How many ways to cook eggs are there? There are probably more than 100 ways to cook an egg, but that’s a pretty overwhelming list. So, let’s look at a dozen or so tried-and-true ways to cook eggs.
Once demonized as a cholesterol raiser, experts now seem to be in agreement that there is no reason to fear eggs in moderation. You may eat eggs often, but are you eating them the same way every time? Maybe it’s time to switch things up a bit!
So, are eggs healthy? Yes, eggs are very healthy. As one of the few “complete” protein sources, eggs contain all nine essential amino acids and are healthy food. I have done a few elimination diets with eggs and reintroduced them with no problems. In fact, my naturopath recently "prescribed" eating more eggs for me for the choline based on my lab test results.
In addition to all of that protein, eggs also contain vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. For example, one egg supplies a significant amount of our daily requirements for key nutrients like vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin B5, vitamin A, and selenium.
What are the healthiest ways to cook eggs?
Boiling and poaching eggs are the healthiest ways to cook an egg. These egg recipes require less heat and cooking time than other methods, which means an egg’s cholesterol should oxidize less. Less oxidation means more nutrients and antioxidants in the final product.
These ways to cook eggs also don’t involve adding any extra ingredients or calories during cooking.
An important note about choosing eggs: To get the most out of your next omelet, opt for organic, pasture-raised eggs, or farm-fresh eggs if possible. Not only is this variety known to have more nutrients, but some people who normally find conventional eggs problematic actually feel great after having this higher quality egg. If you're one of the lucky people with chickens at home, those fresh eggs are even better.
Just like grass-fed butter is a richer yellow, don’t be surprised if your pasture-raised eggs have almost shockingly vibrant, orange-tinted yokes (thanks to the carotenoid-rich plants these chickens had access to in the pasture).
My fun ways to cook eggs list ranges from the more common over-easy egg to the lesser-known cloud egg. Let’s get cracking...
1. Boiled Eggs (Hard or Soft)
Boiled eggs can generally be made two ways—hard or soft.
Hard-boiled eggs are a great healthy snack that you can prep and keep on hand in the fridge for a quick protein boost. You can also add sliced hard-boiled eggs to salads or use them to make deviled eggs (more on these below!).
If you opt for soft-boiled eggs, it’s up to you how soft or runny you would like the yoke. The less time you boil the egg, the softer the yoke will be. Soft boiled eggs are delicious with toast or an English muffin and a green veggie like asparagus or broccoli rabe.
How to make boiled eggs:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil with enough water to cover the eggs by about an inch.
- Reduce the water to low heat and gently place the eggs into the water using a handheld mesh strainer or a spider-skimmer. By briefly changing to low heat, you can decrease the likelihood of the eggs cracking in the boiled water.
- Once the eggs are in, turn the heat back up to a boil. Once your eggs are done cooking, use your strainer or skimmer to take them out of the water.
How long should you leave eggs in boiling water? That depends on how soft or hard you want your eggs! Here’s the kind of boil you can expect based on cooking time:
- 6 minutes: A runny yolk and soft white.
- 6 ½ minutes: A soft, jammy yolk but whites slightly more cooked.
- 10 minutes: A hard-boiled egg, but with a bit of softness in the middle.
- 12 minutes: A hard-boiled egg with a lighter yolk.
- 14 minutes: A thoroughly done, but not overdone, hard-boiled egg.
There are some variations in cooking method and time, but It’s not a bad idea to learn how to make a hard-boiled egg easier to peel. Check out my Perfect Easy-to-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs for cooking steps and bonus tips to prevent cracking.
Pro tip: If you have an Instant Pot, use it to make perfect boiled eggs in 6 minutes.
2. Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs are a common party staple and crowd-pleaser—I consider them the little black dress of an appetizer spread! They never go out of style.
There are many different deviled egg recipes, but some are healthier than others.
