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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 04 2014

A Quick Guide to Perfect Eggs: 22 Tips for Buying, Storing and Cooking a Primal Favorite

By Mark Sisson
140 Comments

EggPrimal eaters like eggs and eat many of them. What’s not to love? Highly bioavailable protein. Extremely nutrient dense. A good source of fat, including omega-3s if you pick the right type of egg. Versatile; good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It even comes in a tidy little package that travels well. And eggs are inexpensive, especially for the amount of nutrition and enjoyment you get. Yeah, eggs are good. Real good.

We don’t want to squander this precious gift from the feathered gods. So today, I’m giving you my top 22 tips, tricks, and guidelines to make the most of your eggs.

How to know if they’re spoiled. Place your eggs in a bowl of cold water. If they sink, they’re good. If they float, they’ve gone bad. If they start to float but keep one end on the bottom, they’re good but not for long. Also works for determining the guilt of suspected witches.

How to boil eggs to desired doneness. Place eggs in a pot or pan and fill with water until it reaches midway up the eggs. Remove the eggs and set aside. Bring the water to a boil at medium/medium-high heat (4 on a scale of 6). Return the eggs to the now-boiling water and cover the pot. For soft-boiled, remove eggs after 6 minutes 30 seconds. For medium-boiled, remove eggs after 8 minutes. For hard-boiled, remove after 10 minutes. After removing eggs, place under cold running water for at least 30 seconds. Drop the cooking time by 30-45 seconds if your eggs are room temperature.

Softer yolks are better for you than harder yolks. The harder the yolk, the more oxidized cholesterol (which coincidentally may not be huge issue for people who eat just a few eggs occasionally, but the more eggs you eat the more it matters). Softer yolks are just better, period.

How to peel boiled eggs. Tim Ferriss has a nifty trick where he cracks both ends, blows into it, and out pops the egg. I’ve had mixed results with this method, but if it works for you, it’s definitely the quickest way. I prefer to let the egg come to room temperature, either using cool water or time, and roll the eggs along the counter to create a web of mini cracks. This seems to separate the white from the shell and make peeling easier. Also: the fresher the egg, the more difficult it is to peel.

How to “boil” eggs and make them easily pop out of their shells. Use the steam setting on an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, for two minutes (for soft-boiled), three minutes (for medium-boiled), and four minutes (for hard-boiled but not overdone). Place in ice water for a minute and the peel should slip right off.

How to eat boiled eggs. Two ways: kosher salt and kelp powder; or kosher salt, black pepper, and turmeric.

How to cook an omelet. Got 20 seconds, two eggs, and a tablespoon of butter? Do it like Julia Child, the master.

How to cook an omelet stuffed to the gills with several pounds of ingredients. You don’t, unless you like a huge ordeal and leathery eggs. If you want eggs with tons of ingredients, make a scramble.

How to scramble eggs. There are two acceptable ways. First is Gordon Ramsay’s method, which involves lots of whisking, lots of butter, and creme fraiche. Scrambled eggs this way come out soft and slightly wet. Another method is to heat butter (or olive oil) on a stainless steel pan over medium high heat, crack whole eggs into it, and let them cook a bit – as if you were doing sunny side up eggs. Right when the bottom begins to set, go to work with your spatula, chopping and cutting and breaking up the eggs. Scrambling, in other words. As with Ramsay’s method, take the eggs off before they fully cook.

How to fry an egg. Let the pan get hot over medium heat. Don’t rush it. Don’t be impatient. That blue stuff flickering down below the frying pan? That’s pure unadulterated fire. It’s really hot and it won’t be long until the pan is hot, too. If you don’t wait, the egg will stick to the bottom and you’ll have to soak it to get the egg off and the yolk will probably break prematurely and it’ll be a whole thing. Once a drop of water sizzles into nothingness against the surface, add the fat, let it melt. Crack in the eggs. Let a shape start to form, then you have a few options. 1. Drop in a tablespoon of water and cover the pan, steaming the egg. 2. Flip the egg and turn off the heat, letting the pan cook the other side. 3. Turn the heat down and let the egg continue cooking through to the other side. Oh, and the pan should be cast iron and well-seasoned.

How to poach an egg without ruining it. Poaching eggs is annoying, time consuming, and often messy, but you can’t deny that it’s impressive and delicious when you get it right. Forget the swirling vortex, the poaching contraptions, the agony, the heartache; poach your eggs in a mesh strainer. And use the freshest eggs possible.

How to separate the white from the yolk. If I’m short on time, I’ll sometimes pop a few yolks in my mouth raw. I no longer mess around with passing the egg between shell halves (the eggs I buy have shells with strong membranes that make symmetrical halves difficult to achieve). Instead, I just crack the egg into my open hand and let the white slip through my fingers. To get that the chalazae off (the stringy thing that attaches the yolk to the shell), I pinch it between two fingers. Easy.

If you want to get fancy, you could also use an empty plastic water bottle.

