- 9 Ways to Cook an Egg
- How to Cook an Egg: 9 Easy Ideas
- 7 Ways How To Cook Eggs to Maximize Nutrition
- BEST TO WORST WAYS HOW TO COOK EGGS FOR MAXIMUM NUTRITION:
- 2. POACHED
- 3. RAW
- 4. HARD BOILED
- 5. SUNNY SIDE UP
- 6. OVER EASY
- 7. SCRAMBLED
- This is the most nutritious way to prepare an egg
- 1. Raw
- 2. Poached
- 3. Boiled
- 4. Scrambled
- 5. Fried
- Eggs 101: Are Some Eggs Healthier Than Others?
- Did You Know?
- Egg Varieties
- Eggs and Cholesterol: How Many Eggs?
- The Bottom Line
- How to Cook Eggs Without Oil or Butter
- The Healthy Fried Egg
- The egg itself: when is an oeuf an oeuf?
- The cooking fat
- The cooking temperature
- Tricks of the trade
- Perfect fried eggs
- The Best Way To Cook an Egg For Weight Loss
9 Ways to Cook an Egg
Most people know how to make scrambled eggs — but are you reaping the full benefit of healthy egg recipes? Plenty of Americans shy away from eggs because of their cholesterol content and assumed role in heart disease. But eggs are a great and completely natural high-protein food, and there are many healthy recipes to choose from.
In fact, the fear of eggs is mostly myth. Studies show no connection between eggs and heart disease in healthy people. A single egg has six grams of protein, 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and only 70 calories. A large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, mostly from the egg yolk.
“Eggs can certainly be part of your healthy recipes,” says Ann-Marie Hedberg, MS, RD, DrPH (doctor of public health), director of the dietetic internship program at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. “Everything packaged inside an egg goes into making a living animal, so it must be perfectly natural.”
What’s important is learning how to cook an egg in ways that are good for you. “You don’t need to add anything to a hard-boiled or poached egg. An old cast-iron skillet is the best way to fry or scramble eggs — you can use a small amount of butter or a vegetable oil, but stay away from bacon grease,” says Hedberg.
How to Cook an Egg: 9 Easy Ideas
From basic hard-boiled to savory cheese eggs, here are tasty yet simple things you can do with eggs. And keep in mind that you can add protein without cholesterol by replacing all or some of the yolks with extra egg whites.
1. Hard-boiled eggs. Place the eggs in a large enough saucepan so that they are in a single layer. Cover the eggs by one inch with cold water. As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs stand in the water for 15 minutes. To peel, make a crack in the shell and then roll the egg gently in your hands. Let the eggs cool and start peeling from the bottom.
2. Scrambled eggs. Measure one tablespoon of milk for each egg you’ll be using and whisk them together, adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Heat two teaspoons of butter or oil at medium heat and pour in the eggs. Don’t stir the eggs. Turn and fold gently with a wooden spoon or spatula until all the liquid is set.
3. Classic omelet. “You can add vegetables to either scrambled eggs or an omelet to make an even healthier recipe,” says Hedberg. For a two-egg omelet, whisk the eggs with two tablespoons of water and a dash of salt and pepper. Prepare your skillet as for scrambled eggs, but this time, as the eggs cook just push the edges of the eggs toward the center until all the uncooked egg liquid that flows underneath becomes solidified. If you want to add cheese or vegetables, place them on one half of the eggs, fold over the other half, and serve.
4. Fried egg. To fry an egg, you need just barely a teaspoon of butter or oil. Heat the fat in a skillet until hot. Crack the egg and gently slip it into the pan, and reduce the heat to low right away. Let the egg cook for about six minutes. The yolk should just begin to thicken. Now you can choose between sunny side up or over-easy. If you like your yolk more firm, flip the egg and cook it for a bit longer.
5. Poached egg. Heat about three inches of water in a saucepan until the water is boiling. Crack an egg into a cup or saucer and then gently slide it from the cup into the boiling water. When the whites are solid and the yolk is just starting to harden, lift the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon.
6. Deviled eggs. Hard-boil six eggs and cut them lengthwise. Remove the yolks and mix them with one-third cup shredded cheese, one-quarter cup each of sour cream and mayonnaise — these can be low- or no-fat — and three tablespoons of finely chopped green onions. Whisk the ingredients until smooth and spoon them into the egg white halves. Chill before serving.
7. Frittata. Beat four eggs with one-quarter cup milk, tomato juice, or broth. When the eggs are well blended, add cooked meat, cheese, vegetables, seafood, or a combination. Heat two teaspoons of butter or vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and pour in the mixture. Cook at medium to low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
8. Quiche. Spread 1 cup low-fat shredded cheese over a 9-inch baked piecrust. Whisk six eggs with one cup milk, a dash of salt, and about a half-teaspoon of your favorite herbs. Pour this filling over the cheese and bake in a preheated 375° oven for about 40 minutes.
9. One-minute microwave eggs and cheese. Whisk two eggs with two tablespoons each of milk and low-fat shredded cheese. Coat a microwave-safe mug with cooking spray, pour in the mixture, and microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Stir and zap for another 30 seconds. Top with your favorite herbs and you have a super fast healthy egg recipe.
