In the Kitchen

4 Essential, Foolproof Ways to Cook Eggs

Not only are they widely available in most parts of the world, they require minimal effort to make, sparse equipment, and are insanely versatile. We’re talking about everyone’s favorite breakfast protein: the egg, in all its glory. Whether you like them whipped into an soft omelet with cheese and veggies, fried over-easy, or soft-boiled, eggs are endlessly customizable and a terrific addition or centerpiece for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Though eggs are an ingredient everyone knows, perfect preparation is not always as it easy as it seems. Common mistakes are avoidable, though, with these essential tips and techniques. Since everything really is better when you #putaneggonit, sear these methods in your memory for prime egg-consumption, and start living your best life.

Hard boiled

Let’s start with the most basic technique: boiling. Hot water, eggs, and just…boil them, right? Not quite. Boiling an egg is actually a somewhat delicate process, but if you follow these rules, you can say goodbye to all the failed boiled eggs of your past: odd consistency, jiggly whites, inability to peel, discoloration, etc.

1. Start with cold water

It might seem strange to start with cold water if it’s going to be boiled anyway, but this technique will make sure that the shell doesn’t crack and the whites don’t overcook. Add cold water to your pot with just enough to cover the eggs fully.

2. Cover up

After the water has come to a rolling boil, immediately remove from heat and cover pot with a lid.

2. Time is of the essence

Depending on whether you want your eggs super hard boiled, soft boiled, or something in between (jammy egg goals), timing matters. For soft eggs with a white that’s cooked through, 4–6 minutes is ideal. For firm eggs, 10 minutes is perfect. It might take some testing for different stove tops.

3. Tap it then cool it down

After the time’s up, remove eggs from the pot with a slotted spoon and tap them gently to crack the shell. Then, immediately place eggs in a bowl of ice water and leave them there for at least 1 minute.

4. Peel and eat

Deviled eggs? Spread on toast? Sliced atop a salad? So. Many. Options.

Fried

The breakfast staple that has taken over burgers, pizzas, grain bowls, pastas, everything—beautiful fried eggs. Whether it’s sunny-side up (whites set, yolks runny), over-easy (fried on both sides, yolks runny), or over-medium (yolks more solid), frying eggs is all about finesse.

1. Nonstick it

Is it possible to make fried eggs in a stainless steel pan? Sure, yes. But make it easy on yourself and just use nonstick. Warm up your pan over medium heat. When you can feel the heat, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter, and let it melt for about 1 minute. Crack your eggs directly into the pan; listen for that sizzle. Season your eggs with salt and pepper, then cook (no moving the pan around) until whites are just set, 2–3 minutes.

2. Lacy edges

For a crisp, lacy edge, crank up the heat a little and let the eggs fry for 1–2 minutes longer. For a smooth edge, cover the pan to help eggs cook quicker and create steam to prevent crisping.

3. Over-easy

Wait until your whites look almost set, but not completely opaque. Using a spatula (the flexible plastic ones are best for this), carefully flip your eggs, and cook 10–15 seconds more. For over-medium or over-hard, cook until your preferred yolk texture is reached.

4. Give it a jiggle

Once you think your eggs are almost done, jiggle the pan gently. If the whites move, cook for a bit longer.

Scrambled

Most likely your go-to when you want eggs, the scramble is a relatively simple affair. You probably wish your scrambles were just a little bit better, though. This is where we come in.

1. Nonstick is your BFF

Using a nonstick pan will prevent your eggs from sticking, so we recommend using one highly.

2. Butter or olive oil: It’s up to you

Depending on our mood, we’ll coat the pan over low heat with either butter or olive oil.

3. Use a bowl

Crack your eggs into a separate bowl and add some dairy (milk or cream), whisk together, and season with salt and pepper. Then, pour the eggs slowly into your pan.

4. Low and slow

We love fluffy, soft scrambled eggs, so we cook ’em low and slow, stirring with a silicone or other heat-proof spatula or spoon as we go. Don’t use a metal spatula—it’ll scrape your nonstick pan.

5. Add mix-ins

When your eggs are lookin’ good, remove the pan from heat and add extra goodies. Chopped fresh herbs, cooked veggies, cheese, or cured meats will take your scramble to the next level.

Poached

Whether you’re at brunch, hoping to add some oomph to your salad, or want to jazz up your ramen, poached eggs are a great option. However, they can be a little intimidating to make at home, which is why we’ve created a foolproof method (video included) on the perfect poach. So simple, you’ll wonder why you had any trepidations in the first place.

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