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Emulsifying with Egg Beaters

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2011

Are pasteurized egg products a good substitute for raw egg yolks in foods like mayonnaise?

Egg Beaters is one of the only pasteurized egg options available to most consumers, but we had our doubts about its ability to serve as a good substitute for real eggs in something creamy like mayonnaise. Real egg yolks contain the emulsifying agent lecithin, which helps thicken mayonnaise, whereas Egg Beaters is made from egg whites and therefore contains no lecithin. That said, we gave it a whirl in our Garlic Mayonnaise, replacing the two egg yolks with ¼ cup of Egg Beaters. The result? An incredibly thick emulsion, albeit slightly less rich-tasting than the real thing.

Encouraged, we went on to make Egg Beaters-based hollandaise sauce and Caesar dressing, both with great success. For a final cooked application, we prepared our Classic Crème Brûlée, swapping in the Egg Beaters for the prescribed 12 large yolks. The resulting custard was remarkably creamy but unacceptably dull, its flavor eliciting comparison to “insipid vanilla pudding.”

How does this product work? The secret is vegetable gums. Unlike lecithin, which forms a barrier around water droplets, making it difficult for them to separate, gums simply add viscosity, helping mixtures coalesce into a suspension. The lesson: If you’re concerned about consuming raw egg yolks, Egg Beaters could be your answer. Just don’t swap it for large quantities of yolks, as in custard desserts.