You can adapt these recipes for most diets by using cooking spray or vegetable oil in place of butter and choosing non-fat varieties of milk and other dairy products. “Another way to make eggs even healthier is to shop for eggs from free-range chickens or look for omega-3 fortified eggs,” says Hedberg. Omega-3 eggs are from chickens fed with fish oil or flaxseed. These oils, which are present in the yolk, have been found to be heart-healthy.
Nutrition experts agree that one egg a day won’t hurt your heart. Eggs make a great healthy recipe meal, and they don’t have to be just for breakfast. Learning how to cook an egg in healthy ways will add a great source of natural nutrition to your diet.
Learn more in the Everyday Health Healthy Recipes Center.
7 Ways How To Cook Eggs to Maximize Nutrition
Is there a best way to cook an egg? If you’ve ever wondered how to cook eggs to maximize nutrition, you’re in the right spot. When you are cooking eggs there is definitely a hierarchy to extracting and preserving nutrients and making the egg as nutritious as it can be.
Now that you’re an expert on where to get your eggs from, this article introduces some guiding principles for making the most of your eggs, then recommends several of the most nutritious ways to eat them.
Before you run out and add eggs to every meal, though, make sure you’re not exceeding the recommended protein intake that fits in with your macros. If you’re not sure, make sure to use a keto macro calculator to figure out how much you should be eating. Too much protein can kick you out of ketosis.
HEATING IS DESTRUCTIVE
Applying heat to good food is a naturally destructive process. The chemistry of heating foods looks a lot like unwinding molecules, for better or for worse. In vegetables, heat can break down cell walls to sometimes help make nutrients more accessible to your gut. In egg whites, the proteins become denatured, which essentially means unwound, to become slightly more bioavailable. A potentially problematic protein called avidin is also destroyed (this is a good thing). Thus, heating egg whites is generally beneficial. The yolks, however, would do better with less heat, because heat damages fats and vital nutrients inside.
YOLKS VS WHITES
An upcoming post will highlight the wonders of the egg yolk, but the short story is this: the yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg. This is even more true when your eggs come from the proper source. Pastured egg yolks are some of the best sources of fats and proteins and are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can find. Eat the yolk, it will not kill you.
OXIDATION OF FAT
Yes, the yolks have fat and cholesterol. This does NOT mean that eggs are bad for you. As stated before, heating is destructive. Many good fats that are all the rage (e.g. olive oil) oxidize and become less beneficial, and even harmful, with too much heat (hint: don’t cook with olive oil). The same is true for egg yolks. In short, yolks are best if left uncooked and should also be protected from heating in the presence of oxygen (air) for as long as possible. Just as heating curls up the proteins in the egg whites, too much heat can curl up the fats in the egg yolks which can lead to somewhat sticky fats your body can’t utilize fully. The presence of oxygen accelerates this destructive process while heating.
BEST TO WORST WAYS HOW TO COOK EGGS FOR MAXIMUM NUTRITION:
We’ll start out with the best way how to cook eggs for nutrition: soft boiled. This is when you boil an egg, but it is still a little runny and the yolk is definitely not hard. It might take a little more work than other methods, but soft boiled eggs are much healthier and quite tasty.
Soft boiled is the ultimate way to cook an egg because the fats and nutrients in the yolk essentially have three protective layers from oxidation – the water, eggshell, and egg white. This way, all of the good stuff in the egg yolk is maximally preserved. If done correctly, this is a very quick and easy way to cook your eggs as well. The whites are cooked enough for best protein utilization and removal of avidin. Most people don’t even consider this option, but soft boiling can easily substitute any morning egg routine and the yolks remain creamier and thicker than pan-frying.
The easiest (and lowest heat method) way to do this actually is by using a sous vide machine. If you don’t have one, just get an immersion cooker. I use the one from Nomiku. All you have to do is fill a pot with water, stick the immersion cooker in and set to 145F and let your eggs cook for anywhere between 10-40 minutes. Check out the guide at Serious Eats on how to sous vide an egg perfectly.
Next up on the healthiest ways to cook an egg: poached. This technique is not for the timid, though, and can be quite a pain. If you’ve never done this before, expect to go through a few eggs in the process.
A personal favorite for flavor, but also the most annoying to make. While the egg yolk remains submerged in water and covered mostly by the white, you’re losing that protective shell layer. Scooping the egg out of water is just slightly more inconvenient than having to peel the shell off the soft boiled. Of course, the dish most commonly associated with poached eggs is eggs benedict (my recipe here), however poached eggs can be served without the hollandaise as a replacement for other eggs, just as soft boiled can.
I guess this isn’t a way how you can cook an egg, but you can eat it this way. This option is slightly less favorable to poached and soft boiled because the protein utilization from the white is slightly less. However, raw is by far the best way to eat the yolks. While I fully recommend going to town on egg yolks, don’t go too crazy on whole raw eggs (or the whites, rather) as the egg whites contain a protein called avidin. Avidin binds to an important B vitamin called biotin and can cause some serious problems in certain individuals.
If you’re opposed to drinking raw yolks or a few raw whole eggs straight out of the glass, put them in a smoothie. Just make sure you put them in at the very end and fold them in for a few seconds to reduce the oxidative stress from chopping the fats up to very small particles and exposing them to oxygen.
And no, raw eggs will not kill you. Don’t worry. You can also check out more from Raw Paleo Melissa who has an excellent write up here.
4. HARD BOILED
Hard boiled eggs are a classic example of a cooked egg. You can easily get these on the go, in cafeterias, airports, and even at gas stations. Hard boiled eggs are not at the very top of our list of how to cook eggs for maximal nutrition, however they can still be ridiculously healthy.
