Eggcyclopedia

Welcome to the The Incredible Edible Egg™ Eggcyclopedia, where you can access the latest egg information from A-Z. The Eggcyclopedia was developed by the American Egg Board (AEB) on behalf of America's egg farmers who are committed to caring for their hens and producing high-quality eggs for you and your families.

Just click on any letter below to bring up a list of egg terms and their related definitions.

Doneness Guidelines

To prevent food-borne illness, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends cooking eggs until the whites are firm and yolks are thickened. Cook egg-containing dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). For egg preparations not cooked to these guidelines, pasteurized shell eggs are available on the market. Eggs should be served promptly after cooking. Cook scrambled eggs, omelets and frittatas until the eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. To cook both sides of fried eggs and increase the temperature the eggs reach, cook slowly and baste the eggs, turn the eggs or cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard. For classic poached eggs cooked gently in simmering water, cook until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 3 to 5 minutes. For steamed eggs cooked in “poaching” inserts set above simmering water, cook until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 6 to 9 minutes. Avoid precooking and reheating poached eggs. Cook or bake French toast, Monte Cristo sandwiches, crab or other fish cakes, quiches, baked custards and most casseroles until a thermometer inserted at the center shows 160ºF (71°C) or a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. You may find it difficult to tell if a knife shows uncooked egg or melted cheese in some casseroles and other combination dishes that are thick or heavy and contain cheese – lasagna, for example. To be sure these dishes are done, make sure that a thermometer at the center of the dish shows 160°F (71°C). Cook a soft (stirred) custard – including cream pie, eggnog and ice cream bases – until it’s thick enough to coat a metal spoon with a thin film and a thermometer shows 160°F (71°C) or higher. After cooking, cool the custard quickly by setting the pan in ice or cold water and stirring for a few minutes. Cover and refrigerate the cooled custard to chill thoroughly, at least 1 hour. Bake a 3-egg-white soft (pie) meringue spread on a hot, fully cooked pie filling in a preheated 350°F (177°C) oven until the meringue reaches 160°F, about 15 minutes. For meringues using more whites, bake at 325°F (163°C) or a lower temperature until a thermometer registers 160°F (71°C), about 25 to 30 minutes (or more). The more egg whites, the lower the temperature and longer the time you need to cook the meringue through without excessive browning. Refrigerate meringue-topped pies until serving. Return leftovers to the refrigerator. Baked goods and hard-boiled eggs will easily reach internal temperatures of more than 160°F (71°C) when they are done. Note, though, that while Salmonella are destroyed when hard-boiled eggs are properly prepared, hard-boiled eggs can spoil more quickly than raw eggs. After cooking, cool hard-boiled eggs quickly under running cold water or in ice water. Avoid allowing eggs to stand in stagnant water. Refrigerate hard-boiled eggs in their shells promptly after cooling and use them with one week. For microwaved egg dishes, encourage more even cooking by covering the dish, stirring the ingredients, if possible, and if your microwave does not have a turntable, rotate the dish once or twice during the cooking time. Recipes calling for raw or lightly cooked eggs. Although the overall risk of egg contamination is very small, the risk of foodborne illness from eggs is highest in raw and lightly cooked dishes. To eliminate risk and ensure food safety, replace all your recipes calling for raw or lightly cooked eggs with cooked egg recipes or use pasteurized shell eggs or egg products when you prepare them. To cook eggs for these recipes, use the following methods to adapt your recipes: Cooking whole eggs for use in recipes Fully cook whole eggs for assured safety in recipes that call for raw or lightly cooked eggs. You can use the following method for a variety of recipes, with any number of eggs. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the eggs and either sugar, water or another liquid from the recipe (at least 1/4 cup sugar, liquid or a combination per egg). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the egg mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film or reaches 160° F. Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe. Cooking egg yolks for use in recipes Cook egg yolks for use in mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, cold soufflés, chiffons and mousses and other recipes calling for raw egg yolks. You can use the following method with any number of yolks. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the egg yolks and the liquid from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons liquid per yolk). Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the yolk mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film, bubbles at the edges or reaches 160°F (71°C). Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe. Cooking egg whites for use in recipes For full safety in all recipes, cook egg whites before you use them. You can use the following method with any number of whites, including chilled desserts and Seven-Minute Frosting, Royal Icing and other frosting recipes calling for raw egg whites. In a heavy saucepan, the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over water in a saucepan, stir together the egg whites and the sugar from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons sugar per white), water (1 teaspoon per white) and cream of tartar (1/8 teaspoon per each 2 whites). Cook over low heat or simmering water, beating constantly with a portable mixer at low speed, until the whites reach 160°F (71°C). Pour into a large bowl. Beat on high speed until the whites stand in soft peaks. Proceed with the recipe. Note that you must use sugar to keep the whites from coagulating too rapidly. Test with a thermometer as there is no visual clue to doneness. If you use an unlined aluminum saucepan, eliminate the cream of tartar or the two will react and create an unattractive gray meringue. The egg whites in an Italian meringue (made by adding hot sugar syrup to egg whites while beating them) do not reach much above 125°F (52°C), so this method is only safe in dishes that are further cooked. However, if you bring the sugar syrup all the way to the hard ball stage (250 to 266°F/121° to 130°C), the whites will reach a high enough temperature. You can use a sugar syrup at hard ball stage for Divinity and similar recipes. –See Cooking Methods, Egg Safety, Fight BAC!, Partnership for Food Safety Education, Raw Eggs, Salmonella