Raw Egg Yolks Green – Greenish Egg Yolk Safe To It?

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When you crack open a fresh egg and find that the yolk has an unexpected greenish hue, it can be quite puzzling and even off-putting. What causes raw egg yolks to turn green, and is it safe to eat them? 

In this article, I will explore the phenomenon of green raw egg yolks, why it happens, whether it’s safe, and what you can do about it.

Why do raw egg yolks turn green

Raw egg yolks can turn green due to a chemical reaction between the egg yolk’s iron and sulfur-containing compounds in the egg white. This reaction, known as “ferrous sulfide formation,” can occur under specific circumstances:

Sulfur in the egg white

Egg whites contain sulfur-containing compounds, particularly cysteine and methionine. These sulfur compounds can react with the iron present in the egg yolk.

Time and temperature

When raw eggs are stored for an extended period at higher temperatures, or when exposed to temperature fluctuations, this reaction is more likely to occur. 

The longer the eggs are stored and the warmer the storage conditions, the higher the chance of the green color developing.

Alkaline conditions

If the pH level of the egg white becomes more alkaline over time, it can also increase the likelihood of the green discoloration. This can happen as the egg ages.

Raw Egg Yolks Green – What Should I Do Now? 

If you have raw egg yolks that have turned green, you might be wondering what to do next. Here are some steps to consider:

Greenish Egg Yolk

Assess freshness

Determine if the eggs are still fresh and safe to eat. The green coloration in raw egg yolks doesn’t necessarily indicate spoilage. 

Check the eggs for any signs of spoilage, such as an off-putting odor or unusual texture. If the eggs smell or look bad, discard them.

Taste test

If the eggs appear to be in good condition but have green yolks, you can perform a taste test. Take a small amount of the egg yolk and taste it. If the taste is off or unpleasant, it’s best not to use the eggs.

Use in recipes

If the green color doesn’t affect the taste, you can still use the eggs in recipes where the color won’t be noticeable or doesn’t matter.

For instance, you can use them in baking recipes where the green color will be masked by other ingredients.


If you’re concerned about the green color in a specific recipe, you can separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. This way, you can use only the egg whites or try to remove any green tinge from the yolks. Use a clean, dry utensil to separate the yolks and whites.

Fresh eggs

Going forward, try to use fresh eggs whenever possible to reduce the likelihood of green yolks. Properly store eggs in the refrigerator and pay attention to their expiration dates.

Preventive measures

If you frequently encounter green yolks in your raw eggs, consider adjusting your storage conditions. Keep eggs refrigerated at a consistent temperature and avoid temperature fluctuations.

Also Read: Do You Need Oil To Cook Eggs - Frying Egg 101

Is it safe to eat raw egg yolks that have turned green?

Yes, it is safe to eat raw egg yolks that have turned green. The green coloration in raw egg yolks is typically the result of a chemical reaction between the egg yolk’s iron and sulfur-containing compounds in the egg white. 

This reaction, which forms ferrous sulfide, is not harmful to health. Therefore, eating raw egg yolks with a greenish tint doesn’t pose a food safety risk.

Also Read: Eggs Cracking In Fridge - What Should I Do? 

Do egg yolks turn green when bad?

No, egg yolks do not typically turn green when they go bad. When eggs go bad or spoil, they often exhibit different signs and characteristics, such as foul odor, change in texture, float test and visual changes. 

Do egg yolks turn green when bad

The green coloration in egg yolks, as I mentioned earlier, is primarily due to a chemical reaction between the yolk’s iron and sulfur compounds in the egg white and is not a sign of spoilage. 

Green egg yolks can occur in fresh eggs if they have been stored improperly or subjected to specific cooking conditions, but it does not mean the eggs are bad or unsafe to eat. 

Always rely on your senses and other signs of spoilage to determine the freshness of eggs.

Can I still use Greenish egg yolks in recipes?

Yes, you can still use greenish egg yolks in recipes in most cases. However, you should consider the following factors when using greenish egg yolks in recipes:

Appearance: Depending on the recipe and the color sensitivity of the dish, the greenish hue may or may not be visually appealing. In some recipes, the color won’t matter at all, as it can be masked by other ingredients.

Taste: The green coloration itself does not significantly affect the taste of the egg yolk. However, some people may perceive a very subtle change in flavor. In many recipes, this change is not noticeable.

Type of recipe: Consider the type of dish you’re preparing. In baking recipes, for example, the green color is often hidden by other ingredients and won’t affect the final product’s taste or appearance. 

