When you've separated eggs and end up with either extra whites or yolks, it seems easier to use up those whites—just throw them into a quick scramble the next morning. But for egg yolks, it may seem like a tougher call. In actuality, there are plenty of uses for those sunny, solitary yolks. Learn how to easily use up leftover egg yolks quickly. Plus, take away the nutritional benefits of yolks as well as storage tips.
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If you just finished baking a batch of meringues or flourless cookies and are now stuck with leftover egg yolks that you don't know what to do with, you're in luck! Egg yolks can be used as a healthy emulsifier, binder or flavor agent in more recipes than you may think. Read on to learn more about their health benefits and what to do with leftover egg yolks.

What is an egg yolk?

In chicken eggs, the egg yolk is typically yellow or orange in color. It is round and suspended in egg whites, also known as the albumen, and is protected by the chalazae. The egg yolk is the main source of vitamins and minerals in the egg, and though it might look big, it actually only makes up one-third of the entire weight of the egg. 

Are egg yolks healthy?

Eggs have long been considered a healthy and inexpensive nutrition source that can be used in many different recipes and dishes. While they are relatively high in cholesterol, remember that there are some important health benefits of egg yolks:

But before you get cracking, make sure you're working with fresh eggs! Both yolk and white should be free of discoloration, which is a sign of bacterial growth. The egg should not have a sulfuric smell, and the yolk should be more round than flat, riding high on the albumen.

How to store egg yolks

Like egg whites, raw leftover egg yolks should be stored immediately in the refrigerator in an airtight storage container. But unlike egg whites, yolks can dry out if stored. Try adding a bit of cold water to keep the yolks moist, and drain the water before using the yolks, within two to four days. If you don't think you'll use them up within that time frame, you can freeze them

What to do with leftover egg yolks

Salad Dressings

Egg yolks act as an emulsifier in homemade vinaigrettes, and making them is easier than you might think. All you need is one egg yolk and a few key ingredients to prep a Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette that pairs perfectly with veggies and salad.

You'll never look at bottled salad dressing the same way once you've made Caesar dressing from scratch. Prep your dressing in a food processor and then drizzle over your salad greens with Parmesan crisps for the Best Caesar Salad you've ever had. 

Fresh Pastas

Instead of buying boxed pasta, try making your own. Some fresh pasta recipes will call for whole eggs, while others only require the yolk. More egg yolks than egg whites in your pasta will yield a richer, more yellow dough. 

If you've never tried homemade gnocchi, now's the perfect time. Only a few ingredients are needed for Potato Gnocchi, and the recipe couldn't be easier. Plus, the possibilities are endless when it comes time for toppings, and you don't need any pasta makers or tools

Custards

If you don't have any dessert at home but your sweet tooth has a craving, you might have the ingredients for homemade Vanilla Custard without knowing it! Eggs serve as the thickening agent in custard, which only needs a few ingredients (including yolks) and 30 minutes in the oven to come together. 

Cured egg yolks

Curing egg yolks is a low-lift way to use leftover yolks with results that are long-lasting and high-impact. Here's how:

  • Mix equal parts salt and sugar and pour half into a storage container with an airtight lid.
  • Using a spoon, gently place yolks on top of the salt-sugar mixture, leaving space between the yolks. Then, a little at at time, pour the remaining salt-sugar mixture over the yolks, covering them completely.
  • Secure the lid and refrigerate for six days, until the yolks are firm and dry.
  • Remove the cured yolks from the container and brush off any clinging salt or sugar. Then, gently rinse them in cold water and pat dry.
  • Place the yolks on a rack on a baking sheet and bake at 175°F until completely dry, about an hour. Cool.
  • Use a microplane to grate the cured yolks over salads, soups, pastas or even pizza or your morning grits. The possibilities are endless! Think of them as a hard cheese like Parmesan, and use cured yolks like that.
  • Cured egg yolks will last weeks in an airtight container in the fridge; just look for any discoloration or an off smell to judge whether or not they're still good. But it shouldn't be difficult to use them all in time. Make it rain cured egg yolk in your kitchen!

Bottom line

When you're separating eggs and end up with a surplus of yolks, don't worry about them going to waste. There are plenty of ways to use those leftover yolks in your kitchen, whether it's in a simple salad dressing, a fresh pasta, creamy custard or cured yolks. There's never a good reason to waste those sunny, amber-hued orbs.