Step-by-Step Egg Cooking Techniques

Here are five great ways to cook and eat an egg -- from perfectly poached to a quick scramble. Plus, find tips for separating eggs and how to whip a fluffy meringue every time.

Erin Simpson


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How to Poach an Egg
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How to Poach an Egg

    Half-fill a deep skillet with water and bring to a simmer. Do not let the water come to a boil.

    A little acid, in the form of lemon juice or vinegar, can be added to the water to help the eggs hold their shape.

    Break one egg at a time into a small dish. Carefully slide egg into simmering water, holding the lip of the dish as close as possible to the water.

    Once set, scoop up the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

    If cooking a large batch, place the eggs back in the warm water to reheat just before serving.

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How to Hard-Cook an Egg

    Often referred to as hard-boiled, hard-cooked eggs are cooked in water that is brought to a boil and then covered and removed from heat.

    Let eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes, or 12 minutes for softer yolks.

    Immediately plunge the eggs in a bowl of ice water.

    For easy peeling, when cool enough to handle, remove eggs and crack the shell a little. Place back in the cold water until completely cool. Peel, starting at large end, under cool running water.

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How to Bake Eggs

    Jump-start the cooking process by adding the eggs to a hot skillet on the stovetop.

    Pop the skillet in the oven to cook the eggs until soft-set in the center and browned on top.

    When it comes to fillings, anything goes -- sprinkle cheese over the top or cook meat and vegetables in the skillet and pour the eggs over the top. Just make sure to drain off any fat before adding the eggs.

    Cook baked egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F.

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How to Scramble Eggs

    For tender, buttery eggs, the secret is to not overcook them.

    Whisk a little milk, buttermilk, or sour cream into the eggs before cooking for extra moisture and richness.

    To cook, pour the eggs into a heated skillet. Let them sit for 20 to 30 seconds or until the eggs along the bottom begin to set.

    Lift and fold the cooked part toward the center, allowing uncooked eggs to flow to edges. Repeat until eggs are set.

    Serve immediately so they do not continue cooking and dry out.

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How to Frizzle an Egg

    This new way to cook an egg is a cross between a fried egg and a sunny-side-up egg.

    Start over medium-high heat to get the frizzled, crisp edges, then cook on low until done.

    A nonstick skillet works best, or use a regular skillet well coated with nonstick cooking spray.

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How to Whip Eggs

    Start with a clean bowl and beaters that have no residue oil or water.

    Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, then beat on high until desired thickness -- most recipes use the terms "soft" or "stiff peaks" to describe how much the whites should be beaten. Soft peaks will curl when the beaters are lifted out of the mixture. Stiff peaks stand straight up.

    Many recipes call for adding a little cream of tartar to the whites before beating for added stability and volume.

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How to Separate Eggs

    Passing the yolk back and forth from shell half to shell half to separate eggs is a common way to do it, but if any bacteria are present on the shell, the white or yolk could be contaminated. Instead, the American Egg Board recommends investing in an inexpensive egg separator.

    A slotted spoon set over a bowl will also do the trick.

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