Whether you use store-bought eggs and your refrigerator is set too cold, or it's wintertime and you own chickens, sometimes eggs can freeze in the shell before you use them. But are these chilly eggs still usable? The answer is yes, although their use is limited.
The United State Department of Agriculture says you should not intentionally freeze eggs. According to the USDA: "Shell eggs should not be frozen. If an egg accidentally freezes and the shell cracked during freezing, discard the egg. Keep any uncracked eggs frozen until needed; then thaw in the refrigerator. These can be hard cooked successfully but other uses may be limited. That's because freezing causes the yolk to become thick and syrupy so it will not flow like an unfrozen yolk or blend very well with the egg white or other ingredients."
If you intend to use your once frozen eggs, make sure to follow the following advice.
Make Sure They Are Clean
Salmonella and other illness-causing bacteria are commonly found on the shells of eggs. When the shells are cracked, the bacteria will spread to the egg inside. This is why you shouldn't eat batter with raw eggs. Because of the possibility of contamination through a crack in the shell, toss any eggs that are dirty and cracked. Wash the uncracked eggs well in the kitchen and store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer until you're ready to use them.
How to Defrost Frozen Eggs
Place the bag of frozen eggs, or the number of eggs you need, in a container of warm tap water and let them sit for about five minutes to begin the thawing process. Put the eggs in the warmest part of the refrigerator and let them thaw gradually, preferably overnight. When you are ready to use the eggs, you must break the shells over a bowl. If the egg whites are fully thawed, the entire egg should fall into the bowl. The yolks don't thaw as quickly as the whites, so if they are still frozen break them up with a fork.
What to Make With Frozen Eggs
Do frozen eggs work as well as fresh? Well, almost. You probably can't make a souffle with them, but they work fine as scrambled eggs, in baked goods or in a recipe where they are blended with other ingredients. They don't work as well for fried or poached eggs where you want to keep the yolk intact. You can boil the eggs in their shells after they are thawed, but the texture of the yolk is changed by the freezing process, so go with hard-boiled eggs that you can cut up in a salad, instead of soft-boiled eggs.
Thawed eggs shouldn't be kept for more than a day or so in the refrigerator, so only thaw out as many as you think you will use right away.
Use the eggs for scrambled eggs or omelets or when baking a cake or cookies that call for eggs. When you are familiar with working with previously frozen eggs, try using them in a recipe like classic deviled eggs or hot tuna and egg salad rolls.