How to break an egg. It’s unavoidable. You have to break the egg eventually, but how? There are many methods – one-handed, two-handed, with a knife, against a flat surface, against the edge of a bowl – but the tie that binds them all is this: a single swift smack. You must be confident. You can’t dilly dally and take a halfhearted whack that merely dents the egg and makes the job harder. Take control of the situation. Flick the wrist and “execute it quickly, like with the guillotine.”

How to get broken shells out of a cracked egg. We’ve all spent fruitless hours chasing the wily little devils around the pan with our fingers. It’s like trying to look at an eye floater head on: completely impossible. If you just use a jagged piece of egg shell itself, you can cut right through the white and nab the errant fragment. Like attracts like.

How to use yolks to thicken sauces. Butter and cream make for rich sauces, but my favorite way is to take the sauce off the heat and whisk in two raw yolks. Added viscosity and nutrition.

Spring for pastured eggs. They’re pricey, I know. But they taste so much better than battery-farmed eggs, they’re far more nutritious, and they contain more antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the yolk from oxidation during storage and cooking.

Find pastured eggs on Craigslist. Pastured eggs from the market can be really expensive, and often not that impressive. And some places might not even stock them. You’d be surprised at what you can find by searching Craigslist for eggs.

Look for duck eggs. Don’t give up chicken eggs altogther, but work duck eggs into the mix. If you can get them for the same price per egg, you’ll come out ahead as duck eggs are far richer and larger than chicken eggs. Plus, according to an admittedly biased source (DuckEggs.com), duck eggs are more nutritious than chicken eggs on a gram for gram basis. I suspect that may be an artifact of using battery-farmed chicken eggs rather than pastured eggs in the comparison.

They last longer than you think, even outside the fridge. Eggs are good for a couple months in the fridge. I’ve even left eggs out on my counter for almost a month – not during the heat of summer, but in fairly warm temperatures (~75 ºF) – and they were perfectly fine. Always do the cool water test explained above before tossing them.

Once refrigerated, always refrigerated. If your eggs have been refrigerated, they can’t become counter eggs. Avoid condensation on the shells.

When choosing eggs, look for a carton with a cracked egg. Play around with the broken shell a bit (it’s already broken so no harm, no foul) to see how much give it has. Avoid weak shells, which aren’t just hard to handle without breaking but also indicate nutrient deficiencies or excessive stress in the hen’s life. A cracked egg may even give you a glimpse at the yolk; you want dark, orange yolks whenever possible.

What to do with all the shells. Boil them, bake them, and grind them into calcium carbonate powder. Crush them and feed them to your chickens as a calcium supplement, compost them, or add them to your garden soil as a mineral supplement.

That’s what I’ve got, folks: all my favorite tips for enjoying your eggs to the fullest. What about you? What advice would you give a young man who’s never even kissed an egg?

Thanks for reading!

TAGS:  cooking tips, DIY

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140 thoughts on “A Quick Guide to Perfect Eggs: 22 Tips for Buying, Storing and Cooking a Primal Favorite”

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  1. How to get broken shells out of a cracked egg — you can also wet your finger and use that. Don’t know why it works, but it does.

    1. Or use the end of a wet napkin or paper towel. If you roll it into a point first, it’s a lot easier than your finger.

  2. How to eat boiled eggs: Place them, peeled, in a bowl with sriracha and tamari until they are black. Place them inside of Roma tomatoes. Eat.

    1. Interesting. Apparently in Europe they know that it allows bacteria to cross the shell and get into the egg and in America they don’t care about that as much as they do about the egg appearing to be uncontaminated. I don’t wash ours…after all, you’re removing the shell and boiling them definitely cleans them. (Thankfully I’m not a farmer who sells them.)

  3. A few of these tips are golden. I can’t believe you avoided making any egg based puns! You’re a better man than I.

    Considering most of us probably eat a lot of eggs, this is a really useful resource. I hate peeling boiled eggs and though I’ve tried, I don’t think I have the lungs for Tim’s method. I’ll have to try the rolling around method – I do miss boiled eggs.

    1. The real trick to the Tim Ferriss method is the baking soda in the water. It will make the eggs easier to peel no matter what.

    2. Honestly, the best way to hard boil eggs is to steam them. No jokes. We struggled – we tried poking them with a thumb tack, adding baking soda, adding salt to the cooling water – everything. Bring a pot of water to a boil, put your veggie steamer over the water, add eggs. Boil for 10 minutes, cool as normal for 5 minutes and slide them right out of their shells lickity split. Works with super fresh eggs (thankfully) too!

      1. Great tips! I’ve never tried steaming eggs, I’ll have to give this a go tomorrow!

      2. Is the steaming time for hard or soft yolk? Trying this tomorrow!

        1. 10 minutes for “hard” (they aren’t rock solid, just a smidge soft but not dry or powdery) and the link indicated soft in like 6 minutes or so.

      3. So true. I wrote a blog post about the process: I put the cold eggs in the steamer tray, then bring to boil, so the eggs do not crack. I cool in a water bath for a few minutes, then tap on counter and peel. Like you, I tried everything else too, to no avail. Steaming works!

