Many of my baking recipes call for “a large egg at room temperature”. What does this mean?
It means an egg from cartons labelled as “large eggs” (~50-55g / 2 oz each) that have been left out on the counter to take the fridge-chill out of it.
IMPORTANT: Don’t get too hung up on egg sizes, weighing every egg before you use them! The key takeaway from this post is to ensure you don’t use gigantic king-size eggs, or ostrich eggs(!) when baking because they are much larger so it will effect the outcome of a recipe.
Plus, I’ve included tips for what to do if you have the wrong egg size and you know it does matter in a particular recipe.
All my recipes that call for eggs use “large eggs” and most of my baking recipes will specify the eggs should be at room temperature.
This post explains what a “large egg” is, what “room temperature means”, and why the size and temperature of eggs matter in baking!
What is a “large egg at room temperature”?
Large eggs are sold in cartons labelled as “large eggs”. They are defined by industry standards. In Australia they are 50-55g each, in the US they are 2 oz each.*
If a recipe does not specify egg size, use large eggs – this is the standard in baking, and cooking generally.
Eggs at room temperature means 20–22 °C / 68–72 °F. You don’t need to measure with a thermometer! Just hold it. If the egg isn’t fridge cold, that’s good enough.
Quickly bring eggs to room temperature by submerging eggs in a bowl filled with WARM tap water (not hot). Leave for 10 to 15 minutes, remove, dry, and use.
* The exact weight of eggs sold as “large eggs” does differ slightly between countries, however, the difference is not enough to affect the outcome of most of my recipes. If it does matter, then my recipe will specify eggs by weight or volume (such as with Pavlova and Flan Pâtissier).
Why do your recipes specify “a large egg at room temperature”?
My recipes specify the egg size because they are sold in a range of sizes, from medium to king-size. Did you know a carton of king-size eggs weighs almost twice the amount of medium eggs?
“Large eggs” is the standard egg size used for cooking purposes in most Western countries – both baking and non-baking recipes. The size of eggs is specified on the egg carton label.
While the size of eggs doesn’t matter if you’re frying one up for breakfast, it does matter for baking because baking is a science and eggs can vary quite drastically in size.
As for having eggs at room temperature rather than fridge cold, this is important in some recipes because it can affect how well the egg mixes into the batter.
For fellow cooking nerds like myself, read on for more detailed information about eggs and baking!
Why the size of eggs matter (but why you shouldn’t be too pedantic about it with my recipes)
The size of eggs matter because baking is a science and eggs vary in size. Those darn selfish hens, why can’t they lay eggs exactly the same size, every single time?? 😂
At grocery stores, they range from medium to jumbo, averaging 43 to 73 grams each (1.75 to 2.5 oz each). Though it is worth noting the standard egg sizes between countries does vary slightly – but not enough to affect most home-baker recipe. With my recipes, if it does matter, I will flag it loud and clear – and provide weights or volume. These types of recipes are rare.
If you use 4 king-size eggs instead of 4 large eggs, it can make cakes too rubbery and dense. And eggs that are far too small can cause cakes to fall apart – because eggs are one of the key ingredients that hold cakes together.
What exactly is a “large egg”
The weight of large eggs in each country is defined by industry standards. The weights below are for large eggs in their shell.
Australia – 50 to 55g
US – 2 ounces
UK – 63 to 73g
The exact weight of each egg in a carton varies because the industry standards are applied to a total carton weight for a dozen eggs, rather than individual eggs. For example, “large eggs” in Australia need to be a minimum of 600g for a dozen but most are 660g, but less than 700g which is X-large eggs. And each egg within a carton of “large eggs” will vary (again, selfish hens at play here!) and if you weigh them, they can range from 50g to 65g per egg.
Though the exact weight of each egg of what is packaged as “large eggs” does vary slightly from country to country, the difference is not large enough to adversely impact the outcome of my baking recipes. However, on the rare occasion it does matter, I provide egg quantities by weight or millimetres – like I do with Pavlova and Flan Pâtissier (French Custard Tart). 🙂
There’s a reasonable margin for error
So don’t get too hung up on egg sizes, weighing every egg before you use them! It does matter – but there’s an element of room for error with home-baker recipes. Just use eggs labelled as “large eggs”.
It’s more about ensuring you don’t use king-size eggs, or ostrich eggs(!) when a recipe calls for large eggs, because they are much, much larger!
If a recipe does not specify the size of eggs to be used, use large eggs as this is the standard.
What do to if you have the wrong size egg?
Crack egg(s) in a bowl. Whisk. Then measure out what you need by weight:
1 large egg = 45g = 1.6 ounces = 2 1/2 tablespoons
These are the weights excluding the shell which is around 20% of the total egg weight.
Room temperature eggs for baking
Why do recipes call for “eggs at room temperature”?
Because ingredients at around the same temperature come together much better, creating a smoother batter with the butter evenly incorporated all throughout the batter so it bakes as the recipe intends.
The temperature of eggs really matters when a recipe calls for butter to be creamed and in cheesecakes where egg is incorporated into whipped cream cheese.
For example, a common mistake people make is to cream butter that’s been softened, then add cold eggs. The chill from the eggs firms the butter up so when you beat it, the batter ends up with little butter lumps in it.
If this happens, it’s not salvageable – you’ll end up with a greasy, dense crumb that will bleed butter as it bakes because it’s not properly incorporated into the batter, you have little butter pockets floating around. Been there, done that! And don’t even think about microwaving the egg-butter mixture. You’ll scramble the eggs before the butter softens!
What temperature is room temperature eggs?
Eggs at room temperature technically means 20–22 °C / 68–72 °F. From a practical perspective though, there’s no need to use a thermometer to check. You just want to make sure the egg is not fridge cold. Just hold the egg – it should not have fridge chill.
How to check the temperature of an egg, accurately (I don’t do this)
Crack it into a bowl. Whisk then insert a meat thermometer. But I don’t do this. I just touch the egg and ensure it’s not fridge-cold.
How to bring eggs to room temperature
Take the eggs out of the fridge and leave on the counter to de-chill. The length of time eggs require to come to room temperature depends on the temperature inside your house:
Mild to warm temperature (22 – 26°C / 71 – 28°F) – leave eggs out for 1 hour on the counter.
Very warm/hot (28°C/ 82°F+) – 30 minutes
Cold (< 20°C / 68°F) – 2 hours
How to QUICKLY bring eggs to room temperature
Place eggs in a bowl and fill with warm tap water so the water level is 10cm / 4″ above the eggs. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes until the eggs do not have the fridge chill.
Do not use HOT tap water and definitely do not use boiling water – you will end up with a film of cooked egg! (Yup, done it – patience is not my best virtue, ok? 😂)
When the temperature of eggs does NOT matter in baking
Some cakes and muffins are more forgiving than others so fridge cold eggs can be used without adversely affecting the outcome of a recipe. Usually this is when most or all the fat in a recipe is oil rather than butter, or when the steps in a recipe are ordered in such a way that butter won’t sieze up when cold eggs are mixed in.
Here are some examples of recipes I’ve shared where the temperature of an egg does not matter:
Strawberry Cake – no butter, eggs are mixed in with oil and yogurt so egg chill won’t make butter firm up;
Brownies – the melted butter is reduced by mixing in sugar before adding eggs, so cold eggs doesn’t make the butter firm up; and
Who knew I could write so much about eggs for baking! I’ve even amazed myself.
Now that you’re armed with this information, go forth and bake with confidence! – Nagi x