While I have written many recipes to help people cook better, ranging from Italian-American classics to mom-style baked goods, I find myself asked most frequently about how to cook an egg. Whether scrambled, fried, soft boiled or hard boiled, the endless and varied information available on this topic has seemingly led many to feel, well, entirely misinformed.
In response, I figured I would add more information about how to cook an egg out there into the world! Hopefully my enthusiasm for the many ways I enjoy eggs will soothe you as you continue (or maybe end) your quest for the perfect ways to cook an egg. Either way, here is my enthusiastic guide to cooking an egg four ways.
The Perfect Crispy Fried Egg
Personally, I like a fried egg with extremely crispy whites and perfectly soft yolks. Obtaining this delicate, sought-after balance is much easier than you would think. Most people can’t wrap their head around how whites can get so crispy without the yolk overcooking. Don’t worry, I have the secret: very hot oil in a very hot pan before you drop in your egg! This way, the whites crisp lightning fast while yolk stays nice and soft. Please don’t tell anyone, we must keep this our secret!
Here’s my step by step-by-step to the perfect crispy fried egg:
Place a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron pan over high heat on your stove top.
Add a few tablespoons of oil to the pan. I like either olive oil or coconut oil, and often switch between the two depending on what I am serving my eggs alongside.
Let your oil get nice and hot, letting it heat up in the pan for about 2 minutes.
Drop your egg into the hot oil in the pan. Watch as the whites crackle and cook with speed, while yolk remains calmly and iconically soft.
Let your whites get as crisp as you prefer. I typically don’t stop until the edges are brown and lacy, about 90 second to 2 minutes. Don’t worry, your yolk will remain soft enough.
Sprinkle the egg with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and/or red pepper flakes.
Remove egg from pan and enjoy.
The Perfect Scrambled Egg
“I will have three scrambled eggs, bacon and a side of toast. Thank you. OK fiiiiine, I will also have an order of pancakes!” – Me, to a waiter, ordering breakfast in any restaurant at any point in my life.
But that’s also me to me, at home in my kitchen, most frequently on a Saturday morning. With all that scrambled egg consumption, I like to think I know what a good scrambled egg looks like. It took me a long time to realize, however, that less-is-more when it comes to making the perfect scrambled eggs. Really we are just talking straight-up eggs here, with less scrambling than you may think…
Here’s my step by step-by-step to the perfect scrambled egg:
Place your non-stick pan — you really need nonstick here — over medium heat.
Add a few tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil or butter (all work well) to the pan and let it heat up for about 90 seconds.
Meanwhile, scramble your eggs (usually two per person — three if you are me!) with a pinch of kosher salt. Scramble really well so minimal streaks are left in the eggs.
Add eggs to the pan and let them cook, untouched, for about 30 seconds. You will see a solid layer of cooked egg form at the bottom of the pan.
Grab your spatula and pull the eggs from the edge of the pan into the center, working your way around the pan. You will form creases in your eggs as you pull them to the center.
Use your spatula to quickly move the eggs around the pan in a circular motion until they are glossy and still a little wet. About 80 percent cooked.
Remove pan from heat and let the eggs settle for a minute, so they can finish cooking without drying out.
Serve your eggs with more salt and pepper, to taste.
The Perfect Soft-Boiled Jammy Egg
The jammy soft boiled egg is arguably the most “right now” way to cook an egg. Her rise to popularity came on the coattails (or toast-tails?) of the extremely popular avocado toast. She’s all over the internet, photographed on top of all of the best and most trendy dishes in the land. I can’t argue with her fame; she literally oozes charisma. Count me in as a big fan, as I am known to put a perfectly jammy soft boiled egg on literally anything that crosses my plate.
Here’s my step by step-by-step to the perfect soft boiled egg:
Bring water to boil in a pan.
Carefully drop eggs into boiling water.
Set a timer for 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
Keep water a rolling boil: mellow and bubbly.
While the eggs boil, prepare an ice bath, filling a bowl with water and plenty of ice.
When the timer is up, carefully place your eggs in the ice bath for 5 minutes or longer.
Crack your eggs, starting at the wide bottom of the egg, as there is usually an air pocket there. Get under the skin and peel away.
Carefully peel your eggs, trying not to pierce the whites. Remember, they are not fully cooked.
Slice your eggs in half, lengthwise, and open to reveal your perfectly jammy soft boiled eggs.
The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg
Hard boiled eggs are an absolute must-have at all times in my fridge. With a pinch of salt and pepper, they are the perfect snack in-between snacks. They also play a significant part of two of life’s greatest joys: Deviled eggs and an egg salad sandwich. Sadly, making them (the peeling, oh the peeling…) is not the most fun. Especially because no one hard boils anything less than a dozen of eggs! Fun fact: The fresher the egg, the harder they are to peel! Look for eggs that are closer to their expiration date than not, and they will make your hard-boiled life a little bit easier.
You have probably heard about three million different ways to hard boil eggs. But, alas, here is my step-by-step to the perfect hard boiled egg:
Grab your eggs from the fridge and place them in a single layer on the bottom of a pot.
Submerge the eggs in an inch of cold water and place the pot on high — cover off.
As soon as the water starts to boil, set a timer for nine minutes and lower the heat to a slow boil.
While the eggs cook, prepare a bowl of ice water.
When the timer goes off, gently place your eggs in the bowl of ice water for 15 minutes at least, but longer is fine.
Now that the eggs are done chilling, let’s peel them. I start by cracking them at the wider bottom of the egg, as there tends to be an air pocket there. Get under the skin and peel away. Once all eggs are peeled, you can store them in your fridge for grab-and-go snacking all week!
That’s all, yolks!
If you enjoyed this article, check out Dan Pelosi’s love letter to marinara sauce!
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