      4. I’ve been doing it that way for years – an added benefit is that you don’t have to wait for a large pot of water to boil (uses less energy too). Win Win Win!

      5. I use a pressure cooker. Put the folding steamer thing in there with water level just below it. Use high heat to quickly build steam and seal the vent, then when the weight on top starts dancing, I turn the heat off and allow the pressure to dissipate. The shells always peal off real easy this way, and the whole ordeal takes about 6 minutes.

        How many eggs are too many to be eating per week ?, that’s what I’d like to know.

      6. I first ran across the steaming method when I discovered duck eggs – they are yummy, but notoriously difficult to peel.

        Thanks for this concise collection of egg techniques, Mark! I love and eat two poached for breakfast every morning. My method is super easy to make, and cleanup is a breeze. (I’ve never been a morning person, so it has to be easy!):

        I use a small sauce pan ~6″ diameter. Fill it with about 1.5-2″ water, cover, and bring to a boil.
        In the meantime, break two eggs into a small heat-shock-proof bowl — a ramekin works great.
        When the water is boiling, turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner (for some reason this works for both gas and electric.)
        Take off the top and quickly throw in 1 Tablespoon of salt.
        Stir til it’s dissolved (a few seconds) and you have a nice little vortex going.
        Slip the eggs into the vortex by lowering the edge of the bowl into the middle.
        Cover quick (speed while the top is off make an enormous difference in cooking time) and set your timer.
        I like 5 minutes – the whites are opaque and the yolks are runny.
        DON’T PEEK! Taking the top off for even a second will lose all your cooking heat and getting them right will be nigh unto impossible!
        6-7 minutes gives you a harder yolk.
        When your timer goes, take off the top and use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs one at a time to a small plate. There will be excess water, which I usually take care of by using the spoon to hold the eggs to the plate and tipping it over the pot. For company I’ll actually unload them onto a clean tea towel before transferring them to a plate.
        These eggs are already salted nicely. Beware the feathery egg white in the pot – those are extremely salty!
        Any residue on the pot comes out with the wipe of a sponge.

        This is a pic of todays breakfast eggs – Yum!:
        https://db.tt/yQT5rABr

        Hope that helps 🙂

    3. I put a little white vinegar in the water and they peel sooooo easy. Doesn’t affect the taste either.

  4. Um, poaching eggs is NOT difficult: Boil water in a pot. Salt the water and add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. Crack each egg into a bowl and tip them gently into the water. Cook for three minutes, and use a slotted spoon to scoop them out. The mesh strainer is an interesting idea, but I don’t get why you make it sound so difficult when it really, really isn’t.

    1. I just poached my first ever egg thanks to your easy instructions. Worked like a charm!

    2. I use your method. I also give the water a swirl to hold things together. Works fine. I wouldn’t use a mesh strainer. It must be very difficult to clean afterwards.

    3. I think it’s only difficult because- unless they are super fresh; like a day or 2, and you’ll never get that from a store- they don’t hold together well, but tend to spread out in the water. More so if the water is on a heavy boil. so you get spread out watery egg whites, instead of nice compact little pockets of egg with a lovely runny yolk.

  5. I enjoyed 2 soft boiled eggs along with some sliced tomatoes, bacon and cucumber for breakfast, they were delicious! Great post Mark.

  6. I’ve eaten 4-6 eggs for breakfast the past year and have been great. Any other breakfast paleo recommendations?

    1. Mark was just giving some tips about eggs. He wasn’t expecting a kind of Spanish Inquisition!

      1. No cream or whisking for Scrambled eggs! Why I rarely eat restaurant scrambled eggs except in a Mexican dive. The only places you can count on to scramble eggs right. Crack them into the pan and stir around until cooked, ideally with veggies, salsa, etc.

        1. I agree. I never got why some people make scrambled eggs with so many steps. Melt butter in pan. Add eggs. Break yolks with spoon. Stir until cooked. Add things if desired. Works for me.

  7. I tried the “Tim” method of getting the egg out of the shell, never had one pop out like he does, but the whole crack each end, pinch off that shell on each end and one crack on the side helps to let you just put your thumb under the shell and peel off what now looks like an egg shell jacket.
    To eat them sometimes I just make an egg salad “sandwich” (lettuce being the bread part) or just eat the egg without the “bread” part with a spoon. It’s all good.

  8. I used to give the shells to my dog all the time. Good source of calcium for him!

  9. I always use a spoon to peel hard boiled eggs. Crack the egg and work the spoon in under the shell. The shape of the spoon makes it easy to work your way around and the peel comes right off!

  10. I learned from a sweet elderly farmer a long time ago to use a spoon to help peel hard-boiled eggs. It works best on older eggs. Just crack the bottom end, peel to get a spot for the tip of the spoon and it slips right in. Takes the shell off in no time.

    Happy Eating!

  11. Mark, THANKS for the suggestion to check Craigslist for eggs!! I haven’t been able to find anyone that sold them until you suggested this. Now I found a bunch of places within a few minutes from my house. I’m picking up 4 dozen in a few minutes. LOVE your site.

