What Are the Different Ways to Cook Eggs?

Eggs in a basket

Eggs are the perfect food. But what are the the different ways to cook eggs? And how do you cook them? Read on to find out.

How to Store Eggs

First of all, before you learn what are the different ways to cook eggs, I want to give you some tips on how to get the best from your eggs.

Eggs should not be kept in the fridge. I know that’s where most people keep them, but it’s much better to store your eggs on the worktop or a shelf. There is a good reason for this; if you want to use eggs to bake a cake then they are better at room temperature rather than chilled, as the temperature of the eggs can affect the way the cake turns out. But if you really want to keep your eggs in the fridge keep them in their box on a shelf, not in the little pockets in the fridge door.

Also, if you want to make meringue, cold egg whites take longer to whisk than those at room temperature.

Food Safety When Cooking With Eggs

The other issue is bacteria. Bacteria can grow rapidly on the shells if you take your eggs out of the fridge, and then allow them to come up to room temperature. There is then a greater risk of the bacteria finding its way into the food when the egg is cracked.

That’s the last thing you want to happen.

You’ve probably heard of salmonella. Eggs are susceptible to this rather nasty strain of bacteria. If you keep the eggs at a constant temperature then there’s less chance of this happening. Fortunately for us, cooking eggs kills the bacteria and reduces the risk of contracting salmonella significantly. The fresher your eggs are, the less likely it is that you will be at risk. Check the use by dates on the carton or on the egg itself before you use them.

How to Cook Boiled Eggs

Boiled egg and toast
The first thing to learn about cooking eggs is how to boil an egg to your liking. Do you want a soft-boiled egg (firm white with a soft, runny yolk) or a hard-boiled egg (firm white and hard yolk.) How long will you need to boil the egg for? The timings I use are 4.5 minutes for a soft-boiled egg and 8 – 9 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. These times may vary according to preference and the size or freshness of the eggs, but this is something that you will learn as you go along. Always use a timer for accuracy.

To start with, fill a saucepan with hot water and place it on the hob on a high heat. The size of the pan depends on how many eggs you’re cooking. The water will need to cover the eggs completely so ensure the pan is deep enough. Bring to the boil then use a spoon to gently and slowly lower the eggs into the water. If the eggs are too cold the shells can crack, letting in water. The eggs will temporarily stop the water from boiling but it will soon come back to the boil.

Now turn the heat down slightly, but not too much as you want the water to actually boil. (It should be bubbling quite vigorously.)

Remember to set your timer. This is important; if you wander away for a few minutes your soft-boiled egg for breakfast will be hard-boiled. When the time is up, take the pan off the heat, lift the egg out of the water with the spoon and if it’s a soft-boiled one, serve straight away. Hard-boiled eggs should be run under cold water for a few minutes to stop further cooking. This also prevents an unsightly green ring from forming around the yolk.

Hard-boiled eggs are nice chopped and mixed with mayonnaise in a sandwich. Soft-boiled eggs are a favourite breakfast for me, with bread and butter or toast to dip into the soft yolk.

How to Cook Fried Eggs

One fried eggSo, how do you cook fried eggs? These are delicious served with bacon as part of a full English breakfast, or on toast. Again, there is a method to how to cook fried eggs but don’t worry, it will soon become second nature to you.

First of all, place a non-stick frying pan on the hob. Heat the pan with about a tablespoon of oil (sunflower or vegetable) then tap the shell of the egg firmly with the side of a fork. Gently and carefully separate the two halves of the shell with your thumbs, while holding the egg just above the pan’s surface. The yolk shouldn’t break as it’s only dropping a centimetre or so. If the oil is hot enough the white of the egg will start to set immediately. If the oil starts spitting, lower the heat.

Use a spoon to scoop up and tip the hot oil over the egg a few times as it’s cooking. This will make sure the white is fully set. Undercooked egg white is slimy and unpleasant! Lift the egg from the pan with a spatula, allow the oil to drain off, and serve.

