The 13 Most Common Egg Cooks
Posted on: March 23rd 2018
Picture this. You’re in a restaurant, getting breakfast or brunch with a friend. The server asks you how you’d like your eggs, and proceeds to reel off the options. Scrambled, over-easy, poached, soft-boiled and so, so many more. By the time the server finishes the list, you’ve forgotten what was at the beginning of it. Not to mention, you don’t actually know what half those ways of cooking an egg even are.
Why can’t someone just tell you about the best ways to order an egg? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a comprehensive guide to how to order eggs and different ways to cook eggs, along with instructions for how to cook them in the comfort of your home?
If you frequently find yourself flummoxed in restaurants or bored of the one single way you know how to cook eggs, we’ve got good news for you. We’ve made a guide to teach you everything you need to know about how to cook eggs. Here, we’ll talk about all the different egg cooks you’ve heard of, but might not actually know about. Not only that, but we’ll also go over the basics of how to cook eggs in all these different ways.
And don’t worry. We don’t expect you to be a professional chef, or even an experienced one. With a little knowledge, anyone can cook eggs in any of these ways. All you need is a stovetop, a frying pan or a saucepan and a little determination. If you’ve got these things, you’re more than prepared.
So what are the best ways to cook eggs? Let’s take a look at some tried-and-true favorites.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiling eggs may be the easiest way to cook them, though it still might be unfamiliar to some. If you’ve never experienced this delicious egg cook before, now’s the perfect time to try it. As a bonus, it’s probably the most straightforward way to prepare eggs out there.
A hard-boiled egg is one that’s been cooked inside its shell in a pot of boiling water. The term “hard” refers to both the outer egg white and the yolk inside. After a bit of boiling, these both gain a much firmer consistency.
To make a hard-boiled egg, fill a pot or saucepan with enough water to cover about two inches of your eggs. Once the water is boiling, place your egg or eggs into it. Let them sit and boil for 10-12 minutes. That’s all you have to do.
Once they’ve been boiling for a little over 10 minutes, take them out and let them cool off a bit. The shells should peel off fairly easily at this point. You can peel them gently with your hands, since the shell should just fall away without too much resistance. If you’re nervous or if the shell is being stubborn, however, try submerging the eggs in ice water immediately after taking them out of the boiling water. The shells should be much easier to remove after this.
Hard-boiled eggs taste great by themselves with just a sprinkle of salt. Or, if that’s not your style, try slicing them up and adding them to a salad. Either way, you’ll be a pro at making these after just one or two times.
- Soft-Boiled Eggs
Making a soft-boiled egg requires a nearly identical process as making a hardboiled one. The only difference is the length of time the egg needs to cook. For a soft-boiled egg, cut the cooking time in half.
The full process starts by filling a pot with enough water to cover about two inches of your eggs. Once the water boils, gently drop your eggs in and set a timer for six minutes. After the allotted time, take them out and put them straight into an ice bath.
The result of the six-minute boil is that the egg white gets cooked through, but the yolk remains runny. As you might guess, this is why the eggs are called “soft-boiled.” You might also hear these referred to as six-minute eggs, but don’t get confused: It means the same thing.
There are a couple of different ways to eat these tasty eggs. You might see them served in egg cups, complete with the shell intact. All you do is carefully tap the eggshell with your spoon to crack it and scoop out the delicious insides with your spoon. Another way to eat soft-boiled eggs is to have them on toast with a dash of salt, pepper, hot sauce, ketchup or any other favorite seasonings. You can even add them to a heavy bean soup if you like.
Like hard-boiled eggs, these tasty eggs are easy to make individually or in bulk. If you do decide to boil a lot of eggs at once, you can pop them in your fridge to store them until you’re ready to eat them. No matter how you choose to enjoy these eggs, they’re always a delicious and easy option.
- Hard-Scrambled Eggs
Wait, wait, wait, you might be saying. I know what scrambled eggs are, but what’s a “hard” scramble? Don’t worry, it’s a lot less complicated than you might think. Just as hard-boiled and soft-boiled eggs are the same thing, except for the cooking times, so are the different varieties of scrambled eggs.
Scrambled eggs are the result of mixing the egg yolk and the whites and cooking them. The “hard” designation simply means the eggs are cooked completely through, with no runny egg yolk left.
While slightly more difficult than boiled eggs, scrambled eggs are still easy enough for even an inexperienced home chef to pull off. Crack as many eggs as desired into a bowl, add a little milk and whisk it all together. Pour this mixture into a frying pan and let it sit until it begins to grow firm. Then, it’s all about scraping it around with a spatula. Break the hardening egg mixture into little pieces are you continually move it around the pan. Keep repeating these motions until the eggs no longer seem to have any liquid in them.
The main caution when making hard scrambled eggs is not to let them become too dry. While they shouldn’t be moist, they shouldn’t be bone-dry, either. No one wants to eat entirely dry eggs. It’s also important to keep the eggs moving around the pan. You don’t want to let them stick to the pan and burn.
One of the great things about these eggs is how versatile they are. You can eat them plain, add shredded cheese or mix in other tasty treats like sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms. You can add salt, pepper, ketchup, hot sauce or any other seasonings you like. You can eat them as a stand-alone dish, or as part of a sandwich or stir-fry — the only limit is your imagination.
- Soft-Scrambled Eggs
You might also hear people refer to this cooking style as “wet” scrambled. They’re almost exactly like hard-scrambled eggs, but with one difference. You take the eggs off the heat and serve them while they still have a little moisture left in them.
Other than this difference, the preparation is the same as hard-scrambled eggs. Mix them in a bowl, pour them into a pan and wait for them to start to coalesce. Then, just keep mixing and flipping them until they’re as cooked as you like them.
With hard- or soft-scrambled eggs, it really comes down to preference. Some people like their scrambled eggs on the dry side, while others like them with a softer consistency. No matter what you prefer, there are dozens of ways to get creative with how you serve and eat them. Eat them plain, or on toast or a bagel. Add goodies like cheese, spinach, onions, mushrooms or whatever you like.
When making either type of scrambled eggs, remember: The key to success is to keep them moving and not let them stick to the pan.
- Creamy Scrambled Eggs
You might not be able to order this style of eggs at most restaurants, but it’s certainly worth giving these a try at home after you’ve mastered ordinary scrambled eggs. Of all the different ways to cook an egg, this method comes right from Gordon Ramsay himself, but don’t let that intimidate you into thinking it’s too hard. Anyone can make these delicious and oh-so-creamy eggs.
Crack your eggs into a pan over medium heat and add one small dab of butter for each egg. Use a spatula to start stirring, breaking the yolks and letting them combine with the egg whites and butter. Then, just keep stirring. Don’t hesitate to lift the pan off the heat briefly if it seems to be getting too hot, but just patiently keep stirring for four or five minutes. After this amount of time, the eggs should be starting to firm up and come together.
Just before you pull the eggs off the stove, add a splash of milk or sour cream. Stir it in, then scoop the eggs out and serve them plain or over toast. For the best results, sprinkle herbs or seasonings of your choice on top. Then see if these aren’t the tastiest, creamiest eggs you’ve ever eaten in your life.
- Omelets and Frittatas
While you might think of an omelet as something entirely different from scrambled eggs, the two methods of preparing eggs are actually more similar than you might think.
To make an omelet, start with your basic scrambled eggs preparation. Pour your egg mixture into the pan the same way you would for scrambled eggs. This time, instead of scooping and mixing your eggs up, let it sit. Allow it to cook this way, spread out over the bottom of the pan in a mostly flat circle. Then, when it seems cooked and firm, fold it over in half and scoop it out of the pan to serve it. In other words, an omelet is just scrambled eggs without the scrambling.
Of course, one of the main attractions of any omelet is all the goodies you can fold in. Add meats, veggies, cheese or anything you like to make your eggs extra-tasty.
A frittata is almost the same thing as an omelet. The only difference is that a frittata remains open, while the omelet gets folded in half before serving.
- Sunny-Side-Up Eggs
This is one variation of the fried egg that is practically guaranteed to get you smiling in the morning — both from its happy name and its friendly-looking appearance. It’s a very standard offering that will be available at most restaurants, but it’s also quite easy to make for yourself at home.
