When you have eggs in your fridge you’re never far from a delicious meal. The humble, but mighty ingredient can be scrambled up in mere minutes and be added to toast for a satisfying, high-protein breakfast. It can be tossed in a ramekin with tomato sauce and put in the oven for 15 minutes for an elegant, hands-off meal. And it can be turned into the creamiest omelette — stuffed with cheese, ham, and all the veggies — for an easy, dinner-worthy dish. Need we go on?
The only thing that stands in the way of you and your perfect egg dish is the best technique and the tools for the job. Here, we’ve rounded up the 8 of the most popular ways to cook an egg — don’t worry, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
1. Soft, Medium, and Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are a kitchen staple with endless possibilities. But if you need some inspiration: Soft-boiled eggs are great on toast for breakfast, medium-boiled eggs are amazing as a snack with a little salt and pepper, and true hard-boiled eggs are perfect in a cobb salad.
Technique: Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover your eggs and bring it to a roiling boil. Then, using a slotted spoon, carefully add your eggs to the water and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook 5 minutes for soft-boiled eggs, 7-8 minutes for medium-boiled eggs, and 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Add your eggs to an ice bath and let cool before peeling.
2. Over Easy, Medium, Hard
Over-easy eggs get flipped to sear the top of the egg. How long you keep your eggs flipped will affect the yolk. In over-easy eggs, the yolk is still runny, while in over-medium eggs they’re jammy, and in over-hard eggs they’re firm.
Technique: Melt butter in a nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Crack an egg into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the whites are set. With your spatula, flip the egg and cook for an additional 30 seconds for over easy, 1 minute for medium, and 2 minutes for hard.
There’s a reason that you’ll always find an omelette station at a hotel breakfast bar: they’re endlessly customizable. This classic dish is great plain, of course, but the fillings are where you can get creative — like with this caramelized onion, mushroom, and avocado number.
Technique: Whisk eggs in a large bowl — you can add water, lemon juice, and seasoning here, but it’s not necessary. Melt butter in a nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the beaten eggs to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Then, lift the cooked eggs and tilt the pan so that the liquid egg flows underneath. Do this a few more times until the eggs are mostly set. Add your fillings, if any, and then fold the omelette.
Poached eggs get a bad wrap for being tricky to make, but once you master this technique it’s like riding a bike. You can serve poached eggs in things like a light salad, with a sweet potato hash, and in a classic eggs benedict.
Technique: Bring 3 inches of water and 1 Tbs. of white wine vinegar to a simmer in a pan. Crack egg into a ramekin and then carefully slide the egg into the water. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the white are set and the yolk is still runny. Use a slotted spoon to remove the egg from the pan and blot dry.
5. Sunny Side Up
Sunny side up eggs require the least amount of work, making them the easiest breakfast option around. All you have to do is crack the egg into the pan, cover the pan, and wait. The only thing to be aware of is the heat — if it’s not hot enough, the yolks could start cooking before the whites are set, and if it’s too hot the edges of the egg will start to brown.
Tools Needed: Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid
Technique: Melt butter in a nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Crack your egg into the pan, cover the pan with the lid, and cook for 3-4 minutes until the whites are set.
Making creamy scrambled eggs takes patience. You need to have just the right heat so they don’t turn rubbery, and you don’t want to scramble them too soon in order to maintain a large curd. But once you master this technique, you’ll be golden.
Technique: Whisk eggs in a large bowl with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Let the eggs cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Then, with a spatula, stir slowly for 2-3 until thick curds form and the eggs are still moist.
Baked eggs are surprisingly easy to make. They look elegant, and they’re a complete meal thanks to the filling, but they might be the least fussy option on this list because you don’t have to worry about achieving the right temperature – the oven takes care of that for you.
Tools Needed: Ramekin
Technique: Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a ramekin and fill it ⅔ full with tomato sauce, salsa, or blanched spinach. Add a splash of cream, if desired. Then, crack your egg into the ramekin and season with salt and pepper, or other seasoning. Put the ramekin in the oven for 15 minutes, until the egg is set.
8. Sous Vide
Sous vide eggs are essentially super super slow cooked eggs — and when done right, they’re absolute perfection (there’s a reason this method is used in restaurants, after all). If you’re new to using a sous vide cooker, eggs are also an excellent way to test out your new gadget because this technique doesn’t require a vacuum sealer.
Technique: Fill a pot or container with water and place your immersion circulator inside. For medium-set whites, heat the water to 145°F and for firm-set whites, heat the water to 147°F. Lower your eggs into the water bath and cook for 1 hour. If not eating immediately, add the eggs to an ice bath to cool.