Breakfast Basics: How to Make Better Eggs

by Matt Moore on October 25, 2011 · 170 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

In my opinion, eggs are one of your best resources in the morning.  Full of quality protein, virtually carb-free, and packed with vitamins and minerals, they make the ultimate breakfast food.  Don’t be too swayed by the cholesterol scares of the 1980s; eating the whole egg–not just the whites–has actually been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and to improve good cholesterol levels. Eggs are a fantastic food for men who are looking to get in shape; they help build your muscles, and they keep you satiated for a long time. A study showed that men who ate eggs instead of carb-rich bagels for breakfast consumed less calories over the course of the day.

And besides their great nutritional profile, eggs are easy to prepare, taste great, and are dirt cheap (less than 15 cents per egg!).

Yet, for all of their greatness and simplicity, I know a lot of guys who mess up even a basic scrambled egg. Their eggs are edible, but not incredible. Since we’ve been focusing our efforts on getting back to the basics in the kitchen, I wanted to share my thoughts and techniques on getting the most out of this versatile food.

Here are tips on preparing eggs in four of the basic, traditional ways: scrambled, fried, poached, and hard-boiled. We’ll cover the wondrous omelet in a separate post.

Let’s get cracking.

Scrambled Eggs

In my opinion, there are two schools of thought when it comes to the perfect scrambled egg.  Low and Slow vs. Hot and Fast.  Whatever your preference, the two methods typically turn out two very unique types of scrambles.  Low and slow yields eggs with small curds that are moist and soft, whereas the hot and fast method turns out eggs with larger, denser curds.  Instead of taking sides, I’m laying out both options.

Non-stick cookware truly comes in handy when scrambling eggs.  The slick non-stick surface allows for easy cleanup, and preparation containing less fat or oil.  Make sure you always use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula on the cookware to prevent damaging the non-stick coating.

One of the more important elements to the perfect scrambled egg, regardless of the method, is air.  That’s right, air.  The more air you can whisk into the mixture, the more full and fluffy your scrambled eggs will turn out.  It’s important to whisk your eggs in a large bowl, using a circular motion that pulls the eggs to the surface, rather than stirring around the perimeter of the bowl.  Utilize a tilted wheel motion with either a fork or whisk to get as much air into the eggs as possible.  With that said, you do not want to overbeat your eggs.  You will know when your eggs are ready when the mixture is evenly colored and frothy.

Many people like to add salt, pepper, cream, and herbs to their eggs prior to scrambling.  I prefer to wait to season the eggs until they have finished cooking.  Regarding cream or herbs, you can utilize these ingredients to enhance moisture and flavor, but they are not necessary.  A properly scrambled egg will not need any additional ingredients to taste excellent.

Scrambled Eggs

1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
3 Large Eggs
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Low and Slow

Low and Slow- Heat an 8 or 10 inch non-stick pan over medium low heat, add butter.  Meanwhile, crack eggs into a bowl and vigorously whisk until combined and frothy.  When butter is completely melted, add eggs to pan.  Wait to stir until eggs have just begun to set.  Using a wooden spoon, begin to push the eggs towards the center while tilting the pan.  This will create small curds and allow the runny portions to reach the hot surface.  Continue in this manner until there is no longer any runny portion remaining.  Remove eggs from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Hot and Fast

Hot and Fast – Heat an 8 or 10 inch non-stick pan over medium high heat, add butter.  Meanwhile, crack eggs into a bowl and vigorously whisk until combined and frothy.  When butter is completely melted, add eggs to pan.  Wait to stir until eggs have set in the pan, the runny portion should remain on top of the cooked portion.  Quickly use a wooden spoon to scramble and lift off the cooked portions while allowing the uncooked eggs to reach the heat.  Do not over scramble. When there is no longer any runny portion that remains, remove eggs from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Fried Eggs

Unfortunately, most people typically have a negative connotation with fried eggs.  Perhaps it’s the word “fried” in the description.  Keep in mind, a fried egg is much different than the caloric disaster of chili cheese fries down at the Starlight Diner.  Honestly, fried eggs, when prepared correctly, hold very little of the oil or fat used to prepare them.

On mornings when I’m rushing out the door, my go-to breakfast is a few fried eggs.  I can cook the eggs quickly, and I don’t have to pull out, or clean up, several bowls or utensils.

Butter is traditionally used in the preparation of fried eggs; however, I prefer using olive oil instead.  The health benefits of olive oil are abundant, but I also like the distinctive flavor it adds.  Also, because extra virgin olive oil has a higher smoke point than butter, I find that my pans clean up easier when using oil instead of butter.

For a delicious on-the-go breakfast sandwich, stick your fried egg between two sandwich thins, and add ham, a slice of cheese, and some mustard.

Fried Eggs

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Large Eggs
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Heat an 8 or 10 inch non-stick pan over medium heat, add oil.  Carefully crack eggs into the pan, allowing room for each egg to cook separately.  After a minute or so, the egg white will solidify from transparency into a firm white texture.

At this point, you have a few options.

For sunny-side up eggs, continue to cook for another minute until the white portion is firm and just cooked through.  Carefully slide eggs onto a plate, season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste, and serve.

For a firmer yolk (over easy, over medium, over well), place a lid over the pan and cook (steam) the yolk for another few minutes until the egg is cooked to your desired consistency.  You can gently use your finger to press on the yolk to determine doneness.  An over-easy yolk will give to slight pressure, whereas an over-medium yolk will be firm to the touch.  Remove lid, season eggs with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste, and serve.

