Egg whites can sometimes have an unpleasant taste, especially if they are undercooked or overcooked. Here are some quick tips to help make them taste better:
– Avoid overbeating egg whites, which can cause them to take on a metallic or ammonia-like taste. Gently mix just until foamy.
– Make sure to thoroughly wash the bowl and beaters to remove any fat, which can ruin egg whites. Even a tiny bit of yolk or oil will affect the taste.
– Add a pinch of salt, cream of tartar, or lemon juice to stabilize the eggs whites and neutralize the taste.
– Undercooking egg whites can leave a raw, bloody taste. Cook thoroughly until no visible liquid remains.
– Overcooking makes egg whites taste rubbery. Remove from heat as soon as they are fully set.
– Rinse egg whites after separating to wash away excess egg white proteins that have a strong flavor.
– Avoid cooking egg whites in cast iron or uncoated aluminum pans, which can react and create a metallic taste.
– Flavor egg white dishes with herbs, spices, cheese, vegetables or other ingredients to mask the taste.
What Causes Egg Whites to Taste Bad?
There are a few common culprits that can cause egg whites to take on less pleasant flavors:
Beating egg whites too vigorously or for too long can cause them to take on a metallic or ammonia-like taste. This happens because overbeating denatures the proteins in the egg whites, altering their chemical structure.
Gently mixing just until soft or foamy peaks form is sufficient to incorporate air and achieve the desired volume and texture. Anything beyond that risks overbeating.
Even tiny amounts of fat such as egg yolk or oil will interfere with the whipping of egg whites. Fat prevents the proteins from properly unfolding and bonding.
Make sure to thoroughly wash and rinse any bowls, beaters, or other equipment before whipping egg whites. Traces of fat will ruin the final taste and texture.
Egg whites that are not fully cooked may retain a raw, bloody, or wet taste. For best results, egg whites should be cooked until no visible liquid remains.
When making meringues or mousses, be sure to bake or heat them sufficiently to eliminate any rawness. Undercooked egg whites are more prone to tasting unpleasant.
On the flip side, overcooked egg whites will become dense, rubbery, and dry. This intensifies the egg flavor in an unappealing way.
As soon as egg whites are fully set, remove them from the heat. Watch carefully to avoid overcooking which leads to a stronger egg taste.
Enzymes and Proteins
Egg whites contain enzymes and proteins that may affect the final taste:
– Lysozyme is an enzyme found in egg whites that helps protect against bacteria. But when heated, it produces sulfur compounds that smell like rotten eggs.
– Ovomucin is a protein that contributes to foaming, but in excess can create a more viscous, gel-like texture with a stronger egg flavor.
– Ovomucoid, another egg white protein, can also contribute a sour, eggier taste when raw.
Rinsing egg whites before using can help wash away some of these problematic compounds. But for the most part, proper cooking is key to preventing an overly strong egg white taste.
How to Make Egg Whites Taste Better
Luckily there are several easy ways to improve the flavor and texture of egg whites:
A pinch of salt helps reduce bitter flavors and enhances natural flavors. The small amount of sodium ions strengthens protein bonds for better stability and a smoother texture.
Add Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar, also known as potassium bitartrate, performs a similar function to salt in egg whites. It minimizes sulfur compounds and helps denature the proteins for better volume and stability. Use 1/8 teaspoon per egg white.
A small amount of lemon juice or vinegar added to egg whites before beating lowers the pH which improves whipping and stability. About 1/2 teaspoon per egg white does the trick.
Rinse Egg Whites
Rinsing freshly separated egg whites removes excess egg white proteins on the surface that can contribute to unwanted flavor and aroma.
Avoid Metal Bowls and Pans
Metal bowls and pans can react with egg whites, leading to a metallic taste. Use glass, ceramic, or coated metal cookware instead.
Flavor Egg White Dishes
Herbs, spices, cheeses, vegetables, and other ingredients help cover up egg flavors. An omelet filled with sautéed mushrooms and spinach will taste far better than plain egg whites.