We still have those three protective layers we were talking about earlier, however this time the yolk reaches a higher temperature and begins the destructive process discussed above. Because the yolk isn’t exposed to oxygen, the destruction is limited. This way of eating eggs is sometimes more convenient, although it’s harder to replace entire meals with just hard boiled eggs.
5. SUNNY SIDE UP
All of the direct cooking is on the bottom of the egg and the yolk stays fairly preserved in this method. However, you’re losing the protective water coating, making the above forms of cooking preferable.
One of the best ways to cook a sunny side up egg if you’re going to do it is with the lowest possible heat. The lower the heat, the less oxidation of the fats, and the healthier the egg will be for you when you cook it. This is what is known as an “emoji egg”, you know the perfect egg image in the skillet. Check out this quick video on how you can easily make an emoji egg at Chef Steps. If you don’t want to click through, you basically just turn the heat on as low as possible, add a little fat, and wait for the egg to cook.
6. OVER EASY
This is the same as sunny side up, but the egg is effectively exposed to heat and oxygen on both sides of the egg. The yolk is directly exposed to high heat on both sides as well, increasing the loss of the precious nutrients in the egg yolk and making the fat less beneficial. Also, you are making the inexorable choice to pop the yolk when flipping. This way you won’t be able to get Instagram worthy photos. Rookie mistake.
Over hard isn’t mentioned here because it is the same thing as over easy, but cooked even more – therefore worse for you. You want them yolks raw, people! Count over hard eggs as number 6.5 on this list.
Scrambling the eggs is essentially mixing up the fats and proteins and directly exposing them to heat and oxygenation over and over. Avoid this if you are eating conventional feedlot eggs. (Did you forget how to source your eggs? Read here!) The fats in conventional eggs are already pro-inflammatory – they do not need to be oxidized further. Not nearly as big of a deal from pastured chickens, but still the worst way to cook eggs because it involves more opportunity to oxidize the fats and cholesterol, making them potentially detrimental to your health instead of beneficial.
So should you be eating egg white omelets? No. The yolk is still far and away the best part of the egg and NOT bad for you. Just spring for the better options of preparation listed above if you have a choice.
So there are the best ways how to cook eggs if you’re interested in maximizing the amazing health benefits! What about your egg preferences? Any favorites or different ways you make them? Let us know in the comments below!
This is the most nutritious way to prepare an egg
The INSIDER Summary:
- Heating eggs removes some of the nutritional elements in the yolk.
- Eating raw eggs is actually the most nutritious, though it might give you salmonella.
- Fried eggs require the most heat, so add coconut oil to replace some of the healthy fat.
Eggs contain endless possibilities. They have been our reliable food companions that have always had our backs. Not only are they inexpensive, easily accessible, and delicious, but are a breakfast staple and perfect snack.
But, is there an optimal way to cook an egg? For all my fellow egg enthusiasts, you might have been consuming and cooking these yummy little guys in ways that rob you of gaining their full nutritional value.
Luckily, I have ranked the common ways to prepare eggs in order of each preparation’s nutritional value. Next time you go to reach for an egg, keep these tips in mind.
Heating an egg can remove the nutritional elements located in the yolk, so if you can man up and consume an egg raw, more power to you. Just be careful of salmonella, which might lead to food poisoning.
Flickr / Neil Conway
Poaching contains less fat and fewer calories than frying or baking, as it requires less heat and added oils. If you’re looking to be classy and healthy, this is the way to go.
zaimoku_woodpile / Flickr
Not only is boiling the one of the quickest and simplest ways to prepare an egg, it is one of the healthiest. Boiling an egg keeps the yolk intact, containing all the nutrients in one stable location.
Steven Depolo / Flickr
To save yourself a few calories, use water instead of milk. This way, your scrambled creation contains the same fat, cholesterol, and calorie count as a boiled egg. If you’re looking to cut back the calories further, separate the yolk and only use the egg whites.
Frying an egg requires the most heat, which affects the chemical composition of an eggs potential nutritional value. To combat this issue, use a non-stick pan, or consider using coconut oil if you’re looking to add a dose of healthy fats.
Clearly, the egg preparation hierarchy is real. If you’re looking to enjoy the taste of an egg, but also wish to eliminate unwanted calories, it might be time to scramble up your routine.
Eggs. Who doesn’t like an egg? Well, vegans don’t. But vegetarians do! Oh man, do vegetarians ever love an egg! I’m a vegetarian — well, pescatarian if you want to get technical. Also, we ate a ton of pork belly and short ribs last Friday, but it was my wife’s birthday, you know? Also also, we felt really bad about it, both emotionally and physically. It gave us tummy aches. You know what wouldn’t have? Eggs. Eggs are great.
I’ve spent decades on this big spinning blue egg we call Earth, and during that time, I’ve learned the 11, absolute best ways to eat eggs. Now, after compiling copious amounts of notes, documentations, daily egg rankings, and meditating to soothing egg videos, I’ve chosen to share my findings with you. Gobble up the white of my experience! Savor the delicious yolk of my wisdom! Exclusively here on Geek.com!
