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- What Are the Different Sizes of Eggs?
- What Impacts the Size of an Egg?
- Are Egg Sizes Regulated?
- Does Total Egg Weight Include the Eggshell?
- What’s the Difference in Size Between Egg Yolks and Egg Whites?
- How to Measure Eggs By Volume
- Egg Size Substitutions Chart
- The Importance of Egg Sizes for Baking and Cooking
- How to Measure the Precise Weight of an Egg
What Are the Different Sizes of Eggs?
According to the USDA, there are six different weight classes for shell eggs. They are:
Peewee eggs: These come from young chickens who lay eggs infrequently. They’re not readily available in most grocery stores.
- Small eggs: Also called “pullet eggs,” these come from young hens. Much like peewee eggs, they’re not readily available in most grocery stores.
- Medium eggs: Medium eggs are the smallest size of eggs you can expect to find at the grocery store.
- Large eggs: These are the most common eggs and the eggs that most recipes call for, even when they don’t specify size. Large eggs are always a safe bet.
- Extra-large eggs: Some recipes call for extra-large eggs, but it’s usually specified.
- Jumbo eggs: Jumbo eggs are very large eggs. They’re rare, but not as rare as peewee eggs and small eggs.
In addition to the standard chicken egg, some chefs might work with specialty eggs like duck eggs, quail eggs, and goose eggs for different flavors, textures, and consistencies.
What Impacts the Size of an Egg?
The biggest variable in egg size is the age of the chicken. Generally the older the chicken, the larger the egg. But egg size also tends to vary by several other factors:
- Breed of the bird
- Weight of the bird
- Hatching environment. Heat, stress, and overcrowding have all been shown to lower the size of eggs.
Are Egg Sizes Regulated?
The USDA requires that every egg carton meet a certain minimum weight per dozen eggs, so the chicken eggs you buy at the grocery store will be mostly uniform in size and weight. However, the USDA does not regulate the individual weight of each egg. Chickens don’t always lay eggs of the exact same size, so they often vary. That’s why it can help to measure eggs by individual weight using a digital gram scale rather than by quantity.
According to the USDA, each of the six different weight classes must meet a certain minimum net weight per dozen eggs:
- Peewee eggs: 15 oz
- Small eggs: 18 oz
- Medium eggs: 21 oz
- Large eggs: 24 oz
- Extra-large eggs: 27 oz
- Jumbo eggs: 30 oz
Does Total Egg Weight Include the Eggshell?
A large eggshell weighs approximately 10 oz. While it’s standard practice for the USDA to include the eggshell weight in an egg’s overall net weight, recipes do not, as chefs do not use the eggshell when cooking or baking. Account for this in your measurements while baking.
What’s the Difference in Size Between Egg Yolks and Egg Whites?
While egg yolks are significantly heavier (and more caloric) than egg whites, the egg yolk accounts for less of the egg’s overall volume. It contains all of the egg’s fat and most of the vitamins, while the egg white, also called the albumen, contains most of the protein and important nutrients.
Recipes can call for eggs, yolks alone, and/or egg whites alone, so you need to know the breakdown of yolk and white per egg.
- Yolk weight: approximately 0.45 oz or 14g
- White weight: approximately 0.9 oz or 26g
- Total weight: approximately 1.4 oz or 40g
- Yolk weight: approximately 0.55 oz or 16g
- White weight: approximately 1.15 oz or 33g
- Total weight: approximately 1.75 oz or 53g
- Yolk weight: approximately 0.75 oz or 21g
- White weight: approximately 1.2 oz or 34g
- Total weight: approximately 1.95 oz or 55g
Egg Size Substitutions Chart
It happens to every chef: You don’t always have the eggs that a recipe calls for. But don’t let that stop you! Egg size conversions and substitutions can come to your rescue.
When a recipe calls for just one egg, you can substitute any size egg. But for larger quantities, you should follow these substitution guidelines:
1 large egg is equivalent to:
- 1 medium egg
- 1 extra-large egg
- 1 jumbo egg
2 large eggs are equivalent to:
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 2 jumbo eggs
3 large eggs are equivalent to:
- 3 medium eggs
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 2 jumbo eggs
4 large eggs are equivalent to:
- 5 medium eggs
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 3 jumbo eggs
5 large eggs are equiavlent to:
- 6 medium eggs
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 4 jumbo eggs
6 large eggs are equivalent to:
- 7 medium eggs
- 5 extra-large eggs
- 5 jumbo eggs
The Importance of Egg Sizes for Baking and Cooking
Why does egg size matter for baking and cooking? Egg size is important when a recipe calls for precision. If you’re cooking scrambled eggs, egg size doesn’t matter, because eggs are the main ingredient in the dish. But in baking, proportion is key—the amount of egg you use has to work proportionately with the rest of your ingredients. For example, in Chef Dominique Ansel’s classic mini madeleines, the eggs add moisture and stability and can act as a leavening agent. Too much egg can cause a batter to spread, while not enough egg can dry it out.
How to Measure the Precise Weight of an Egg
The foolproof method for measuring an egg’s precise weight is simple: use a kitchen scale. The weights listed above are generally accurate, but not every egg is exactly the same weight every time, as chefs who have ever cracked open a double yolk can attest. Thus, weighing your eggs before using them is the most reliable way to ensure you have the precise amount every time.
For example, when a recipe calls for two eggs, it’s calling for 3.5 oz or 100g of egg. If you use a kitchen scale and find that two large eggs don’t quite weigh 100g, you can add or remove egg until the scale reaches the correct weight. Similarly, if a recipe calls for extra large eggs and you only have medium eggs, you can use a scale to measure out an exact substitution. Just remember to weigh eggs out of the shell.