Cooking: Do I Need To Worry About Egg Yolks?

If you have ever worried about recipes that call for undercooked or raw egg yolks?

Martha Holmberg, author of the new cookbook, Modern Sauces, offers this advice:

I’d love to be able to say unequivocally that it’s always safe to eat a hollandaise sauce, but I’m afraid I can’t do it. There will always be a small risk of salmonella in foods with egg yolks that reach only about 140°F/60°C when the sauce is finished cooking. The temperature for ultimate food safety is 160°F/70°C. With that said, unless you’re pregnant, very young, very old, or have a compromised immune system, the yolks in a hollandaise are sufficiently cooked and the risk of a foodborne illness is minimal.

If you’re worried, Martha offers this:

…you can use pasteurized eggs, but the flavor and texture of the finished sauce won’t be the same. Another way to minimize the risk is to buy the freshest eggs you can find, refrigerate them the moment you get them home, and serve the finished sauce right away.

Tune in tomorrow for Martha Holmberg’s Fried Eggs with Garlicky Chard and Saffron-Red Pepper Hollandaise recipe.

Raw egg photo from

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .