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How To Pasteurize Eggs


So many wonderful gluten-free recipes call for the use of raw eggs, but lets face it, raw eggs can be scary. I mean, what about salmonella?

A lot of you have contacted me about the safety of my homemade mayonnaise recipe, and my personal feeling is that as long as I’m using egg from clean hen yards (or preferably free ranging chickens), the risk is so minimal as to be hardly worth thinking about.

Image shows three eggs in a ceramic spoon with the text "How to Pasteurize Eggs"

BUT, sometimes, you just can’t get the perfect egg. So what’s a gal to do?

Well, the risk of salmonella even in conventional eggs is only about 1 in 20,000 (source), but is it really worth tempting fate?

Honestly, pasteurizing your own eggs at home is so easy, that it doesn’t even have to be a question.

All it involved is water, a candy thermometer, a saucepan, and, of course, eggs.

How To Pasteurize Eggs



  1. Fill a saucepan with enough water to completely cover the eggs, and place over very low heat.
  2. Clip candy thermometer to the side. You can also skip the candy thermometer and just “wing it” by heating the water until it’s hot enough that you can’t stand to dip your finger in for more than a second. This method isn’t reliable though, and I highly recommend a thermometer.
  3. Heat water to 140º and hold it there for a few minutes to make sure you have your heat level adjusted properly. You don’t want to put your eggs in only to have your temperature rise and cook them.
    A thermometer displays a reading in a metal bowl
  4. Place eggs gently in the water.
  5. The water temperature may dip a bit when the eggs are added.
    Image shows three eggs sitting in water with a thermometer
  6. Bring temperature back up to 140º and hold for five minutes.
  7. Remove eggs from warm water and let cool.
    Image shows three eggs sitting in a ceramic spoon

Salmonella is killed at a temperature of 136º, which should be attained using this method, however, it’s not a 100% guarantee. Since we don’t have any way to measure the internal temperature of the egg. But if nothing else, you’ve reduced the risk from one in twenty thousand, to even less. Much, much less!

As moms, I think we always worry a little bit about the safety of the ones we’re taking care of – even when there’s nothing to worry about, and this simple recipe helps give us peace of mind when we serve things like the above mentioned mayonnaise, homemade ice cream, eggnog – or who knows what else.

It’s worth the few minutes it takes!

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  1. I have been wondering about mayonnaise and my eggs. I wonder about listeria too though. Not that I’m pregnant at the moment, but it is a slight worry for me.

  2. This is great info. Thank you! I’m going to sous vide some steaks tonight. I usually set the temp at 140. I think I’ll throw some eggs in there for a few minutes to pasteurize them before I add the steaks. Using the sous vide cooker will take the pain out of getting the water to the right temp and keeping it there.

  3. What was your trick for holding the temperature at 140° without going over? I can’t seem to find an appliance that has a setting that will consistently stay at 140.

    1. It’s a little tricky to figure out what setting on the stove will work. You can also use a small cooler, which will keep the temperature more even, and add a bit of hot water whenever it starts to dip.

  4. Hmmm…..you said we can’t measure the internal temp of the eggs; I wonder if those new-dangled infrared thermometers would work?!

  5. Salmonella is killed at 165F not 136F, as you right. You might like to check your facts and update your writing. Thank you

    1. Actually cooking for longer at a lower temperature works just as well at killing salmonella. 140° will kill it but probably a bit more than 5 min (30ish min), 131° for an hour works too. However I’m not worried about the risk of salmonella so I prefer to skip this step altogether.

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