A step-by-step guide to how to pasteurize eggs sous vide at home. It’s safe and way easier than you think.


Some of the most delectable recipes on the planet use an ingredient that can lead to your worst health nightmare: raw egg.

Raw egg yolk or raw egg whites are vital for creating the texture and richness of some dishes that are cooked only lightly or not cooked at all. Raw egg forms the velvety texture of tiramisu, meringue, and buttercream icing, the creamy richness of aioli, and Caesar salad dressing, homemade mayonnaise, and hollandaise sauce. It also creates award-winning froth on cocktails.

However, raw egg yolks are also a hotspot for harmful pathogens to grow—such as Listeria or Salmonella bacteria. Ingesting raw egg can send you packing to the hospital with terrible food poisoning. It’s why your mom pleaded with you not to sneak raw cookie dough as a kid, and why I worry about my toddler (who’s going through a fridge exploration phase) getting near an uncooked egg.

 raw eggs with one cracked open

While raw egg yolks tend to be in the food-borne illness spotlight, raw egg whites can also harbor Salmonella bacteria. At the same time, there’s no direct raw egg substitute that can quite nail the same texture or richness raw egg recipes intend.

So, what can you do? There is a solution to the food safety concerns of cooking with raw eggs that won’t compromise the taste or texture of your recipes, and that’s to pasteurize your eggs sous vide at home.

As a bonus, you’ll save yourself a few dollars and a potential wild goose chase, since pasteurized eggs can be expensive and may not always be easy to find in grocery stores.

Marked pasteurized eggs sous vide in their shells

Here’s why pasteurized eggs are safe to use in uncooked recipes and everything you need to know to pasteurize safely at home.

What Are Pasteurized Eggs? 

Pasteurization just means you’re “heat-treating” a certain food to a specific temperature that kills harmful bacteria.

Pasteurized eggs are identical to regular eggs, but they have been gently heated in their shells to 140°F (60°C).  This temperature is high enough to kill off harmful bacteria but not hot enough to actually cook the egg. 

According to the USDA Pasteurization Requirements, the temperature and holding time using heat alone to pasteurize egg whites are 134°F (56.7°C) for 3.5 minutes or 132°F (55.6°C) for 6.2 minutes. Egg white proteins are particularly heat-sensitive, requiring these lower temperatures.


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Salmonella is more resistant in the yolk, but the yolk is less sensitive to higher temperatures as it affects functional properties. Thus, a higher pasteurization temperature of 140°F (60°C) is required. 

Therefore, the requirements for pasteurizing whole eggs in their shell are at 140°F (60°C) for 3.5 minutes. 

Pasteurizing eggs in their shells is achieved through a technique that uses precise time and temperature zones within water baths. It was nearly impossible to do this at home before. But now, thanks to sous vide, you can easily do it in just a few simple steps. 

Pasteurizing Eggs Sous Vide Temperature and Time

The temperature and time to achieve fully pasteurized shell eggs using a sous vide machine is 135°F (57°C) for at least 75 minutes

Wait… Isn’t the temperature supposed to be 140°F (60°C) to kill Salmonella?

I am glad you asked. 

Remember, pasteurization, aka food safety, isn’t just about temperature, it’s also about time

Cook’s Illustrated gave us a great example: When the center of a chicken breast reaches 165°F (74°C), virtually 100 percent of Salmonella is killed immediately. When brought to 160°F (71°C), it takes 14 seconds to kill the Salmonella. At 155°F (68°C), it takes 50 seconds. At 150°F (65.5°C), it takes 3 minutes. When you lower the temperature to 136°F (58°C), it will take 69 minutes. 

So by setting the temperature at 135°F (57°C) and leaving the eggs in the water bath for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes, the Salmonella in the whole eggs is killed while the heat-sensitive proteins in the egg whites are not destroyed. 

You’ll notice a difference between a raw egg and a pasteurized egg because the egg whites of a pasteurized egg are cloudy compared to the clear egg whites from a raw egg.

Raw egg and pasteurized egg white comparison

How to Pasteurize Eggs Sous Vide Step by Step

Now that you know what exactly pasteurized eggs are and why to pasteurize them at home, here are four simple steps on doing the job in your sous vide.

Step 1: Preheat water.

Preheat water to 135°F (57.2°C)  using a sous vide immersion circulator. (I use Anova.)

Anova sous vide machine set to 135°F

Step 2: Get eggs in the hot-water bath.

Once the water temperature is reached, use a slotted spoon or a spider strainer to gently lower a few large eggs in their shells into the water bath.

