Cooking Tips
Do You Really Need Room-Temperature Eggs for Baking? Yes and No.
There’s more nuance to this simple question than you might expect.
12-02-2021
Eden Faithfull

I’d like to believe I’m not alone when I confess that every now and then, I forget to take my eggs out of the fridge before I start to bake. I will inevitably reach the part of the recipe that calls for them and see those three little words—"at room temperature"—far too late in the process.

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I then have to choose between waiting for them to warm up on the counter, as my half-combined batter congeals, or simply tossing them in cold and hoping for the best (or, more often than not, shuffling around the kitchen with six eggs tucked creatively under my armpits).

Whether I decide to wait it out or chance it, I’m always left wondering if we really need room-temperature eggs for our baking projects—and if so, why?

Do Room-Temperature Eggs Make a Difference in Baked Goods?

To see whether warmer eggs really were worth the wait, ATK’s test cooks used both cold and room-temperature eggs in a simple cake recipe. Their conclusion? Room-temperature eggs do whip better, helping the batter to rise for an ultimately fluffier and less dense cake.

The cake made with cold eggs was similar, but it didn’t have as fine or even a crumb, and it took longer to bake. The differences were even more clear in more-finicky recipes such as pound cake and chiffon cake, which rely on air beaten into the eggs as a primary means of leavening.

However, the cooks did concede that you can pull the eggs straight out of the fridge for simpler recipes that don’t rely on beaten eggs for lift, skipping the process of leaving them out on the counter altogether.

How to Bring Eggs to Room Temperature

Here are two ways to bring your eggs to room temp, depending on how much time you have.

Method 1

When removing your eggs from the fridge, they should sit in warm—not hot, as you don’t want them to cook—water for about 65 minutes to reach true room temperature. Be careful leaving them out for more than 2 hours though; you’ll risk them spoiling.

Method 2

If you really are pressed for time and only have fridge-cold eggs on hand, you can place them in a bowl and cover them with warm water for at least 10 to 15 minutes and they’ll be better off than cold eggs, but they won’t have the fluffiness or lift of their fully room-temperature counterparts.