The 5 Best Ways to Cook Eggs
Rich in nutrients and minerals, packed with filling protein and indispensable in so many recipes: we are, of course, talking about eggs!
They’re a fantastic choice when you’re following a slimming plan, and you can enjoy them cooked in SO many ways.
Although it’s rumoured there are up to 100 different ways of preparing eggs, we’ve rounded up our top five. Anyone can master these methods, even if you’re a kitchen novice!
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Why choose eggs?
An average medium egg contains about 70 calories and you also get a whopping 6g of protein.
Eggs are lean, filling and budget friendly so they’re a staple in many kitchens.
If you’ve never tried any of these ways of cooking eggs before, don’t worry; with our tips, you’ll become an egg-spert in no time!
Boiled eggs are a staple for those following slimming plans. Whether they’re soft boiled alongside toast ‘soldiers’ for dipping, or hard boiled in salads and sandwiches, this method is one of the simplest!
It’s all in the timing; add water to a small saucepan and once it’s boiling, turn off the heat and add your eggs. Return to the heat and simmer for the following times:
Soft boiled: 4
Hard boiled: 8
Soft boiled: 6
Hard boiled: 9
Soft boiled: 6
Hard boiled: 10
Take a look at our video guide to the perfect boiled egg here:
Got an Instant Pot®? You can boil up to 12 eggs in one go by popping them on the included trivet and cooking on High for 4-6 minutes (soft boiled) or 8-10 minutes (hard boiled).
Whichever method you pick, plunge your freshly boiled eggs into iced water for 40 seconds or so afterwards, which makes them super easy to peel and stops any discolouration.
If you like to Batch Cook, using the Instant Pot® in this way means you have boiled eggs on hand that can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Keep them peeled until just before you eat them for freshness.
Boiled eggs can be enjoyed in salads, sandwiches and Scotch Eggs.
Why not try party food favourite Red Pepper Deviled Pumpkin Eggs as a way of jazzing up your eggs?
If you ask five people what is the best way to poach an egg, chances are you’ll get five different answers!
If you’re wanting to learn how to poach like a pro, we’ve got tips and tricks direct from the Pinch of Nom team:
- Use the freshest eggs you can, they will stay together better.
- Heat a small saucepan of slightly salted water to a simmer (NOT too much bubbling!).
- Carefully crack an egg into the centre, no need to swirl the water.
- Leave to cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Scoop out with a slotted spoon.
The main thing to remember when cooking anything, but especially poached eggs, is that practice makes perfect!
The first few eggs might end up overcooked or not looking very pretty, but they’ll still be edible; keep at it and you’ll master it in time.
You can also pop the eggs in one of these microwavable egg poachers if you’re pressed for time.
They’re not quite as perfectly poached as you have to pierce the yolk, but they taste just as good on top of Onion and Chive Potato Waffles!
Perfect for piling on hot toast for breakfast, scrambled eggs are easy to get the hang of with a bit of practice.
Some people do them in a saucepan or even in the microwave, but we think you can’t beat scrambled eggs freshly cooked on the stove in a frying pan.
A non-stick pan, like this one, is essential to prevent any areas burning. We’d also recommend using a silicone spatula so you don’t accidentally scratch the pan.
- Spray the frying pan with a few sprays of low calorie cooking spray and add a low heat.
- As the pan is heating, beat 2 eggs in a dish with a dash of milk, if you like.
- Pour the egg into the heated pan.
- Start to lightly mix and sweep the eggs across the pan with the spatula, turning constantly over the low heat. The low heat and slow cooking makes them extra creamy.
- When the scrambled eggs are almost cooked, take them off the heat! This is because they’ll continue cooking in the pan and it will stop them from overcooking.
Serve with a simple salt and pepper seasoning and experiment with flavours by adding freshly chopped herbs like chives.
You could even add chopped cooked bacon and a side of Giant Baked Beans from our second cookbook, Pinch of Nom: Everyday Light!
Fried eggs are a simple, quick way of adding extra protein and nutrients to so many dishes and despite the name, they can be fried without lashings of oil and keeping calories to a minimum.
The main thing when frying an egg is to choose a good frying pan: non-stick is best for an evenly cooked egg, and you can use an egg ring if you’d like a uniform, round shape.
Everyone has their own preference whether it’s a runny yolk or cooked on both sides, but the basic method can be adapted:
- Spray the pan with a couple of sprays of low calorie cooking spray or oil (some pans may not need this) and preheat to a medium heat.
- Once the pan has heated the spray or oil, crack the egg into the pan
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until the white is set.
If you prefer a less runny egg:
- Use a slotted spatula to carefully lift and flip the egg over.
- Cook for an extra 15 seconds for a yolk that’s runny on the inside, or a bit longer for a fully set yolk.
Serve a couple of fried eggs with a pile of crispy Homemade Oven Chips and a side of garden peas for a family friendly weeknight dinner!
For a simple baked egg, you’ll need a deep non-stick muffin tray, or some oven proof ramekins like these ones:
Baked eggs have the texture of boiled eggs, but no need to spend time peeling! They’re also great for feeding lots of people at once, as you can bake as many as your tray will hold.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Spray the ramekins or muffin holes with plenty of low calorie cooking spray.
- Crack one egg into each hole or ramekin.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how firm you like your yolk.
Our Breakfast Muffins recipe includes classic breakfast ingredients chopped up underneath a beaten egg before baking.
Once you’re used to this method, you can experiment with lots of different combinations to find your favourite!
Many of our baked egg recipes, like this Crustless Quiche Lorraine can be frozen once cooked for easy defrosting and reheating, so always check the recipe notes to save time another day!
How can you tell when an egg is fresh?
Certain cooking methods, like poaching and frying, work best when the egg is as fresh as possible.
A quick way of testing the freshness of an egg, is to carefully lower it into a glass of cold water:
- If the egg sinks and lays flat, it’s fresh
- If it sinks but stands upright, it is edible but should be eaten as soon as possible
- If it floats, it shouldn’t be eaten!
As with anything new, learning how to cook eggs perfectly will take time and practice, don’t worry if your poached eggs aren’t pretty or your scrambled eggs aren’t perfect; keep trying and you’ll get there!
What’s your favourite way of cooking eggs?
Let us know over in our Facebook Group, where we have nearly 1 million members ready to inspire, motivate and support you on your slimming journey. We love to see your kitchen creations, so don’t forget to tag us in your snaps!