How to Cook the Perfect Egg

Thinkstock/iStockphotoThinkstock/iStockphotoMany mornings are met with an egg; sometimes afternoons and evenings are, too. An egg is a "power-packed capsule of great nutrition," says Jim Chakeres, vice president of the Ohio Poultry Association, and just one egg gives you a large dose of all of the protein, vitamins, and minerals that you need on a daily basis. An egg outranks other forms of protein in nutrition by a landslide, and not only is it a superior form of protein, but it just so happens to be one of the cheapest. If that's not enough reason for you to work one into your daily diet, then maybe hearing that an egg can help you with weight loss, because starting your morning with an egg will cause you to eat fewer calories throughout the day, will.

How to Make the Perfect Eggs Benedict

An egg's nutritional qualities are not new news, but what is really important to the Cook editors when it comes to an egg is that it's cooked right. Egg-eating veterans know, and if you're new to eating eggs then you'll soon learn, that there are ways you like an egg, and there are ways you don't. Another great thing about eggs are that they can be cooked in a number of ways so that they differ in taste, texture, and variety, and while versatility is another positive item on our list, it can often lead to a lot of confusion and disappointment when it comes to eating an egg.

Best Egg Recipes

How many times have you ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese and were dissatisfied to find that the egg was dry and the yolk not runny, or vice versa? To eat an egg is to know an egg, in its many different forms, and to make sure you're enjoying your egg every time, we asked food expert Scott Crawford, foods coordinator of Whole Foods Market, to define each preparation of an egg and explain how to cook it.

What to Do with Leftover Eggs

With our help, you're not only going to be cooking and eating more eggs, but you're going to be doing it perfectly. If you're a sucker for yolks, you'll learn that you like your eggs sunny-side up; and if you can't figure out why some scrambled eggs taste better than others, you'll be pleased to find out that the answer is simple: air. Fried, scrambled, or baked, we cover all of the bases of an egg - so no matter how you like it, we'll tell you how to make the perfectly incredible and edible egg.

Thinkstock/iStockphotoThinkstock/iStockphoto Scrambled
One of the most familiar forms of an egg, a scrambled egg is when the egg yolks and egg whites are beaten together and sautéed. Crawford tells us that the secret to scrambled eggs is that they have to be fluffy. "The key to fluffy scrambled eggs isto getair into the eggs with a utensil like a fork (maybe two) because air causes natural fluffiness," he says. "The fluffiness is what's been lost in some flat scrambles. The product should look like whipped cream." The other important thing to remember when making scrambled eggs is to keep the heat at a moderate level so that they cook evenly and are evenly covered.

Thinkstock/iStockphotoThinkstock/iStockphoto Over-Easy

An over-easy egg is when an egg is cracked directly into a pan and is cooked on both sides. The specific description of an over-easy egg is when "the white [is] slightly runny but cooked [around] the edges, and [it has] a runny yolk," says Crawford. To perfectly cook an over-easy egg, cook it on high until just before smoking, wait 30-45 seconds, and then flip gently and immediately remove from the pan.

America's Healthiest Fast-Food Breakfasts

Thinkstock/iStockphotoThinkstock/iStockphoto Sunny Side-Up
A sunny-side up egg is a fried egg that has only been cooked on one side, resulting in a runny yolk and set whites. This egg is close to an over-easy egg, except the yolk does not come into direct contact with the heat, so it will be slightly runnier. Also, the heat should be much lower than when cooking an over-easy egg.

Flickr/Planetc1Flickr/Planetc1 Over-Medium
An over-medium egg is an egg cooked on both sides, but for longer than an over-easy egg. Start the way you'd cook an over-easy egg, but just cook for one minute on the second flip, says Crawford. The white will be firm around the yolk and the yolk will be medium-cooked.
If you're one of those people who loves their bacon egg, and cheeses doused in yolk, then you probably also hate when the egg is too undercooked so that the egg whites are runny. This BLT sandwich cooks the egg over-medium, the perfect point at which the yolk will remain runny but the egg whites will be set.

Thinkstock/iStockphotoThinkstock/iStockphoto Poached
A poached egg is an egg that has been cooked completely submerged in water. The egg white will be solid and the egg yolk soft. To make a poached egg, bring a pot of shallow water to a simmer and add a dash of an acid like white vinegar to poach the eggs in for three minutes. For the best results, says Crawford, use fresh eggs, and if you're serving a crowd, take the restaurant approach and pre-poach the eggs and keep them in an ice water bath. Just drop them into simmering water for a few seconds before serving to heat them through.

A Guide to Alternative Eggs

Flickr/Erin.kkrFlickr/Erin.kkr Basted
Popular in the 1970s, a basted egg is an egg that is put in a pan with a little bit of water and broiled in the oven to set the whites. The yolk is extremely runny, while the whites are cooked through.
There's no water added to this recipe, but contributor Yasmin Fahr adds some spinach and tomato to her eggs before baking them in the oven, giving the egg enough liquid to cook at a moist level, just like a basted egg.

Thinkstock/iStockphotoThinkstock/iStockphoto Hard-Boiled
A boiled egg is an egg that's been cooked in boiled water in its shell. To make boiled eggs, cover a single layer of unshelled eggs with 1 inch of cool water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let sit for 12 minutes.

Crawford describes an omelette as a "fluffy folded egg dish," similar to scrambled, except that it's folded over to resemble an envelope. Depending on where you are in the world, you'll make your omelette a certain way, says Crawford. An American-style omelette involves making scrambled eggs, adding additional ingredients like cheese and vegetables while scrambling, and then folding it over. The French-version of an omelette is when you cook an egg in a small pan over medium to low heat, scramble it slightly, add the additional ingredients, and then let it set to form a seal on the bottom before folding. In layman's terms, the difference between an American omelette and a French omelette is that a French one will have a smooth, golden skin (with no hint of the additional ingredients) on the outside, and the inside will be slightly runny.
We're on team France when it comes to omelettes, and because Julia Child was the queen of French cooking, we always turn to her recipe when we go to make one.

-Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal