For all their simplicity, eggs can be a controversial food. Even the experts don’t agree on just how big of a role they should play in your diet, especially if you’re watching your cholesterol.
But at about 78 calories a piece and with lots of protein and vitamin D, they can be a great part of a healthy diet and are incredibly versatile.
As times have changed, so have eggs. Now you’ve got all sorts of labels to decode, options to consider, and freshness to factor in (spare us having to peel one more fresh-from-the-farm hard-boiled egg!).
Luckily, we’ve collected 40 of the best tips to help you hack your breakfast (and just about every other meal of the day), whether you like your eggs scrambled, fried, hard boiled, soft boiled, or baked into a delicious frittata!
1. Get cracking
Ok, so we all know the basics of cracking an egg and have our preferred way of doing it.
While most people crack eggs on the side of the bowl they’re using (or even the pan), others swear by cracking them on a flat surface so the membrane remains intact at first.
So give it one good rap on the counter or cutting board (instead of a bunch of tiny taps that can create cracks that shatter into your food), turn it over, dig in with your fingers, and then turn the egg out into the bowl.
And if you’re really worried about shells getting into your food, crack eggs into a separate small cup or bowl before adding them to the rest of your ingredients so you can do separate damage control.
And remember to always wash your hands if you get egg on them.
2. Fish out the shells with…shells
It happens to the best of us – especially when we’re in a hurry. If you end up with eggshell in your bowl, usually the best way to get it out is to take another piece of the shell and scoop it out. It’ll penetrate the white pretty easily, usually on the first try.
However, if you got your eggs straight from the farm and they haven’t been washed, you don’t want to stick egg shell in there for fear of salmonella contamination (or whatever else might be on the outside of it).
In that case, it might be best to grab a fork or, better yet, put wet fingers in there and slide it up the side of your bowl. Just make sure to wash your hands (and under your fingernails) afterward.
3. Fluff up your scramble
Do you like your scrambled eggs extra fluffy? As long as you’re not lactose intolerant or vegan, a dash of milk is a great way to add some lift to your eggs. It’ll make them less dense.
Of course, you can use plant-based milk as well – just make sure it’s not sweetened.
And remember to always whisk the eggs and milk together well unless you like a streaky scramble.
4. Quick egg muffins on the go
The quickest way to take fresh eggs on the go (since we know how long it can take to peel them) is to whip up a quick egg muffin in the morning.
Just grab your muffin tin, spray it with cooking spray, and add your egg. You can put an egg in each hole if you want a simple baked egg to take with you or else whisk them together with some chopped veggies for extra sustenance.
Fill the muffin tin halfway and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. (If you have a bunch of extra ingredients, you might need another 2 to 3 minutes.)
You can even keep chopped peppers, onions, or shredded cheese in the fridge to make your prep work minimal.
5. Wait, how long are these good?
Did you know that most Europeans find it wild that Americans keep eggs in the fridge?
Well, we do it because we have to. American eggs bought in the store (as opposed to the rare roadside seller) are sanitized before shipping to protect from salmonella – it’s the law. But this also washes off a protective layer around the shell that makes it porous.
As a result, we have to refrigerate our eggs – and once they’re refrigerated, they should stay that way.
One of the benefits of this is that our eggs stay fresher longer in cold temperatures. Eggs in the fridge could stay good for about a month (even weeks beyond the sell-by date). And anyone who has made deviled eggs knows that older eggs are MUCH easier to peel.
The best way to tell? Smell it. Just like most other foods, if it gives off an odor you don’t find appetizing, it’s time to chuck it.
Mornings are busy, but breakfast is essential and most parents skip it in order to spend the time helping their kids get ready.
But if you can find 2 minutes in the morning, you can poach an egg.
Just take a microwave-safe mug or small bowl, add a half cup of water, and crack in an egg. Don’t mix the egg, but make sure it’s submerged in the water and you still have about 2 inches of space between the water and the top of the dish. You must put a saucer over the top – otherwise, your egg will explode rather than poach!
Then microwave the egg for 60-90 seconds and slide it out and onto a piece of toast for an easy breakfast that will keep you going during morning chaos.
7. Contain your egg with cookie cutters
If you’re frying an egg and don’t want the white to spread out too far, try containing it in a cookie cutter or mason jar lid.