    1. another great place to find eggs–underneath your pet chickens!

      Backyard chickens are an excellent mobile storage unit/vending machine for your breakfast needs.

  12. Crunch up the shells and give them back to the chickens and/or ducks (good source of calcium).

  13. Great tips. Pastured eggs are really expensive here (when I can find them), so off I go to peruse Craigslist–I would never have thought of that. And thanks for the reference to Audrey Hepburn’s “Sabrina,” my favorite guilty pleasure movie. I have that manic chef in my head every. darn. time I crack an egg!

  14. You might check out Alton Brown’s new video about baking eggs instead of boiling them. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=1faC1B8WSI0) It worked well for me and 20 eggs — although next time I’ll drop my cook time by 5 minutes for a softer yolk (maybe my oven’s not calibrated like his).

    You might also check out “Crazy Russian Hacker’s” unorthodox method of “peeling” off the egg shell. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=opK1Py1Zkt4)

  15. Regarding storage, in Europe and specifically England eggs are sold on normal shelves with other dried goods, no refrigeration and we always kept them on the counter growing up

    1. I read that eggs only keep on the counter because they have a sticky outer coating over the shell. Americans rinse this protective coating off, so we have to refrigerate our eggs.

    2. I researched this as I’m currently living in Europe and there is a difference between American and European egg processing that makes a difference:

      American eggs are washed in a way that strips off the outer layer of the shell and makes the shells more permeable (i.e. to germs), although very, very clean.

      European eggs are not washed, thus able to remain unrefrigerated at the cost of the occasional bit of dirt on the egg.

      I think you can imagine the implications for hen house cleanliness in the US vs. Europe.

      Mark’s once refrigerated, always refrigerated rule is a good rule to follow, especially when you don’t know the washing status of the eggs. If they were unrefrigerated to start with, they probably weren’t washed, if they were, who knows?

  16. You did a disservice by proclaiming the difficulty of poaching, they are so simple. Boil the water in a pot with some depth, crack and drop the egg in the “boiling” water for about 3 minutes. Magically it comes together to form a beautiful poached egg. Use a slotted spoon to take out and drain (I dab mine with a paper towel to eliminate the excess water) voila a poached egg! You do not need vinegar, I always taste it when added to the water, not necessary. Just be careful, after about a minute the white will bubble up and could boil over if you’re not watching it, simply turn down the heat but keep a slow boil going.

  17. What to do when you find an abandoned dropped carton full of fresh broken eggs on the grass outside a grocery store: eat them out of the shell, trying to ignore the people driving by, and then wipe your sticky hands all over the grass and weeds to dry, and maybe rub a little dirt or sand in them.

  18. Once refrigerated, always refrigerated?? Every grocery store I’ve ever been inside here in the U.S. sells them exclusively in the refrigerated section…

    1. In my late teens/early 20s I worked in a grocery store. They came in on refrigerated trucks, sat in the back room on pallets at room temp, then went into refrigerated cases. No harm, no fowl.

      1. Good one.

        I leave my previously refrigerated eggs out all the time. Currently have 4 dozen hen, 1 dozen duck, and 18 quail eggs. Set up on the counter, looks like an egg fortress.

    2. I used to have hens and sold eggs to friends, and mostly our eggs never saw the inside of our fridge. So his advice is good if you buy your eggs from a backyard chicken farm, or have hens yourself.

  19. Breakfast this morning? Asparagus and mushrooms sauted in butter until just warm, move to one side of the (cast iron) pan and crack 3 eggs into the other side, season, and put under the broiler until the eggs are the consistancy you like. Delicious, thanks to NomNom Paleo!

  20. You’ve never lived until you’ve fried a couple of GOOSE eggs. Getting them, though…unless you are friends with someone who raises them (I am, which is how I know about these) it’s kind of like buying drugs: “Hey, I know a guy who might have some…” (Not that I know about that, you understand, LOL.)

  21. Blech! I do not like eggs but eat them occasionally (i try once a month) just because they are good for me. I will give some of these classic cooking methods a try.

  22. Can they be left out of the fridge after cooking? If so, how long? I travel lots.

    1. Years ago I read an article in (I think) Science News, which summarised a bit of research that found significant levels of botulism forming – quite quickly – in the airless environment of unshelled hard boiled eggs, even those that were refrigerated. They recommended peeling boiled eggs ASAP, which would then necessitate refrigerated storage.

      Remember: 40F to 140F for < 4 Hrs.

  23. I use the shells in my garden to keep slugs off my plants. Rinse the broken shell halves and allow to air dry. Once dry throw into a zip-lock bag until you have a whole bunch. Then crush them up with something heavy. Spread the egg shards in a thick line around anything you want protected from slugs. They won’t cross this line, the pointy bits hurt them.

  24. I was dismayed to see that hard-boiled eggs are more oxidized. I eat a lot of hard-boiled eggs as I am working and have them at lunch. That could explain why my LDL cholesterol numbers are higher than most primal theaters even though it’s the right pattern of LDL. Can you soft boil eggs, store them in the refrigerator until packing them in your lunch, and eat them that way or do you have to eat soft boiled immediately?