Another option is to remove the pan from the heat, and using a quick tilted back-and-forth motion with the pan, flip the egg onto its other side.  Of course, a spatula may also be used to flip the egg.  Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook until the yolk is cooked to your desired consistency.  Remove from heat, season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, and serve.

Poached Eggs

Novice cooks typically shudder in fear at the idea of poaching an egg.  Truth be told, it takes some skill to get this technique down.  But, with a little practice and a few tips, you will be able to impress your guests in no time.

Poaching is one of the healthier methods for preparing eggs.  Because the eggs are cooked while immersed in water, there is no need to add extra oil or butter.  A word of caution: it typically takes a bit more time to prepare poached eggs, which may not make for convenient preparation on a busy weekday.

When poaching, it’s important to find the freshest eggs possible.  Ideally, eggs should be no more than a week old.  Remember, fresh eggs lack oxygen, are heavy in weight, and the white will gather completely around the yolk, making a rounder, neater shape.

Adding a tablespoon of white wine vinegar to the simmering water will help the egg hold its shape.  Simply placing the poached egg in a bowl of water will remove any of the vinegar taste after cooking.  I also find that placing the egg on a piece of bread after cooking is a great way to get rid of any excess water.

When entertaining a large crowd, you can poach a batch of eggs in advance, and immerse and hold the eggs in ice water until ready for service.  Before serving, return the eggs to simmering water to heat through.

Poached Eggs

1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
2 Large Eggs
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Fill a 12 inch stainless skillet or a large pot with at least three inches of water.  Bring water to a boil over high heat.  When water comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, add vinegar, and allow water to remain at a very slow simmer.  Break eggs into separate small containers.  Next, carefully slip eggs into the simmering water.  If necessary, using a spoon, gently nudge the egg whites closer to the yolk.  Allow eggs to slowly simmer for 3 – 5 minutes, depending on yolk preference.  Carefully remove eggs using a slotted spoon or spatula and immerse in water to remove any vinegar, if desired.  Season eggs with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, serve.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are a handy “on the go” breakfast staple.  Eating a few hard-boiled eggs in the morning is a convenient way to get your metabolism started without facing a crash later in the day.  The best part about this cooking method is that it creates eggs that you can store for several days to use in salads, sandwiches, or simply as a quick snack.  A touch of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper can really enhance the flavor of a simple hard-boiled egg.

Several manufacturers now sell hard-boiled eggs alongside fresh eggs at the store.  For a premium, they offer the convenience of precooked and peeled eggs.  If you don’t have the time to prepare hard-boiled eggs on your own, this is a great time saver.

However, if you want to save a few bucks, these are really quite simple to prepare at home.  My best advice after cooking the eggs is to allow them to come back up to room temperature before peeling.  You will encounter trouble if you try to peel the eggs while they are either too hot or cold.  Store your hard-boiled eggs in an airtight container and refrigerate, keeping up to 3 – 5 days.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

6 Large Eggs

Place eggs into a large pot or skillet and cover with water by one inch.  Over medium high heat, bring water to a slow boil and allow eggs to simmer for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, cover, and allow the eggs to sit for 10 – 12 minutes.  Carefully transfer eggs into a colander and rinse under cold running water until they are no longer warm to the touch.  Allow the eggs to sit at room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes before peeling.  Serve immediately or store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for later use.

What are your favorite ways to make eggs? Got any tips for cooking eggs well? Share your comments with us!


{ 170 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff October 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm

In my experience, there is also a noticeable difference between eggs from caged hens and eggs from free-range hens. The lifestyle of a free range hen means that they eat more varied died including insects and other invertebrates (as a hen naturally would), which makes for a tastier egg. Bugs may not be my chosen diet, but they seem to work for the hens.

2 Joe D. October 25, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Nice article, Matt—
My wife and I were just discussing the other night how eggs are close to the perfect food…while we were eating a broccoli and cheese omelette. We love to have eggs for dinner as well as breakfast, especially “eggs in purgatory”: fried eggs in a home made marinara sauce.

I have increased the number of egg whites v. yolks lately because of higher triglyceride numbers, but the eggs are still delicious with the limited yolks.

3 Kevin Wright October 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm

My everyday breakfast (eaten between 6 and 7 am every day): fried eggs with a little melted cheddar cheese, whole wheat toast and butter. I’m good until 1 or 2 pm and my doctor always looks mystified when says “well, your cholesterol and blood sugars are…great!”. If I eat cereal of any kind in the morning, I’m hungry within 2 or 3 hours!

4 Haden Griggs October 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Nothing against good old hard boiled eggs, but they can’t hold a candle to soft boiled eggs and toast.

5 Justin October 25, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Note: you mention easier pan clean up (when using olive oil) under the Fried Eggs section, yet in the entire article, you fail to mention cast iron cookware at all. This, I’m saddened to admit, will dock you ten points on your Man Card. As everybody knows, cooking eggs in cast iron has more benefits than breathing fresh mountain-scrubbed air: faster and easier clean up (nearly always); tastier eggs; and the satisfaction of using the same legendary cooking implements your forefathers used.

6 Kyle M October 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm

For scrambled eggs I’ve found that adding milk to the eggs before scrambling them makes for a better tasting result. I always eyeball it, but I think about 1/4 cup per 4 eggs is about right. If you get runny eggs that take a long time to cook use less then that. I also salt and pepper the eggs in the bowl before I scramble them.

If I’m having bacon with my eggs I also like to cook the bacon in the pan I’m going to use for my eggs first. Drain out the grease and scrape out but don’t wash the pan. This will leave just the right amount of grease behind and leave the pan as just the right temperature for the fast cook style scrambled eggs.

7 VK October 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Good column, although I must disagree on your method of boiling eggs. I find that once you get around the 10 minute mark, the yolks get to be pretty hard and its not nearly as tasty as the slight runny-ness of the yolk if you take it off heat when it starts to boil and then let them sit for about 7.5 minutes. Prepare 4, cut them in half, cover each half in butter and smoked salmon or salmon caviar, and you have one hell of a breakfast.

8 Fred October 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Keep in mind that eggs begin to cook at 158 degrees. Your pan needs to be at least that hot.

9 Tony October 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Using butter is OK. I’ve done it some in the past. I am too much a Southern country boy to forego using my bacon grease for either scrambling or frying my eggs. Yes, I use my cast iron skillet also. Our usual Sunday breakfast is bacon, eggs (fried or scambled with the bacon grease), fresh biscuits. We eat around 0800 and that breakfast holds us till about 1500 or later.

10 mike October 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Free range and cage free mean nothing in regards to chicken. Those terms are not legally defined. The only way to know what you are getting is to buy from the farmer/producer. I’d appreciate it if you bought them from me, but….

My 100 cage free, free range chickens have the freedom to run anywhere within 150 acres of their coop, but typically stay within 1000 feet. My neighbor has a CAFO and his 100,000 cage free, free range, and organic chickens are packed in warehouse like buildings at about 1 chicken per square foot.

Both of us label our eggs the same except it is impossible for me to certify my chicken grazing land as organic and therefore, my chickens that live the organic life cannot be legally labeled organic. He can label his chickens organic, since they never leave a building, and therefore he can control with 100% certainty what they are eating .

11 EP October 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

If your poached eggs aren’t coming together like they should, stir the water with a utensil in one hand, creating a vortex, then drop the egg in with the other hand.

12 jhb October 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I liked the article – I am solidly in the low and slow scrambled eggs camp. A quick egg beating solution I have found is cracking a couple of eggs in a washed out jelly jar I keep around for this purpose screwing the lid on tight and giving it a few good shakes. The end product is nice and frothy and a quick rinse out b/f the dish washer and it is one less dish to wash.

13 Charlie October 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

A couple of tips:

- For both versions of scrambled eggs, take the eggs out of the pan when they’re 80-90% ‘done’. The residual heat will finish the job ensure they’re not overdone.
- For easy poached eggs, crack the egg onto a portion of very lightly oiled cling wrap (kitchen grade, so safe for heating). Bunch it up into a bundle (like a swag) and drop it into simmering water. Viola!

14 Joshua October 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I’m no expert, but from what I’ve heard it’s better to salt after cooking. If you salt before, the salt removes moisture and changes the overall texture of the finished eggs, making them tougher or drier.

15 Keith October 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Well put. I look forward to you article on the omelet. That is my favorite way to eat them and I am always looking for new ideas on how to prepare an omelet.

For those who want to practice flipping the eggs in a pan, take a slice of white bread and place it in you egg pan and practice flipping the slice of bread. It’s makes much less of a mess when it gets away from you.

16 Tom October 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Triglycerides are not caused by eating eggs. They’re caused by routinely eating more calories than you burn and from obesity. I would be more concerned about refined carbs.

17 AzJon October 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm

First off, go here: to learn to make the most amazing scrambled eggs you will ever eat (in cast iron over a campfire notwithstanding).

If you prefer to fry your egg in bacon grease, as I do, make sure there is enough in there to tilt the pan and use a spatula to sort of “splash” the grease over the top of the egg instead of steaming it. Similar result with better taste.

If you want to be a real snot about poaching your eggs, use a thermometer to dial the temp in at 180 F (82 C), just south of a small simmer. I personally use a slotted spaghetti spoon to scoop out the little morsels.

Finally, after hard-boiling (or soft boiling), dump the hot water out or transfer the eggs to a separate container and run them under the coldest water you can manage for 30 seconds to a minute. This will make the shells peel off much easier.

Eggs really are the perfect breakfast meal, specifically when cooked over an open fire on a chilly morning, after the percolator finished up the coffee….nom nom nom. Happy eating!

18 Dave October 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I’ve had great success with Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs technique (minus the creme fraiche step):

Eggs and butter straight into the pan (not whisked beforehand), and continuous stirring while moving the pan on and off the heat to ensure that they don’t go too hard.

I used to do the low-and-slow technique, but I’m 100% sold on this new style.

19 Daren Redekopp October 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I’m psyched about the poached eggs recipe. Now how about a post on the many manly variations of steel-cut oatmeal. Then we’ll be in a land of which I well know the lay.

20 Don October 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I like to mince and saute’ a couple of potatos, with some chopped onion and ham. Then whisk a half dozen eggs. and scramble everything together with some chedder cheese. (kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper ar a “must have”, of course.

21 Ethan October 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Every egg tastes better on a cast iron pan, and you get some extra iron in your diet from it!

22 Sean October 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Been cooking bacon + eggs in a cast iron skillet for a while now, and gradually reducing my carb intake. Gotta say I’ve never felt better (more energetic, more able to think + focus) in my life.

23 Dawsy October 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Funny, I was just wondering what the best way to hard-boil an egg was…I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow!

15 cents an egg…wow eggs must be expensive here in Australia (~$0.50 each)

24 Tim October 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Another method to make easy hard boiled eggs is an electric kettle. I have one to heat water for tea and coffee. You just lower the eggs in and turn it on. Mine has a mechanism to turn it off when it hits a boil so I don’t have to be constantly monitoring it.

25 Dax October 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Add about a 1/4 cup of milk to scrambled eggs to make them fluffy… if that’s your thing.

26 Jacob October 25, 2011 at 10:07 pm

My favorite Egg is fried or hard boiled, unless there is cheese then a good scrambled egg is good. I am going to have to go buy some eggs now. I could use a little extra proten in my diet.

27 Chris October 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Great article! I thought I’d add my two-cents, though. One thing I’ve learned about making scrambled eggs is that the type of milk you use (skim, 1%, etc.) makes a big difference. Everyone knows those thin, watery scrambled eggs that nobody likes … those are made with skim milk. If you really want to make firm scrambled eggs that don’t run, try using half-and-half or a mixture of 50% whole milk/50% half-and-half. Your eggs will taste creamier and they won’t run.

28 Chris October 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Slightly off topic, but what could be more manly than raising your own food? Many towns these days allow residents to have small flocks of hens. A few good layers can easily provide for nearly any family. Once they are set up, they take very little time every day. Most feed stores sell chicks in the Spring. They will be the freshest eggs you can get. I have a fried egg for breakfast nearly every morning and extras eggs are always welcome gifts for visitors, or to useful repay small favors. There are tons of books on the subject and your feed store or cooperative extension agent can help get you set up.

Also, here is another vote for the cast iron skillet.

29 Justin October 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I would just like to add one thing involving scrambled eggs. I’ve never been a fan of stirring and beating and whisking the eggs before cooking. How my family has always cooked scrambled eggs, and how I cook them, is to do the following which yields a chunkier egg with the yolk and whites separate, yet mixed:

- Use Medium/High heat
-Add eggs to skillet or pan or rock in the sun or whatever you’re using
-Wait until the whites start to cook and turn, well, white. The whites start to solidify before the yolks, and that’s the key concept behind this whole process.
-After the whites have cooked a while, stir and move the eggs around and mix them together until they become how you want them. Some people like them runny and moist like my brother, others like them dry and stiff. I like them in the middle, like most normal people.
-Voila! Add salt, pepper, chopped ham, whatever you want. They’re done

30 Peter Zefo October 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm

My kids love to ask for “Eggs in the Toast.” I use a biscuit cutter (or anything round) to punch a hole in a slice of bread. Add some butter to a 12″ frying pan and pour the egg (unscrambled) into the hole. Allow it to set and flip it like you woud a fried egg. Toast the leftover circle of bread in the pan and serve. Simple.

31 Eli October 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

As a “hobby egg farmer”, I love eggs in a variety of ways. The above hints,tips and tricks were great. The way you cook is important, but the freshness of the ingredients are important as well. You mentioned the age of eggs once, but for hard boiled eggs you want to age them at least a week, as older eggs peel easier. We also feed our chickens things like strawberries, grape and other fresh fruits and it not only affects the look (ours tend to have orange yolks),but the taste is much better. And white or brown eggs are the same inside. Enjoy!

32 William October 25, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Sunday mornings my lady and I typically have eggs, bacon, and toast or home fries. I make the eggs scrambled, low and slow, but before cooking them, I add kosher salt, cracked black pepper, essence, herbs de provence, and a splash of milk to the wet mixture and beat them until it’s all bubbles. Then I add them to a buttered pan and stir very often to keep them soft and moist. Easy and Delicious every time.

33 Jim October 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I’m with Justin on the cast iron cook cookware, – 10 points on the man card. The only thing more manly than cooking your meal on cast iron is using a stick (I am thinking of the gopher scene in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” right now)

34 Tim October 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm

One way to do a whole batch of boiled eggs nice and easy is to use a rice cooker. Put all the eggs into the rice cooker, add a few table spoons of water, and set to cook. Once the cooker goes into ‘keep warm’ they should be ready.

35 Rebbecca October 25, 2011 at 11:18 pm

If you are like me and just cannot get eggs to poach correctly in water, then getting a stove-top egg poacher is probably the next best thing. Quick, easy to use.

Secondly, for those looking for “cage-free” chicken eggs, typically you want to look for the “pastured” label instead of “free range.” As mike stated, farmers can label their eggs free-range, if the chicken is allowed to walk around in the hen enclosure, but never outside it, thus no bugs. The only exception is people who practice mobile-caging.

36 Fulano October 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I’ll have to agree with the folks taking up the cast iron, it’s the easiest and fastest clean I’ve ever dealt with.

One tip I picked up a while back that works for me: put the salt and pepper you’d season with in the skillet before the eggs are added for fried eggs. It helps keep it from sticking (not totally sure why, but it works), and I think it gives a better coverage than sprinkling it over the top.

37 Michael October 26, 2011 at 1:14 am

Just a quick note that coconut oil has an even higher burn point and is therefore even easier to clean up, if that’s your thing.

38 Michael October 26, 2011 at 1:15 am

Oh, and “pastured” eggs are just so much better oh man.

39 Jonathan Manor October 26, 2011 at 3:42 am

I use to add eggs to everything! My coworkers would see me eating out of a tupperware and wonder what that smell was. It was usually eggs, steak, potatoes, rice, and some type of vegetables. I’m 24. Having that type of food is great!

40 Ryan October 26, 2011 at 5:33 am

For truly velvety scrambled eggs, try this (I think I got it from Nigella Lawson, originally):

Toss a biggish nob of butter into your pan, and as it melts, whisk up your eggs, milk and whatever seasoning you’re putting in (I’m with the kosher salt and cracked fresh pepper crowd). Once the butter has melted, make sure the bottom of the pan is coated,THEN POUR THE MELTED BUTTER INTO THE EGG MIXTURE, whisk quickly, then pour it all back into the hot pan, and proceed with whichever method you prefer. Give it a try, it makes a big difference texture and flavour-wise.

41 KyPerson October 26, 2011 at 5:40 am

I can cook eggs very well according to my family, but as for eating them…..sorry. I loathe them with a pure loathing. They are yellow and white globs of pure evil.

42 GardenStater October 26, 2011 at 6:27 am

Great post. I love eggs done almost any way, but poached eggs on an English muffin is one of my favorites.

I also agree with other folks that A) a great old seasoned cast-iron pan is best for frying or scrambling eggs, and B) eggs from “real” free-range hens (those that are allowed to eat grass, weeds, and bugs out in the sunshing) are far superior to supermarket eggs.

Two thoughts on making perfect poached eggs:

1. Regular white vinegar works fine; no need for white wine vinegar.
2. To get nice tight eggs, stir the water in a circular motion just before adding the eggs (crack them into a bowl first, then just slide them in). The vortex you create with a spoon will force the egg matter to the center of the pot.

43 Mocky October 26, 2011 at 6:40 am

Great article! I see that everyone loves to talk about their egg rituals!

A silicone spatula a great replacement for the wooden spoon / rubber spatula. Never melts but very flexible.

Coconut oil is indeed great for cooking eggs. Delicious flavor (especially when mixed with the droplets of bacon grease in the pan), higher smoke point than butter and olive oil and it has those medium chain triglycerides that makes it easier for your body to metabolize fat.

44 Ripley October 26, 2011 at 6:52 am

A way to get the over easy effect without risking breaking the yolk is to put about a tablespoon of water into the pan of fried eggs, cover with a lid, and let the water stream-cook the top of the eqq for a minute or so.

A way of keeping a poached egg together without the egg cup is to put the egg into a barely simmering pot of water that has been stirred briefly and gently. The centrifugal force will keep the egg from spreading across the bottom of the pan.

45 Bruce Egert October 26, 2011 at 7:52 am

Try this: heat pan over a low flame for 2 minutes and spray with Pam. Crack two eggs into pan and immediately crush the yolks. Allow the eggs to cook for approx. 2 minutes and then turn one egg over on to the other, cooking them for another minute or so. Yolks will be hard and albumins will be soft. Not for everyone, but it is my favorite recipe.

46 David Y October 26, 2011 at 7:53 am

Thanks for the article. I’ve been cutting down on carbs also, and have switched to egges in the morning instead of cereal. Matt’s recipes plus some of the comments will be a big help.

Tried scrambled eggs Matt’s way today and they were very good.

47 Evan October 26, 2011 at 8:56 am

For boiled eggs, immediately after removing from the boiling water put them in a bowl of ice water. The shells will practically fall off when it comes time to peel them.

48 Alex Devlin October 26, 2011 at 9:19 am

I’ve got a few friends who are chefs and they are always coming up with nice ways to cook eggs.

One of the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had was done like this;
Take an aluminum pan and put it on a medium heat. In a glass bowl mix up your eggs with a dash of milk or cream using a blender. Add a knob of butter to the pan and use a spatula to move it around while melting to coat the pan. Sometimes he would use olive oil and just wipe down the pan with a paper towel. Then when it starts to smoke add the eggs. This is where it gets interesting, turn the heat up to high and use either a blender or a hand blender and blend the eggs throughout the entire cooking time. He uses some kind of silicon/plastic blades in the blender to avoid getting metal shavings off the pan. They will cook quickly due to the heat and come out being light and fluffy like none I’ve ever tasted. The olive oil adds an extra flavor. And then he adds a dash of salt and pepper just before the liquid is gone and it blends nicely into the eggs giving it a really good taste. It’s a lot of work to do them but they have an extra something that I’ve not gotten from other ways to cook eggs.

Another way that he cooks a lot of foods is to put a shallow layer of water in a pan (just enough to cover the base) and then cook things like bacon/steaks/chicken in the boiling water with a lid covering it. He only does that for a few seconds for bacon and a few minutes for steak/chicken, then transfers it to a greased pan to fry. It sounds weird but try it one day and see what you think. The taste is remarkable. For bacon he uses so little water and some oil that it boils off in a few seconds and then he just frys it in the remaining oil. Weird sounding I know but it really works quite well.

49 zachsdad1 October 26, 2011 at 9:21 am

Here is a suggestion for scrambled eggs that ups its protein value: Mix cottage cheese in with the eggs when you beat them before cooking. The cottage cheese can be rinsed in a strainer to remove some of the excess moisture. A handblender (like KitchenAid or Braun) is great for emulsifying the mixture and creates a smooth, creamy result. It tastes good, and the protein value of the cottage cheese added to the eggs makes a very high protein result. Some salt can be eliminated since the cottage cheese has some in it, depending on the brand chosen

50 rich October 26, 2011 at 9:21 am

I love omelettes with cheese, veggies. My wife made one a Smoked Salmon Omelette or Omelet the other day that was great. I am so lucky to have a wife that enjoys making good food.

51 Michael October 26, 2011 at 9:36 am

my suggestions: use REAL, high-quality butter. NOT margarine. margarine is factory garbage anyway – use something that came from a natural source, tastes better, better for you.
also, don’t fry in olive oil – it doesn’t hold up to high heat – use butter or a another natural oil (such as coconut)

52 chris October 26, 2011 at 9:38 am


Cook the scrambled eggs until they are SLIGHTLY runny. The reason is that the eggs do not stop cooking once you take them off the stove. There is enough heat within the eggs to keep them cooking. When you cook until all the liquids in the pan are gone, by the time you eat the eggs, they will be dried out.

Removing from heat when they are a little runny means by the time they go to a bowl for the family or for individual plating, the heat from the eggs will have cooked up those last little runny bits but it will still be moist. Otherwise, you’ve got a plate of dried out scrambled eggs.

53 chris October 26, 2011 at 9:43 am

REGARDING SALT…to the reader who said “salt after cooking.”

Salt should be added during the cooking process. This means the favors of salt will be within the dish. When you salt the dish after cooking it, the salt dominates the flavor of the dish. A side tip, don’t salt anything with sausage as an ingredient unless you sample it during cooking and find it needs salt. Salt is usually present enough in the sausage.

Regarding the salt “drying out the dish” when used when cooking – only if you use a half of a cup of salt.

Add salt, when cooking, and only if necessary.

54 JG October 26, 2011 at 9:44 am

These all sound good, look forward to the omelet post. I also think a pickled hard boiled egg post might be interesting as well as they’re a staple that has really fallen off the map.

55 Lauren October 26, 2011 at 9:45 am

As I learned from Harold McGee, cream/milk/water is added to eggs (pre-scrambling) to dilute the egg proteins, giving a softer result. Not useless!

56 Alex October 26, 2011 at 9:47 am

You can do hard-cooked eggs without the boiling [especially good for large quantities] – just put the eggs in a cold oven [right on the rack, but you may want to put something on the rack beneath in case one breaks], set to 350, leave them in for 30 min and then cool under cold water.

57 chuck October 26, 2011 at 9:47 am

the easiest way to make better eggs is to buy the best eggs possible. find locals who sell eggs. the chickens eating the most wild diet possible produce the best eggs. the greater the proportion of man made feed in their diet, the lower the quality of egg.

58 Adam October 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

I have a couple of tips I could add to this.

When poaching eggs, one pro-technique is to stir the water vigorously into a sort of whirlpool before you add the eggs. This eddy will naturally help to keep the shape of the egg nice and round. This, admittedly, takes some practice and is not the easiest.

As far as butter -vs- oil is concerned, you should give clarified butter or ghee a try. It has a definite effect on the flavor and a higher smoke-point than regular butter. Also it has a much longer shelf-life.

59 Ted October 26, 2011 at 9:55 am

How about soft boiled eggs. I would have thought as an 1950′s man’s man, you would love the soft boiled egg cup sets with their specialized spoons. I still remember my parents using those cups and spoons to eat soft boiled eggs on Saturday. Perfect maners.

60 James October 26, 2011 at 9:59 am

I cook my eggs on a well seasoned medium size cast iron skillet with great success. Cleanup of cast iron involves simply scrubbing the pan under hot water with a stiff brush while the pan is still hot.

61 Robert October 26, 2011 at 10:15 am

Great post! As a former breakfast cook when I was 16, I’ve been struggling with over easy eggs for well neigh 35 years! My kids want the tops “covered” but not hard when they are flipped in the egg pan. They want yolk but not hard yolk. No easy task. I find that if I set the gas stove to medium or just a little below, the eggs turn white slowly. Once they are just white enough to flip, I can flip them and the yolk covering will be just about perfect. I then salt and pepper them, wait a moment to cook the bottom, and they’re ready. If the stove is too hot, medium high, you cook the yolk too much. If it’s not hot enough, you wait too long to flip them and, again, the bottom part of the yolk gets over cooked. As you can tell, I’ve turned this into a game: the struggle for the perfect over-easy egg!

62 Steve C October 26, 2011 at 10:18 am

The best eggs are scrambled using bacon fat as the oil. Add some spices, eg Tony Chachere’s or a Prime Rib rub, and you’re good to go.

63 Andrew October 26, 2011 at 10:21 am

I’m surprised there was nothing mentioned about omelets. While I like them scrambled and hard boiled, I really would like to be able to make better omelets.

64 Cory October 26, 2011 at 10:27 am

Great basic guide for cooking eggs. Sometimes when I fry eggs, I prefer the “egg in a hole” method: (1) cut a whole in a piece of bread (usually with an upside-down glass or biscuit cutter), (1) place the bread in the buttered pan, and (3) break the egg into the hole in the bread to fry it.

65 Roy Lewis October 26, 2011 at 10:27 am

I was a cook at Bob Evans Resuarants where breakfast was a big deal. Something not covered in the story is TEMPERATURE! The temperature if the cooking surface should be 250-275 degrees. I don’t expect people to have a griddle thermometer but I just want you to realize that your not supposed to get that little yellow stringy thing or singed edge on a properly cooked egg.

66 dustin October 26, 2011 at 10:29 am

I actually prefer to sort of baste my fried eggs; I find it turns out crispier and you can control what parts get cooked to what done-ness a lot easier. Here’s a link from Serious Eats describing the process (on fish): Oh, and don’t worry about the extra oil – when you tilt the pan it runs off so they’re really not greasy at all.

67 Ian October 26, 2011 at 10:29 am

You guys made me hungry again!

68 Colonel October 26, 2011 at 10:46 am

I love eggs, but for some reason they’re hard on my stomach. If eat them in the morning I end up with pretty bad cramps.

69 brian October 26, 2011 at 11:08 am

If you have a bit more time hard BAKED eggs are even better than boiled. Turn the oven to 325 degrees and place the eggs straight on the oven rack. Bake them for 25 minutes. The eggs will sweat out their moisture and make a more creamy consistency.

70 Joel C October 26, 2011 at 11:12 am

With over-easy the key is the OVER part. If you don’t/can’t flip them but steam them instead they are now basted.

