A guide to egg size and weight… Get the right egg for the recipe wherever you are. With International Egg Size Comparison Chart.
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Does egg size really matter?
The humble egg is often a crucial ingredient in a recipe. But does egg size really matter?
The simple answer (if there is a simple answer when it comes to eggs) is that yes… Egg size does really matter. At least when it comes to baking. Get the wrong-size eggs and the mixture will be too runny or too stiff. And this is likely to dramatically alter the result. From sticky wet buns and runny custard to dense cakes and dry, cracked biscuits…
Knowing your egg size (it seems) is a bit of a science… and it’s important to use the right egg for the recipe. But be aware… Not all eggs are created equal!
How are eggs weighed?
For the purpose of this guide, eggs are assumed to be actual eggs in a shell and not of the liquid variety available in cartons. While it can be convenient to buy eggs in a carton, this commercial alternative is often infused with added thickeners and preservatives which are far from natural and can in themselves alter the consistency and result of the bake… And not always for the better. If possible, for most bakes, it’s simply better to use fresh eggs unless they are unobtainable.
Eggs are usually weighed and sized in their shells before being sold. So, when a recipe calls for a ‘large’ egg, this will be the size of the labelled egg as sold (by weight in shell). Eggs in recipes are also usually assumed to be hen (chicken) eggs. If either duck or goose eggs have been used in place of hen eggs, this should be specified, with the alternative hen equivalent indicated.
At Gluten Free Alchemist, we use UK large hen eggs in our bakes and recipes (with an occasional duck or goose egg used for fun and flavour). This provides consistency across the blog. However, where the liquid weight of the eggs/yolks/whites (out of shell) is more critical (such as in these Macaron or Bread-Maker Bread), the liquid weight is stated.
Egg size around the world
But even when you know what size egg is listed for a recipe, getting the right egg is still not that straight forward… Why? Because depending on where you live in the world, eggs are not sized and labelled the same. So, when a recipe calls for a ‘large egg’… the egg you actually need could be anything from ‘large’ to ‘extra large’, ‘very large’ or even ‘jumbo’! And to make things even more complicated when comparing one country to another, in the US, egg size is often measured as net weight per dozen eggs (not by single egg).
This is where my handy guide will help you get the right egg for the recipe you are making… wherever your kitchen happens to be. Simply check the size of the egg being advised in a recipe against the country (or site/source) the recipe is from… Then find the right egg size and weight for the equivalent in the country where you live.
The easiest way to check the weight of your eggs if unsure, is to pop them on some kitchen scales. For my US friends, you can also check out this link for US Cup conversions.
(NOTE: To try and ensure accuracy, the comparative egg size for each country has been taken (as far as possible) from official national egg agencies).
Egg Size and switching out hen eggs for duck and goose eggs
I’m a huge fan of using duck eggs and goose eggs. The yolks of both are larger, richer and creamier than hen eggs and can really elevate some bakes and dishes to another level. Both however are seasonal and usually laid from late winter through to summer.
Although they have a larger egg size, both duck and goose eggs can be used in the same way as hen eggs. For conversion purposes:
1 duck egg = the egg size of a UK ‘very large’ hen egg (and averages about 80g in shell, but with the shell being a fraction thicker)
1 goose egg = the equivalent of 2 to 3 hen eggs (a goose egg weighing about 200g is equivalent to about 3 medium to large hen eggs. But I have also used huge goose eggs that are about 4 hen eggs equivalent and smaller ones that are about 2 hen eggs worth). Goose eggs have hard thick shells and the additional shell-weight makes a straight weight comparison for conversion harder. A little guess work and experience will be required when using goose eggs in sensitive baking.
Dishes that are great to make with goose or duck eggs (When egg size matters less…)
How to store eggs
Over time, eggs become stale and lose moisture. An older egg will be notable by a white which is extra runny on cracking. To keep eggs as fresh as possible:
- Store at a constant temperature below 20 C to maintain freshness. As such the fridge is the best place to keep them.
- Keep in their original boxes to ensure protection from both breakage and odours (the shells are porous).
- Be sure to ‘rotate’ old boxes with new when storing and use the eggs which are oldest first (use in date order).
- Never use eggs which are broken or cracked when taken from the box.
- For best results when baking and boiling, bring eggs to room temperature before use. (Remove from the fridge half to one hour before needed).
- Eggs should be stored vertically with the point facing down (and the internal air cell therefore at the top).
How to tell if eggs are still fresh and ‘good’
Occasionally it’s easy to tell when an egg is ‘off’. It simply smells ‘bad’. However, on more than one occasion, I’ve cracked an egg straight into the ingredients bowl, only to find it’s gone seriously bad and the whole bowl has had to be binned. I’ve learned my lesson. All eggs now get cracked into a separate bowl as a double-check.
If in doubt though about the freshness of eggs, the egg-float test is a good indicator of whether an egg is fresh enough to be used safely. Put simply… fresh eggs sink and bad eggs float!
So, fill a bowl with cold water and pop the eggs into the water. If the eggs sink and lay on the bottom of the bowl on their sides, they’re good to eat. If they float (due to a large air cell forming at the base), then throw them away… a floating egg is not a safe egg.
Was this post on Egg Size helpful?
So, there you have it. A quick guide to international egg size to help you find the right size egg for the recipe being used. I hope you have found it helpful. If you know anyone else who might find it useful too, please let them know where to find it. Don’t forget to download your FREE chart.
And of course, if you love to bake and cook great food, don’t forget to check out our amazing Gluten Free Recipe Index for loads of inspiration…
Thanks (as always) for visiting Gluten Free Alchemist.
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Karen Burns-Booth says
LOVE this! I am a chicken mother, and have 11 hens, all of them laying different size eggs and also different colours too! Great post! Thanks for joining in with #CookBlogShare this week, Karen
Thanks Karen. I really wanted to get some chooks, but I was over-ruled! But fortunately we have access to the freshest free range eggs through my daughter’s old childminder. I love that they come in so many different colours. We are very lucky xx
Very informative post, and natures colored eggs!
Learned about these from my MIL’s work years ago and even about the different colors of yolk preferred around the world.
Thank you for linking up with us and sharing!
Thank you Sarah. It became essential to understand when I started getting queries from elsewhere and things weren’t going to plan. Such a fascinating subject though.
Do we really prefer different coloured yolks too? Crazy! xx
Deborah Brooks says
I always thought egg size was intecrhangeable! Who knew? Thanks for the info
Yeah! Crazy! They are all so different xx
I loved this article on eggs. I’ve noticed in the US, some of the free range eggs are larger than other “large” eggs. I would adore having more information on the differences & altering recipes using whites only versus yolks only versus whole egg & it’s relationship to the baked end product. Love the science of cooking!!!
Thank you Lisa.
Eggs are fascinating things for sure. And they can make or break a bake if you get it wrong.
It’s interesting that free range large are bigger in the US. Maybe they think you’re getting extra for your money, but it does seem odd that it’s so inconsistent (worldwide). I’ve taken to weighing eggs where it matters, just to be sure.
I have subbed just for whites on a couple of my bread recipes and it’s worked well. Mainly I tested because some people struggle with yolks. But using whites from a carton is potentially problematic too, because some manufacturers add all sorts of preservatives and thickeners which can be a disaster in some recipes.
Like you say… The science of cooking! It’s fascinating xx