Everything You Need to Know About How to Cook Eggs

Make your mornings—or any meal—more delicious with these foolproof ways to prepare eggs, including poached eggs, microwaved eggs, fried eggs, omelets, and more.

We love eggs! They're great for breakfast, but can easily make their way into every meal, including starters (like salads or deviled eggs) or even to top-off your burgers for dinner. Thanks to their high-quality protein (one egg contains 6 grams with only 70 calories), eggs have become an easy and affordable meal staple for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. So on those nights when you get home with no dinner plan and few ingredients on hand, you can have a nutritious meal on the table in no time. No matter how you like your eggs prepared, we have the directions for cooking them here.

Escarole and Poached Egg Salad
Peter Krumhardt

How to Poach Eggs Like a Pro

For perfectly poached eggs with silky, set whites and slightly thickened yolks, start with a saucepan or skillet of boiling water. Lower the heat to simmering and add a tablespoon of vinegar to help avoid stringy egg whites. (The vinegar helps the protein in the egg whites coagulate quickly for a uniform shape.) Crack one egg in a cup or small dish. Hold the lip of the cup close to the water and slip the whole egg in at once. Simmer, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes until whites are set and the yolk begins to thicken. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon (Cuisipro Silicone & Stainless Steel Slotted Spoon, $20, Walmart). Keep in mind that this strategy for how to poach eggs is best for no more than 4 eggs in one pan at a time, so plan on a few shifts if you're making a big batch of eggs Benedict or serving a crowd.

Frico Fried Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
Andy Lyons

How to Frizzle or Fry Eggs Sunny-Side Up, Over Easy, Over Medium, and Over Hard

Yes, these ways to prepare eggs are different! The crunchy, lacy "crust" distinguishes frizzled eggs from standard fried eggs.

To fry, heat a well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. This sets the whites without overcooking the yolks. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter until melted and foamy. Break eggs into the skillet and cook 3 minutes. For yolks that ooze at the pierce of a fork, be sure to remove the eggs from heat when the yolk edges are barely opaque. Voilà: You've perfected how to cook sunny-side up eggs!

  • To cook eggs over easy, gently flip the egg with a spatula and cook for 1 minute more.
  • To reach over-medium status, flip and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  • For over hard eggs, cook 2 to 4 minutes before you flip.
  • For crispy eggs, frying in olive oil over higher heat yields golden, lacy edges. Heat oil over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs. Cook 2 minutes, rotating pan occasionally.
  • For extra crispy eggs, use 1 tablespoon of butter plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium-high heat. Cook eggs 2 minutes, rotating pan occasionally.

To get frizzled eggs, heat a nonstick skillet (or a skillet coated in nonstick cooking spray) over medium-high heat. Crack your egg(s) and cook until crispy edges appear. Turn heat to low and cook until the yolk reaches your desired doneness.

How to Cook Scrambled Eggs That Will Be the Star of Breakfast

To scramble eggs that taste like those you order at the diner, in a medium bowl whisk together 8 eggs and ½ cup of milk. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet melt butter over medium heat; pour in egg mixture. Let stand 20 seconds or until the mixture begins to set on the bottom and around the edges. Lift and fold toward the center with a spatula, allowing uncooked egg to flow underneath. Repeat until eggs are just set and still slightly wet. Remove from heat immediately. Season with salt and pepper.

If you prefer soft and creamy eggs, try the Test Kitchen's stirred scrambled egg method. Whisk together 8 eggs, 3 tablespoons of milk, 2 tablespoons of water, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet (Calphalon Select 10-in. Non-Stick Fry Pan, $27, Walmart) heat 2 Tbsp. water over medium-low. Once the water starts to steam (about 2 minutes) add egg mixture. Cook and stir constantly for 5 minutes or until creamy and small curds form.

How to Cook Hard-Boiled Eggs

Search "how to hard-boil eggs" online, and you'll come up with countless strategies. Our favorite tried-and-true method is actually not boiling them at all, but rather steaming eggs. Place up to 6 eggs in a steamer basket over a saucepan of boiling water. (More than six will alter the cook time.) Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 16 minutes. Immediately transfer eggs to an ice bath to stop the cooking and let cool slightly before peeling.

Test Kitchen Tip: For the easiest peeling, start with eggs that are at least two weeks old. As eggs age, the contents contract, enlarging the air cell. Steaming helps further by causing the whites to pull away from the shell membranes.

Debbie Shore's Pepper-Avocado Omelet
Andy Lyons

How to Make an Omelet (Without Breaking the Omelet)

You're going to flip once you see how doable it is to make an omelet in your own kitchen! An omelet for one is a great breakfast-for-dinner option.

  1. Start by cracking 3 eggs in a medium bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper, then whisk with a fork until the mixture is even (no white strands but not foamy).
  2. Heat an 8½-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, and melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan. Pour in egg mixture when butter starts to foam. Shake the pan back and forth with one hand while using a fork to stir constantly with the other. The fork tines yield a small, silky curd. If you don't want to risk scratching your pan with a fork, try using chopsticks or a bamboo skewer.
  3. Continue shaking and stirring, scaping around until the eggs are set, but still shiny. If you like, spoon desired fillings on the center of the omelet now (think shredded cheese, sautéed mushrooms, ham, and/or roasted potatoes). Use the spatula to lift and fold about a third of the omelet toward the opposite side of the pan, then fold the opposite omelet edge toward the center. Angle the pan over a plate and flip the omelet so that it lands seam side down.

How to Cook Eggs in the Microwave for a Super Speedy Meal

If you're in a hurry, skip the skillet and learn how to cook eggs in the microwave in a bowl, mug, or Mason jar (minus the metal lid). Simply add your eggs, liquid, a dash of salt, and your desired mix-ins. Stir and microwave in 30-second increments until fully cooked.

How to Cook Eggs in an Instant Pot

If you own this time-saving appliance, you can put it to work cooking eggs, too. Learn our 3-step method on how to cook hard-boiled eggs with the pressure cooker setting.

There you have it. Now that you've been through how to cook all the eggs, it's time to grab a dozen and get crackin'.

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