I consider this the basic. The standard. The go-to. Yes, of course scrambled eggs taste good, but everything on this list tastes awesome. Why? Because they’re eggs. We covered this already. The really great thing about scrambled eggs though is that they’re so easy to make. Tried to fry and egg and burst the yolk? Well, just keep on ruining that thing and bingo, bango, you got yourself scrambled eggs. Scramble the eggs first with milk, then put it in the fridge and you’ll have yourself some fluffy deliciousness. Or, just throw a bunch of stuff into the skillet – cheese, onions, peppers, shrimp, pineapple, whatever — and you’ve just made a Lazy-man’s Omelette™.
Only potential downside to scrambled eggs is that barring some kind of hand-held pita situation, you’re not going to be able to carry them with you. Enter the hard-boiled egg. Sure, they smell like farts when you’re making them, but if you’re living a hip, fast-paced lifestyle, what better way to start your morning than shoving some entire eggs in your mouth. That’s right: biting off chunks of hard-boiled eggs is for nerds. I eat them in one go. I eat two of them in one go. Anything less is just craven cowardice.
Hard-boiled eggs are great because you can just shove them in your mouth in their entirety. The problem is, if you have to slow down to peel them, that whole strategic advantage goes right out the window of your breakfast nook. But what if I told you that there was a way to eat a hard-boiled egg, wherein someone else already did all of the work? And also added mustard and maybe some Old Bay and, if you’re lucky, some fried up chunks of pork fat? Bonus points: there’s probably some lunatic out there who gets upset when you call them “deviled.”
Sunny side up. Over easy. Over medium. Over hard. Over well. Over hard well. Over medium rare. No matter what you call it, no matter what you ask the diner waitress for, no matter how detailed you describe it, let me tell you what you’re getting: A fried egg. And that’s totally fine, because like eggs, fried things are, generally speaking, delicious. How could you go wrong? Plus, fried eggs are crucial components in a number of other different, top 11 egg options.
On a burger
Children love a burger. They keep it simple. They only use ketchup and some American cheese. Maybe mustard if they’re really adventurous or at a Whataburger. But you’re no child. You’re an adult. And that means you can and should put whatever you damn well please on a burger, including a fried egg. I’ve heard it referred to dismissively as a “heart attack burger,” but here’s the thing, pal: If you’re eating one-third of a pound of ground beef with cheese and sugary condiments sandwiched between a refined flour bun, the fried egg you put on top is the least of your concerns.
There are people who will tell you that a big bowl of rice and vegetables and chili paste doesn’t require an egg in order to be classified as bibimbop. My response? Well, it requires one to be certified delicious. Bibimbap is like a Korean cheeseburger: it’s gonna be good no matter what. But also, just like a cheeseburger, it’s approximately eight million times better with an egg on top of it. Plus, if you get the stone pot bibimbap, the egg gets fried on the side of the bowl and you can mix it all up with the mushrooms and spinach and rice and daikon and whatever else is in those delicious, delicious things.
One of the things that makes bibimbap great is that it’s a bunch of yummy Korean stuff all mixed together with an egg. So, it should come as no surprise that the same formula works if you swap out “Korean” for “Mexican.” Tortillas, beans, rice, some kind of chili sauce, avocados — it’s like your burrito exploded and someone threw an egg on it as if it would help the situation. And you know what? It did.
Breakfast nachos. I’m sure there are some really, truly excellent explanations of why that description is insufficient for something as scrumptious as chilaquiles, but it totally does the job, so why fight it? Breakfast nachos. If that doesn’t immediately sell you, then you clearly know nothing about breakfast or nachos, and because of that, I grieve for you. Fried tortillas, cheese, vegetables, sauce, beans and, of course, an egg. Best of all, unlike nachos, you can order it without any smarmy jerks saying “Oh? You mean Mexican Pizza,” before launching into an unsolicited soliloquy on why nachos aren’t real Mexican food.
When I was a younger man — a less experienced, less worldly, less confident man — I used to be uncomfortable ordering a croque madame. Surely, I thought, if I were to look past the croque monsieur — the French ham sandwich that was named in a way to indicate its virile masculinity — if I were to then choose to order a croque madame, certainly the response would be condescending tittering if not outright derisive laughter. But here’s the thing: putting an egg on a grilled ham and cheese sandwich is France’s greatest contribution to the world. Don’t project your hangups on me, man.
Yes, it’s a little — no, scratch that, it’s a lot more work than a scramble with a bunch of different stuff in it. But with endless variations of ingredients, a French name that’s just fancy enough and doesn’t force you to confront your ingrained, institutionalized cultural perceptions of masculinity and its performance, how could the mighty omelette not have a place on this list? There’s no wrong way to construct your omelette. Unless you don’t put cheese in it. Go ahead. Put cheese in your omelette. You’ve been working hard this week. You deserve it.
In a glass
Let’s drop the pretense, shall we? Eggs rule. They’re about the most delicious and awesome foodstuff there is. How good are they? So good that you can just crack ’em into a glass and chug ’em. Open your gullet and just let that big yellow yolk slide on down. Yeah, that’s right. Rocky did it. You think you’re better than Rocky? Rocky beat Apollo Creed and then avenged Apollo Creed. You’d be lucky just to lose to Apollo Creed, and they sure as hell wouldn’t make a movie about it. Now go drink some eggs.
Eggs! All kinds of eggs prepared all kinds of different ways! But these are the absolute best ones, about which we will brook no arguments or discussion. Though, to be fair, all eggs are pretty delicious, no matter what format, medium, or genre. Except for poached eggs. Poached eggs are for imbecilic, paste-eating buffoons (like dear editor James, who loves those things).