    1. I soft boil eggs, then refrigerate and eat later. The yolks remain runny, but still taste good with salt.

  25. I do a cheat poach that’s easy. Brush a little butter on the smallest pan you have (unless you’re a six egg at a time person). Heat to medium. Crack two eggs in. Just as they’re beginning to set, pour in water to just cover them. Cover and let them cook the rest of the way. The water should be simmering, but not a rolling boil.

    Heat bone broth. Toss in some shredded nori. A little lemon juice. Once the broth is just boiling, turn off the heat and crack in an egg. Stir just gently enough to break up the egg, but not to shred it to little bits (nothing wrong with over-stirring, but it looks icky).

    Check out pickled eggs. I recently pickled duck eggs, and the better yolk to white ratio of them made the finished product amazing.

    Love eggs, almost any way. The summer I saved up for my first car, I practically lived on them to save money.

  26. The float test tells you if they are old and drying out. It doesn’t necessarily tell you if they are spoiled, such as might happen if a hen laid an egg outside a nest and you don’t find it until much later. Easier to happen with ducks as they lay eggs all over the place and you could easily pick up an old one if you haven’t been a thorough gatherer.

    1. False. The float test tells you if there are gasses in the egg from bacteria. It does tell you if theyre spoiled, ive always used this method and never eaten a bad egg.

      1. Apologies, i just looked it up and youre right. My mom always told me it was bacteria and i never bothered to check!

      2. I know someone who got a bad duck egg that passed the float test. We were warned by the duck owner that there was some doubt in that batch and to crack each egg into a separate bowl rather than straight into the pan or whatever. I fortunately wasn’t the unlucky one.

  27. Reading all this is making me so sad…found out Monday I am allergic to eggs! I love eggs, especially devilled with homemade mayo! Started having symptoms a few months ago that were similar to gluten symptoms..(I have celiac).

  28. Having found a pasture-raised egg source I eat as many eggs a day as my appetite can handle. This post is golden. I was not aware of the oxidative stress put on the yolk by hard-boiling an egg. My HDL:LDL ratio was great the last checkup I was in even though my overall cholesterol was high. I wonder now if I reduce the cook time on my eggs will my cholesterol improve even further?

    Eggs are my go-to snack. Interesting note you make there about shell thickness. Some of the eggs I get have thin shells, and the person from whom I buy them has had a recent spat of hawk attacks on her open pasture raised hens. I wonder if the stress is affecting the egg quality?

    1. Stress caused our chickens to stop laying entirely (we found ants in their nesting box). Thin shells are probably due to calcium deficiency. We give them oyster shells from the farm store (not whole)

  29. Here is what we do;
    cover your eggs with COLD water
    bring your pot (or pan) to a boil
    Once the water is boiling, turn off the stove and place a lid over your pot/pan
    Wait 16 minutes for hard boiled eggs
    Peel & Enjoy 🙂

    1. this is the best. let them cool to room temp and they peel easily under a bit of running water. I boil and or steam about 25 eggs a week. I do them at once and have them available all week.

  30. Some eggs:
    Brown vs white eggs: brown eggs make it easier to spot bits of shell.
    Use your oldest eggs for steaming/boiling as they will be easier to peel. Cold shock right after cooking also helps.
    An egg yolk makes a great substitute for cream in coffee
    I like to bake my eggs in a countertop convection oven. Use a large enough glass baking dish with the proper temp/time and you can consistently get firm whites and runny yolks every time. Season with garlic granules, tumeric and pepper. Pretty much my daily brunch.

  31. i get bloated and experience discomfort in stomach every time i eat eggs. any suggestions or enzymes i can take to avoid this?

  32. Duck eggs are super expensive at the farmer’s market, but maybe I’ll get some.

  33. The key to fried eggs is to cook your bacon first. That way you know your pan is hot enough, and it’s lubed up with bacon grease!!

  34. Does the yolk-to-white ratio change with the size of the egg? Or is it pretty much the same, whether you get regular or jumbo. I want to maximize the amount of yolk I get.

  35. If harder cooked eggs are more oxidized, are scrambled eggs or omelets just as bad?

    I love my omelets stuffed with veggies. I dice and saute the veggies (often mushrooms, red pepper, zucchini and green onion), take them out of the pan, then pour the stirred eggs into a moderately hot buttered pan, turning down the heat immediately to low (gas stove). I tilt the pan to get a thin layer all around (can use the corner of the spatula or a fork to lift the edge if needed).

    When it is set to my liking, I put the veggies on one half and fold over. If I’m adding cheese, it goes under the veggies. To prevent overcooking the eggs in this case, plate the omelet and pop in a warming oven to melt the cheese while cooking the next omelet.

  36. Do you have a Rice cooker? You know the ones that you add water, rice and spices and when done it clicks off.

    http://www.zojirushi.com/products/nhs

    We have a 6-cup Zojirushi NHS-10 rice cooker, that we rarely use for rice (grain) any more, but instead it now gets used constantly for making hard steamed (boiled) eggs. Ours came with a veggie steamer tray that sits at top, and fits 7 large eggs.

