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Salt Cured Egg Yolks Recipe
Looking for a simple way to add extra flavor and a touch of “fancy” to your home cooking? Why not this homemade curing project whose umami flavor belies its humble origins?Jump to Recipe
Homemade Cured Egg Yolks with 2 Ingredients
Cured egg yolks may not have been on your radar until now, but I assure you- they’re worth the effort.
I first learned of cured egg yolks back in 2019 when Tara, from Slowdown Farmstead, posted pictures of her process of preserving yolks. The process seemed so simple, and my curiosity was definitely piqued. “What does a cured egg yolk even taste like?”
At the time, our birds were laying plenty of eggs. More than enough to eat day to day, leaving dozens a week to sell or preserve in some other way. It was time to give this a shot.
Curing egg yolks requires just salt, yolks, and time. I had all 3 in sufficient amounts, and left the salt to work its magic.
When enough time had passed, I rinsed the yolks- now transformed into solid, golden disks- and left them to dry again.
The yolks were now shelf stable, firm on the outside and gummy on the inside (like a Dots candy). The flavor? Salty, of course, but quickly chased with a rich, umami.
The cured egg yolks appeared in savory oatmeal, rice, topped salads, and were, of course, eaten alone now and then. They ran out quickly, so I cured another batch. But somehow I let the last few years go by without making any more cured egg yolks.
I’ve finally taken it up again; now that our hens are adapted to the longer days and laying more, and thought I would share how the process.
Cured Egg Yolks: Ingredients
To make these salt cured egg yolks, you’ll need 2 ingredients and something to put them in. It’s not a complex process, just a long one.
The 2 ingredients are salt and egg yolks.
Any sort of plain salt will work. I’m using a few cups from a bulk bag of salt we bought at a restaurant supply store. Redmond’s Salt sells bulk bags of salt as well. If you’re only going to cure a few yolks at a time, you’ll probably need less than 2 or 3 cups of salt- an amount easily and inexpensively purchased from the bottom shelf of the local grocery store’s seasoning section.
The yolks can also be any variety of yolk. From quail eggs to goose eggs, this process will cure any yolk. The larger yolks will take longer than the smaller yolks, but the process is the same.
Salt Cured Egg Yolks Recipe
Start by assembling your ingredients and supplies. You’ll need a container to hold the yolks and salt (a tupperware container is a good choice, but even a pan would work), a few cups of salt, a handful of eggs, and a bowl (or frying pan?) to catch the egg whites.
Start by pouring salt into your tupperware (etc.) container. You’ll want to make sure that there is a thick, even layer of salt all over the bottom of the container. It needs to be sufficiently deep so that the yolks can eventually be surrounded in salt. (1/ 2” – 1” or so)
Next, take one of the eggs (or the back of a spoon) and make divots on the surface of the salt. Space these divots out so that they don’t touch.
Since these are cured egg yolks, we’re going to need to separate the yolks from the whites. This is easily accomplished by gently cracking the eggs in half, around their equator. Manipulate the yolk/white back and forth between the two halves of the shell (you’ll want to do this step over a bowl). Eventually the white will slip off the yolk, dropping between the shell halves, and leaving you with a yolk.
Gently tip the yolk (making sure to keep the membrane holding it together intact) out of the shell and into one of the salt divots you made earlier.
Repeat the separating/tipping process until your divots are all filled.
Generously pour salt over the surface of the yolks. Continue to pour until the yolks are indistinguishable from the mass of salt.
Place your salt-filled container into the fridge for 10 days or so. You’ll be able to tell that the yolks are ready when they are firm and no longer squishable. If they squish, bury them in salt again and give them more time in the fridge.
Once the yolks are ready, take them out of the salt, and gently rinse them under cold water in the sink for a few seconds. (It seems backwards but it’s a necessary step) Set the yolks up to dry on a cooling rack or in the dehydrator.
Once dried, the yolks are shelf-stable and ready to store or eat.
