approximate “half egg” portion. These frozen cubes are great to use for scrambled eggs or recipes that call for whole eggs.

How to Use Extra Whole Eggs

Couldn’t resist those gorgeous farmers’ market eggs? Did a neighbor share their bounty of fresh chicken eggs? If you have an abundance of whole eggs on your hands, here are some great egg recipes to use them up:

Quiche

The classic “egg pie” will not only use at least half a dozen eggs, but it’s also an easy way to use any other leftovers you have in the fridge. Cooked vegetables, protein and fresh herbs are all easy additions to this delightful standby.

Frittata

The crustless quiche is an easy egg recipe to throw together. Its potato laden Spanish tortilla cousin is delicious and filling enough to be a satisfying meal or you can enjoy it tapas-style alongside a drink.

Strata

This make-ahead breakfast dish is standard holiday fare. Strata is rich, decadent and easy to make the night before so you can sleep in the next morning. Perfection!

Shakshuka

This saucy, tomato-based dish is great served with thick slices of toasted bread to soak up the gravy.

Sheet Pan Hash

The no-stress hash recipe is an easy weeknight dinner, and another great option for using up lots of leftovers. Use chopped white potatoes or sweet potatoes, hunks of sausage or diced bacon or pancetta and diced vegetables (brussels sprouts are awesome, but peppers, onions, celeriac, fennel or broccoli are all also great). Drizzle with olive oil, roast in a hot oven. Top with poached or fried eggs to add filling protein.

Roasted Eggs for a Crowd

Fried eggs for a crowd can be a real estate challenge for even the biggest skillet. A rimmed baking sheet, however, can easily hold a large number of eggs. Preheat your oven to 425F, oil the pan, crack the eggs into the pan, spacing them evenly across it. Bake it to your desired doneness. Slice and serve. Sheet pan scrambled eggs are also a great way to make egg sandwiches for a crowd.

Poached Eggs Over Lentils

French lentils, Lentils du Puy, keep their shape when cooked, have a much firmer texture than other varieties and are ideal for salads or grain-like preparations. Toss them with a vinaigrette, top with poached eggs and serve (see recipe below). It’s much more elegant than its simple preparation suggests.

Huevos Rancheros

This is an egg dish that is perfect morning, noon and night. Make it extra spicy and serve with a nice cold beer for dinner.

Soufflé

Making soufflé may seem daunting, and it is an advanced technique, for sure, but it’s worth the effort to bring this drum roller to the table. Read through a few pro tips before you get started to guarantee success.

How to Use Extra Egg Whites

What about recipes that require you to separate egg whites and yolks? Use these recipes to use any extra whites.

Meringues

Meringues are crispy, light and gluten-free. Making them is a terrific technique to have up your sleeve for a treat that can suit varying dietary needs. Serve them piled high with some macerated stone fruits or berries.

Angel Food Cake

This iconic summer cake is fluffy thanks to a lot of whipped egg whites in the batter. Serve it with strawberries, grilled peaches or other summer fruits.

Use to Clarify Stock

When chefs want crystal clear stock, to serve as consommé, for example, they clarify it with egg whites. The cloudy proteins in the liquid cling to the egg whites, and, once the whites solidify in the hot liquid, the mixture can be scooped out, leaving a clear liquid behind.

Add Gloss to Baked Goods

Tog et a nice brown color on your baked goods, paint raw doughs, like pie, cookies and breads with a wash of egg whites beaten with a little water to add a nice brown color without shine.

Egg White Omelets

A lot of health enthusiasts swear by egg white omelets. Use lots of fresh herbs to up the flavor quotient.

“Velveting” Chicken

This Chinese stir-fry technique tenderizes and flavors the meat: first soak sliced meat in a marinade of egg whites, cornstarch and rice wine, then quickly blanch in oil or water.

Royal Icing

This icing is the preferred medium of sugar cookie artists and is chock full of egg whites. It can be colored any hue of the rainbow, is easy to work with and dries hard and glossy to preserve the design.