Runners-up: Loco moco, those soy sauce eggs they put in ramen, migas, and Scotch eggs.
Aubrey Sitterson won’t be caught dead eating a poached egg. Catch him live on his sword & sorcery serial podcast SKALD, his professional wrestling podcast STRAIGHT SHOOT, on his website, or yammering about stuff on Twitter.
Eggs 101: Are Some Eggs Healthier Than Others?
The egg section in your grocery store is stocked with many varieties of eggs. Some specialty eggs appear to be healthier than the regular white eggs. Are they worth the extra money?
Did You Know?
Egg yolk color is determined by the type of feed a hen eats. A wheat-based diet will produce a pale yellow yolk, while a corn or alfalfa-based diet yields a darker yellow yolk. The most important thing to remember is that the color of a yolk does not indicate egg quality, freshness, or nutritional value.
- Brown Eggs: Eggshell color can vary but it has nothing to do with the quality, flavor, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness of an egg. The eggshell color is mostly dependent upon the breed of the hen.
- Omega 3 enhanced eggs are from hens fed a diet of flax seed or fish oils. Omega-3 enhanced eggs contain more omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E than regular eggs. An independent test conducted by the CBC TV show Marketplace found that omega-3 enhanced eggs contain approximately 7 times more omega-3 fatty acids than regular white eggs.
- Organic eggs are produced by hens fed certified organic grains without most conventional pesticides and fertilizers. Growth hormones and antiobiotics are also prohibited for this designation class. Organic eggs have the same nutritional content, fat or cholesterol as regular eggs.
- Free-Run or Cage-free eggs are produced by hens that are able to move about the floor of the barn and have access to nesting boxes and perches. The nutrient content of these eggs is the same as that of regular eggs.
- Free-Range eggs are produced in a similar environment as cage-free eggs but hens have access to outdoor runs as well. The nutrient content of these eggs is the same as that of regular eggs.
- Processed eggs such as liquid egg whites or dried egg whites are regular eggs broken by special machines then pasteurized before being further processed and packaged into a liquid, frozen or dried form. Processed egg products may also contain preservatives, flavor or color additives.
Eggs and Cholesterol: How Many Eggs?
Studies have shown that healthy adults can enjoy an egg every day without increasing their risk for heart disease. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found no significant link between eating eggs and developing heart disease among healthy individuals. And health authorities have since removed the daily upper limits for cholesterol intake. However, if you have high cholesterol or known risks for heart diseases, the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends not eating more than 2 egg yolks per week (you can have as many egg whites as you like).
The Bottom Line
Eggs are a nutrition powerhouse. Rich in folate, Vitamin B12, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, eggs also provides a good source of lutein, a type of an antioxidant.
According to the Egg Nutrition Center, the nutritional value of an egg is affected ONLY by the feed. In other words, specialty eggs such as organic eggs, or cage-free eggs provide the same nutritional value as the regular varieties if their feeds are the same.
If you are concerned about animal welfare, you may look for United Egg Producers Certified Eggs. These eggs come from hens living in humane conditions with attention to living environment, healthcare , and treatment. More information about the UEP program here.
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.
Organic: Sometimes nothing.
Certified Organic, or USDA Organic: Cage-free, antibiotic-free, pesticide-free, with access to outdoors and fed only organic feed. The standards for organic eggs was raised just two days before President Obama left office in January, and it now requires a modicum of fresh air and sunlight within the barn. There is some tension between whether a consumer should prioritize pasture-raised or organic, as eggs aren’t necessarily both.
Brown: The shells of the eggs are from a type of hen that lays brown eggs, but there is no substantive difference in the edible material.* There are even chickens in South America that lay green eggs, just like in that book. I can’t speak to the health properties of green eggs, but brown- and white-shelled can be regarded as functionally identical. If someone is trying to make you think that brown eggs are healthier than white eggs (as is actually the case with brown rice versus white rice and whole grains versus refined grains), then this is a manipulative person.
Fertile: These eggs come from a hen that actually mated with a rooster. The USDA claims no nutritional benefit to fertile eggs.
Large: This is the average size for eggs.
Extra large: The average weight per dozen eggs is 27 ounces. This means that a carton of a dozen eggs could have one comically tiny egg and still be legally considered extra large. Or 11 small eggs and one enormous egg, as long as the average is at least 27 ounces. Then at a party, for example, you could say to a friend, “Look at this extra-large egg.” Your friend could say, “That looks like a small egg, to me.” And you could say, “Well, you’re wrong.” Conversation started. It’s that easy.
Jumbo: Even bigger.
Whoa: So big they might not be chicken eggs. But then what else would they be? This isn’t an actual label term, but I bet there’s a market for it.
Vegetarian-fed hens: There were no animal parts in the chicken feed, and, more tellingly, the hens did not spend time foraging in a pasture.
Omega-3: The birds ate at least a little bit of something that contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are generally considered to be a healthy nutrient when taken as part of a healthy lifestyle. But this feeding process isn’t guaranteed to manifest as higher levels of omega-3 in the eggs themselves. If you’re looking for omega-3 fatty acids, consider eating something other than eggs.
