xoFood: How to Cook Eggs

Eggs have a great gig. They’re a staple, like flour, but you’d never put flour out there on its own. Indeed, the egg can stand alone:) So why is it is SO DAMNED HARD TO GET AN EGG ORDER RIGHT?
Publish date:
December 26, 2013
xoFood, recipes, brunch, eggs, M

Eggs have a great gig. They’re a staple, like flour, but you’d never put flour out there on its own. Indeed, the egg can stand alone:) So why is it is SO DAMNED HARD TO GET AN EGG ORDER RIGHT? Why are we intimidated by the making of them?

As in all things, there’s a bit of science we can apply here.

How long are eggs ok to use?

Eggs come to you one of two ways: either direct from the source (chicken), or via a middleman (store). If you’ve got a relationship with your local friendly chicken, you probably already know they last for weeks. If you’ve picked up your eggs at the Piggly Wiggly, or even your local farmers market, chances are those eggs have hit a fridge, and once they have, they’re FRIDGE4LIFE.

Either way, as long as you’ve kept your eggs under 40 degrees consistently, you should get 5 weeks out of them.

How to crack an egg

How to separate eggs

Do "cage free" eggs really taste better?

Though chicken raisers around the world will indeed protest, the answer is "probably not," as backed up by this article my lovely chicken-keeping friend Tamar Haspel wrote last year for the Washington Post.

Hard boiled eggs

If you’re looking for the Unscrewupable RecipeTM for eggs, this is the best route. This is purely about timing, and no manipulation is involved. Something worth knowing: Older eggs make more peelable eggs, because more air has penetrated the eggshell, making the air cushion between the shell and albumen (white part) larger. So, older eggs by default make better boiled eggs.

Put your raw eggs into a saucepan -- if boiling more than one, make sure you only have enough eggs for a single layer in the bottom of the pan. Cover with cold water, make sure there’s at least an inch of water over the eggs, and add 1 tbsp of white distilled vinegar to the water (vinegar helps keep the eggs from cracking, but if you don’t have any, its not life or death).

Bring to a boil, once its at a real rolling boil, cover with lid, remove from burner and let it sit for 12 minutes. Drain pot, put eggs in cold water (I put pan in sink and let cold water run into it). Peel by rolling on flat surface.

Soft boiled eggs

Heat a pan of water and 1 tbsp of white distilled vinegar until at a rolling boil. Now use a spoon to lower your eggs in softly, and wait six minutes. SIX MINUTES. Run pan under cold water as above, and then peel, but carefully, as the egg will be solid, but the yolk will be runny.


Believe it or not, you cannot mess up scrambled eggs. The only thing you can mess up here is your pan, which is why having a non stick pan that still has the non stick surface (cause ya’ll know that your mom wasn’t screaming at you using metal spatulas on the calphalon just to hear herself, right?) and using fat like oil, butter or spray to coat the pan really well is essential.

Heat a well greased pan on medium. Scramble (which is to say, STIR) as many cracked raw eggs as you’d like. People sometimes add milk or cream, but I’m a purist. Eggs, a pinch of salt, a crack of pepper and into the pan they go.

Once in the pan, use a rubber heatsafe spatula to move the eggs around the pan, including the sides. Really, all you’re doing is softly scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. If you did nothing more than comprehensively stir the pan, making contact with the metal, you’d still end up with scrambled eggs.

You continue to move the eggs around until they’re all cooked. Then slide off onto plate and if you did it right, the pan should be clean. If you did it wrong and the egg leaves a crust behind, fill pan with water, put back on stove, bring to a simmer and then scrape up the bits with the rubber spatula.

Fried eggs

Requiring even less work than its scrambled predecessor, the fried egg is just a matter of temperature and tools. Temperature: medium. Tools: non stick pan, and actual spatula. I actually like this non stick fish spatula best. Get a well oiled non stick pan to medium heat, crack an egg in. (And the more foolproof way is to hit the egg on a flat surface, and use both hands to separate the shell, but if you want another reason to wanttohatebutcanthateBlakeLively check out her method.

I had to learn how to do it this way because I can’t have Ryan Reynolds or be a 6’ glamazon so I sure as hell am going to be able to break an egg as well as her). Once the egg is in the pan, you kinda just gotta let it zen out. I roll the pan around a little so the egg white thats not cooking can make contact with the pan. But really, this is a laissez-faire cooking. Ignore your instinct to interfere with the process.

Personal taste will dictate HOW cooked you want this fried egg, but you’re really looking at the edges of the egg, which will brown up. Using this method, the top of the egg is never ever going to be really “dry.” The way restaurants achieve that is taking the entire pan and sticking it under the broiler for a moment so the top is exposed to heat. You could do this too, but then that is not laissez-faire. That’s a lot of faire. When its to your state of doneness, use spatula to slide it off onto plate.


