Why would you beat egg yolks in a bowl above a pot full of hot water? I've seen this technique used in recipes on YouTube. Sometimes they add sugar. Does the heat help increase the volume or is it something else?

1 Answer 1


Egg yolks are often cooked in a bowl above simmering water (also known as a double boiler), so that the egg yolks can cook/thicken without solidifying and scrambling. This is a common technique used when making custard, for example.

  • 4
    This technique is called 'au bain Marie' Aug 3, 2019 at 8:37
  • 1
    the resulting preparation is called sabayon in French or zabaione in Italian
    – Agos
    Aug 8, 2019 at 8:02

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