To make a sunny-side-up egg, crack your egg directly into a greased or buttered pan. Fry it until the edges begin to turn brown, but don’t flip it. Without ever turning it, keep frying your egg until it’s as cooked as you like it. Season as desired, and serve.
By not flipping the egg, the yolk stays slightly runny. Because of this unique facet of the sunny-side-up egg, you might also hear them referred to as “dipping” or “dippy” eggs. Many people like to eat these eggs with toast, dipping their bread into the semi-runny yolk.
- Over-Easy Eggs
Over-easy eggs are in the same family, if you will, as a sunny-side-up egg. Many of the steps are the same, but the over-easy egg includes a few extra steps. The end results are similar, but with a few crucial differences.
Begin in the same way, by cracking your egg into a greased pan. Turn the heat on, and let your egg fry until the edges begin to brown. Then, flip it over gently — without breaking the yolk — to cook the other side. However, for a true over-easy egg, don’t let it fry on the yolk side for too long. Scoop it out of the pan and onto the plate after just a few moments of frying.
Frying the yolk very briefly causes a thin film to form over the yolk. Underneath this film, the yolk is still a bit runny, and perfect for toast dipping. Depending on how long you like to cook your eggs, you might even let the egg whites stay a little runny as well. It’s a small difference between over-easy and sunny-side-up eggs, but a difference nonetheless. Whichever one you prefer, they’re both easy to make at home with just a bit of practice.
- Over-Medium Eggs
Here is yet another egg style in the fried egg family. Begin by cracking your egg into the pan and letting it fry until the edges start to turn golden brown. Then, flip it onto the yolk side, just like you did for your over-easy egg. The difference between the over-easy and over-medium egg is that you fry it just a bit longer on the second side. This lets the film over the egg yolk get a little thicker, while still allowing the yolk to maintain a runny quality.
The benefit of over-medium eggs — and the reason some people prefer them — is that they still have the runny yolk texture, while losing the liquid nature of the egg whites. People can still dip their toast in into their egg yolks, while also enjoying a firmer egg white.
There isn’t exactly a clear line between when an egg stops becoming over-easy and instead becomes over-medium. In fact, it’s very easy to accidentally make an over-medium egg when trying to make an over-easy one. But while there might not be clear boundaries between the two, generally you know which one is which when you see it. All it takes is a little practice and skill to learn how long to let the second side of your egg fry to cook one or the other.
- Over-Hard Eggs
This is the last egg in the fried egg family, and uses much the same cooking style as the others. Break the egg over your pan and let it begin to fry. With an over-hard egg, you’ll want to break the yolk, usually with a fork or spatula. Fry the egg until the edges brown, then flip the egg and fry the second side as well. By the time this egg is cooked, neither the white nor the yolk should be runny. Don’t forget to add a little extra flavor by adding your favorite seasonings.
Although this egg doesn’t allow for the same kind of toast-dipping experience, there are still plenty of delicious ways to eat it. Over-hard eggs are good plain, and even better on a toast sandwich, using either bread or bagels. They’re also a staple at many restaurants, and are very simple to make by yourself at home. With practice, you’ll even be able to keep the yolk from dripping as you flip the egg, maintaining an aesthetically pleasing picture.
- Poached Eggs
Up until now, most of the egg cooking methods we’ve talked about have loosely fallen into family groups. There are the different ways to boil an egg, different ways to scramble an egg and of course, all the frying methods. Poached eggs are a little bit different, however, because they don’t fall neatly into any one category. Instead, they’re a kind of hybrid method.
Poaching an egg results in no hard edges. The shell is gone, but the egg remains whole, a bit like a boiled egg. Inside the cooked egg white, however, the yolk remains warm and runny.
You might assume you need an egg poacher to make this style of egg, but there are several different methods for poaching an egg without any special equipment.
- The whirlpool method: Heat a saucepan of water until it’s almost at a rolling boil, but not quite. Add a small splash of vinegar to your water. Next, take your egg and crack it into a small bowl. Swirl the water in your saucepan and carefully drop your cracked egg into the center of the whirlpool. The whirling motion of the water draws the egg white together. Leave the egg in the water for about five minutes, then remove it with a slotted spoon.