    For Hard Steamed: Add 1/3 cup water plus a touch more to the container. insert steamer tray with eggs into container, cover and turn on. when it’s done, it pops up to warm. remove eggs and place in a bowl of cold ice water and let set until cool. DONE. Way easy.

    No ice? Just use cold water and renew cold water every so often, 10min or so, 2-3 times.

    Vary the water amount to obtain your desired Soft-Med-Hard

    Way easy!

  37. Hi Mark, recently I had a discussion with my husband: he says that pasteurized egg whites in carton are as natural (…) as in the shell. I’m not convinced of that. Which are your thoughts about this?

    Thanks,

    Sidy

  38. We have a witch! May we burn her?

    I’m digging Mama Julia’s technique!

  39. what is the best pan to use for all types of eggs? Stainless steel, cast iron, non-stick coating? I’ve had a few cheaper non-stick pans that work great until they get a small nick in the coating and it spreads to ruin the pan. Please help!

  40. Great post thanks, I currently have 16 girls so fresh eggs are always around; also have 4 regular subscribers for my free range organic eggs. Going to try some of the hard boiling tips, a serious problem for fresh eggs; my girls lay a variety of colors, white, brown, green, blue and rose; haven’t found that color makes a difference in ease of peeling. BTW, only feathered goddesses lay eggs, no gods required unless you like them fertile.

  41. That’s a long time for soft boiled eggs! I fill a pan with enough boiling water to cover the eggs. Pop them in with a holey spoon, time for 4 1/2 minutes. Pop them out and serve straight away in egg-cups. Eat them hot, chop the tops off and stuff in as much butter as you can.

  42. This works every time for me:
    Take a 2 qt pan with a steamer basket; fill it for 5 seconds with cold tap water; add 6 refrigerated eggs; set on the highest gas flame (cheap stove, not restaurant stove!); set your timer for 10 minutes; take out 2 eggs at 10 minutes and place in tap water just to cover until just barely cool enough to handle; take the rest off the stove and let them sit for about five to ten more minutes, uncovered, depending on how hard you want them. The first 2 will be perfectly soft boiled with a mostly runny yolk. I rarely have trouble peeling them and I eat the first two, store the others for later.

  43. The top secret scramble is to cook in the microwave. You can have scrambled eggs in under 2 minutes. We do this almost everyday! Enjoy. Searching craigs now for eggs.

  44. “Also works for determining the guilt of suspected witches.” :0

    I just separate eggs in a slotted spoon, it works well for me.

  45. You barely touched on eating eggs raw. Before my surgery, I used to eat a dozen organic eggs raw each day. Now I’m down to 6 a day, raw. I just break them in a fine crystal glass and drink them … yolk and eggs whites both. I know that it has not affected my coronary arteries .. they are wide open. I will continue to eat raw eggs as the perfect food and protein.

  46. Oh, the ultimate irony! Just today I reintroduced eggs after a long trial away. I had suspected that I didn’t tolerate them and today verified it. I am upright for the first time.

    Great timing, Mark. I am now in deep mourning and you rub it in!!

    And it gets even sadder. We have 8 chickens and 2 ducks and have more eggs than we know what to do with. My way three years ago to have some control over the quality of my food. SAD!

    1. Rosanna, I’ll be right over to collect some eggs. 😛
      So sorry you can’t have that wonderful treat we call eggs. Are the duck eggs the same?

      1. Thanks. Hard to tell about the duck eggs. I had scrambled them altogether. But now am very leery to do a trial again. Maybe I should open a farm stand 🙂

    2. Too bad you can’t eat them. My heart eggs for you. Maybe you should shell them and break some money.

  47. Wow, thanks for the Julia Child omelet video. That is so awesomely easy and she is so delightful to watch. Made my day :)!

  48. For perfect scrambled eggs:
    2 eggs
    Tablespoon of coconut oil per egg
    Heavy fry pan
    Wooden spoon
    1 tablespoon of water per egg

    Heat pan on medium high. It should be HOT!
    Whisk eggs and water together.
    Add oil to pan. Wait until it starts to smoke slightly. It should have ripples on the oil’s surface.
    Swiftly pour in whisked eggs. Is should make a loud sizzle sound. If it doesn’t, the oil was not hot enough.
    Immediately swirl eggs with wooden spoon.
    Pull pan off heat and continue to stir. If cooking stops, return to heat briefly.

    The beauty of this method is the water, upon hitting the scalding oil, vaporizes to steam and puffs the eggs instantly and cooks it in seconds. No burning. Beautifully light. Full of coconut oil goodness. I add onions and red peppers I sautéed earlier in bacon grease after the eggs have puffed. I then add cheddar cheese immediately upon plating.