Poached Eggs

Cooking poached eggs is something that even experienced cooks struggle with. But I have an easy method for poaching eggs that ensures they turn out just right, every time.

Take 2 large, fresh eggs. Make sure they’ve been removed from the fridge for at least an hour to come up to room temperature. Line 2 shallow dishes (such as ramekins) with cling film and crack an egg into each one. Bring up the edges of the cling film and twist them together. Not too tightly, the egg will need some room.

Bring a pan of water up to the boil and gently lower the wrapped eggs into the water. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 5 minutes.

To serve, cut off the top of the cling film wrapping and slide the egg out onto a plate or onto your slice of toast. The white should be fully set, but with a creamy, runny yolk.

Scrambled Eggs

scrambled eggs and bread rolls
Another way to cook eggs is to scramble them. This is not difficult, but I have seen a few disasters in the kitchen with burned eggs glued to the base of the pan. This won’t happen if you follow my method, so don’t worry.

Take a non-stick saucepan and add about a teaspoon of butter. This is mainly for flavour but can also help prevent sticking. Crack the required number of eggs into a bowl, add a splash of milk then take a whisk or fork and beat well. Season with salt and pepper and whisk again. The yolk and white should be well combined. If not, whisk for a few minutes more.

Heat the butter in the pan until it’s melted and starting to sizzle, then pour in your eggs and keep an eye on them. The heat should be set to medium so that the eggs cook slowly and evenly. Stir frequently and solids should soon start to appear in the puddle of liquid. When there is no more liquid egg left then your scrambled eggs are ready to serve. Lovely on hot buttered toast!

How to Make an Omelette

Now for something slightly more ambitious – omelettes. The process of cooking an omelette is quite similar to scrambling an egg but instead of forming soft masses of egg you’re aiming for the mixture to remain in one piece, like a flat cake. I hope that makes sense.

There are a few different methods for cooking omelettes but I will teach you how to cook them the way I do. (It’s always worked for me.)

Beat the required number of eggs in a bowl with some salt and pepper and a splash of milk (I find 2 eggs per person to be about right but it depends on how hungry you are) then heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or whatever you have available) in a non-stick pan. Pour in the beaten eggs and allow to cook for a few minutes.

Then, using a flat-bladed knife or a spatula, carefully lift the edges of the omelette and tilt the pan slightly to one side, towards the knife or spatula. This enables the uncooked egg to run underneath. Repeat this a few times until the surface looks almost set then remove from the heat.

You can either serve the omelette as it is, using the knife or spatula to flip and fold one side of the omelette towards the centre (the residual heat will finish cooking the top) or you can sprinkle it with some grated cheese and pop the whole thing under a hot grill for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and the edges have puffed up and turned golden.

If your omelette breaks as you fold it, don’t worry. It will still taste good.

You can also add things like ham, mushrooms, onions, cooked potatoes or peppers to the pan and fry them gently before adding the egg mixture. The rest of the method is the same as for a basic omelette. Experiment and see what works for you.

Egg Recipes

Here are some simple recipes for you to try. All recipes serve 2 but to serve more people the quantities can easily be doubled or tripled.

Egg Mayonnaise

This simple egg recipe was a popular starter at one time, now it’s a popular sandwich filling. For best results, use very fresh eggs and a good quality, thick mayonnaise

2 large eggs
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
Salt and pepper

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil then carefully lower the eggs into the water with a spoon. Cook for 8 minutes then drain off the water. Cover the eggs with cold water and leave until cooled completely. Peel off the shells and chop the eggs into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper and add the mayonnaise. Stir thoroughly. This makes a delicious filling for sandwiches or a topping for jacket potatoes.

Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Cheese

A variation on the basic scrambled egg recipe. Use a good, lean ham with lots of flavour. Brunswick ham is particularly good.

4 large eggs
Salt and pepper
2 slices of ham, chopped
30g of grated cheese
A teaspoon or so of butter

Crack the eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper and whisk with a fork or a whisk until evenly blended. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan until it starts to sizzle then pour in the eggs. Lower the heat to medium as you don’t want to cook the eggs too quickly. Stir frequently; the eggs will start to set on the bottom first so you need to stir the cooked egg and allow the runny bits to set as well.

Once the eggs are all set stir in the ham and cheese and cook for a couple of minutes more until the cheese has melted. Serve on toast.

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

This makes a very special breakfast for two. (Or just for you, if you feel like spoiling yourself)

4 large eggs
30g smoked salmon, cut into strips
A teaspoon of butter
Salt and pepper

Follow the recipe for basic scrambled eggs above. About a minute before the eggs are done add the smoked salmon. Stir and serve. This is a luxurious breakfast or brunch served on hot buttered toast or toasted bagels. (Be careful when adding salt as the smoked salmon is already quite salty.)

Scrambled Eggs with Cream Cheese and Chives

Chive scrambled eggs
As before, follow the basic scrambled egg recipe. When the eggs are almost set, add a good heaped tablespoon of soft cheese with chives and stir into the eggs. The eggs will be softer than usual due to the moisture in the cheese.

Mexican Scrambled Eggs

Spice up your eggs with this tasty combination of ingredients. You can use sliced fresh chillies instead of cayenne pepper if you want more heat.

2 large eggs
1 red or green pepper
A bunch of spring onions (about 6 onions)
1 large ripe tomato
A pinch of chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of oil

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds then chop the two halves into small pieces. Add to the hot oil and lower the heat slightly. Cook for about 5 minutes. Trim the spring onions by cutting off the root end and the last half of the green part. Slice the onions and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until softened.

Chop the tomato and add to the pan for a couple of minutes then add the beaten eggs. Stir frequently over a low heat until the egg has set. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cayenne pepper to serve.

Mushroom Omelette

Mushroom omelette
Mushrooms and eggs go so well together. This is one omelette you will want to make again.

4 large eggs
150g mushrooms, wiped and sliced
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Wipe the mushrooms over with some kitchen paper (don’t wash them as they will be too wet) and slice quite thickly. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and when it’s hot add the mushrooms. Lower the heat slightly and cook the mushrooms for a few minutes until softened. They will shrink as they cook but that’s normal.

Pour in the eggs and give them a few minutes to start setting at the edges. Using a flat bladed knife gently lift the edges of the omelette and tilt the pan to allow the liquid egg to run underneath. Once there is no more liquid egg take the pan off the heat and use a knife or spatula to fold the omelette in half. The heat will be enough to finish cooking the omelette.

Cheese and Onion Omelette

Cheese and chive omeletteCheese and onions are a marriage made in heaven. Add some eggs and you have a filling, high protein breakfast or lunch that’ll keep you satisfied for hours.

1 small onion, finely chopped (see method)
4 large eggs
50g grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of oil

First of all, you need to prepare the onion. Cut it in half and peel off the papery skin. Then slice off the root end and the top end. Use a sharp knife to cut the onion into thin slices one way, then turn the onion slices and cut the opposite way so that you have small pieces (don’t be afraid of sharp knives, they are safer to use than blunt ones.)

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and when it’s hot add the chopped onions. Lower the heat and cook the onions for about 6 or 7 minutes. They should start to look pale golden. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the onions and leave to cook for a few minutes then lift the edges of the omelette with a knife or spatula to allow the liquid egg to run underneath.

Place the pan under a hot grill to set the top of the omelette, then sprinkle with the grated cheese. Pop the pan back under the grill for a minute until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Fold the omelette and serve.

Tomato, Avocado and Mozzarella Omelette

This has all the colours of the Italian flag, and the flavours of Italy too.