My Secretly Healthy Deviled Eggs include health and flavor boosters like sea salt and fermented pickle relish. Is your mouth watering yet?
How to make deviled eggs:
- First, follow my easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs recipe.
- While the eggs are cooking, combine all filling ingredients, minus the yolks, and mix well.
- Peel cold eggs. Dry them off if needed.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a very small slice off of the long side of each side of the egg to allow them to stand up and not roll on your plate. Cut in half lengthwise and gently remove the yolks to the bowl of filling.
- Arrange the egg whites on a plate. Using a fork, mash the yolks with the other filling ingredients into a uniform mixture. Adjust seasonings if needed.
- Transfer mixture to a piping bag. Do not use a piping tip, as the relish will get stuck.
- Use the bag to evenly fill each egg. Evenly fill each egg white with about 1 ½ teaspoons.
- Dust the tops with paprika and/or garnish with thin jalapeño slices and chives. Refrigerate until 15 minutes before serving.
3. Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs are one of my favorite ways to cook eggs for breakfast, but they’re also great as a main course for lunch or dinner.
I highly recommend adding your favorite veggies and/or chopped greens to scrambled eggs to make your final product even healthier and more filling in a good way. Plus, scrambled eggs with veggies make the perfect burrito or wrap fixings.
What veggies pair well with scrambled eggs? Nothing is off-limits, but some common veggie additions include onions, peppers, and tomatoes. You can cook the veggies first and then add your egg mixture, or you can simply add raw or previously cooked veggies to the eggs in the hot pan.
If you add greens, chop them up first and sauté them for a minute or two, then scramble the eggs.
How to cook scrambled eggs:
- Crack eggs (usually 1-2 per person) into a bowl.
- (Optional) Add a ¼ teaspoon milk, water (or unsweetened plain almond milk) to make them fluffier.
- Whisk together eggs with a dash each of salt and pepper to taste.
- Add avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, ghee, or butter (or healthy cooking fat of your choice) in a large skillet over medium heat. I prefer an olive oil only spray, but use what works for you; you only need about ¼ teaspoon or 2-second spray per egg.
- Add egg mixture and let it set for a minute or so. Then, drag the egg mixture across the pan a few times with a rubber spatula until they start to set.
- Add veggies if desired.
- Cook until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, which should take about 3-5 minutes. Cooking time can be more or less depending on how well-done you like your eggs. Keep the heat medium to low to avoid browning the eggs.
4. Sunny Side Up Eggs
What is the easiest type of egg to make? It’s debatable, but sunny side up eggs are definitely one of the easiest ways to cook eggs. A classic diner order, sunny side up eggs are often paired with toast or a bagel (up to you if it’s regular or gluten-free!) for yoke dipping.
How to make sunny side up eggs:
- Crack eggs directly into a greased pan on medium heat. Keep the heat on medium to allow the egg whites to set without browning.
- Let eggs cook until the edges brown, but do not flip them over.
- Plate and serve.
How long should you cook sunny side up eggs? You should cook sunny side up eggs for 2-2.5 minutes. Depending on how long you let them cook, you’ll end up with a runny yolk and whites that are fried or still somewhat soft.
5. Over (Easy, Medium, and Hard) Eggs
A very close option to the sunny side egg, over eggs are another super quick and easy way to make an egg. All “over” eggs are cooked the same way, but depending on the cooking time you can produce 3 variations of yolk consistency.
Don’t like a runny yolk? You’ll want to cook the egg until the yolk is hard, which is called an “over hard egg” (which is good to know if you’re ordering this at a restaurant).
Like it somewhere in the middle? That would be “over medium.”
Last but not least, if you want the yolkiest yoke, then you’re a fan of “over easy.”
How to make over eggs:
- Crack eggs directly into a greased frying pan on medium heat.
- Let eggs cook on one side until whites are partially set, then flip the eggs over using a spatula. I flip once the whites are about 75% set.
- Cook eggs for another 1-3 minutes until you see a yolk that fits your desire for easy, medium, or hard.