Following the above instructions up to the point that the edges of the eggs brown, this is indication that the bottom of the egg is now cooked enough to be stable. Using the grease in the pan and your spatula, move the egg to the far side of the pan so its up on the curved side. Now tilt the pan toward you.

Using the spatula, roll the far side of the egg over and continue to tilt. Don’t get excited, but that egg will roll over on itself like a kid on his first pot bust, with the encouragement of your spatula. Continue to cook, using the spatula to test how hard the yolk is by pushing on it lightly and seeing how it springs back. When ready, use spatula to slide off onto plate.


OK, basic concept here: You’re cooking the egg in hot water. And it's not hard, I promise, it's about the right tools and a little confidence. Bring a pan with 3-4” of water in it to a rolling boil, and then lower it to a simmer, and add 2 tbsp of white distilled vinegar. Break the egg into a bowl, and then you’re going to stir the water vigorously in one direction so you get a bit of a vortex in the water. As soon as you’ve got that vortex, carefully pour the egg into the center and step away. The swirling water will get the egg white swirling around the egg yolk.

I give it a few more swirls as it slows down, but mostly, you want to just let things cook. Four minutes later, use a slotted spoon to lift the egg out carefully, and slide it onto a piece of throw away bread like the heel. All you’re trying to do is give the egg a soft place to land and dry off. Now, you can slide it off the bread onto whatever you like. Like a waiting bed of ham and english muffin for a bath in hollandaise. YOU'RE WELCOME.

(shut up, mom, I LOVE HIM. )


If you’ve got a lot of people coming over or want an easier path than poaching, consider coddling. You’re poaching an egg, but in a container, like a ramekin. Butter a ramekin like its going out of style. Break the egg into the ramekin, and you can add herbs or even filling, under the egg. Now you’re going to put the entire ramekin into a pan of simmering water. Just remember the waterline has to be below the ramekin.

How long you cook them is now entirely up to you.. you can cook them to a hard stage, but most people enjoy them a bit soft. Shoot for 8 minutes.


There are tons of ways to do this, this is just how I do them. 3 eggs in a bowl. Whip until fluffy. Needs nothing, but you can add ½ cup of milk, cream, whatevs. The pan, hopefully a nonstick, should be well oiled and on medium high heat.

When the oil starts dancing, pour in the eggs and immediately begin to shake the pan back and forth. You’re just jiggling it, really. Continue to do so and you can use a silicon spatula on the edges to fold them in. The bottom will start to firm up, and you can use the spatula to lift the edges and roll the pan so everything is cooked.

Now. At some point, it's going to be time. YOU KNOW what time. Time to flip that sonovabitch. Yes, you CAN do it. I believe in you, and you believe in you too, or else it will fail. This is just an act in self confidence. This isn’t a baton, you’re not just tossing it in the air and hoping for the best. Think of it like a circle. A clock. You are 3 pm. You’re going to move the pan to 6pm and lift is quickly and confidently towards 9 pm, where all things being equal, the eggs will take flight, flipping toward you. Move the pan to 12pm and at 3pm, you catch it again. Go ahead and give it a go.

Did it work?

Yes=You are a goddess. No=5 second rule.

Weeeee! omelet. So as the bottom is cooking off a bit, now’s the time to add your cheese to the top. Give it a minute, flip the omlete on its side (in half) using the spatula and slide it onto the plate.

Deviled eggs

Sorry. I believe these are a crime against humanity. Someone in the comments will have to fill you in here.

Egg drop soup

One of my favorite simple meals is a good egg drop soup and I'd say it's criminal to buy it when it's so easy to make.

In a pot, add your chicken or vegetable stock, and I like it to be a bit heavy, meaning add a bit more boullion or heavier stock than you normally would. For the sake of recipes, let's say 4 cups. To this, add 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, and 2 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of soy sauce, I prefer the low sodium variety.

Though requiring nothing but, you know, eggs... I like to add bamboo shoots if I have them, water chesnuts, and mushrooms. You can even add some sliced chicken or tofu.

Allow to come to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, I combine 2 tbsp of wheat starch with 2 tbsp of water and stir until smooth. While whisking the simmering soup, pour this in and let it simmer for while stirring for a minute. This will thicken the soup.

Now break 1 egg into the bowl you just used, wisk the egg. Now wisk the soup while you pour in the egg and continue to let the soup simmer for 2 minutes while stirring. Bam. Upside: Egg drop soup. Downside: no fortune cookie unless you shell out for some at the store.

My fellow xJaners... tell me all about your favorite recipes for this fantastic ingredient. If you've got any specific questions, post em below!