No GMOs: This label is increasingly common despite oblique relevance. Farmers have used selective breeding to make chickens that have enormous breasts—too large to even walk—and to grow quickly and to produce many eggs, some of them Jumbo. But none of this has been accomplished using “genetic modification” in the sense that people tend to object to when they say they’re avoiding “GMO.” That typically refers to organisms whose genes have been modified in a lab. That is the place where some people draw an ethical line. In any case, when you see GMO on a carton of eggs, it’s referring to the things the chickens were fed, meaning that no genes were added or removed from the elements of the feed that the chickens ate. There is no evidence to suggest that this would make for a better or healthier chicken egg.
How to Cook Eggs Without Oil or Butter
- Hard-boiled eggs: The American Egg Board (AEB) suggests putting the eggs in a pan, filling it with water until the eggs are submerged and heating the water over high heat until it boils. Then, take the pan off the heat and cover it for about 12 minutes. Take the eggs out of the hot water and place them in a bath of ice-cold water until they’ve cooled.
- Poached eggs: The AEB also lists a recipe for poached eggs. Fill a pan with 2 to 3 inches of water, broth, wine, milk, tomato juice or any other liquid and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Break fresh, cold eggs into a saucer and gently slip them into the liquid, one at a time. Cook them without stirring until the whites are done and the yolks begin to thicken slightly. Use a slotted spoon to lift them out and drain away the excess liquid.
- Deviled eggs: LIVESTRONG.com recommends a healthier take on the traditional deviled egg recipe. Make a stuffing mixture with 1 tablespoon of low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon of fresh chives and some lemon juice. Slice a hard-boiled egg in half and remove the yolk. Stuff the yolk cavity with the yogurt mixture and sprinkle a dash of paprika on top.
- Avocado and egg salad: LIVESTRONG.com also lists a healthier version of the original egg salad recipe. Mash half an avocado and add in white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt to make a creamy dressing. Hard-boil six eggs, remove the yolks and cut the egg whites into cubes. Dice the other half of the avocado and add it to the eggs, along with the dressing and a half-cup of chopped onions.
- Simmered scrambled eggs: Whisk eggs until they are scrambled. Pour them into any soup, gravy or risotto that’s simmering on the stove to give it a rich and creamy consistency.
My guide to cooking the perfect, healthy, fried egg – a properly cooked white and lovely runny yolk, without drowning it in oil.
I was in two minds whether to write this post. I mean, how difficult is it to fry an egg – heat some oil in a pan, crack an egg into it and fry until cooked – simple.
So why write it?
Quite simply, because it was the first thing I remember learning to cook (I did win first prize for my rock cakes at our village show when I was about seven, but I can’t remember how to make those now so I decided that they don’t count – my mum probably gave me quite a bit of help too).
I know with a lot of food bloggers their passion for cooking started when they were little, cooking at home with family. But I honestly can’t remember learning to cook anything before I was about twenty. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely remember cooking at home with my mum, but I just don’t think anything sank in. I suspect I’ve just got a terrible memory for recipes. One of the reasons I started this blog was to write down any recipes I’ve come up with myself, otherwise I forget them and end up missing out key ingredients when I try and cook them again.
When I was about twenty, I remember a friend, who worked as a chef at the time, explaining to me the secret of cooking a good fried egg – using a lid to circulate heat around the egg. This helps the top of the white to cook without overcooking the bottom of the white or the yolk. It was the first “recipe” that stuck in my brain (I say “recipe” it was more of a tip) so here it is…
The Healthy Fried Egg
My guide to cooking the perfect, healthy, fried egg – a properly cooked white and lovely runny yolk, without drowning it in oil. 5 from 1 vote Active Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Servings: 1 egg
- 1 Egg
- 1 squirt of olive oil spray
- Frying pan with glass lid – any saucepan lid roughly the same size as the pan will do, but glass is best so you can see when the egg is cooked
- Kitchen paper
- Heat the oil in the frying pan, once hot, use the kitchen paper to spread a thin layer of oil over the base of the pan
- Carefully crack the egg into the pan and cover with the lid – Usually when you fry an egg the oil can be splahed up to help cook the top of the egg white. When using a minimal amount of oil this isn’t possible. This means that the white takes a long time to cook all the way through. By the time the white is cooked, the yolk is no longer lovely and runny and the white can be a little overcooked and rubbery on the bottom. Coving the pan with a lid circulates heat all around the egg helping the top of the white to cook more quickly.
- Leave the egg to cook for a couple of minutes, until the white is just cooked – The glass lid will allow you to keep a close eye on the egg while it cooks so you know exactly when to take it off the heat
- Remove from the pan immediately and serve, seasoned with a little salt – if you leave the egg sitting in the hot pan it’ll over cook, even if the heat is turned off.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a comment and rating at the bottom of the page to let others know what you thought. WANT TO HEAR ABOUT NEW RECIPES FIRST?SUBSCRIBE to the Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen Mailing List
Calories: 62kcal | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 60mg | Vitamin A: 240IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.
I embark upon this column in the full and certain knowledge that many of you already know how to fry an egg. Indeed, if you are completely confident in your abilities, and never find yourself disappointed by a sadly snotty white or tragically chalky yolk, then pat yourself on the back and then move along – I can teach you nothing. But if, like me, you can fry a perfectly decent egg but wouldn’t stake your life on your habitual method, then you are more than welcome to join this brave voyage back to the basics of cookery.
Those still reading should take heart from the fact that the great Fernand Point, feted as the father of modern French cuisine, is said to have judged a chef by the way he fried eggs. He’d interrupt hopeful apprentices at the stove, legends including Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros brothers, with the cry, “Stop, unhappy man – you are making a dog’s breakfast of it!” before demonstrating the only proper way to execute the dish.