Simply grease it, put it in the pan, and add your egg to the middle for an egg in the shape of whatever your heart desires (or whatever shape you have on hand – no one is going to judge you for a gingerbread man-shaped egg).
Hopefully, we don’t need to tell you that the cookie cutter is going to be hot, so be sure to have an oven mitt nearby when you’re taking it out of the pan.
8. One trick for peeling hard-boiled eggs
Did you ever notice that people will swear by a trick for getting off that eggshell but it’s still a complete disaster for you? There’s no telling what witchcraft people are using to get fresh eggs to peel, but we’re going to stick in a couple of different tricks throughout this slide show.
The first is from Cooks Illustrated and involves shaking them up in a container full of cold water.
They say shake gently to create small cracks throughout the eggs. While we’ve never seen the shells just slide right off as they suggest, sometimes leaving them to absorb some water between the egg and the shell for 30 minutes works well.
Now, we’re not a huge fan of how this looks, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes and this trick involves putting your omelet or scramble ingredients in a blender before adding them to the pan.
Of course, you’re going to want to go SUPER light on the blending so you don’t turn it into a smoothie – you just want a good chop and mix.
We feel like this would be a particularly good method for incorporating things like spinach.
You’ll need to use non-stick spray the same way you would with waffle batter, but this unique trick lets you add your ingredients and step away for a moment without having to babysit your food and attempt the dreaded omelet flip and fold.
14. Make fluffier omelets
Fluffy omelets are far superior to dense, frisbee-like concoctions.
One quick way to add a more volume to your omelet is to add a pinch of baking soda.
Just mix in half teaspoon for every three eggs.
15. Avoid dents in hardboiled eggs
Are you making deviled eggs and want to make sure they maintain their perfect egg shape instead of getting a dent in the top or bottom?
Simply pierce your egg with a tack before boiling to allow trapped air in the egg to escape.
This should also make the shell easier to remove!
16. Bake your eggs
Oven-baked eggs get a rich, creamy texture.
Just crack an egg into a buttered ramekin, add salt and pepper, a dollop of cream, and bake in a water bath for a fancy french eggs en cocotte brunch.
17. Foolproof your frittata
If you’re able to tolerate it, full-fat dairy is the best way to get your frittata to have the perfect texture.
Use a half-cup of your dairy item of choice for every six eggs that go into your recipe and don’t overlook options like yogurt or crème fraîche!
18. Undercook your eggs
Whether they’re on the stovetop or being boiled in a pot, eggs will continue to cook until you remove them from heat.
If you’re multitasking, try undercooking your eggs by a minute or so. That way, when you’re ready to transfer them to a plate, they won’t be overdone.
19. Use seltzer in place of dairy for fluffy eggs
If you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or just watching calories, you might want to stay away from dairy.
If you want fluffy eggs without the milk or cream, use seltzer water instead!
Simply use the same amount as you would milk and let those air bubbles do their work.
20. Sheet pan eggs
Need to make a whole bunch of eggs for a group? Instead of cooking on the stovetop in batches, try baking them in the oven on a baking sheet.
Grease your sheet pan, pour on the eggs, and bake to your desired consistency – then enjoy a big batch of eggs that also have some crisp around the edges.
21. Use a splash of vinegar when poaching
If you’re poaching eggs in boiling water and want to avoid the ghost streaks, try adding a splash of vinegar to the pot.
This should help the egg cook into a more compact shape.
And we promise you won’t get a vinegar taste in your final product!
22. Cook eggs over low heat
Whether you’re scrambling or frying, low heat for a longer time is the key to cooking eggs all the way through.
High heat might give you the crispiness you like, but your eggs are more likely to be tough and dry as a result.
So keep your eggs light and fluffy and avoid uneven results by keeping the burner on low.
23. Check the Julian date for freshness
If you want to know just how fresh your eggs are, you’re better off checking the Julian date rather than the expiration date.
This number ranges from 1 to 365 (1 being January first) and tells you when the eggs were actually packed.
You can use this easy tool to easily calculate your date once you find the number.
24. Pass eggs through a strainer before scrambling
A blender works too, but if you want evenly mixed scrambled eggs without the streaks, try passing the eggs through a sieve before pouring them in the pan.
This will also get out any tiny bits of shell that might have snuck in.
The result is creamier, dreamier scrambled eggs!
25. Never stop scrambling
Just like a good risotto, scrambled eggs need to be stirred constantly.
As soon as you add your eggs to the pan, keep stirring.