4 large eggs
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avocado
1 ball of mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for frying

To prepare the avocado, first make sure that it’s ripe. If you gently squeeze the avocado you should feel a slight ‘give’ under your fingers. If it’s hard and has no give in it then it’s not ripe.

Cut the avocado in half all the way through lengthways and twist the halves in opposite directions. It will separate, leaving the stone in one half. Using a knife, carefully lift the stone out of its hollow and discard it. With a spoon scoop out the flesh from the skins and slice or chop roughly.

Beat or whisk the eggs well. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and pour in the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes then use a knife or spatula to lift the edges of the omelette and allow uncooked egg to flow underneath. Once the omelette looks set, add the tomatoes and avocado. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the grill to high. Drain the water off of the mozzarella and tear it into small pieces. Scatter over the omelette then put the pan under the grill until the cheese has melted. Fold and serve with a salad.

Sweet Souffle Omelette

Sweet omeletteA sweet omelette? Yes, really! It puffs up like a souffle during cooking and is light yet satisfying. You’ve got to try this. Serves 2.

3 large eggs, separated
3 teaspoons caster sugar
25g butter
Mixed fresh berries, bananas, maple syrup or ice cream to serve

To separate the eggs, crack them carefully with the side of a knife then, holding them over a bowl, allow some of the egg white to run out. Then gently and carefully tip the half shell with the yolk in it into the empty second shell. The egg white should run off into the bowl. You may need to do this a few times to allow all the white to drop into the bowl. Repeat with the other 2 eggs and put the yolks in a separate bowl.

(Be careful not to get any yolk in with the egg whites, if this happens throw them away and start with fresh eggs. The whites won’t whisk properly if there’s any yolk in them.)

Beat the sugar into the egg yolks then, using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and have increased in volume. Now gently fold the whites into the yolk, using a large metal spoon. Cut through the mixture with the spoon then turn the spoon over in a figure of eight motion. You want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

Heat the butter in a non-stick pan until sizzling then pour in the eggs. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes. Lift the edge with a knife to see if it’s getting browned underneath. Pop the pan under a hot grill for a few minutes to set the top. It will puff up nicely but don’t worry if it sinks when you serve it, that’s normal.

Serve the omelette with fresh fruit, bananas and maple syrup, defrosted frozen mixed berries or lemon curd and Greek yoghurt. This is lovely for breakfast but you can also serve it as a dessert, with cream or ice cream.

Baked Eggs en Cocotte

Sometimes called convent eggs, these are rich and creamy and make an elegant breakfast or brunch.

2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of double cream
Salt and pepper
2 slices of ham, chopped
30g grated mild cheese

Take 2 small ovenproof ramekin dishes or cups and use the butter to grease them thoroughly inside. Add the chopped ham, break the eggs over the ham and season with salt and pepper. Pour the cream over the top and lastly add the grated cheese.

Fill a shallow tin with boiling water so that it comes about half way up the sides of the egg dishes, then put the whole thing into a preheated oven, gas mark 4/180C/350F. Bake for 15 minutes until the eggs are set. Serve with buttered toast.

*For a vegetarian version, swap the ham for some sliced and lightly fried mushrooms.

But don’t eggs cause health problems if you eat too many? Find out more by visiting this post –  do eggs cause high cholesterol?

I hope that this has given you some confidence to try cooking eggs in different ways. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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2 thoughts on “What Are the Different Ways to Cook Eggs?”

  1. I usually go with scrambled in the pan, a bit of oil, cook up some potatoes in the rice cooker add those in with whatever cheese I feel like adding in, and mixing it all together! That’s actually what I had this morning lol, but that’s a go-to for me for a small potato/egg breakfast bowl.

    Sometimes I go for an omelet – it took me longer than I’d want to admit to get it just right just the way I need it… So a big thanks to you for going over the essentials there! 👍

    • Hi Colton, I’m glad you enjoyed the article and found it useful. Scrambled eggs with cheese and potatoes sounds really satisfying. I will have to try this! 


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