Can You Substitute Egg Yolks For Whole Eggs?

Substitute Egg Yolks for Whole Eggs
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Substitute Egg Yolks for Whole Eggs

An egg is an important ingredient in the culinary world owing to its versatile usage. Most importantly, eggs bind other ingredients together, emulsify liquid, and thicken sauces. Egg white and yolk each have distinct properties and are used for different things.

For example, an egg white can be beaten into many times its volume and used for meringues. This cannot be done with a yolk due to its fat content. Cooks need to differentiate when it’s best to use either or both of them.

An egg contains numerous nutrients, coming from two different parts. The white portion is mainly protein, whereas the yolk is made up of nutrients like iron, vitamin B12, B2, zinc, and small quantities of vitamin D. It also contains fat.

Many cooks wonder if they can substitute egg yolks for whole eggs. We’ll look at this here so keep reading!

Substitute Egg Yolks for Whole Eggs

In cookies

Two egg yolks are equal to one whole egg. Since the egg yolk has all sorts of nutrients except proteins, you can expect a moist and soft cookie with a texture like cake. You will get a rich flavor because of the extra yolk addition.

However, the white portion contains proteins that play a role in the setting, crisping and drying out of the cookie. Thus, if you add just yolks, expect a rich, flavorsome cookie but with a softer texture. Your cookies will not be crisp.

In cakes

Homemade classic sponge cake, selective focus
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For some cakes, only using yolks can work. This is particularly true for cakes with a heavy, moist texture like some chocolate cakes or fruit cakes. You will get a richer taste and little difference in texture. There are, however, a few exceptions.

Make sure not to experiment with this on sponge cake since they rely heavily on the firmness provided by egg white and use the whites to rise. Do not use just yolks in any cake that calls for whipped egg whites and has no raising agent.

Woman hands breaking an egg to separate egg white and yolks
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Some Swiss roll and sponge recipes are like this. They rely on the air incorporated into the whipped egg whites for the cake to rise.

In bread

Using just egg yolks in bread and doughnuts can produce a softer mouthfeel. They get their much-needed texture and binding ability from the gluten in flour so don’t need egg white to hold them together.

Also, they use yeast to rise so don’t require egg white for this function either. Rich bread recipes that require additional fat can benefit from the extra yolk. Puddings and French toast made with yolks-only bread will have a richer flavor.

How to mix yolks into a recipe

If you are considering using only egg yolks in a recipe, it may be a good idea to first mix them in a dish with milk or water, depending on what is called for in the ingredient list. Both of these items blend well and will be easier to add in this form.

Keep in mind the total required liquid quantities called for by the recipe, as egg yolks, of course, have a smaller volume than whole eggs. Egg yolks are better at creating emulsions than whole eggs, as they have excellent binding properties.

This property makes egg yolks a great choice for sauces. They work well in making cookies and bread soft. However, this is just one view. Many baking enthusiasts do not allow for such substitutions.

Process of making milk tea chiffon cake at home
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They believe that baking is an exact science requiring exactly the right ingredients in the correct quantities. In cooking, we can play around with substitutions but not in baking.

Thus, if you need perfect results and cannot afford a flop, rather use whole eggs if they are called for.

How to use extra egg yolks

Perhaps you are trying to substitute egg yolks for whole eggs because you have some extra yolks in hand. This often happens when you make meringue. There are several ways to use up these extra yolks without spoiling your normal recipes. Here are a few ideas:

egg tart on a wooden background
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  • Egg custard tarts
  • Vanilla slices
  • Lemon curd
  • Beat egg yolks into mashed potatoes for extra richness and nutrition. Use on top of cottage pie or to make duchess potatoes.
  • Traditional vanilla custard
  • Lemon bars
  • Beat one or two into a smoothie
  • Make homemade mayonnaise

To conclude

Bright yellow egg yolks in a white bowl
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To sum up, we can say that if you are making recipes that call for the binding power of egg white protein, you should not take the risk of substituting. If you have some extra yolks in hand, you can experiment with them in cakes or use them in some of the ideas given above.

The texture provided by whole eggs is unsurpassed. However, extra yolk will always add softness and richness to those items that require additional fats. We hope this answers your question about substituting whole eggs for egg yolks.

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