The Reason You Should Never Throw Away Your Extra Egg Yolks

Have you ever run across a recipe where it calls for more egg whites than yolks, or perhaps just the whites, and the recipe actually tells you to dispose of the extra yolks? The nerve of some recipes! How dare they tell us to throw away perfectly good food? If you aspire to a zero-waste kitchen, and a zero-waste grocery budget, then you can always find a way to use up the leftovers. Luckily for you, if you have a surplus of egg yolks it's quite easy to find a number of different ways to put them to use. They can be used in recipes ranging from sauces to salads to desserts, and can even make for DIY beauty treatments — no, we're not yolking around here!

Here are a few (just a few) suggestions for some of the many good uses for your leftover egg yolks, as well as some tips for storing them if you're not going to use them right away.

How to store extra egg yolks

Once you've separated the yolks from the whites, you should put them in the refrigerator right away, storing them in an airtight container. In order to prevent the yolks from drying out, cover them with a little bit of cold water which will be drained off before using.

If you're not sure how soon you'll be using your egg yolks since you still haven't made up your mind just what you'd like to do with them, then you may want to freeze them. Since egg yolks are gelatinous, Egg Farmers of Canada warns that they cannot be frozen as is. They suggest that you beat the yolks with a little bit of salt (1/8 teaspoon for four yolks) or sugar or corn syrup (1-1/2 teaspoons for four yolks), then label the storage container with the number of yolks, the date you froze them and whether you added salt or sugar. Use the salted yolks if you're making something like a soup or a main dish, and save the sweetened yolks for desserts.

Savory dishes using extra egg yolks

Among the dishes you can make with as little as a single egg yolk are homemade mayonnaise or egg drop soup, and Mother Nature Network also suggests single yolk recipes including Polish pierogies and crab-stuffed flounder, while Taste of Home has a recipe for ground beef Wellington that moistens the beef with just one yolk (you could also be less fancy and use that yolk to make a simple meatloaf).

Should you have more than one yolk, Mother Nature Network also suggests artichoke bottoms with goat cheese that uses one yolk per individual serving to use up as many as you like (or at least as many as you have artichoke bottoms for), while Epicurious suggests a two-yolk Caesar salad. Taste of Home has an optimistically-named Never Fail Egg Noodle recipe calling for three yolks in addition to one whole egg, and The Kitchn shares a recipe for a four-yolk hollandaise.

Sweet dishes using extra egg yolks

Mother Nature Network recommends using one leftover egg yolk to glaze a pie, while The Kitchn has single-yolk recipes for chocolate lava cake made in the slow cooker, lemon bars, and enriched cream of wheat. You can also whip up the world's easiest crème brûlée with just one yolk per serving (and no torch required!).

Got two yolks? You can make the world's fluffiest pancakes courtesy of The Kitchn, and Epicurious has a lemon curd calling for two extra yolks (plus two whole eggs) as well as recipes for a four-yolk chocolate mousse, a five-yolk homemade vanilla ice cream, and a French buttercream icing that also calls for five yolks. Got six yolks? Congrats, you can now make the Barefoot Contessa's tiramisu from the Food Network.

Egg yolks have non-food uses, too

If none of these egg yolk recipes appeal or you're not in the mood for cooking, that's okay, there are still ways you can use up those extra egg yolks. The Violet Fog explains how the protein and vitamins contained in egg yolks makes them excellent for use in homemade skin masks. LeafTV suggests they can be mixed with olive oil if you'd like to make your own hair conditioner, and The Kitchn suggests a nail-strengthening soak with egg yolks, milk, and honey.

If you'd like to create something beautiful on a canvas other than your body — a canvas made of actual canvas — egg yolks can help here, too. One unexpected way to use up an egg yolk is to mix it with water and a little pigment to make your own medieval-style painting — you've got to use it up quick, though, since unused egg tempera paint will spoil in a day, which is why they invented oil paint once the Renaissance came around (via Tinker Lab). Once the egg paint is on your canvas, though, the colors will stay fresh and beautiful for the next thousand years or so — if only that could be said for those egg-enhanced beauty treatments, as well!