Further reassurance comes from award winning Spanish chef José Andrés, who claims “my whole life I have been trying to cook an egg in the right way.” Andrés exalts in what he calls “the humbleness” of the dish, but that doesn’t mean he just slings it into a hot pan and goes off to make some toast – far from it. Both these culinary giants have very different ways of frying an egg – but who’s right? (Note here I’m aiming for the standard British fried egg, known in the States (and perhaps elsewhere?) as “sunny-side up”. There will be no flipping.)
The egg itself: when is an oeuf an oeuf?
Here I’ll be concentrating on the hen’s egg because, realistically, that’s what most of us cook up, but it’s worth pointing out that duck eggs have larger yolks, proportionally (and are also bigger all round) and, arguably, a better flavour than many commercial hen’s eggs. Be aware, however, that the higher protein content of the white will mean it cooks through more quickly, so it may take some practice to get right. (With ostrich eggs, you’re on your own.)
As ever, if you keep your eggs in the fridge, then you should let them come to room temperature before cooking – if you start with a cold egg, then you’re more likely to end up overcooking the yolk trying to get the white to set. Very fresh eggs are best for frying, because the stronger proteins will give you a neater shape (this may sound obvious, but older eggs are better for things like boiling, because they’re easier to peel).
The cooking fat
Delia Smith recipe fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Frying obviously involves adding fat – that’s why it’s so popular. Bacon fat is the traditional choice in this country, and still advocated by Delia, but very few of us eat enough of the stuff to have any around: I often use it if I’m doing eggs and bacon for breakfast, but although the flavour’s good, it does make for a messy looking egg. Delia also suggests substituting groundnut oil, which creates the opposite problem – it’s clean, certainly, but deliberately neutral tastewise.
More popular are olive oil, as favoured by Jamie Oliver, the aforementioned Andrés, and American food writer David Rosengarten (“the unaccustomed marriage of fruity olive oil flavor with creamy egg defines anew the upper limits of fried-egg excitement”), and butter, beloved of Point, his culinary disciple Bernard Loiseau, and Cook’s Illustrated, among others.
Both lend their distinctive flavours to the egg, so it depends what you’re going to be serving the dish with – I’d default to butter, because I think the richness is a better complement for the yolk, but if I were plopping it on top of a pile of morcilla and chickpeas, I might go for olive oil instead. (For a fry up, however, I will brook naught but butter.)
The cooking temperature
José Andrés recipe fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Delia uses a high heat for her favourite fried egg, which, she explains, has a “slightly crispy, frilly edge; the white will be set and the yolk soft and runny”. She cooks it at this temperature for 30 seconds, then turns the heat down to medium for another minute, which does indeed yield the crisp white she describes. I find it too tough for my taste though: it’s like chewing through a hairball, although I concede that the yolk itself is satisfyingly runny.
Andrés goes for a medium-high heat instead and, like Delia, tilts the pan to baste the egg throughout cooking. Using a smaller, steep-sided sauté pan and more oil, however, means his egg sits in a pool of hot fat, almost as if it’s being shallow fried. It takes me a few goes, and a lot of spitting oil, to get the technique right, but it yields a perfectly cooked egg in just 30 seconds – if you don’t mind it looking like a brown poached egg rather than a cheery fried one. Andrés explains that the technique “achieves a higher level of browning around the entire surface of the white, which imparts a distinctive, much more flavourful taste, given the level of caramelisation of the proteins and sugars”. Personally, although the contrast of texture between this outer shell and the soft, gooey yolk inside is undoubtedly interesting, it’s not what I want on my breakfast plate.
Jamie Oliver recipe fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Oliver dismisses such “crispy, bubbly eggs” in favour of cooking them gently over a medium-low heat. Indeed, he suggests cracking the egg into a cool pan, and allowing it to heat with the oil, cautioning that “if starts to spit … turn the heat right down”. Far better from a cleaning point of view, certainly, but is the result noticeably nicer? It’s certainly “soft and silky” as promised, but the white takes absolutely ages to cook through. They’re the best eggs yet, but I’m not convinced they’re perfect.
Fernand Point recipe fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Point cooks his egg on a heat “so low that the white barely turns creamy”, and then finishes it off with melted butter. This is certainly a nice idea, but apart from the fact it’s more butter than egg (an idea not without its attractions, I admit), it leaves me with quite a lot of undercooked white. I assume this is a deficiency in the iteration of the recipe, rather than Point’s technique, but a lump of melted butter is never going to cook a white that’s not even changed colour properly.
Tricks of the trade
Cook’s Illustrated recipe fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Cook’s Illustrated stresses that the egg should be fried “over the lowest possible heat”, but, unlike Point, the butter is allowed to foam rather than simply melt. They then cover the pan for the duration of the cooking to help speed up the process, which results in an almost perfectly cooked egg – a soft, but firm white, and a gorgeously runny yolk.
Lucinda Scala Quinn recipe fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Martha Stewart’s “executive food director” Lucinda Scala Quinn’s perfect egg recipe is similar, but she adds a teaspoon of water to the pan to help steam the egg. I don’t think this is necessary: the Cook’s Illustrated egg is just as well cooked and has a better flavour without the dilution of the butter.
