Around the country, most of us keep our eggs in the fridge . That’s because eggs commercially produced in the U.S. need to be kept under refrigeration in order to minimize the potential risk for food poisoning by Salmonella contamination.
But when it comes to using those same eggs in many recipes, they should be brought from fridge-cold to room temperature first. So what’s the best way to get eggs to room temperature?
A little forethought and pre-planning is the easiest approach. "Assuming you know in advance that you’ll be doing some baking, the best way to get eggs to room temperature is to put them on your counter at least 30 minutes to an hour before you get started," explains Sara Brook , owner and chef of Houston’s Dessert Gallery.
How Long Does It Take for Eggs to Come to Room Temperature?
Director of pastry research and development at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) Jürgen David agrees that the best way to get eggs to room temperature is to take them out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes in advance of use. But there’s a shortcut he recommends in a pinch.
"If you forget or don’t have the time, place whole eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 10 to 20 minutes," he says. "Just make sure the water isn’t too hot—you don’t want the eggs to cook."
Why Do You Have to Bring Eggs to Room Temperature for Baking?
You might think it’s easy enough to skip the step of bringing eggs to room temperature before adding them into recipes for baked goods. But you’ll get a much better result if you don’t cut this corner in the process. That’s because ingredients at room temperature emulsify most effectively.
"Just like [with] butter, room temperature ingredients blend better with each other than cold ones," Brook says. "Cold ingredients make cold and lumpy batter; room temperature ingredients make smooth and creamy batter. It’s really that simple and really that important."
Do You Really Have to Cook With Room Temperature Eggs?
While you won’t necessarily doom a recipe to failure by using cold eggs, ICE’s pastry director David discourages it. He says starting from room temperature is important not just for eggs, but for all of the ingredients used in the batter.
"If you’re baking a cake, for example, it’s important to have all the batter ingredients at room temperature," he says "This allows you to emulsify the ingredients."
Skipping this step will have noticeable consequences in the final result. "If the eggs are cold, the ingredients won’t combine as well," he says. "It’ll be grainy and gritty, and the resulting texture won’t be as fluffy."