Woman separating the yolk from the egg white

There are a number of reasons why substituting egg whites for whole eggs in baking is a good idea. Egg whites are high in protein and do not include the fat and cholesterol associated with eating egg yolks. Egg whites are also lower in calories, which, with other healthy substitutions, can help make baked goods into healthier desserts. The key to using egg whites instead of whole eggs while baking is to understand the whole eggs to egg white conversion. With these tips and conversion tricks, configuring egg white to egg ratio will be easy for your baking needs.

How Many Egg Whites Equal One Egg?

Two egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute equals one egg. This means that 1/3 cup egg whites from cracked, whole eggs, is the equivalent of three eggs because six egg whites are required to fill a measuring cup to the 1/3 cup mark. Using this whole egg to egg white conversion, or egg white to egg ratio, calculating how many egg whites are necessary to substitute for whole eggs is easy. Simply multiply the number of eggs the recipe calls for by two and use that number of egg whites.

Egg White Options

Depending on your baking needs, there are two primary options for buying and using egg whites. The first is to buy double the number of fresh eggs required in the recipe, crack them, but use only the egg whites. This, of course, means that there are many yolks wasted or left over. While those yolks can be used, they need to be used sooner rather than later as they do not store well if left too long in the fridge.

The easiest option, though slightly more expensive, is to purchase a carton of egg whites at the grocery store. Not only will this allow you to avoid the leftover yolk dilemma, but the carton even has a conversion chart on it. This makes quick conversions while baking in the kitchen a snap to measure and add the correct amount of egg white to the batter.

When the Substitution Works Best

Prepackaged mixes of baked goods usually have ingredients to help them rise and maintain a fluffy texture, so all eggs called for in the mix can be replaced with egg whites or an egg substitute. Recipes that are homemade do not, however, have this information. For this reason, it is best to leave at least one whole egg in the mixture, remembering that the yolk will be divided across all servings of the baked good. Eggs are one of the key ingredients for building structure and stability in baked goods, so without them, the product might result in a slightly different texture. If you do not want to use a whole egg, try adding an additional teaspoon of a leavening agent like baking soda to help the baked good rise to its proper height.

What to Do With the Yolks

When cracking whole eggs to use the egg whites, there will be leftover egg yolks. While egg yolks will not keep in the fridge for very long, they can be frozen for later use. For those who want to go ahead and use the yolks, rather than freeze them or throw them out, here are some ideas you can try:

  • Egg yolks are a key component for making custards and custard-based homemade ice cream. 
  • Unbaked pie crusts are also a good use for egg yolks; brushing the pastry helps it to turn golden brown and crisp in the oven. 
  • Add yolks to lemon bars with shortbread crusts or to banana pudding. 
  • For less than three leftover yolks, explore aioli and mayonnaise recipes. 
  • Make ravioli with a yolk baked in the middle of each. 

No matter if you choose a sweet or savory solution, there are tons of recipes out there to help you get creative with using leftover egg yolks.