Bernard Loiseau recipe fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Loiseau takes Point’s low-heat technique a step further by cooking his egg on a saucer set over a pan of simmering water and then basting it with hot butter as before. It’s even softer, but I’m beginning to wonder whether this is an entirely desirable quality – on reflection, I’d quite like my egg white to have some bite to it.
David Rosengarten recipe fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Step forward David Rosengarten, who deep fries in olive oil for what he claims is “the crispiest, most flavorful fried eggs of all”. He stresses the importance of sliding a spatula under the egg within 10 seconds of it entering the oil, a lesson I learn the hard way as I struggle to detach a monstrously overcooked egg from the pan, but otherwise, the technique is fairly simple. The results, however, are not for me – although the yolk is perfectly cooked, the white is almost crunchy, and very greasy. And as for the cleaning up …
Lastly, and with some trepidation, I try the sous-vide technique from Dr Nathan Myrhvold’s new Modernist Cuisine at Home, a book apparently “destined to set a new standard for home cookbooks”. It certainly sets a new standard for fried eggs: to make his sunny-side up eggs, I first need to borrow a sous vide machine from Lakeland.
Dr Nathan Myrhvold recipe modernist sous vide ‘fried’ egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
Myrhvold explains that cooking the perfect fried egg poses an inherent problem as the yolks and whites reach their ideal states at different temperatures. To counter this, he cooks whole eggs in a 67C water bath for 40 minutes, until the yolks are “jammy”, and discards the soupy whites. Ten fresh whites (for 4 yolks!) are whisked together with double cream and salt, and then baked, covered, in an 160C oven for 12 minutes. Once they’re just set, the yolks are plopped on top and it’s ready to serve, a mere one-and-a-quarter hours after I started. Despite my scepticism, it’s all delicious: the whites tender and creamy, the yolks sticky and rich (although I wish I’d noticed his instruction to cook the yolks at 62C for the runny centres I like) – but it doesn’t taste like a fried egg, for all my efforts. More a dinner party dish than a breakfast staple.
In an attempt to simplify the process, I also try separating the eggs and then frying them as normal, adding the yolks a minute into cooking, but it’s a fiddly business (relatively speaking) and I don’t think the results are any better than the covered eggs I liked so much. So I’ll be sticking with this simple but effective method – quick and easy enough to make the morning after the night before, and guaranteed to hit the spot every time.
Perfect fried eggs
Felicity’s perfect fried egg. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
For each egg
1 fresh egg, at room temperature
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Place a saucepan lid over the cooking eggs. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
1. Crack the egg on to a saucer to make it easier to slide into the pan. Heat the butter in a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat, and find a slightly domed saucepan lid, ideally slightly smaller than the pan itself, so you can place it over the cooking eggs.
2. Once the butter has melted, but not begun to foam, swirl it around the pan to coat, then slide in the egg. If you’re cooking more than one, be careful not to crowd the pan. 3. Cover and leave for 3½ minutes, then check the white is cooked, lift out, season gently, and serve immediately
Fried eggs: the cornerstone of a good breakfast, or the fallback option for those who haven’t mastered scrambled or poached? How do you cook your perfect fried egg, and what else do you serve them with apart from a hearty fry up?
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.
The Best Way To Cook an Egg For Weight Loss
Sunny-side up, over easy, baked, and boiled: there are nearly a dozen different ways you can cook an egg. But did you know that the method you choose to prepare this protein can either help or hurt your weight-loss goals?
To research the new book Zero Belly Breakfasts, we pored through countless studies to find that certain cooking techniques can actually maximize the health value of the mighty egg. And although this extremely versatile food is one of the cheapest sources of protein you can buy, you might as well try to get as much bang for your buck if you’re eating the superfood every day.
According to our findings, the best method we determined to cook an egg is by soft boiling it. In this method, the whole, shell-on egg is dropped into a pot of boiling water and cooked for roughly six minutes. Enough time for the whites to solidify and the yolk to remain runny. Once you shock the egg in cold water, you can peel away the shell and eat your golden egg alongside a piece of avocado toast.
So what exactly makes this method rank above the rest in terms of furthering your slim-down efforts? It comes down to protein, micronutrients, and calories.
Compared to poaching an egg, you’ll retain more of the egg and consume more protein: a macronutrient that a The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine review found to be more efficiently utilized by our body for growth compared to other animal proteins. And when you can absorb more lean protein, you can build muscle mass, boost metabolism, and displace fat more effectively.
Next up is micronutrients. In a soft-boiled egg, the yolk remains runny, which is key. Unlike hard-boiled eggs or scrambled eggs, a runny yolk has been found to contain more of the heat-sensitive nutrients like belly-fat-fighting choline, metabolism-regulating selenium, mood- and immunity-regulating vitamin D, and energy-promoting vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and B12. Plus, a Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry study found that you could lose as much as 18 percent of an egg’s levels of free-radical-fighting antioxidants when you cook the yolk.
And finally: calories. When it comes to weight loss, calories count. Certain cooking methods require fat, such as oil or butter. Just a tablespoon of butter can add an additional 100 calories to your morning meal. Soft boiling your eggs is a calorie-free method that helps keep extra calories off your plate and pounds off your frame.
That’s all, yolks! We hope you take this egg-cellent advice and use it to further your body goals, and then discover the more than 100 recipes and nutrition secrets in Zero Belly Breakfasts. Test panelists lost up to 16 pounds in 14 days.
Get the New Book!
Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!