71 Eric October 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

I may get gasps of disbelief and head shaking but my quick egg-centric breakfast before heading to catch the bus to work involves….wait for it…microwaving an egg.

I fry up 2-4 pieces of turkey bacon. While these are sizzling, I take a small pyrex custard cup, spray with EVOO spray, and crack open 1 fresh egg. Using a fork, I scramble said egg. Throw 2 pieces of toast in the toaster, microwave the scrambled egg for 30 seconds in the microwave, pull the bacon out of the pan. When the 2 pieces of toast are toasted, I layer a slice of pepperjack cheese, followed by the pieces of bacon, and the microwaved egg topped with a quick shake of sea salt and pepper and the 2nd piece of toast. Total prep and cook time is about 10 minutes. WHAM! A bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich made cheaper, quicker, fresher, and tastier, and healthier (as far as I’m concerned) than any fast food chain. Me personally, I usually pair with a cold glass of almond milk. This easily gets me to my mid-morning snack with no hunger pains.

72 John A October 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

Chris, great points. I’m glad someone caught (both) of them.

73 Andrew October 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

Fresh eggs, hard boiled, can be a pain to peel in one piece. I raise chickens, so all my eggs are fresh. Here’s my tip for hard-boiling fresh eggs:

Bring the water to a boil, then add the eggs (gently) to the already-boiling water. It helps to use a spoon to lower them in gently without breaking. The eggs will peel cleanly even if they’re today-fresh.

74 Eric October 26, 2011 at 11:36 am

A favorite add-ins/tweaks for scrambled eggs in my family is to:
1: use a little milk instead of butter for the mixture
2: put salt and pepper in the mix before cooking
3: cook the eggs in bacon grease (not too much)
4: put in sauteed mushrooms, onions, and ham/sausage/turkey/bacon in the egg mixture
5: add chopped tomatoes when the eggs start cooking into clumps
6: constantly stir the cooked parts off the bottom
7: when the eggs are about done, put grated cheese over the top and remove from heat.

75 Eric October 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

Egg in a frame:
1. Butter both sides of bread and use a cup to cut a hole in the center.
2. In a hot pan, lay the bread and cut out circle in the pan and crack an egg into the center of the hole in the bread.
3. Flip the bread/egg as one unit and the circle separately
4. Cook to your desired yoky-ness (I prefer it a little bit runny to dip the bread circle in)
5. Salt it a little and enjoy

76 Megan October 26, 2011 at 11:46 am

Just a quick note regarding boiling and poaching eggs from a female fan of AOM.

Adding some salt to the water prevents any eggs to be boiled from cracking during boiling. Or actually it doesn’t, but it sort of makes the egg white to curdle before it bursts out of a cracked shell so the eggs keep their shape.

And when I make poached eggs I never put more than one into the water at once. I use a ladle to put the egg into the whirl in the water that was already mentioned by a previous commentator. I add some salt to boiling water of poached eggs, too, along with the vinegar, also mentioned above. It’s a little extra work and effort but they are so nice and make a rather impressive weekend breakfast. Thanks for the article, I think I know what I’m getting from the grocery store tonight!

77 Terbreugghen October 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Way back in the early 60′s my mom used to fry my dad’s “favorite” eggs on Sunday mornings. She’d get the pan very hot, melt some butter, crack the eggs into it and then spread out some of the egg white very thinly, leaving most of it to cook as normal. The spread-out egg white would turn into a “lacy” brown crunchy “fringe” and when salted was delicious. It’s my favorite way to make eggs today.

78 Coriander October 26, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Easy hard boiled eggs using an electric kettle – Lower in the eggs, fill to top with cold water and set to boil. When the kettle shuts off, set the timer for 20 minutes. Then remove with slotted spoon and put in ice water. Eggs are great; I usually make them for dinner. My boys love frittata with bacon and cheese on the top, and will tolerate the spinach, onions and peppers that have been mixed in. Plus its lunch for next day too.

79 bobster October 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I don’t use oil. I cut two or 3 slices of cheddar from the fridge, put ‘em in the pan first.
when they start to soften… THEN add your egg mixture. :-)

80 Quentin October 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Non-stick? NON-STICK?!?!?!?!?!?!?! What kind of man are you???

Cast Iron, all the way, baby. If that Cast Iron Frying pan is properly cured, it is 1000 x better than any non-stick pan.

Scrambled, fried, all work better in Cast Iron.

Non-stick frying pan indeed!!

81 Linus October 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Two over easy with toast, coffee, and fruit for me every morning most of my 72 years and I have no diseases that I know of and no authritis. I take medicine only for an enlarged prostate. Not bad. Oh yes, I still have most of my hair, only some grey on the sides.

82 Steveo October 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Hey! What about soft boiled eggs?

83 Dave the farmer October 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon
You forgot bacon, for the taste and for the oil to fry the egg, how far we have fallen.
And let us not forget biscuits and sausage gravy. maybe another post

84 Anthony October 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Easiest way to make an egg that I know:

Crack the egg into the pan and wait for it to start turning white. Once the white is becoming firm, pour a bit of water into the pan, around the egg. Then cover the pan and cook it until the yolk is as firm or runny as you like it. No flipping necessary and it’s nearly impossible to burn or overcook the white (make sure the pan doesn’t run out of water!).

I have no idea what is the name for this kind of egg. It’s a fried egg, but it’s sort of poached, too. And, the pan is very easy to clean: running water under the faucet is all it takes.

