Aging egg whites helps to create a more stable meringue for baking perfect macarons. Here's a simple tutorial that will teach you how and a discussion on if it's really needed.
What is Aged Egg Whites?
Aged egg whites are ones which have been separated and left in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours so that the proteins inside can relax, making it easier to whip to volume. It's very important to use aged egg whites for baking macarons because a lot of problems derive from a poorly prepared meringue. All good macaron recipe rely on a good meringue to help the macaron shells develop. To build a good foundation for a healthy meringue, start with aged egg whites.
How to Age Egg Whites?
To age egg whites, start with cold eggs and separate the whites from the yolk with an egg separator like the one you see in my video. Keep it in a non-plastic container for a minimum of 24 hours. This process helps to dehydrate it and relax the proteins inside the whites, thereby, preventing over whipping while creating a strong meringue with stiff peaks.
Do I really need to age my egg whites?
Some bakers do not believe in aging the egg whites and claim it's one of those myths surrounding macaron baking. Yes, you can definitely bake macarons with fresh egg whites. I have done so on many occasions. However, I still always leave aged egg whites in the fridge every few days because I want to make sure I have them on hand whenever I need to bake macarons.
World renowned macaron pastry chef, Pierre Herme, recommends the aging process in his popular Macarons cookbook and this is also what I've seen done at the bakeries. I find aged egg whites do whip up easily and have a "drier" consistency. When it whips up more readily, they are less apt to be over whipped.
I know how frustrating it is when macarons don't work out and you feel like you've wasted your ingredients and several hours in the process. If you age your egg whites, it will act as extra insurance and that never hurts. If things still don't work out, then at least you can rule out the fact that aged egg whites were not used. Once you are able to make macarons successfully, you can skip the aging process and go from there.
Step By Step
Clean and dry hands and other kitchen utensils that are to be used.
Wipe down non-plastic bowls with some vinegar or lemon juice to remove leftover oils.
Set an egg separator over a bowl for holding the egg whites. Have another bowl handy for holding the separated egg yolks.
Crack the eggs while cold.
Transfer the egg yolk into another bowl. To avoid compromising the integrity of the entire amount of egg whites if the yolks burst, crack each egg and then transfer the egg whites to a bowl dedicated to keeping the egg whites.
Pour the egg whites into a measuring cup and weigh out the amount you need for your recipe.
Place plastic wrap over the the measuring cup.
Poke a few large holes in it. Place it in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours. You can keep the egg whites in the fridge for up to 2-4 days.
Age Egg Whites for Baking Macarons
Aging egg whites helps to create a more stable meringue for baking perfect macarons. Here's a simple tutorial that will teach you how to separate the egg whites and help relax their proteins for baking.
- 50 grams of egg whites
- 3 small non-plastic bowl for cracking eggs
- non-plastic measuring cup
- egg separator
- lemon juice or vinegar
- plastic wrap
- container for holding yolks
- Clean and pat dry hands. Meringues cannot whip up properly in the presence of yolk, oil and water.
- Wipe down mixing bowls with some lemon juice or vinegar to remove leftover oils.
- Crack the cold egg into a small non-plastic bowl. (Cold eggs are easier to separate than warm eggs.) Separate egg whites, making sure to leave no traces of egg yolks. Cracking the egg into the extra bowl on the side will ensure that if you make a mistake, your entire portion of egg whites will not be compromised.
- Place the yolk in the yolk container and then pour the egg whites into the measuring cup. Do this for each egg.
- Make sure to measure the exact amount of egg whites the recipe calls for. You’ll find that egg whites can weigh a little less after a few days of dehydration in the fridge. So, in my best macaron recipe, measure out the egg whites BEFORE aging it.
- If yolks do get into the egg whites, just scoop it out with the egg shell. you’ll find that the yolk is easily attracted to the shell.
- Place plastic wrap over the the measuring cup and then poke a few large holes in it. Place it in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours. You can keep the egg whites in the fridge for up to 2-4 days.
- Set it out at room temperature for 20 minutes before you start baking.
- Follow the next step to Making Perfect Meringues for Macarons
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Note: This post was first published on September 15, 2016.
Would using carton egg whites be fine to use?
I haven't tried carton egg whites. Some users have had success, others no. I think some cartons even specify that their egg whites can be used for whipping.
Can I age the egg white in a glass container with a plastic lid on? Or do I hve to use a plastic cling wrap?
It's best to allow some air flow, a tight fitting lid won't be as ideal.
