Cooking Hacks

This Surprising Hack Makes it So Much Easier to Separate Egg Yolks from the Whites

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If you ask any of your friends or family how to separate an egg yolk from the white, they will likely tell you to use the shell method. Carefully crack the shell in half and pour the yolk back and forth from one half into the other, letting the whites fall into a bowl. We’re here to tell you about a much more interesting hack: the garlic method.  

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Naturally, this method has been making waves on social media. In the original video, TK a woman who goes by Gold Dairy on TikTok cracks an egg into a bowl. She then rubs her pointer finger and thumb on a peeled piece of garlic, making sure to rub until her fingers are wet. Using those two fingers, she gently pinches the yolk and lifts it up, separating it from the whites. She drops it into another bowl. It almost looks too good to be true! 

Why does this work? Noah Young, a farmer in Nebraska who runs the TikTok account The Shiloh Farm, tried it out for himself and explained the science behind the madness. “Garlic releases mercaptans, which cause your finger to be sticky and form a bond with the egg yolk, allowing you to pick it up with your fingers,” he says in the video. (Mercaptans are organosulfur molecules, which are made up of hydrogen, sulfur, and carbon. They’re the reason garlic has its incredibly strong smell.)

Does the garlic method really work?  

I had to try the garlic method for myself, of course. I decided to use plates instead of bowls, thinking that the flat surface would make it easier for the whites to separate from the egg. I cracked an egg into one plate and quickly peeled a few cloves of garlic. After rubbing my fingers on one of the cloves, I gently pinched the yolk. 

Unfortunately, the yolk just slipped through my fingers! I wiped my hands clean and tried again. This time, I rubbed my fingers on the clove for quite some time. I pinched and pulled upwards, even though it didn’t feel like I had a great grip. Miraculously, the yolk lifted off the plate. I dropped it into the second plate and…it broke.  

Ever the perfectionist, I had to try and see whether I could do it without breaking the yolk. I cleaned the plates and got out a new egg. I rubbed my fingers on a new clove of garlic and pinched the yolk. This time, I managed to transfer the yolk to the second plate without breaking it. Success! 

While this method took a little time to get used to, it was fun to learn a new kitchen hack. I’m confident that I could get it right on the first try the next time I need to separate an egg. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about little pieces of egg shell falling into the whites or yolks, like I would with the traditional shell method.

Of course, the one downside is that your fingers will smell like garlic. Fortunately, there’s a hack for that too! Just rub the tips of your fingers on some stainless steel – like a steel kitchen faucet – for about 10 seconds. The smell should be gone in no time, or at the very least, significantly diminished.

I could also imagine this being a fun trick to teach kids who are interested in cooking. And if you hate waste, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to use the eggs and garlic from the experiment. I used mine to whip up a yummy omelet.  

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