Macarons

The French sandwich cookie macarons are great egg white recipe that is a treat to eat and make a gorgeous gift.

Macaroons

These coconut bundles are a super addition to the cookie tray. Dip them in melted chocolate for bonus points.

Frothy Cocktails

That froth in your Ramos Fizz? Thanks egg whites. They make some of our favorite classic cocktails creamy and gorgeous.

How to Use Egg Yolks

When the opposite is true and a recipe calls for just whites, these recipes will help use up extra yolks.

Add an Extra Yolk into Your Omelet

Whisk an extra yolk into your omelet for an eggier and richer breakfast.

Carbonara

Classic carbonara is made with eggs and egg yolks, no cream in sight.

Chocolate Mousse

No one is going to complain when a luxurious bowl of chocolate mousse comes to the table.

Lemon Curd

Light and bright, lemon curd is a real picture of spring flavor. All you need are lemons, egg yolks, sugar and butter for the recipe. It’s great for topping toast, served with cake or spooned over ice cream.

Crème Brûlée

The contrast of the soft, silky custard and the crackling burnt sugar crust of crème brûlée is an irresistible use of egg yolks.

Mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise is simple to make and much better than anything you will find jarred in the supermarket. Add fresh herbs or a squeeze of hot sauce to make it your own.

Hollandaise/Béarnaise

Hollandaise, one of the five French mother sauces and its variation, Béarnaise, are two recipes that turn egg yolks into the stuff of dreams. They are perfect for serving with dishes like poached eggs, roasted potatoes or green beans.

What to Do with Extra Cooked Eggs

Have some extra cooked eggs on hand? Here’s how to use them up:

Deviled Eggs

As any Easter Egg decorator knows, the easiest way to use extra boiled eggs is to make deviled eggs. A Southern tradition, these are a true crowdpleaser. Jazz up the classic version by topping them with pesto, blue cheese or frizzled onions.

Egg Salad

Another go-to egg recipe for emptying out of the fridge — or using leftover deviled eggs — is egg salad. Add extra flavor with pickled vegetables, hot sauce or pesto.

Use Them as a Salad Topping

Hard boiled eggs are on the salad bar for a reason: they are a great way to add texture and protein to a salad. You can toss them in any salad, but asparagus gribiche is a classic recipe to try out, topping roasted asparagus with a chopped or grated hardboiled egg sauce.     

Put Them on Top of Pizza

Instead of adding a fried egg to the top of pizza, use those extra hard boiled eggs. The Portuguese version adds the eggs before cooking, but you can also sprinkle them on top after the pie comes out of the oven.

Make Egg Curry

Coconut milk, tomatoes and spices create a silky broth for hard cooked eggs in an Indian egg curry. If you use already-boiled eggs, add them at the end of cooking the curry, so the eggs don’t overcook.

How to Use Egg Shells

You can’t break eggs without having some egg shells left over. To use them in any of the ways listed below first wash them, then either boil or bake them into a 160F oven for 15 minutes to pasteurize them.

In the Garden

Use crushed shells as fertilizer for plants, particularly tomatoes, which really benefit from the blast of calcium they bring to the soil. Egg shells also act as a pest deterrent, keeping slugs at bay.

Seed Starters

For the absolute cutest garden tool, use a half shell as a container to start seedlings. So Instagrammable.

Use to Scour

Crushed shells can act as an abrasive for scrubbing pots and pans.

Recipe: French Lentils with Poached Eggs

Sherri Brooks Vinton

Serves 4

This dish is a great addition to the brunch buffet but also makes a satisfying lunch or dinner. You can cook some sausage or bacon in the pan before adding the onion, but I like this meatless version just as well.

Ingredients

1 cup French lentils, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cups fresh tender salad greens such as spinach, watercress or arugula
4 poached eggs

Method

  1. Boil the lentils until tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and cook onion until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more, until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  3. Whisk mustard and vinegar into onions. Add lentils and stir to combine. Add greens and stir, allowing the heat from the pan to wilt them slightly.
  4. Arrange lentil mixture on a platter. Top with the poached eggs and serve.

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