  49. Looks like my comment for my eggsellent idea was a dud as it was not laid down here after I submitted it. Now I’m back around and have to crack yolks about it to make me feel better before I reiterate: What to do when you find a fresh case of dozen eggs dropped outside a grocery store, half of them broken, abandoned in the grass: eat the broken ones out of the shell, trying not to be too conscious of the people driving by who can see you scavenging like a raccoon, and save the rest. Wipe your sticky hands off by rubbing them together with grass and weeds between them and do a little more in-depth scraping, gouging, and emulsifying with a little dirt and sand if you want to get your crinkly crevices clean.

    1. Maybe it was me who missed it. Yeah maybe. This web domain is an unpredictable, tricky glitch with qualities of a charlatan.

  50. I love my electric egg steamer. It’s incredibly quick, no need to wait for water to boil, and my 3 year old can have his boiled eggs in the same time it takes the 5 year old to have his fried egg. I found one that’s shaped like a hen for $3 at a thrift store years ago, but I know there are fancier ones out there.

  51. Microwave poached eggs: lay a piece of wax paper on a microwave-safe saucer or bowl. Break eggs on it. Cover with wax paper, then a damp paper towel. Microwave until the middle repeatedly pops. They are fluffier than any other form of eggs I know. Watch carefully though.

  52. Easy boiled eggs….put the eggs on the bottom of your pan and fill with cold water until one inch above eggs. Bring to a boil, take off the heat and cover for 15 min. For a hard boiled egg. Less for a softer middle!

  53. Anyone tried hard boiled in the microwave? Works like a charm. Heh heh

  54. “And it’ll be a whole thing.”

    God, Mark, it’s as if you were there in the room.

  55. Anyone tried baking them in their shells?
    They come out like hard boiled eggs but really easy to peel!
    I think there was a post on here about it a while back.

  56. You forgot the dessert eggs – 1 yolk + 1/2-1 tsp raw honey + pinch of sea salt. Whisk it up and enjoy. Fastest decadent treat known.

  57. My 2 cents worth…..If you are getting eggs from a home supplier ask him or her to not wash them. Look up ‘cuticle’ as it relates to eggs for the skinny on this.

    Second penny: Being Spring / early Summer I gather garden greens at breakfast time and put them (cleaned and chopped, of course) into a bone broth. After it heats up I crack a few eggs into the pan and set it (covered) on low for 5 minutes. The result is awesome. Spice as fits your tastes. I use home grown oregano, serrano chilis and whatever else is fresh and fits my fancy.

    Enjoy your eggs! My first batch of home grown layers will be on line this fall. I can hardly wait.

    hugs all..

  58. Been eating and boiling eggs since childhood (once of proper age and instruction) cant recall there ever not being a few hard boiled eggs in the fridge, and am always amazed at how much stress it causes others.

    Its real simple. Put half dozen eggs in medium sauce pot, COVER them with cold water, put lid on pot. Put on cold burner, turn to high, let them come to a boil, and turn off the heat after 5ish minutes. Leave for another 3-5 then douse in cold water, add 2 trays of ice. Eat warm or refrigerate. The shell should peel easily, thats what the cold shock is all about. Just crack them on the counter once or twice, and peel. Don’t roll them! If the shell should stick, you’re peeling dozens of pieces instead of a few.

  59. Duck eggs are awesome! Super tasty and so rich! Growing up, we had several kinds of chickens (mostly layers + a few meat birds) and a few dozen Muscovy ducks (for both eggs and meat). Both were raised in the same large enclosure, had access to the same food, yet duck yolks were much darker yellow. I think they ate more grass and greens than the chickens, and the chickens spent more time scratching for bugs.The duck eggs were so big and filling, we always replaced two chicken eggs for one duck egg in recipes, scrambles and omelets.

  60. Vinegar in the water when boiling eggs actually softens the shell so that it stretches instead of cracking with expansion.

    The way to tell whether an egg is hard boiled or raw: spin on a counter, the raw will wobble and the boiled will spin easily.

  61. awesome post – “real good….” like these here eggs are! 🙂

  62. Hi, you mentioned…omega-3s if you pick the right type of egg.

    Which type is this?

  63. I have backyard chickens. Unwashed fresh eggs have a natural protective coating from the laying process and need no refrigeration, but I do refrigerate eggs that are soiled from laying. Very fresh eggs cannot be easily peeled if hardboiled. I let my eggs age for 3 weeks if hard boiling.

  64. Hi Mark, you mentioned….omega-3s if you pick the right type of egg.

    Which type is that?

  65. Perfect fried eggs? Poach them on a low-medium heat in melted butter, occasionally basting the egg white (not the yolk) with the hot butter. The melted butter runs off too so won’t bump the calories much either.

  66. #23 We can pickle that!

    Totally love the variety of comments about egg prep and thanks all for some great new info. One more to mention is the Cook’s Illustrated test kitchen recommendation of beating eggs with half and half (not cream, not milk) for the fluffiest eggs.

    For me, in the baking camp for hard cooking and bacon grease in the cast iron skillet for frying. We always get the most local, fresh eggs we can and they do taste totally different esp if you are just eating the whole egg.