However, in dishes where the yolk is a prominent component, like a sunny-side-up egg, the green color might be more noticeable.

Separation: If you’re concerned about the green color, you can separate the greenish egg yolks from the egg whites. This way, you can use only the part without the green tinge in recipes where appearance matters.

Also Read: Eggs Smell Like Wet Dog (Reasons & Solutions)

Does the green color affect the taste of the egg yolks?

The green color in egg yolks does not affect the taste of the egg yolks. The change in color is primarily an aesthetic issue and does not introduce any unusual or unpleasant flavors to the yolks.

Most people do not notice a discernible difference in taste when consuming egg yolks with a greenish tint. The flavor remains largely unchanged, and any potential flavor alterations are subtle, if present at all.

How can I prevent my raw egg yolks from turning green?

Preventing raw egg yolks from turning green primarily involves proper storage and cooking techniques. 

Here are some tips to help prevent your raw egg yolks from turning green:

Refrigerate eggs: Store eggs in the refrigerator at a consistent temperature (ideally below 40°F or 4°C). Keeping eggs refrigerated helps slow down the chemical reaction that can cause the yolks to turn green.

Use fresh eggs: Purchase fresh eggs and check the expiration or “best by” date on the carton. Fresher eggs are less likely to develop green yolks.

Avoid temperature fluctuations: Rapid temperature changes can increase the likelihood of green yolks. When taking eggs out of the refrigerator, use them promptly, and avoid exposing them to extreme temperature changes.

Cook eggs properly: When cooking eggs, avoid overcooking them. Overcooking can lead to greenish yolks. For hard-boiled eggs, bring them to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for the appropriate time (usually 9-12 minutes).

Use acidic ingredients with caution: If you’re making dishes that include acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice, consider using fresh eggs, as these ingredients can slightly alter the pH of the egg whites and potentially increase the chance of green yolks.

Separate yolks and whites: If you’re concerned about green yolks affecting the appearance of a specific dish, you can separate the yolks from the whites and use only the part that doesn’t have the green tinge.

Storage practices: Store any leftover egg yolks properly. You can cover them with plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container to minimize exposure to air, which can contribute to green discoloration.

Also Read: How To Pickle Eggs Without Refrigeration At Home?

Is the green color in raw egg yolks reversible, or is it permanent?

The green color in raw egg yolks is not reversible. Once the green color develops due to the chemical reaction between the yolk’s iron and sulfur-containing compounds in the egg white, it is typically permanent. 

This color change is due to the formation of ferrous sulfide, which is a stable compound and cannot be easily reversed through standard cooking or preparation methods.

While you cannot easily remove the green color from an already greenish yolk, you can prevent it from happening in the first place by following proper storage and cooking techniques, as mentioned earlier. 

Additionally, if the green color is a concern in a particular recipe, you can separate the yolks from the whites and use only the part that doesn’t have the green tinge.

What should I do if I accidentally ate raw egg yolks that turned green?

If you accidentally ate raw egg yolks that turned green, there is generally no need to be concerned about your health. 

While it can be visually unappealing, it is not associated with foodborne illness or health risks.

Here are some steps you can consider taking if you accidentally consumed greenish raw egg yolks:

Assess your overall health: Pay attention to any immediate adverse reactions or symptoms. It’s important to remember that the green color itself does not pose a health risk.

Monitor for digestive discomfort: In rare cases, some individuals with sensitive digestive systems may experience mild discomfort after consuming raw eggs, regardless of their color. If you experience any unusual symptoms, consult a healthcare professional.

Prevent future occurrences: To avoid eating green egg yolks in the future, practice proper egg storage and handling techniques, and be mindful of the freshness of the eggs you use.

Consider personal preferences: If the green color or the taste of greenish yolks bothers you, you can take steps to separate the green portion of the yolk from the rest or use fresher eggs in recipes where appearance and taste are crucial.


Green raw egg yolks may appear strange, but they are typically safe to eat and not a cause for concern. The green color is a result of a natural chemical reaction and does not indicate spoilage or health risks. 

By understanding the causes and following proper storage and cooking techniques, you can minimize the chances of encountering green yolks and enjoy your eggs with confidence. 

So go ahead, crack those eggs open, and embrace the intriguing world of culinary chemistry!


  • https://www.incredibleegg.org/professionals/manufacturers/real-egg-functionality/ph-stability 
  • https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tell-if-eggs-are-bad 
  • https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/should-you-refrigerate-eggs 
  • https://www.allrecipes.com/article/best-way-store-eggs/ 

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