How we tested
First, we’ll level with you: The idea of a gadget for separating eggs was not a hit with most of the cooks in the test kitchen. (Using half of the broken shell, or even your fingers, works just fine.) But separating many eggs for a recipe like Lemon Snow with Custard Sauce is time-consuming and messy, so we thought that a device that let white and yolk make a quick, clean break just might find a spot in our pantry.
Egg separators run the gamut from simple slotted spoons to more complex contraptions that also help you measure and store whites. We bought six, priced from $1.99 to a whopping $19.98, and got cracking. Shockingly, most separators simply failed to work, with slats that were not large enough to allow thick egg whites to drop efficiently. We grew impatient waiting for the viscous blob of egg white to surrender to gravity. One model, a five-part system for separating and storing whites and yolks, charmed us with its hinged strainer cup that let us flip the yolk into a cute yellow canister after separating. But as the white remained suspended from the yolk catcher, we had to resort to jiggling and jostling the hinge. Cleaning and keeping track of all five parts held no allure, either.
The best performer comprised two simple parts: a wide, slotted cup for the yolk (with a crisp raised edge all around for easy cracking—even for lefties) and a clear plastic base marked with measurements, which held up to 10 whites. It didn’t allow us to separate eggs any faster than we can manage with our bare hands. (When we timed a tester, her hands separated 10 eggs well over a minute faster than the tool did.) But it captured each egg without spilling, and while it sometimes took a few shakes to get the white to release, we never had to touch the eggs—leaving our hands clean and free for other tasks. We’re still not entirely sold on the need for egg separators, but our winner cleans up easily, and won’t break the bank.