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- What Are the Different Sizes of Eggs?
- What Impacts the Size of an Egg?
- How Are Egg Sizes Regulated?
- Does Total Egg Weight Include the Eggshell?
- What’s the Difference in Size Between Egg Yolks and Egg Whites?
- Medium Eggs Size and Weight
- Large Eggs Size and Weight
- Extra-Large Eggs Size and Weight
- Different Egg Sizes By Volume
- Egg Size Substitutions Chart
- What Is the Importance of Egg Sizes for Baking and Cooking?
- Want to Become a Better Home Chef?
What Are the Different Sizes of Eggs?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are six different weight classes for shell eggs. They are:
- Peewee eggs. These come from young chickens who lay eggs infrequently, and are 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. Slightly bigger than large eggs, extra-large eggs may be called for explicitly in some recipes.
- Jumbo eggs. Jumbo eggs can be more than 20% larger than typical 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 in order to get different flavors, textures, and consistencies.
What Impacts the Size of an Egg?
The biggest variables in egg size are the age and weight of the chicken. Generally, the older and larger the hen, the larger the egg. But egg size can also vary according to other factors:
- Breed. Chicken breeds like New Hampshire Red, Leghorn, and Ancona tend to lay larger eggs.
- Diet. Large amounts of nutritious feed rich in calcium can contribute to the production of larger, healthier eggs.
- Living conditions. Factors like crowding, heat stress, or inadequate water supply will inevitably reduce egg size.
How Are Egg Sizes Regulated?
Due to natural variations in egg sizes, the USDA does not regulate the individual weight of each egg. However, 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.
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 count it in an egg’s overall net weight, cooking and baking recipes do not include eggshell weight, as chefs do not use shells. Keep this in mind when doing your baking measurements.
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 white accounts for most of the egg’s overall volume. Egg yolks 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.
Recipes may call for eggs, yolks alone, and/or egg whites alone. Below is a breakdown of yolk and white measurements per egg.
Egg Size Substitutions Chart
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If you don’t have eggs in the size that a recipe calls for, don’t worry: egg size conversions are here to help. When a recipe calls for just one or two eggs, feel free to substitute any size. For larger quantities, follow these substitution guidelines:
- 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 equivalent 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
What Is the Importance of Egg Sizes for Baking and Cooking?
Egg size is important when a recipe calls for precision. If you’re cooking scrambled eggs or an omelet, egg size doesn’t matter, because eggs are the main ingredient in the dish. But in baking, proportion is key: how many eggs 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.
Not every egg is exactly the same weight every time, as chefs who have ever cracked open a double yolk can attest. If you need to measure an egg’s precise weight at home, or determine the right substitution, simply use a kitchen scale. Just remember to weigh your eggs out of the shell.
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