  67. I use a pressure cooker. Put the folding steamer thing in there with water level just below it. Use high heat to quickly build steam and seal the vent, then when the weight on top starts dancing, I turn the heat off and allow the pressure to dissipate. The shells always peal off real easy this way, and the whole ordeal takes about 6 minutes.

    Is it safe to eat 4 eggs every day ? (keeping the yolks soft).

  68. Add baking soda to the water when boiling eggs; it loosens the skin and allows easier removal of the shell either by finger-picking or the Tim Ferris method.

  69. How to boil eggs without them cracking: pin a hole in the rounded end.

  70. I have 2 eggs every morning – one of my favorites is to sauté a huge bunch of kale until it wilts down, then put two fried eggs on top – the unctuousness of the egg yolk pairs wonderfully with the bitter taste of the kale. Great way to get a bunch of greens in first thing!
    Another way I love them is to spray a large skillet pan (11 inch) with coconut oil spray and a little butter, beat two eggs and place in pan, turning the pan so every inch is covered. It will be super thin, like a crepe. Place a lid or piece of tin foil to cover for one minute. Slide off into pan – you now have a super thin crepe like egg to use for omelets, rolling up into a piece of nori and dipping in wasabi mayo, or a base you’d use a tortilla or wrap for – enchiladas, wet burritos, etc.

  71. Question- since this is the “eggstrordinary” egg eating crowd!
    Sorry,couldn’t resist after reading all these comments…

    How long will hard-boiled eggs last in the refrigerator? I saw where someone said to peel then store, but I just pop the in the refrigerator. Oh, and no smart ass comments like -” until you eat them” or “depends on how fast you eat them”. ;-p!

    Yes, I thought of those, and I KNOW you lot! Ha ha

  72. i wash them out, dry them, and crunch up the shells (not too small) and sprinkle them in the garden around each lettuce plant to keep the snails away. they don’t like walking over the sharp bits of shell.

  73. Great article!
    I glanced at the title and thought it was an article on fertility at first.

  74. In our experience our fresh eggs from our organic fed free range chickens are easy to peel when hardboiled. Before we got more birds we got farm fresh but GMO fed from a friend and they were TERRIBLE to peel. The baking soda thing makes me think more neutral eggs peel better, and GMO eggs are acidic and acidic is bad for you….. Hmm more evidence? 🙂

  75. I often boil 10 -12 eggs at a time so I have snacks ready for when I’m in a rush. Sometimes I forget which eggs are raw and which ones I’ve already boiled. A trick to figure out which ones have already been boiled is to spin the egg on end. If it spins without falling over, it has already been boiled!

  76. The best method I’ve found for “hard boiling” our fresh-from-our-hens pastured eggs is to place a dozen in a muffin tin with a little bit of water in each cup and bake them in the oven for 30 mins at 320 degrees. Perfect hard-boiled eggs that peel more easily. My husband and I each eat one daily, so I go through hard boiled eggs fast and traditional boiling methods didn’t help with peeling them. This method has been very successful.

  77. my daily breakfast, 2 very soft boiled eggs with butter and dukkah, yum!

  78. Julia Child! Wonderful. I looked up and watched nearly the whole omelette episode. At the end she discussed an omelette party, complete with all the fixins – creamed spinach (???), chicken livers (!), creamed crab or lobster (mmm), cheese. Did some of her creations look funky and a bit gross? Sure, the presentation was not perfect (parsley on everything), but I’m sure it was delicious.

    I attempted to use her method this morning for breakfast, and did not botch it completely. There is hope yet.

  79. Might be useful to familiarize yourself with the horrific history of the genocide of women-witches-in Europe and America. Not very amusing and further perpetuates the misogyny so prevalent today. Love your work…simply found your comment about witches to be off-putting and inappropriate.

  80. Cook bacon before you cook your eggs. Put eggs/veggies in bacon grease. Enjoy.

  81. You had the right idea with adding boiling water to the eggs, but we never juggle eggs out of the pot, then back into the pot of boiling water. We just bring some water to a boil in another pot (or in our electric kettle), then pour the boiling water over the eggs that are sitting in a pot. Way easier!
    We bring ’em back to a boil, then let ’em sit 20 minutes in the hot water. then pour off the water, toss the pan in the air a bit to crack the eggs, then refill the pot with cold water. If you peel ’em underwater, they come off quite easily.
    That from the New Deli lady who’s been peeling eggs for over 30 years 🙂

  82. Hi Mark,

    I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and I’m insulin resistant so I generally try to steer clear of carbs. Eggs form a significant proportion of my diet and I usually consume about 6 per week.

    However, I was recently advised that eggs can hamper weight loss (a goal I am trying to achieve) for those suffering from PCOS. I’ve been unable to find any evidence to support this but do you have any advice on this?

    Eggs are so versatile and delicious so I’d hate to cut them out of my diet! Any advice you could provide would be much appreciated.

    Thanks so much!

  83. Took me a bit to figure out what you meant by “pastured eggs”. A lot of areas refer to these as “eggs from free range chickens”. You might want to include that explanation in your link to “pastured eggs”.

  84. Best way to enjoy soft yolk so far: butter and shiro miso. You will thank me later.