85 BDM October 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

My favorie egg dish is an omelet..Saute up an onion with a jalapeno pepper and reserve on a plate …dice up some tomatoes or any other left over veggies in the fridge.(these add contrast to the spicy pepper flavor) and dice 1/2 oz of cheese. Now break 3 eggs in a bowl and whip it in a circular motion with a fork. Heat a large cast iron pan and add bacon grease (coconut oil is acceptable but not as flavorable) When the pan is heated to a medium temperature(4 or 5 for most electric stoves) Pour in the eggs and using your fork make cuts in the omelet and tilt the pan so all the runny egg fills the spaces created when you make the cuts. As the egg begins to thicken, add your onions/peppers and veggies then layer the cheese on top. Now using your metal spatula go to the half of the egg which you have not added any ingredients to and work the spatula under the edge of the egg. It should come up easily if the pan is oiled correctly. Flip the half of the omelet without any added ingredients over the half which has all the goodies and allow it to cook for 1 minute. then remove from pan and garnish with sour cream or picante.(depending on your taste buds!) We always use cast iron pans and pots because my wife had low iron and cooking in the iron cookware has alleviated that problem.

86 Greg October 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I’ve been waiting my entire adult life for you to write this article.

87 Rich October 26, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I’d be interested in your source for the claim that whole eggs are actually good for your cholesterol. It flies in the face of everything I’ve read from reputable medical sources. It seems to be generally agreed that it’s not as bad for you as once thought, but most sources still recommend that those with cholesterol problems still just eat the whites. For example, check out the Mayo Clinic’s site:

“If you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or a high low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) blood cholesterol level, you should limit your dietary cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg a day.

One large egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk. Therefore, if you eat an egg on a given day, it’s important to limit other sources of cholesterol for the rest of that day. Consider substituting servings of vegetables for servings of meat, or avoid high-fat dairy products for that day.

If you like eggs but don’t want the extra cholesterol, use only the egg whites. Egg whites contain no cholesterol.”

88 Tod Bowmam October 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm

@Eric, Down south we call that a “Toad in the hole”. Sourdough bread is my favorite, but Rye is fun on occasion.

@Everyone, try flavoring your scrambled eggs just for fun. I tried “Hickory Smoke Flavor” which was ok, but I prefer a few drops of vanilla extract, my Mom likes a touch of real Maple syrup. My daughter once tried peppermint extract (yes, only once), ummm, you probably want to stay away from that!

89 Shane Flynn October 26, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Ian Fleming actually incorporated a scrambled egg recipe into his novel, “Thrilling Cities”, featuring everyone’s favorite super-spy, James Bond:

For four individualists:
12 fresh eggs (use 3 if it’s just you)
Salt and pepper
5-6 oz. of fresh butter.

Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk.

While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove the pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fines herbes.

Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittinger) and low music.

It’s a great recipe that i’ve used for years; the secret being in adding the extra butter to the eggs near the end of cooking. This gives them the extra flavor and moisture that can be lacking, and just knowing this is James Bond’s favorite meal is just, well, cool.

90 Fizzy October 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Don’t forget soft-boiled eggs too! When I don’t have the energy to deal with poaching my eggs, I do a quick soft-boil. They’re delicious and taste like poached eggs!

91 Lena October 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Someone may have already mentioned that to have runny yokes but better done than sunny side up you can put a bit of water (like a tablespoon) and cover it up. Or maybe i just cook them on too high of heat. Anyway…

92 Brett McKay October 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Source for the fact that eggs raise good cholesterol:

93 The Dutch Dastard October 26, 2011 at 5:11 pm

@Dave the farmer: There have been multiple posts about the almighty bacon.

On topic: One of my favorites (apart from experimenting with every sort and idea of omelet) is an egg ín a tomato. What you do is cut a little top of a tomato and remove it’s pulp and other ‘innards’. Then you crack an egg into it, and shove it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees (centigrade). Gives a particularly spectacular effect when you cut them through. Definitely a way to impress anyone ‘sleeping over’.

94 Rich October 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Brett, that’s an interesting study, but I don’t think it’s overturning the scientific consensus on this question quite yet. The study size was only 28 people (half in the control group). There’s certainly cause for more study, but I would guess (though I’m no doctor) that it would be premature to start telling people that eggs are good for you if you have cholesterol problems. The AHA still recommends limiting dietary cholesterol to 300mg/day (200 if you have high blood cholesterol), despite recent research.

95 Joan of Argghh! October 26, 2011 at 8:56 pm

In a small sautee pan, pour in the rest of that chunky salsa you didn’t use at the party last night. It’s probably about a cup’s worth right? Heat it to a simmer, add a bit of water to keep it loose and keep steam thick, then crack and egg or two right into it. Bring it back to a third-date simmer and cover with a lid and let ‘em poach in the salsa.

Serve it all up on top of fresh, soft corn tortilla or two. Grate a bit of queso fresco on top.

Great hangover remedy, too.

96 October 26, 2011 at 9:48 pm

You missed just putting them in a glass raw and downing them. Rocky style baby!

97 Mithrandir October 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I believe you have forgotten the all-important soft boiled egg. A little slimy, but oh-so-tasty.

98 JT October 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

The best eggs are made early in the morning( 5:30-6:00). Don’t know why but I can never make eggs as good as when I can when I’m still half asleep.

99 Will October 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm

For scrambled eggs I don’t actually scramble until the eggs are in the pan. I crack them directly into the pan, much like fried eggs, and then allow the whites to form a bit before scrambling. I think that doing so creates a different variety of flavors, from the yolk and whites, and the eggs are usually fluffier. I definitely recommend it!

100 Bill October 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm

I found the concept of “Manufacturers” of eggs amusing.

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