There are five basic methods for cooking eggs. The basic principle of egg cooking is to use a medium to low temperature and time carefully. When eggs are cooked at too high a temperature or for too long at a low temperature, whites shrink and become tough and rubbery; yolks become tough and their surface may turn gray-green. Eggs, other than hard-cooked, should be cooked until the white is completely coagulated and the yolks begin to thicken. The five methods are:
Baked (also known as shirred):
For each serving; break and slip two eggs into a greased ramekin, shallow baking dish or 10-ounce custard cup. Spoon one tablespoon of half and half, light cream, or milk over eggs. Bake in pre-heated oven at 325°F until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 12-18 minutes, depending on number of servings being baked.
Cooked in the Shell (eggs in their shells cooked in water):
Place eggs in single layer in a saucepan and add enough water to come at least one inch above eggs. Cover and quickly bring just to boiling. Turn off heat. If necessary, remove the pan from the burner to prevent further boiling. Let the eggs stand, covered, in the hot water, the proper amount of time.*
Let stand in hot water about 15 minutes for Large eggs. (Adjust the time up or down by about three minutes for each size larger or smaller). To help prevent a dark surface on the yolks, immediately run cold water over the eggs or place them in ice water until completely cooled. (Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to cook eggs to this state at altitudes about 10,000 feet). Note: The term "boiled eggs" is a misnomer for eggs cooked in the shell. Although hard- and soft-boiled eggs are terms often used in conversation, the proper term is hard-cooked or soft-cooked eggs. Eggs should NOT be boiled because high temperatures make them tough and rubbery.
Let stand in hot water about four to five minutes, depending on desired doneness. Immediately run cold water over the eggs or place them in ice water until cool enough to handle. To serve out of the shell, break the shell through the middle with a knife. With a teaspoon, scoop the egg out of each shell half into a serving dish.
Fried (cooked in a small amount of fat in a pan):
In a seven or eight-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat one to two tablespoons butter or margarine until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Break and slip two eggs into the pan. Immediately reduce the heat to low. Cook slowly until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, covering with lid, spooning butter over the eggs to baste them, or turning the eggs to cook both sides.
Poached (eggs cooked out of the shell in hot water, milk, broth or
In a saucepan or deep omelet pan, bring one to three inches of water or milk to boiling. Reduce the heat to keep the water gently simmering. Break cold eggs, one at a time, into a custard cup or saucer or break several into a bowl. Holding the dish close to the water's surface, slip the eggs, one by one, into the water. Cook until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about three to five minutes. With a slotted spoon, lift out the eggs. Drain them in a spoon or on paper towels.
Scrambled (yolks and whites beaten together before cooking in a
For each serving, beat together two eggs, two tablespoons milk and salt and pepper to taste until blended. In a seven to eight-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium heat, heat two teaspoons butter or margarine until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in the egg mixture. As the mixture begins to set, gently draw an inverted pancake turner completely across the bottom and sides of the pan, forming large soft curds. Continue until the eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly.
For additional egg cooking tips and frequently asked questions:
The incredible edible eggTM
Cook It Quick