How to Divide Eggs When Reducing Recipes

A separated egg yolk in a cracked eggshell on cutting board
ponce_photography/flickr

Greek recipes, especially recipes for cookies, are often made in large batches. Decreasing the quantity is usually a simple matter of just dividing the ingredients, but what happens when the recipe calls for an odd number of eggs, egg yolks, or egg whites that don't divide evenly?​ You can use an egg substitute, usually measured easily per use, or try some more complicated maneuvers.

Measure and Divide by Volume

It's easy—just measure them and divide by volume: 

  1. Mix the egg gently with a fork, either the white and yolk together or separately, depending on the recipe.
  2. Pour the egg into a measuring cup or spoon.
  3. Measure out only the amount you need—1/2, 1/3, or 1/4.

Do the Math

Maybe you're making a meatloaf or dressing. If you're not baking, the exact measurement may not be quite so critical. In this case, you might want to risk simplifying the process. You'll still have to open and whisk the eggs, but you can crack them into any container, not necessarily a measuring cup. 1 large egg equals about 4 tablespoons, so just scoop out 6 tablespoons for your recipe if you're reducing it by 1/2 and it calls for 3 eggs—6 tablespoons should be roughly about 1 1/2 eggs. 

Four tablespoons per egg is a guesstimate, however. Some large eggs yield only 3 tablespoons, or they yield somewhere in between. This is usually a good option only if you can't find your measuring cup or don't have one with calibrated notations. It also only works with whole eggs. If you want divided eggs, you're better off measuring and dividing the yolks or whites.

Only Divide the Odd Egg

Crack and open a whole egg and dump it into your recipe. This is something of a hybrid trick between measuring and dividing and taking the easy way out. If a recipe calls for 3 eggs and you want to divide the recipe by 1/2, you'll need 1 1/2 eggs. The "one" part is easy—it's right there at your fingertips. The 1/2 egg can be measured out by whisking another egg and using only 1/2 of it, or by using 2 tablespoons. Again, this only works if the recipe calls for whole eggs.

Increasing a Recipe

These methods work just as well if you want to increase your recipe. Maybe you're expecting a crowd of real muffin-lovers so you want to make extra, but you don't want to double the whole recipe. You can increase the eggs—and the remaining ingredients—by 1/2 instead of doubling them. 

Waste Not, Want Not 

Downsizing a recipe is a challenge often faced by those who live alone or share their space with just one significant other. Recipes invariably serve four or five, and you might not be a big fan of leftovers. Learn some tricks and tips for whittling those recipes down to size rather than pass up a recipe that you'd otherwise really like to try.

Whatever leftover ingredients you end up with, save them for other recipes if possible. The portion of the eggs you didn't use might make a delicious omelet or meringue.