Pro Tips for Cured Egg Yolks
My number 1 tip for cured egg yolks is to make sure to rinse them off after you take them out of the salt. I have been known to skip it- “just to see”- only to regret it every time. The yolks fresh out of the salt are nearly inedible. The quick rinse lets you reveal the flavor tones hiding behind the saltiness.
My next tip is to practice separating the eggs if this is a new kitchen skill for you. The best way to practice is to separate eggs every time you’re going to scramble them- that way if you break the yolk in the process it won’t “ruin” anything. Once you can separate an egg with ease, getting enough unbroken, intact yolks for cured egg yolks is a breeze.
My last tip is to label the container. With so many projects going on at once it’s easy to lose track of what was started when, and what is ready to go on which day.
Cured Egg Yolks FAQs
Are cured egg yolks raw?
Cured egg yolks are raw in the same way that salami or prosciutto are raw- that is to say, they aren’t really.
Cured egg yolks, like cured meat, is raw in the sense that it wasn’t heated to a cooking temperature. But the salt and curing process draws out enough moisture that spoilage is extremely unlikely. The salt works to make the cured egg yolks (and other cured things) inhospitable to bacteria, while simultaneously drawing out enough moisture to maintain that antibacterial environment long-term.
Are cured egg yolks safe?
Yes, cured egg yolks are safe.
The salt used in the curing process will draw out moisture while creating an environment inhospitable to bacteria. As long as the yolks stay surrounded in the salt long enough to reach an adequate stage of dehydration, they are perfectly safe- just like cured meats.
What are cured egg yolks used for?
Cured egg yolks are used mainly as a garnish or boost to a dish. They have a rich flavor that compliments a wide variety of dishes. They can also be eaten on their own, but using as a garnish is much more common. (This bon appetit article has more ideas too)
Can you cure egg yolks without sugar?
Yes you can cure egg yolks without sugar. My method of curing uses only salt, and I have never added sugar to an egg yolk cure. (Maybe I’ll give it a try, but it’s totally unnecessary to the process)
What does curing egg yolks mean?
Curing, as it relates to cured egg yolks, refers to a a gradual dehydration and aging of the yolks in the presence of salt. Over a relatively long period of time, the salt draws moisture from the yolk while lending flavor. This is curing process- salt drawing out moisture- is used in other cures such as a dry bacon or ham cure. Salamis are also the product of curing, but unlike cured egg yolks, rely on fermentation and salt for flavor. Curing is meant to preserve foods for longer periods of time without refrigeration or freezing, and in fact the curing process predates both.
What do cured egg yolks taste like?
Cured egg yolks are salty and savory. They have a rich flavor that compliments grains and meats of all varieties very well.
If you’re swimming in eggs and looking for ways to preserve them or use them up, check out this post that will walk you through 2 different methods of pickling eggs. For more ideas about egg preservation, check out this post.
I hope that you’ve been inspired to give this cured egg yolks recipe a try. It’s a delicious and unique use for the best part of the egg.
If you do give cured egg yolks a try, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below, or tag me on Instagram- @Emigrant Farms.
Thanks for reading and happy homesteading!
Cured Egg Yolks
- Tupperware container
- Handful Eggs
- Several Cups Salt
- Pour a generous layer of salt in the bottom of the tupperware container.
- Use a spoon or an egg to mold divets in the layer of salt.
- Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a bowl and keeping the yolks- unbroken- in one half of the shell.
- Gently place a whole, unbroken yolk in each of the divets on the surface of the salt. Repeating the separation and yolk-placing until each divet is full.
- Pour more salt all over the surface of the yolks. Fill the container until the surface is smooth and the yolks are indistinguishable from the rest of the salt.
- Place the container in your refrigerator for about 10 days.
- After 10 days, the yolks should be firm to the touch and not squish between your fingers. Allow to cure for longer, submerged in salt, as needed.
- Once the yolks are cured, rinse them under cool water for a few seconds to remove the excess salt.
- Arrange the yolks on a cooling rack or dehydrator tray to dry. Once dried, the yolks are done.