collage of well prepared eggs

Incredibly Edible Eggs: Perfectly Fried, Poached, Scrambled, or Boiled

They’re packed with nutritional goodness, available almost everywhere, and relatively cheap when compared to the soaring cost of other proteins like meat and poultry. But the cheapest and most available eggs in the world are not likely to impact your food budget unless you know how to prepare them perfectly.

Eggs in carton box over brown texture background. Top view, flat lay

In keeping with my belief that it’s good to know how to cook well, I want to share with you several seriously amazing ways to prepare eggs. And I’m talking about the simple things like frying, scrambling, poaching, and boiling. When it comes to well-prepared eggs, it’s 10% eggs and 90% technique.

Fried

A properly fried egg should have a tender, fully cooked white with crisp brown edges that look a bit like lace. The yolk should be slightly thickened, but still fluid.

perfecly fried egg

The great thing about the following method for making perfectly fried eggs for two: no turning or flipping required. Just follow these instructions exactly— no changes and no cheating—and they’ll turn out perfect every time. You will need:

  • Large skillet
  • 2 small bowls
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cold butter, cut into 4 pieces

Place the oil in a large skillet and set over low heat for 5 minutes. While the pan is heating, crack two eggs into each of the small bowls. Season with salt and pepper.

Increase the heat to medium-high and heat until the oil looks shimmery. Add butter to the skillet and quickly swirl to coat the pan. Working quickly, pour one bowl of eggs onto one side of the pan and the second bowl of eggs onto the other side. Quickly cover and cook for exactly 1 minute. Exactly. Leaving the cover in place and undisturbed, remove the skillet from the burner and let it stand, covered, for 15 to 45 seconds for runny yolks with just barely opaque whites, 45 to 60 seconds for soft but set yolks and about 2 minutes for medium-set yolks. Seriously, watch the clock or set a timer. Slide the fried eggs onto plates and serve. Enjoy.

Poached

A poached egg should be a neat-looking pouch of tender egg, evenly cooked all the way through with a yolk that is barely runny.

the poached egg on toast

Into a 12-inch skillet, pour enough water to come 1-inch up the side. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 3 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, crack four cold, large eggs into individual custard cups or small bowls. Carefully pour the eggs into the boiling water. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and set your timer for 5 minutes. Don’t peek, touch, move or cheat in any way.

After exactly five minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and serve immediately. Yum.

Scrambled

scrambled eggs served in a pan with toast

Scrambled eggs should be light and velvety, not dry or runny. To achieve this forget everything you’ve ever learned about making scrambled eggs. You will need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly chopped chives (optional)

Break eggs into a skillet and add the cubed butter. Set over medium heat and stir constantly until the eggs begin to solidify. Keep stirring. Remove from the heat and continue stirring. Return to heat as needed to thicken and continue stirring. Back and forth, on and off the heat, stirring constantly until the consistency is just right. Once the eggs are about done, remove from heat, add the creme fraiche to stop them from overcooking. Continue to stir until incorporated. Season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of chives. Do not season until the end. This will make all the difference in the world. Prepare to be amazed.

Boiled

Shelled boiled egg isolated on white background

Place eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Heat over high heat just to boiling.

Remove from burner and cover the pan. Allow eggs to stand in hot water for about 12 minutes for large eggs (9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra-large eggs).

Drain immediately, peel, and serve warm. Or cool completely under cold running water or in a bowl of ice water, then refrigerate to be eaten the same day. Left unpeeled hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled hard-boiled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days before the day you want to boil them.

Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling as that causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

To peel a hard-boiled egg: Gently tap egg on countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Starting peeling at large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.


 

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15 replies
  1. Will says:

    I found through trial and error an easy way to peel an egg.
    After you crack the shell remove the large end.
    Then work a spoon under the shell all the way around.
    Voila! = egg peeled 🙂

    Reply
  2. Sheryl says:

    Wow. That poaching method is magic! Thanks Mary! I use your Instant Pot method5/5/5 for hard boiled eggs -perfect every time.

    Reply
    • Karla says:

      Cyd, I agree about the crispy edges. Yuck! And a runny yolk. I’d rather go without breakfast. I think eggs are one of those things that folks are pretty opinionated about their preferences. I don’t like my yolks cooked hard and my scrambled eggs dry and only with meat and/or cheese added. My favorite way to eat eggs is in an omelet or quiche.

      Reply
  3. Linda Pries says:

    I agree that it’s totally a matter of individual preference. You give instructions for hard-boiled eggs but many people prefer soft-boiled eggs which they eat out of the shell. And scrambled eggs that are soft and creamy would send me back to the kitchen to finish cooking them. This is definitely a dish that is NOT one way serves all.

    Reply
  4. Karyl says:

    Since purchasing my Instant Pot, I only use it for making wonderful hard boiled eggs. I add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pot and then put as many eggs as I desire in my mesh basket and do 2” at HP (high pressure) and 10” or so at NR (Natural Release); then do the ice bath. You can place them on a trivet but I find the basket easier.

    Reply
    • Nancy says:

      That’s what I was going to say! I use that Instant Pot for everything but hard boiled eggs turn out so great.

      Reply
    • Valerie says:

      Karyl, I do too!! Ever since discovering this with the Instant pot, I will never go back to boiling. Easiest to peel eggs ever! No more eggs that look like moths have been nibbling on them!

      Reply
  5. Linda Weatherspoon says:

    Easiest boiled eggs on earth: instant pot has an Egg button that makes perfectly boiled eggs. Shells almost fall off they are so easy to peel.

    Reply
  6. Danielle says:

    Since you live on the Front Range now, I’m surprised you didn’t add this tip about hard-boiled eggs: altitude makes a difference in boiling temperatures! Your instructions work perfectly at sea level, but at high altitude, a longer boil/wait time is required. 🙂

    Reply
  7. The Senior List says:

    Great tips! We love our eggs in the morning. When we make scrambled or omelettes, we use a bit of milk to lighten them up a bit.

    Reply
  8. crabbyoldlady says:

    The ‘perfect’ egg certainly is a matter of taste. I will not eat a firm yolk except in a hard boiled egg. And burnt skirts? Never! My favorite perfect egg is basted, which you didn’t address. It should have a set white and a runny yolk. Easy to do and no grease.

    Reply
    • carestoomuchabouteggs says:

      Agreed! When an egg has those edges I feel like I’m eating plastic! Smooth and white for me but definitely fully cooked or I gag. Seems so silly how much we care!!! Oh, and definitely always a runny yolk unless hard boiled.

      Reply
    • lgj says:

      YESSSS! I also found the picture of a fried egg with a ‘crusty skirt’ not as appetizing as it could have been!

      Reply

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