Perfect Eggs Every Time: Fried, Boiled and Scrambled

Cooking How-To, How-To
on April 1, 2008

The phrase “can’t even boil an egg” may describe a kitchen rookie, but humans aren’t hatched knowing the basics of egg cookery, and even skilled cooks could probably benefit from a couple of handy guidelines.

One Basic Rule

Eggs cook quickly over any kind of heat and begin to thicken at 144 degrees. So if your eggs turn rubbery, heat may be the culprit.

Fried Eggs

Heat 1 teaspoon of butter just until it sizzles. Gently slip an egg into the pan, and reduce heat to low. Cook until whites are set and yolks begin to thicken. You’ve got sunny side up. Putting a lid on the pan will help the upper part of the egg cook as quickly as the bottom. If you like them over easy, gently flip the egg. By the time you’ve put down your spatula, it’s probably done. “Over hard” will take only a couple of seconds more.

Soft-Cooked Eggs

The secret is timing, timing and timing. Simmer a pot of water (just enough to cover eggs by half an inch). Quickly lower eggs into water. Switch on a timer. Simmer for exactly 1 minute. Take the pan off the stove, put a lid on it, and set the timer again. Six to 7 minutes will give you a soft-cooked egg. Avoid boiling eggs straight from the fridge; they’re likely to crack when you put them in hot water.

Hard-Cooked Eggs

Put eggs in saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 14 minutes. Rinse them immediately in cold water, or you’ll get that greenish ring where the white meets the yolk. Super-fresh eggs are harder to peel, so some cooks recommend eggs that are at least five days old; probably not an issue unless you live on a farm.

Scrambled Eggs

Beat eggs with a little skim or low-fat milk (about 1 tablespoon per egg). Heat a little butter in a skillet. Pour in egg mixture. As it starts to set, gently draw a spatula through it, making large, soft curds. Cook until there’s no visible liquid, and don’t over-stir.