9 Ways to Cook an Egg
Scramble it. Poach it. Turn it sunny-side up. There are plenty of simple ways to whip an egg or two into a healthy, tasty meal.
By Chris Iliades, MD
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
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Most people know how to make scrambled eggs — but are you reaping the full benefit of healthy egg recipes? Plenty of Americans shy away from eggs because of their cholesterol content and assumed role in heart disease. But eggs are a great and completely natural high-protein food, and there are many healthy recipes to choose from.
In fact, the fear of eggs is mostly myth. Studies show no connection between eggs and heart disease in healthy people. A single egg has six grams of protein, 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and only 70 calories. A large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, mostly from the egg yolk.
"Eggs can certainly be part of your healthy recipes," says Ann-Marie Hedberg, MS, RD, DrPH (doctor of public health), director of the dietetic internship program at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. "Everything packaged inside an egg goes into making a living animal, so it must be perfectly natural."
What’s important is learning how to cook an egg in ways that are good for you. "You don't need to add anything to a hard-boiled or poached egg. An old cast-iron skillet is the best way to fry or scramble eggs — you can use a small amount of butter or a vegetable oil, but stay away from bacon grease," says Hedberg.
How to Cook an Egg: 9 Easy Ideas
From basic hard-boiled to savory cheese eggs, here are tasty yet simple things you can do with eggs. And keep in mind that you can add protein without cholesterol by replacing all or some of the yolks with extra egg whites.
1. Hard-boiled eggs.Place the eggs in a large enough saucepan so that they are in a single layer. Cover the eggs by one inch with cold water. As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs stand in the water for 15 minutes. To peel, make a crack in the shell and then roll the egg gently in your hands. Let the eggs cool and start peeling from the bottom.
2. Scrambled eggs.Measure one tablespoon of milk for each egg you’ll be using and whisk them together, adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Heat two teaspoons of butter or oil at medium heat and pour in the eggs. Don't stir the eggs. Turn and fold gently with a wooden spoon or spatula until all the liquid is set.
3. Classic omelet."You can add vegetables to either scrambled eggs or an omelet to make an even healthier recipe," says Hedberg. For a two-egg omelet, whisk the eggs with two tablespoons of water and a dash of salt and pepper. Prepare your skillet as for scrambled eggs, but this time, as the eggs cook just push the edges of the eggs toward the center until all the uncooked egg liquid that flows underneath becomes solidified. If you want to add cheese or vegetables, place them on one half of the eggs, fold over the other half, and serve.
4. Fried egg.To fry an egg, you need just barely a teaspoon of butter or oil. Heat the fat in a skillet until hot. Crack the egg and gently slip it into the pan, and reduce the heat to low right away. Let the egg cook for about six minutes. The yolk should just begin to thicken. Now you can choose between sunny side up or over-easy. If you like your yolk more firm, flip the egg and cook it for a bit longer.
5. Poached egg.Heat about three inches of water in a saucepan until the water is boiling. Crack an egg into a cup or saucer and then gently slide it from the cup into the boiling water. When the whites are solid and the yolk is just starting to harden, lift the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon.
6. Deviled eggs.Hard-boil six eggs and cut them lengthwise. Remove the yolks and mix them with one-third cup shredded cheese, one-quarter cup each of sour cream and mayonnaise — these can be low- or no-fat — and three tablespoons of finely chopped green onions. Whisk the ingredients until smooth and spoon them into the egg white halves. Chill before serving.
7. Frittata.Beat four eggs with one-quarter cup milk, tomato juice, or broth. When the eggs are well blended, add cooked meat, cheese, vegetables, seafood, or a combination. Heat two teaspoons of butter or vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and pour in the mixture. Cook at medium to low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
8. Quiche.Spread 1 cup low-fat shredded cheese over a 9-inch baked piecrust. Whisk six eggs with one cup milk, a dash of salt, and about a half-teaspoon of your favorite herbs. Pour this filling over the cheese and bake in a preheated 375° oven for about 40 minutes.
9. One-minute microwave eggs and cheese.Whisk two eggs with two tablespoons each of milk and low-fat shredded cheese. Coat a microwave-safe mug with cooking spray, pour in the mixture, and microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Stir and zap for another 30 seconds. Top with your favorite herbs and you have a super fast healthy egg recipe.
You can adapt these recipes for most diets by using cooking spray or vegetable oil in place of butter and choosing non-fat varieties of milk and other dairy products. "Another way to make eggs even healthier is to shop for eggs from free-range chickens or look for omega-3 fortified eggs," says Hedberg. Omega-3 eggs are from chickens fed with fish oil or flaxseed. These oils, which are present in the yolk, have been found to be heart-healthy.
Nutrition experts agree that one egg a day won't hurt your heart. Eggs make a great healthy recipe meal, and they don't have to be just for breakfast. Learning how to cook an egg in healthy ways will add a great source of natural nutrition to your diet.
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