6. Poached Eggs
I won’t lie—poached eggs can be a bit intimidating. Don’t be scared, though. Once you get the hang of it, poached eggs are quite easy peasy and one of the healthiest ways to consume eggs.
You can use poached eggs to make all different types of egg dishes, paired with toast or veggies, or even added to a soup.
How to poach an egg:
- Fill a saucepan with several inches of water and add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt to the water.
- Bring mixture to a very gentle simmer over medium heat—you should just see a few bubbles. It should not be a rolling simmer.
- Crack an egg into a small bowl or ramekin (they also make special egg cups for poaching).
- Create a whirlpool in the heated water by stirring it quickly with a spoon in one direction.
- Once you have a nice vortex going, carefully add one egg at a time into the water.
- Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and don’t peek for 4 minutes.
- Remove the poached eggs from water with a slotted spoon and serve right away or put the eggs in a quick ice water bath and refrigerate them for future use (up to 8 hours later).
Poached eggs take a little practice at first, but once you get the hang of it they’re quite easy to make and one of the healthiest ways you can prepare an egg.
Of all the egg recipes, omelets give you the most creative freedom.
Omelets consist of eggs wrapped around fillings like cheese, vegetables, or fresh herbs.
How to make an omelet:
- Crack open 2-3 eggs in a large bowl and whisk lightly with a fork.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Melt butter over low-medium heat in a nonstick skillet and add egg mixture.
- After about a minute, use a heatproof spatula to gently lift the cooked eggs from the edges of the pan while tilting the pan slightly to let the uncooked eggs move to the edge of the pan.
- As the eggs begin to set, add your desired filling and allow another minute of cooking time.
- Fold the omelet in half and slide it out of the pan onto a plate for serving.
A frittata has your choice of fillings actually mixed into the egg batter—essentially, it’s a crustless quiche.
While an omelet is cooked on the stovetop, a frittata can be cooked on the stovetop or in the oven.
What do you put inside frittatas? Well, that is completely up to you—and the options are truly endless. One healthy idea is my Quinoa and Herb Frittata, which packs even more of a protein punch than eggs alone.
How to make a frittata:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- On the stovetop, heat olive oil in a non-stick, oven-safe skillet over low-medium to medium heat.
- Combine cracked eggs and additional ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix together well.
- Pour egg mixture into the hot skillet and gently scramble for about 20 seconds.
- Next, let the frittata set for about 4 minutes or until you see the edges beginning to pull away from the sides of the skillet.
- Put the frittata into the oven to cook for about 8-10 minutes until the top is slightly golden-brown around the edges.
- Allow the frittata to cool for a few minutes before dividing it into pie-like slices and serving.
9. Spanish Fried Eggs
If you’ve been to Spain, you may already be familiar with this way of cooking your eggs. I spent a semester in Spain when I was in college and loved this version. Spanish fried eggs or “huevos fritos” are a more decadent take on your classic fried egg.
Spanish fried eggs are lavishly bathed in olive oil as they cook which results in crispier whites and a yolk that is cooked through, but not overdone. Spanish fried eggs are often served with roasted piquillo peppers and potatoes.
How to make Spanish fried eggs:
- Add a generous amount of olive oil (about ¼ inch) to a nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil appears hot but not smoking, crack each egg individually into a dish before sliding it into the pan. (If the oil smokes, remove the pan from the burner and let it cool.)
- As the egg cooks, splash it with the hot oil.
- Once cooked through (the whites will puff up and become a crispy golden-brown), remove the egg from the pan.
- Drain excess oil (you can also dab the eggs with a little paper towel) and add some flaky sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. YUM.
10. Basted Eggs
Basted eggs are eggs that are basted with fat as they cook. Basted eggs are very similar to Spanish fried eggs, but you use butter instead of oil. Opt for a grass-fed variety for extra flavor and nutrients.
