Kitchen Hacks

The #1 Way to Get Eggshell Out of Your Egg

August  7, 2018

When I crack an egg, I get a sliver of eggshell in it...oh, about 85% of the time. This is a problem, because I eat eggs for breakfast...oh, about 85% of the time. I really love my eggs—fried, scrambled, hard-cooked, omelet-ed. But scraping my fingers through goopy raw egg to try and fish out a craggy piece of shell is no way to start the day (especially if I'm less-than-fully caffeinated). And so I thought...there must be a better way.

I would eat these eggs. Photo by Mark Weinberg

Turns out there are dozens of better ways. (Thanks, internet!) That said, not all are created equal. You can use a second piece of shell to fish out the first piece, or strain your eggs through a fine-mesh strainer; I couldn’t get either of these tricks to work well, but maybe you can. Alternately, you can call it a day and cook your egg with a scrap of shell in it—now that one I’ve done a few times.

Through trial and error, though, I’ve found my favorite trick, which is my favorite because it requires exactly zero skills and no special equipment aside from your fingers: Wet your fingers in water, then quickly and confidently grab the eggshell out of the egg.

Game: Changed. So easy, yet it totally works...but why? Chemistry was never my strongest subject—luckily, food science writer Harold McGee was able to shed some light on the matter.

“I hadn't heard of this trick, but tried it, and I think the explanation is pretty simple,” he wrote me. “The egg white sticks to dry fingers and gets in the way of touching the piece of shell. It doesn't stick to the film of water on wet fingers, so they can grasp the shell with less interference.” If you’re curious, you can try his experiment: “Dip a dry finger into the egg, lift it out, and see how much white oozes off, then do the same with a wet finger.”

The one theoretical flaw with my preferred method? You’re getting raw egg on your hands (and likewise contaminating the egg with your grimy paws). Per McGee, this isn’t anything to lose sleep over: “While you can count on raw chickens being contaminated, the rate in eggs is something like 1 in 10,000. Even then, as long as you observe basic cooking hygiene—wash hands before and after handling raw ingredients—touching the white won't raise the risk of doing yourself or the egg's ultimate consumers any harm.”

This simple trick yields nothing less than egg-cracking bliss—now you can make everything from gooey egg sandwiches to Japanese-style scrambles with abandon. As for me, I’m no less klutzy, but I’m newly carefree.

What's your preferred eggshell-removal method? Share it in the comments!

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4 Comments

W J. August 15, 2018
The best way to get eggshell out is to not have them in in the first place. I read or saw, many years ago now, from one of the national egg trade associations, a sage piece of advice on how to properly crack an egg so as to avoid shell bits.<br /><br />Simplicity itself. Simply crack your egg on a flat surface! Using the edge of a pan or a bowl pushes the shell into the egg and greatly increases the chance of shell bits. Flat surfaces do not do this. <br /><br />Another tip is to crack eggs into an intermediate vessel such as a bowl first. This allows one to readily see any shell bits for easy removal before adding the eggs to whatever recipe you are working on be it simple fried eggs or a complex cake, etc.<br /><br />If by chance you do get bits of shell in, why then follow the advice in the article, and remove with wet fingers.
 
BerryBaby August 11, 2018
I use a spoon, works for me. But even worse IMO is the yucky membrane that is attached to the yolk! I will not used an egg until it is detached and gone!<br />I crack the egg, letting whites drip into bowl and separate the yolk into half of the shell. Then with the half of the shell, cut away the membrane. Then, the egg is ready for me to use.
 
Author Comment
Suzanne D. August 13, 2018
I'm going to try this! Thank you.
 
Renee August 15, 2018
What?!?!