If we measure out the egg whites first, and then place them in the fridge, they evaporate a bit. Is this right? Do we actually work with less than specified in a recipe?
Yes, you measure first, then age. Technically, you don't work with less because you already measured it out accurately from the very beginning.
Jill Nudelman says
Did you get ever feedback about egg whites used from a carton?
I just had a reader email over on this post How to Age Egg Whites for Macarons. She said that carton egg whites worked for her. Perhaps you can leave a comment for her there if you have questions. XOXO, Mimi
Yay! That’s good to know. A friend and I are attempting our first run with making macs on Monday. I’ll try using regular eggs and see how it goes the first run. I wondered about using carton egg whites. What do you do with your yolks? I hate to waste them.
I usually compost them but if I am making scrambled eggs that day I might throw some extra yolks in. Unfortunately, I don't have any meals that utilize so many egg yolks. You can consider making a French meringue buttercream for your macs with it 🙂
I read somewhere that you can dehydrate the eggs with 10 sec microwave in medium heat. Is it possible?
And also when we put in back in room temp, the bowl will sweat, and contains water, will it affect the meringue?
I prefer to age the egg whites by leaving them in the fridge as per the post. This helps to relax the proteins in the egg whites, not necessarily to "dehydrate" them. From my readings, heat makes the egg whites bond together which is not the desired goal of the aging process.
I often freeze egg whites and discover later that they have been dehydrated some by the freezing process. I also use powdered egg whites that I've purchased from a commercial Source. Can either of these be used in place of fresh eggs that have been dehydrated?
I would not use them from frozen as ice crystals that form from the freezing process will compromise the make up of the egg whites for our use in macarons. I would not use powdered egg whites as well.
Have you ever tried using a food dehydrator to speed up the aging process of the egg whites?
No, I haven't. Part of the aging process is allowing the proteins in the whites to relax. I'm not quite sure if the dehydrator will have the same effect. Let me know if you try it:)
Hi! Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing so much. I tried googling ceram wrap:
Is this what you meant? Food service film/Plastic wrap? Like the brand Saran wrap?
Just trying to get clarification, thanks so much 💕
It's my fault entirely. I've changed it to plastic wrap. So yes, Saran wrap will work 🙂
Haya Qazi says
Hey Mimi! I don't have measuring scale. As of now, I have extra large eggs. How many eggs do you think I will need to be 50 mg? And also do you know how much weight an egg loses after aging it for a day?
I do not recommend making macarons without a scale. Egg weights can vary from egg to egg and you will need exact measurements to make macarons successfully.
Hi, Mimi. Thank you for this. One question, please. Is it okay if there are a few specks of egg yolk in the egg whites?
You can try whipping it and see how long it takes you, if you find that it's similar to your usual whipping time and it looks like it usually does, it might not hurt to use it. However, if you find it takes a long time to whip (you might have overworked it) or it doesn't whip up well, I'd throw it out. Don't waste your time and the rest of your ingredients.
This is just wonderful! I hate separating eggs (don’t we all?) and have stayed away from white cakes and such because of this. Eggs were on sale this week (I wonder why?) and we have no kids to dye with, so I think I’ll try this. I’ve also heard that an older egg is easier to separate than the one you just brought home. Older being a day or so.
Do I need to make sure my egg whites are back to 50g after I age them? Because you said they weigh less after aging so I was wondering if I need to have the egg whites back to the 50g.
No, you just use what you aged and yes, it will weigh a bit less after aging. XOXO, Mimi
Have you ever used eggs whites from a carton for macarons
No, I haven't. I've heard that there are some which can be used for leavening but you'll have to research that. Let me know!
I just tried your recipe using egg whites from a carton and it worked! This was my second time ever making macarons (first time was with a different recipe over 6 yrs ago) and I’m so happy to report this time they were successful! Thanks for your detailed guide!
That is great. I'm so happy to hear that. Many readers have asked about this. I have not tried myself so I'm very appreciative you came back to tell us about your experience. XOXO, Mimi
You had said that egg whites weigh less after dehydration. Is your measurements for you receipes based on before dehydration or after?
Thanks a lot!
I was wondering the same thing!
the measurements are before dehyrdation.
Thanks Mimi! 🙂
It is before dehydration.
Corinne Sandor says
Any idea around what they should weigh after dehydration? I usually make macarons after making a custard dish and didn't weigh the egg whites out before aging them this time.
Since this is a very small amount of whites we are working with, the reduction is minimal if after only 1-2 days. It can continue to dry out completely if left to age longer. It's hard for me to say.