As mentioned earlier, overbeating denatures egg white proteins leading to a worse taste and texture. Gently mix just until soft peaks form.
Raw and runny egg whites don’t taste great. But overcooking also negatively impacts flavor. Remove from heat as soon as egg whites are set.
Tightly sealed, refrigerated egg whites will last longer with better flavor and freshness compared to egg whites left out at room temperature.
Tips for Specific Egg White Dishes
The method you use to cook egg whites affects the final flavor. Here are tips for making some classic egg white dishes taste their very best:
– Add cream of tartar to stabilize
– Bake at low temperature (200-250°F) until completely dried out inside
– Avoid overbeating into grainy stiff peaks
– Don’t let sugar fully dissolve to keep soft, silky texture
– Remove from heat when still glossy looking
– Can beat to soft peaks without overwhipping
Whipped Egg Whites
– Chill bowl and beaters to maximize volume
– Beat just until holds soft peaks
– Add sugar gradually once foamy to avoid deflating
– Use very low heat and preheat pan
– Continuously stir with a spatula while cooking
– Remove from pan as soon as no visible liquid remains
– Add vinegar to poaching liquid to help set whites
– Keep water just below simmer, between 170–180°F
– Cook gently about 3–5 minutes until whites are completely set
Egg White Cocktails
– Use pasteurized egg whites from the refrigerated carton rather than raw shells
– Shake vigorously with ice to emulsify and blend flavors
– Add creamy ingredients like citrus juice or syrups to balance flavor
Egg White Baked Goods
– Fold gently into batter at the end to retain air
– Avoid overmixing once egg whites are incorporated
– Let cool completely after baking since egg flavor intensifies when warm
How to Hide Egg White Taste in Recipes
If egg whites are still tasting too strong for your liking, there are ways to hide the flavor in recipes:
Pair egg whites with ingredients that complement or mask the flavor:
– Cheese – cheddar, feta, parmesan
– Herbs – chives, dill, basil, cilantro
– Spices – pepper, smoked paprika, curry powder
– Vegetables – mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, spinach
– Sauces – pesto, marinara, white sauce, gravy
Spices and aromatics distract from egg flavor:
– Chiles – cayenne, chipotle, jalapeño
– Cooking wines
Rich, creamy ingredients help mellow egg taste:
– Cream cheese
– Pureed vegetables
A touch of natural sweetness balances flavor:
– Fruits – bananas, berries, mango
– Jams, marmalade, chutney
– Maple syrup
Ingredients high in savory umami taste help counter egginess:
– Soy sauce
– Fish sauce
– Worchestershire sauce
– Marmite / Vegemite
Bright, acidic components like citrus help reduce undesirable flavors:
– Lemon juice
– Lime juice
– White wine vinegar
– Tomato sauce
– Pickled vegetables
While you can’t add fats directly to uncooked egg whites, incorporating oils, creams, and other fats into the full dish tempers the egg white flavor.
How you apply heat also affects the end result. Low, delicate heat helps avoid bringing out egg taste versus intense, uncontrolled heat.
What Foods Go Well With Egg Whites?
Egg whites are very versatile and complement both sweet and savory ingredients. Here are some particularly delicious flavor pairings:
– Bell peppers
– Goat cheese
– English muffins
– Tomato sauce
– White sauce
While egg whites can occasionally have an unpleasant flavor or aroma on their own, there are many easy fixes to improve taste and texture. Be careful not to overbeat, thoroughly clean equipment of any fat, and properly cook the egg whites. Adding a pinch of salt, cream of tartar, or lemon juice also helps stabilize the proteins.
Flavoring egg white dishes with herbs, spices, cheese, vegetables and other ingredients can mask egg taste very effectively. Pairing egg whites with complementary foods like meats, grains, and sauces creates delicious, balanced recipes where the egg flavor blends into the background. With the right techniques and ingredients, you can enjoy egg whites without the weaknesses of the raw ingredient tasting through.