From scrambled eggs to fried eggs, from omelets to sunny side up, there are a million different ways to cook eggs.
But any egg-lover has had a moment where they’ve stopped, looked down at the oblong masterpiece between their fingers, and wondered–can you eat raw eggs?
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about eating raw eggs. We’ll cover what they taste like, how people eat (and drink) them, and whether they can make you sick.
By the end, you be ready to try your first raw egg…or not! Read ahead to find out.
Do People Eat Uncooked Eggs and Is It Safe?
As surprising as it sounds, people do eat uncooked eggs!
When eaten in their raw form, raw eggs are viscous liquid protein (some might even go so far as to call them slimy, though I don’t judge).
Simultaneously, raw eggs can also form a key part of different dishes, from aiolis to Hollandaise sauce to garnishes, where they add a creamy, rich flavor.
Now, as to whether it’s safe to eat raw eggs, it can be a little complicated to discern.
While there are some ways to eat raw eggs safely, many still contain at least some risk of carrying Salmonella bacteria into your body.
If you want to try adding raw eggs to your diet, you should use pasteurized eggs – these are eggs that are gently heated in their shells just enough to kill the most dangerous bacteria.
What Do They Taste Like?
Raw eggs have a somewhat creamy taste, which makes sense, considering that they’re almost entirely protein. Beyond that, there aren’t many strong-tasting notes.
If you’re looking for that distinctive egg flavor, you won’t find it in raw eggs–this taste comes in when you cook eggs.
On the textured end, raw eggs tend to have a thick consistency in their yolk and a thinner, more liquidy texture in their whites.
That said, raw eggs can take on other flavors when they’re incorporated into certain dishes.
Hollandaise sauce has a more complex, buttery flavor, as does aioli, and adding egg yolk to dishes can bring out spicy and acidic flavors.
We’re focused on chicken eggs, but there are other types of eggs you could also try.
Why Do People Drink Raw Eggs?
As strange as it sounds, many people do drink raw eggs.
Some do it because they’ve been inspired by movies and television scenes where athletes drink raw eggs to get juiced up before the big game/fight/other athletic events.
But others do it for genuine nutritional reasons: raw eggs contain antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which support the body and keep the heart healthy.
Can They Make You Sick?
If you find the prospect of eating raw eggs a little suspicious, it’s probably because you’ve got a good dose of cautious messaging from food professionals.
One of the biggest dangers with raw eggs is that they can pass Salmonella, a potentially serious foodborne illness, into your system.
Cooking eggs typically kills any potential bacteria, but without the heat of cooking, the bacteria can linger and cause serious problems for you.
If you’re going to egg a raw egg, it should be a pasteurized egg – these are eggs that are gently heated in their shells just enough to kill the most dangerous bacteria.
Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized Eggs
The safest way to consume raw egg is to choose pasteurized eggs.
Pasteurized eggs are not cooked, but they are heated enough so that dangerous bacteria should be eliminated. They are either pasteurized in-shell or they are sold in bags.
Your standard grocery store egg is typically unpasteurized. You can buy pasteurized eggs, but they can be harder to find, or you can pasteurize them yourself.
Is It Safe to Eat Raw Egg?
Generally, you should eat raw eggs only when you take steps to minimize the risk. Of course, the absolute safest choice is just to eat your eggs fully cooked.
That said, life isn’t the same without raw eggs–I know I couldn’t make it without Hollandaise sauce with asparagus and aioli with my grilled fish!
If you’re like me, the best way to keep things safe is to buy pasteurized eggs, which have been heated at a sufficient temperature to kill any bacteria.
So now that you know how to keep eggs safe, you, too, can eat raw eggs, whether for nutritional benefit or flavor!
Learn about other foods you may or may not want to eat raw, like raw potatoes.