Fresh eggs are classified in sizes ranging from peewee to jumbo, yet most markets sell only the three intermediate sizes: medium, large, and extra-large, with large being the most popular. Large eggs are also the standard used by cookbook authors and food writers (and this magazine), so most recipes call for them. If you happen to have a different size egg than what your recipe calls for, it’s good to know when and how you can substitute. The good news is that differences in egg sizes are surprisingly small, so unless you’re baking, casual substitutions are easy. It’s up to you to determine how much the success of your recipe depends on the proportion of eggs before you worry about substitutions. If you’re making a frittata, scrambling eggs, or using an egg to make a coating for a cutlet, just use what you have on hand. If you’re baking—especially cakes, custards, and soufflés—then you’ll want to blend your medium or extra-large eggs and measure their volume to come up with the appropriate substitute for large eggs, as explained below.
What’s in an egg?
Eggs are classified by weight by the dozen. Because of this, there will be slight variations in the weights of eggs in every carton. A dozen extra-large eggs weigh 27 oz. (about 2-1/4 oz. each on average), a dozen large eggs weigh 24 oz. (about 2 ounces each), and a dozen medium eggs weighs 21 oz. (about 1-3/4 oz. each).
An extra-large egg yields 4 Tbs. (2-2/3 Tbs. white and 1-1/3 Tbs. yolk).
A large egg yields 3-1/4 Tbs. (2-1/4 Tbs. white and 1 rounded Tbs. yolk)
A medium egg yields 3 Tbs. (2 Tbs. white and 1 Tbs. yolk)
When size doesn’t matter
If your recipe doesn’t depend on the right proportions of eggs to succeed—you’re making scrambled eggs, a frittata, a strata, or using a beaten egg to coat cutlets or bind fritters—use whatever size egg you have on hand. Simply substitute one extra-large egg or one medium egg for one large egg. If that recipe (say, the frittata) happens to call for large quantities of eggs, you can use the information below for a little better accuracy.
If your recipe calls for four or more eggs…
In non-baking recipes, if you’re substituting only one, two, or three extra- large or medium eggs for large eggs, simply make a one-to-one direct substitution. Beyond that, use these equivalents:
• in place of 4 large eggs, use 4 extra-large or 5 medium
• in place of 5 large eggs, use 4 extra-large or 6 medium
• in place of 6 large eggs, use 5 extra-large or 7 medium
When size does matter
If your recipe depends on the proportion of eggs to succeed (you’re baking a cake, making custard, etc.), and you don’t have the large eggs the recipe calls for, you’ll want to measure the volume of your substitute eggs (you’ll need to blend them first), and use the amount equivalent to what the large eggs would have yielded:
• 1 large egg, beaten = 3-1/4 Tbs.
• 2 large eggs, beaten = 6-1/2 Tbs.(1/4 cup plus 2-1/2 Tbs.)
• 3 large eggs, beaten = 9-2/3 Tbs.(1/2 cup plus 1-1/2-Tbs.)
• 4 large eggs, beaten = 12-3/4 Tbs.(3/4 cup plus 1 tsp.)
• 5 large eggs, beaten = 1 cup