- The strainer method: Heat a saucepan of water, adding your dash of vinegar. Break your egg into a mesh strainer over the water. This way, the most watery parts of the egg whites will slide through the mesh and into the pot. Then, slowly and carefully transfer the egg into the boiling water. Let it cook for about five minutes before removing the egg with your slotted spoon.
Cooking a poached egg is a little more complicated than frying or boiling an egg, there’s no denying that. But it’s also something that is entirely doable as long as you’re willing to practice a few times. Most likely, you’ll ruin a few eggs during the learning process, but there’s no real harm in that. After all, you can always turn them into scrambled eggs.
- Baked Eggs
What’s that, you can bake an egg? That’s right. While it might not be the most common or well-known way to serve eggs, it’s entirely possible and even quite tasty. You might also hear people refer to baked eggs as “shirred eggs.” This name comes from the particular flat-bottomed dish often used to bake the eggs.
To prepare baked eggs, crack them into a flat-bottomed dish or pie tin and mix them with other ingredients of your taste to make a variety of unique and delicious dishes. You might mix in tomatoes and cheese, or different types of meat. The options are only limited by your creativity.
- Basted Eggs
While we’re talking about ways to serve eggs that are a little bit off the beaten path, let’s talk about basted eggs.
Basting an egg refers to a process of frying an egg using liquid and steam. There are a few different ways to do this.
- The butter method: With your egg frying in a buttered pan, continually scoop extra liquid butter out of the bottom of the pan and pour it over the top of the egg. This cooks the egg white and yolk thoroughly without ever flipping the egg.
- The water method: Add some extra water to your frying pan and then put a lid over it. The water will turn to steam, effectively cooking both the egg and the yolk without having to flip them.
What makes the basted egg unique is that it allows you to cook an egg without browning any of the edges. The egg cooks thoroughly, with no risk of overcooking.
Are Eggs Unhealthy for Me to Eat?
You’ve probably heard that, even though they’re both delicious and supremely versatile, eggs are not exactly the healthiest food available. The problem most people point to with eggs is their very high cholesterol content. Just one good-sized egg alone contains an average of 208 milligrams of cholesterol. That number might not seem like a lot if you don’t know a lot about nutrition, so we’ll break it down for you.
Cholesterol is a waxy material your body needs to properly build healthy new cells. It’s not a bad thing in moderation. However, too much of it can cause lots of health problems. Our bodies naturally produce almost all — if not all — of the cholesterol we need to keep making healthy cells. That’s part of our liver’s job.
However, in addition to this, some of the food we eat contains cholesterol as well. While a little bit of extra cholesterol isn’t the end of the world, too much can be very problematic. Most health experts agree that you shouldn’t consume more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. That means by eating even one egg in a day, you’ve already reached more than two-thirds of your daily recommended allowance.
The problem with too much cholesterol is that our bodies can’t use it all to build cells. Excess cholesterol begins to build up in the veins and arteries, clogging them and making it more difficult for the blood to travel to and from the heart. In time, this can lead to life-threatening complications such as a heart attack or a stroke.
However, while eggs might not be the healthiest choice, they’re by no means the worst thing you could eat. In fact, they have plenty of benefits as well. For instance, eggs are an excellent source of protein, especially for people on a low- or no-meat diet. Eggs also raise your levels of “good” cholesterol, while simultaneously lowering your levels of “bad” cholesterol.
Unsurprisingly, the key to eating eggs is the same as it is to eating most foods: moderation. Like almost all foods, eggs will not adversely affect your health as long as you exercise a little restraint. You can absolutely eat an egg or two with your breakfast on occasion. There is nothing wrong with this, and there are even health benefits to it. Just be aware eating two eggs for breakfast every day may not be the best course of action. As long as you practice restraint, however, don’t be afraid to enjoy your eggs with breakfast.
Do Different Ways of Cooking Eggs Affect Their Nutritional Value?
OK, so eggs contain a lot of cholesterol, and have the potential to cause problems for people who eat too much. But what about different ways of cooking eggs? Is one method of cooking an egg healthier than another? Is a hard-boiled egg better to eat than a sunny-side-up egg? Is there a difference at all?