This will break down the eggs and give you a creamier scramble.
26. Assume your eggs are cold
Because Americans keep their eggs refrigerated, most recipes written for a U.S. audience give cooking times that assume you’re using cold eggs.
If you’re boiling eggs, grab them straight from the fridge or knock a few minutes off the cooking time to keep from overcooking your eggs.
27. Peel eggs right away
If other egg-peeling tricks haven’t worked, try peeling them under cold running water as soon as they’re cool enough to touch.
And always start peeling from the air pocket to keep from tearing into the egg right away.
28. Get creative with deviled egg filling
Not a fan of mayo? There are plenty of other ways to get a creamy, yolky filling for your deviled eggs.
If you want a non-dairy option, try avocado – just use 1 whole large avocado per 12 yolks.
Or for a tangier flavor, try sour cream or Greek yogurt – just use 1/2 cup per dozen yolks.
29. Keep your deviled eggs from sliding around
There are a few good tricks that keep your beautiful deviled eggs from sliding around the plate (and onto the floor).
Try trimming a little of the white off to make it flat, nestling them on a bed of shredded lettuce, or piping a small amount of filling onto the serving tray before placing the eggs on top.
30. Keep your yolks centered
If you’re making deviled eggs and want them to look nice and uniform, turn them upside down in the carton so the larger end is pointing up the night before you cook them.
This will allow the yolk to center itself in the egg white.
31. Use your ugly eggs for salads
Did your peeling go awry? Is your yolk an icky grey color? Don’t throw those eggs away!
Store them in water in the fridge and save them to use in egg salad, a Cobb salad, or simply pop them in your mouth when no one is looking!
They don’t have to be pretty to be edible!
32. Salt your scramble first
Salting your egg mixture before pouring it in the pan will ensure even seasoning throughout.
Adding salt 15 minutes before cooking will also help lock in moisture so your eggs aren’t clumpy and dry.
33. Bedazzle your breakfast
Experiment with add-ons, add-ins, and side dishes to jazz up your morning scramble.
Try fried beans as a side dish to go British, chop up your favorite veggies, treat yourself to a cheesy topping, add fresh herbs from your garden, or pile on the salsa or hot sauce to spice up your morning routine.
34. Butter or bacon up your pan
No matter what style – scrambled or fried – if you’re not using a non-stick pan to cook your eggs you’re going to need to add a little fat to the pan to keep your eggs from sticking.
Most people swear by using butter, but if you like a side of bacon and you’re not watching your fat intake too closely, you can also cook the bacon first and then use some of the bacon grease to lubricate your pan and make your eggs taste great.
35. Baste your fried eggs while cooking
If you’re in a hurry or like your fried eggs crispy around the edges, you might use a higher heat setting.
But then you run the risk of having undercooked egg whites.
To avoid this while using medium-high heat, baste the whites with your butter or cooking oil as they cook. This will not only puff them up but help them cook all the way through faster.
36. Make your eggs ahead of time
No time for prep work in the morning? We feel ya!
From casseroles to quiches, there are plenty of ways to get the work done ahead of time so all you need to do in the morning is pop something in the oven.
When frying an egg sunny side up, make sure you heat up the fat in the pan so it sizzles when you flick in a drop of water.
But remember that you want to cook the eggs on a lower heat setting, so reduce the heat to medium-low before you pour them in.
38. Set your yolks
To get a white film over your fried egg yolks – even if you like them runny – try adding a couple of drops of water and then covering the pan just before you turn off the heat.
39. Up your protein ante
Avocados might be high in fat, but their vitamin content and other nutritional attributes will keep you full throughout the morning.
For the ultimate high-energy, high-fiber breakfast, try baking an egg inside half an avocado and then seasoning it with salt and pepper.
Just preheat your oven to 425°F, pit your avocado (you might need to scrape out a bit extra in the center so your egg will fit), place the avocados (skin on) in a baking dish, and bake for 17-20 minutes.
You can eat them warm or refrigerate them and have them cold later in the day!
40. Don’t be duped by fake egg-vertising
Does your local co-op swear that brown eggs are the only kind you should be eating?
The way an egg looks is dependent on the chicken and has almost nothing to do with taste and neither color has more protein or nutrients than the other.
White eggs are laid by hens with white feathers, and brown eggs are laid by brown or red hens. That’s it.
The only other difference is price.
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