Egg Allergy and Baked Egg Products

Can You Eat Eggs in Baked Goods If You Are Allergic to Eggs?

Cracked egg in baking batter
Can you eat baked egg products if you have an egg allergy?. Ehrlif/Istockphoto

If you're allergic to eggs, you might be wondering: Can I still eat baked goods that contain eggs? You might also be thinking: If I'm allergic to eggs now, is there a way to desensitize myself to them or outgrow the allergy? Find out the answers to these questions and more, below.

The Basics About Egg Allergy

  • What it is: An egg allergy is an IgE-mediated allergy. IgE is a natural substance (an antibody) that binds to antigens (such as egg proteins) and stimulates the immune system. Egg allergy is most common in children, yet most children outgrow the allergy by adolescence. The allergy can range from mild to severe. 
  • How it's diagnosed: To diagnose an egg allergy, an allergist will likely recommend either trial and error (eat an egg and see whether you have an allergic reaction) or an oral food challenge, where you eat a food slowly in gradually increasing amounts under close supervision. 
  • How it's treated: Current treatments for egg allergies include avoiding eggs, taking anaphylaxis precautions (knowing what to do if it appears that you are having an anaphylactic reaction), and desensitizing. It's important to note that four vaccines (influenzaMMRrabies, and yellow fever shots) contain small amounts of egg protein because they're cultured either in eggs or in chick embryos. So if you're allergic to eggs, talk to your doctor to see whether it's best to get the vaccine, skip the vaccine, or consider an egg-free vaccine.

Can You Eat Baked Eggs If You Have an Egg Allergy?

The short answer is: maybe. Allergists have known for years that people with allergic reactions to eggs (even severe ones) were often able to eat eggs when they were in baked goods such as cakes and muffins.

The reason for this wasn't clear until fairly recently.

A 2008 study assessed the ability of people with a known egg allergy to eat foods containing extensively heated egg, such as waffles and muffins. The study showed that the majority of egg-allergic people (70 percent) were able to consume foods containing extensively heated egg, but not th egg that was cooked in a “regular” manner, such as scrambled eggs or French toast.

It appears that higher temperatures destroyed the egg proteins enough that the allergic antibodies were not able to recognize them.

Some research has even shown that eating baked egg products may actually help desensitize you to eggs and reduce the chance of having an allergic reaction. 

The Bottom Line

If you're not sure whether your body can tolerate a baked egg product, ask your allergist if you can try an oral food challenge, which is a safe way to figure it out and possibly desensitize yourself to eggs. (Unfortunately, skin testing cannot predict whether someone will have a reaction to baked egg products.) Researchers are also evaluating using oral immunotherapy as a way to possibly desensitize people to eggs, so that may also be an option in the future. 

Sources:

Lemon-Mule, J., Sampson, J., Sicherer, S., Shreffler, W., Noone, S., and A. Nowak-Wegrzyn. Immunologic Changes in Children with Egg Allergy Ingesting Extensively Heated Egg. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2008. 122(5):977-983.e1.

Leonard, S., Sampson, H., Sicherer, S., Noone, S., Moshier, E., Gobol, J., and A. Nowak-Wegrzyn. Dietary Baked Egg Accelerates Resolution of Egg Allergy in Children. Journal of Allergy and Immunology. 2012. 130(2):473-80.e1.

Tey, D., and R. Heine. Egg Allergy in Childhood: An Update. Current Opinions in Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2009. 9(3):244-50.

Turner, P., Kumar, K., and A. Fox. Skin Testing with Raw Egg Does Not Predict Tolerance to Baked Egg in Egg-Allergic Children. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. 2014. 25(7):657-61.

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