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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Have you ever noticed that the size of eggs can vary in the same carton?

When I find a deal on medium-size eggs, I go ahead and buy them, even though many recipes specifically call for Large eggs. When I get them home, I sort out the largest of the Medium eggs and set them aside in the fridge. I then can use these larger eggs in recipes that specifically call for Large eggs and use the rest where size of egg is not so critical (like quiche, frittata, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, or even pancakes).

Here are some of the Medium eggs that came in a 5-dozen pack from WinCo recently. Can you see the difference in sizes here?

Here are 2 large and 1 small of these Medium eggs for comparison all from the same tray. Can you see the difference in sizes here? The size of the largest could really pass for a regular Large egg and not Medium. While the smallest might pass for a Small egg, again not a Medium.

When eggs are packed in cartons or trays for consumer purchase, they aren't all the same size. USDA regulations stipulate that a carton or tray of eggs must meet a minimum weight based on sizing, regardless of what each individual egg weighs. So, you may find a few larger as well as smaller eggs in the same carton.

If this interests you for price comparing eggs, in the US Jumbo eggs must weigh 30 oz per dozen, Extra Large eggs must weigh 27 oz per dozen, Large eggs must weigh 24 oz per dozen, Medium eggs must weigh 21 oz per dozen, and Small eggs must weigh 18 oz per dozen. Knowing this required weight per carton and size can help determine cost per ounce, which in turn can help you determine when those Medium eggs are a deal or simply priced the same per ounce as the more-convenient-for-recipes Large eggs.

Anyway, size will matter with what I'm preparing tomorrow. I'll save this largest of the eggs for that recipe while using the smaller eggs in tonight's dinner frittata.


  1. I learned something new. I have noticed a size variation with the eggs but I thought each individual egg got weighed. Thanks for the information.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I think the eggs are initially separated by size or weight, but then are sort of randomly selected for cartons or trays (for cases), with some last-minute adjustments made by swapping in or out an egg or two by someone else down the line. I worked in a frozen food factory one summer in college. My job was adjusting the contents of the packages to meet minimum stated weights. Its was all about efficiency.

  2. I have not really noticed a big difference in the size of eggs in the same carton, but I've never looked. I will next time. Thanks for sharing this interesting tidbit of information.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      This may also be more common with egg farms that pack cases (5 dozen packs) of the less popular sizes, such as the Medium eggs. There's a lot of leeway for size difference between eggs in a tray of 2.5 dozen eggs than you might have in a dozen eggs. And with the Medium eggs, it could be that some of the eggs in those cases are actually close to Small egg size, as the Small eggs so rarely make it to retail markets. This would mean that more of the largest eggs in the category would have to be added to bring up the package weight.

      You know, there's actually a size smaller than Small eggs, they're called Peewee eggs. I didn't include those in the comparison above, as I've never seen Peewee eggs in a store or farmer's market. I think I have seen Small eggs, many, many years ago.


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