Alternatively, you could place all eggs in a plastic bag and submerge the bag under the water, allowing the water to fill the bag to keep the eggs at the bottom of your cooking vessel. (This is optional, but I prefer it because you can fish out the eggs all at once by lifting up the plastic bag later.) Set the cooking time for 75 minutes. 

pasteurizing eggs sous vide in Anova sous vide container

Step 3: Chill thoroughly in an ice-water bath.

A few minutes before the eggs are done, prepare an ice-water bath. Once the timer goes off, fish out the eggs from the hot-water bath and place them into the ice-water bath immediately. If your eggs are in a plastic bag, carefully lift the bag by grabbing one corner and tilt it to pour out as much hot water as possible, then drop the bag containing the pasteurized eggs into the ice bath, allowing the ice water to fill the bag so the eggs are completely submerged under the ice water. Chill for 20-30 minutes. 

sous vide pasteurized eggs in ice-water bath

Step 4: Mark and refrigerate.

Once the pasteurized eggs are thoroughly chilled, wipe them with a dry cloth, mark them on the shells with a permanent marker, and refrigerate.

Pasteurized eggs sous vide with "P" marked on the shells

How to Use Pasteurized Eggs 

When eggs are pasteurized, they can be used in any recipe that calls for partially cooked or raw eggs and spare you the health risks.

You can also use pasteurized eggs to make classic breakfast dishes that are characterized by soft, runny (and usually raw) egg yolk—like eggs Benedict or poached eggs. Since egg yolks are an incredibly rich source of choline, which helps with healthy brain development, pasteurized egg yolks are a particularly beneficial food for pregnant women and young children.

There are many delicious things you can make using pasteurized eggs. Here are a few of my top picks for inspiration:

Classic Italian Tiramisu – by Yours truly

For anyone who loves the taste of coffee, this classic Italian tiramisu recipe is the perfect rich, fluffy indulgence.

The Best Caesar Dressing – by The Kitchn

Caesar dressing from scratch. Only nine ingredients, loaded with garlic, parmesan, and fresh lemon juice, and can be made healthier by using extra olive oil instead of a heavily processed or hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Caribbean-Style Corn on the Cob with Homemade Aioli – by Yours Truly

Mouthwatering Caribbean-style corn on the cob slathered with homemade aioli, topped with paprika, parmesan cheese, and parsley.

Authentic Amber Moon Cocktail – by Taste Atlas

A simple and classic cocktail known for being a “hangover remedy.” Made with a raw egg, whiskey or vodka, and tabasco sauce.

Homemade Eggnog – by Tastes of Lizzy T

Both a blessing and a curse, once you try the homemade version of eggnog, you’ll never be able to drink the carton stuff again.

How to pasteurize eggs sous vide
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Pasteurized Eggs Sous Vide

The easiest and safest way to pasteurize eggs at home.

  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1220 pasteurized eggs 1x
  • Category: How-tos
  • Method: Sous Vide

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1220 or more large raw eggs in their shells

Instructions

  1. Preheat water to 135°F (57°C) using a sous vide immersion circulator. (I use Anova.)
  2. Once the water is ready, gently lower raw eggs in their shells into the water bath by using a slotted spoon or a spider strainer. Set the cooking time for 75 minutes.
  3. A few minutes before the eggs are done, prepare an ice-water bath. Once the timer goes off, fish out the eggs from the hot-water bath and place them into the ice-water bath immediately. Chill for 20-30 minutes. 
  4. Once the pasteurized eggs are thoroughly chilled, wipe them with a dry cloth, mark them on the shells with a “P” and refrigerate. 

Notes

  • In-shell pasteurized eggs can last 3-5 weeks in the fridge. 

Cooking Guide


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How to Pasteurize Eggs Sous Vide (Step by Step Directions)

9 thoughts on “How to Pasteurize Eggs Sous Vide (Step by Step Directions)”

  1. If you forget about them and leave them for three hours are they still fine ? What about an ice cream mixture of egg yolks, cream, and sugar ? Still 135 and 75+ minutes ?

    1. Were you referring to leaving the eggs in the water bath at 135F for 3 hours? If so, they should be fine. For sous vide ice cream mixture, you will need to cook it at 180F for 1 hour.

  2. Appreciate the recipe. There is a typo in the following sentence., “(57°F)” should be “(57°C)” It is correct in in the printable version of the recipe.

    So by setting the temperature at 135°F (57°F) and leaving the eggs in the water bath for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes, the Salmonella in the whole eggs is killed while the heat-sensitive proteins in the egg whites are not destroyed.

  3. Wow so much info here about eggs that I didn’t know about. I love them as they are so filling and this is great to see a different take on a fried or scrambled egg!

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