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How to Cook Eggs

Fried, Baked, Poached, and Soft-Boiled Eggs

The basic principle of egg cookery is to cook eggs until the whites are completely coagulated and the yolks begin to thicken. Yolks should not be runny, but don't need to be hard. Cook slowly over gentle heat and once finished, serve immediately. Keep in mind that too much heat will result in tough, rubbery eggs. The following are guidelines for some basic egg cooking methods.

To cook fried eggs:
  1. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or margarine over medium heat in a 7- to 8-inch skillet until hot, swirling to coat the bottom.

  2. Break 2 eggs into the pan. Cook, uncovered, 2 to 4 minutes, basting frequently with butter. Or, cover and cook 2 to 4 minutes or until the eggs are set.
To cook baked or shirred eggs:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Break 2 eggs and gently slip them into a greased ramekin, shallow baking dish, or 10-ounce custard cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon milk, light cream, or half and half over the eggs.

  3. Bake 12 to 18 minutes or until all the egg whites are set and the yolks are thickened.
To cook poached eggs:
  1. Bring 2 to 3 inches of water, milk, broth, or other liquid to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to keep the liquid at a simmer.

  2. Break 1 egg into a small dish or custard cup. Holding the dish close to the surface of the water, carefully slip the egg into the water. Repeat with 1 more egg.

  3. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until the yolks are just set. Remove the eggs from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Transfer to a serving dish.
To make soft-boiled eggs:
  1. Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by 1 inch.

    Cover eggs with cold water when hard cooking eggs.
    Cover eggs with cold
    water in saucepan.

  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so the water is just below simmering. Cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes, depending on desired doneness.

  3. Remove from the heat and drain. Immediately run cold water over the eggs until cool enough to handle.

  4. To serve out of the shell, break the shell through the middle with a small knife. With a teaspoon, scoop the egg out of each shell half into a serving dish.

  5. To serve in an egg cup, place the egg in the egg cup, small end down. Slice off the large end of the egg with a small knife or egg scissors and eat right from shell with a spoon.
As you can see, eggs are a versatile food that can be enjoyed in many different ways. So get crackin'!

Want more information? Try these:

  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.
  • Egg Recipes: Who knew there were so many different ways to prepare eggs? You'll find some delicious varieties on our Egg Recipes page.
  • Breakfast Recipes: Start the morning off right with these scrumptious breakfast options.