How to make basted eggs:
- Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter into a nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
- Once the butter heats up and starts to become bubbly, add your eggs.
- Use a spoon to baste the eggs in hot butter as they cook. Tip the skillet a little to get more butter in your spoon before splashing it over the eggs. If you like a less done yolk, you can avoid the yolk and only baste the whites.
- Continue basting and cooking until the whites are firm, which should take about 3 minutes.
- Remove the eggs with a spatula and put them on a plate. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- If desired, continue heating butter in the pan until browned and pour browned butter over the eggs.
11. Baked/Shirred Eggs
Move over, eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce—shirred eggs are an even easier-to-make brunch star!
If you’re a fan of creamy things, shirred eggs are one of the ways to cook eggs that you definitely need to try.
Baked/shirred eggs are basically a custard-like protein feast. Warning: Cooking eggs this way isn’t the best choice if you want something on the lighter side, but it’s certainly a smart pick if you’re feeling extra hungry.
How to make baked/shirred eggs:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pour heavy cream (1 teaspoon per egg) into a greased ramekin.
- Crack eggs into a ramekin (1-2 eggs per ramekin), keeping the yolks in the center as much as possible. Use a spoon if you need to.
- Top with salt, pepper, and fresh chives (if you have them). Parmesan cheese is another optional yummy topping.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes or until edges are set but the middle still has a jiggle. You can cook for another couple of minutes if you prefer firmer yokes.
12. Cloud Eggs
One of the most fun ways to cook eggs may just be cloud eggs. Also called egg nests, cloud eggs are a really fun way to change things up for your next brunch.
You essentially separate the yolks and whites, beat the whites until fluffy and bake them, then reconstruct the egg and bake.
How to make cloud eggs:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with a nonstick cooking spray or butter.
- Separate egg yolks from egg whites (typically, one egg per person). Save the yolks for later.
- Using an electric hand mixer, whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt at low speed until stiff peaks form (about 2-3 minutes).
- Spoon about 4 tablespoons of egg whites onto a baking tray and make a well in the middle using the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove baking tray and add one yolk to each cloud of whites.
- Bake for 3 additional minutes.
13. Egg in a Basket
One of the more fun ways families’ can make eggs together is called “egg in a basket”. (Some people call this “egg in a hole.”)
Don’t let the name fool you—there is not an actual basket involved in this recipe. The “basket”, in this case, is a piece of bread!
If you prefer gluten-free or low-carb eating, my Healthy Almond Flour Bread is perfect for this recipe. Sourdough is also a healthy option!
The end result of this recipe is a perfect marriage of egg and toast, which is extra tasty with a bit of your favorite hot sauce.
How to make an egg in a basket:
- Use a cookie cutter to create a circle in the middle of a piece of your favorite bread.
- Place the bread in a pan sprayed with extra virgin olive oil spray or lightly greased with butter or ghee on medium-high heat.
- Add ½ teaspoon of avocado oil, butter, or ghee (clarified butter) to the hole.
- Once the butter is hot, crack one egg into the hole.
- When the egg white begins to set, flip the bread and egg over with a spatula.
- Cook until the yoke is as soft or firm as you like.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Don’t forget to toast the hole of bread you cut out for extra dipping material!
- Pin, S. S. (2013). Effects of preparation methods on protein and amino acid contents of various eggs available in Malay-sian local markets. ACTA Scientiarum Polonorum Technologia Alimentaria, 12(1), 21-32. Abstract: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24584862/
- Nimalaratne, C., Schieber, A., & Wu, J. (2016). Effects of storage and cooking on the antioxidant capacity of laying hen eggs. Food chemistry, 194, 111-116. Abstract: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26471533/
- Anderson, K. E. (2011). Comparison of fatty acid, cholesterol, and vitamin A and E composition in eggs from hens housed in conventional cage and range production facilities. Poultry science, 90(7), 1600-1608. Abstract: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21673178/