As it happens, different methods of cooking an egg do actually have an effect on the nutritional value, or lack thereof, of an egg. With that in mind, let’s look at a few different methods of preparing eggs, in order of healthiness.
- Poached Eggs
Poached eggs are the healthiest way to eat your eggs, mainly because the cooking process doesn’t require adding extra fat or oil. When you eat a poached egg, you are not ingesting any additional unhealthy ingredients. Instead, a poached egg is essentially the bare egg itself.
For maximum health benefits, make sure the egg is fully cooked through. This is because eggs contain biotin, a vitamin that helps your hair and nails become healthier, and your body can only absorb this nutrient if the egg is fully cooked.
Eat your poached eggs plain, or on some whole-wheat toast. Try adding some ham or salmon for an extra protein boost to help you start your morning off right.
- Boiled Eggs
This category refers to both hard- and soft-boiled eggs. Did you know boiling an egg is actually a fantastic way to make it more nutritional?
When an egg yolk meets high heat and oxygen, the cholesterol becomes damaged, meaning what was once “good” cholesterol is now “bad” cholesterol. But by boiling an egg, the yolk cooks without ever being exposed to oxygen, or even directly exposed to high heat, since its shell protects it during the cooking process.
The same principle applies whether you’re hard- or soft-boiling an egg, meaning you can choose either method and still enjoy the same health benefits. And because these eggs are so easy to cook and transport, they’re a great choice to make in the morning and carry with you for a protein-packed snack later in the day.
- Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs are a fairly healthy option as well. The problem with scrambled eggs happens when you grease the bottom of the frying pan to keep your eggs from sticking, which adds extra fat and oil. To skip these extra calories, use a nonstick pan to scramble your eggs. Or, if that isn’t an option, use just a small amount of olive oil, coconut oil or butter.
An extra step you can take to ensure the healthiness of your eggs is to watch the heat. If you scramble your eggs on very high heat, only to leave them sitting around for a while afterward, the cholesterol in the yolks will be damaged and become unhealthy. For better results, cook them a little more slowly on low heat, and eat them immediately after.
If you want to make your scrambled eggs even healthier, add some veggies. The best thing about scrambled eggs is that you can add virtually anything to them and it only makes them more delicious. Try tossing spinach, mushrooms, onions and any other mix-ins you can think of into the pan. Not only will this make your eggs tastier, but it will also add a vitamin and mineral boost.
- Egg Whites
If you’re concerned about the health risks of eggs, one final solution is to ditch the egg yolk altogether and just eat the egg whites. The reason this works is that the yolk is the source of all the cholesterol. There are no health risks associated with the whites, meaning you can eat as many of these as you like.
The only downside of this solution is that the yolk also houses many of the nutritional benefits of the egg, such as vitamins D and A. So if you throw away the yolk, you’re getting rid of both the health risks and most of the health benefits all at once.
So, What Should I Order?
Though different ways of cooking eggs can increase or decrease the nutritional value or the health risks associated with it, these changes aren’t extremely significant. Yes, a boiled egg is healthier than a fried egg. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to eat a boiled egg every day for breakfast. It also doesn’t mean you’ll immediately experience a decline in your health after eating one of two fried eggs.
Eggs are like any other food. As long as you eat them in moderation as part of a balanced diet, you will be alright.
So what is the best way to cook an egg? Well, that’s the really fun question. The answer is, you should cook eggs however you like best. The world is full of new and exciting ways to cook eggs. Why not try them all? Why not learn what type of egg you like, which type is just OK and which type you absolutely love?
When it comes to eggs, the only proper thing to do is experiment with different cooking methods, seasonings and add-ins to discover your favorite egg recipe. Once you do that, be sure to stop back in and let us know what you’ve discovered.
Got Other Questions?
Maybe you’re an egg expert, or maybe this has been your first foray into the world of egg-preparing. Whichever of those options describe you, we know there’s a lot to learn about eggs. That’s why Sauder’s Eggs is here for you.
We sell our delicious and top-quality eggs to families and individuals throughout Pennsylvania. We’re passionate about providing the best eggs we can, from our family to yours. If you have any questions about where you can buy our tasty and fresh eggs, or if you have any questions at all, please contact us any time. We’d be delighted to hear from you.