How to cook the perfect poached, scrambled, boiled, fried egg

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Boiled eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs… there are so many ways to have eggs just by themselves. They are not only delicious but also a great source of protein, fats, nutrients, vitamins and minerals (and unlike dairy, they contain no lactose if you are allergic or intolerant). I have showed below how to cook basic eggs in 4 different ways, there are of course so many more ways to use eggs in other ways for breakfast. What’s your favorite  way of eating or cooking eggs?

Worth knowing about eggs before you set off

The reasons why some people using the same method, but getting different outcomes, are often due to the actual eggs and not the process (although you obviously need to master that too). For example, if a different size of egg is used the cooking time might be slightly different. All eggs I cook with below are large eggs (size 7 = approx 65 grams). If you cook with a smaller size you need to adapt (i.e. take off 30-60 seconds from the cooking time).  I never store my eggs in the fridge as I always need them room temperature to cook and they are fine in my pantry (if you live in a really hot place you may want to do this but then just make sure you take them out 30 minutes before you need them so they are not to cold and therefore may crack). Fresh eggs are best for poaching – if the egg is old, it will spill out everywhere when poaching. Old eggs are best for hard-boiling as they peel easily (they deteriorate as they get older and the egg’s attachment to the shell weakens), unlike fresh eggs – and so forth. Not every egg is equal 😉

Poached eggs

Fill a medium sized pot with three quarters of water (enough to cover an upright egg with at least an inch or two of water on top, otherwise it becomes flat/oval rather than round – but you may prefer it like that). Add a big splash (up to 100ml) of vinegar (this keeps the egg from spreading out – any vinegar can be used, just keep in mind that it may absorb a tiny little bit of the flavor). Heat the water to a gentle boil (keep it boiling throughout). When it’s boiling, take it off the heat and make a whirlpool in the middle of the pot by stirring quickly in circular motions. Then crack an egg and release the contents in the middle (or if you want more control, crack it in a small bowl first, then slide it in). Put it back on the heat straight away.

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Set a timer for exactly 3 minutes and 30 seconds and watch the timer like a hawk so that you can be at the pot when it goes off. If you are sitting in the couch or in another room, set it for 3 minutes. Before you get to the kitchen and get the egg out of the water you will have likely used 30 seconds.

Place the egg on a folded paper towel or a piece of bread for a couple of seconds to soak up the excess water. Serve straight away! (if you don’t the egg will keep cooking and get cold). Or, if you want to prepare a larger amount of poached eggs for guests – pop them straight into icy water and store them in the water until guests arrive. Then heat back up your water to a light boil, lower in your eggs and heat for 30-60 seconds and they are ready!

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Boiled eggs

I love my soft boiled eggs and I like them with very runny yolks but with all the egg white cooked though. All you have to do is fill a pot with enough water to completely cover the eggs and heat the water to a gentle boil. Take you pot off the heat for a moment and lower your eggs to the bottom slowly (count to 3!) so they don’t crack but not too slowly if you need more eggs in, then it might affect the cooking time. Set a timer for 6 minutes (or 5 minutes 30 seconds if you are in another room waiting – they need to cook for 6 minutes exactly – faffing about may mean it cooks for too long.

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As soon as the timer goes off transfer the eggs to icy water straight away (or keep cold water running over the eggs) to make sure the eggs don’t keep cooking in their shell (a trick I learned from my mother). Keep them there for approx 30-60 seconds, dry and serve!

For a medium egg, add another 30- 60 seconds of cooking time. For hard-boiled eggs, cook for 8 minutes.

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Fried eggs

Until recently, I was a bit rubbish at frying eggs, the bottom was too hard and chewy and the white on top wasn’t cooked all the way through. My problem? The heat was too high! To cook a sunny side up egg – the heat needs to be low-medium to give the whites time to cook all the way though. First you add oil to a non-stick frying pan and then crack your egg(s) and cook until all the white are cooked through (touch the surface to see if it’s slimy: not done yet, or if it sticks to your finger: ready). Serve straight away!

For over-easy, over-medium or over-hard eggs – flip the egg in one fluid motion by flipping the pan (non-stick important) or using a spatula and cook for a few seconds (easy), 20 seconds (medium) or 45 seconds (hard). You have to flip in one motion and reasonably fast or the yolk will break from the pull and gravity. If you cook it this way, the yolk will be runny and all the whites will cook all the way through but be soft and your teeth will go through like butter – no chewy bottoms here!

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Scrambled eggs

Start by heating up a frying pan at low-medium heat. Crack your eggs in a small bowl (3 eggs per person is usually a good amount). Then whisk like your life depended on it! The secret of beautifully light and soft scrambled eggs is air (and cooking at low temperatures). Make sure you don’t only go in circular motions, get in the middle and under the egg to get as much air as possible into it.

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It should look like the picture below left when you are done. Then slide it on to the pre-heated pan. Wait for a little while until the egg start to set at the bottom.

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Now use a spatula to push the egg from the sides into the middle whilst tipping the pan a bit so the runny parts go straight to the pan to cook.

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Keep pushing the egg until all the egg has cooked but is still wobbly, light and a little bit mushy. If you overcook it, it will be hard and not as tasty (unless you like it that way). When you have your desired consistency, use the spatula to slide all the egg on top of your favorite bread or eat just by itself drizzled with a bit of salt and pepper. Enjoy!

If you would like to see more recipes like this you can always follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

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Comments

  1. Poached eggs have always scared me. But will try it out now. An excellent post… Posting a recipe is easier but writing about basics is an effort.. Job done well here :). Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  2. mmm – and thanks for the poached egg method, I’ve never actually poached an egg..

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  3. Very useful 🙂

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  4. A tasty & great tutorial! 🙂 xx Lovely pics too!

    Like

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