Eggs are a building-block ingredient, essential for scores of cooking techniques. The thing about eggs, though—unlike other essential ingredients like flour—is that they also stand on their own, as delicious foodstuffs that need little input and minimal manipulation to taste great. Here are 11 diverse recipes that show off eggs’ unique versatility (and celebrate National Egg Day).
If you’ve got some questions about eggs before you get cracking, chances are, we have an answer:
- What is the difference between cage free, pasture raised, and free range eggs?
- What is the difference between brown eggs and white eggs? (And why are brown eggs more expensive?)
- What is the difference between fertilized and unfertilized eggs?
- How do you know if an egg is fresh?
- Is butter or oil better for frying an egg?
- What is the difference between large and extra-large eggs?
- What can you substitute for eggs?
And now the only thing you need to ponder is which of these egg recipes you’ll make first.
These are eggs at their most pure, and least adorned—in other words, a primordial expression of egg brilliance. Funny thing is, soft-boiled eggs are also the easiest egg dish to prepare, which proves something about the awesome power of simple foods. Get our Perfect Soft-Boiled Egg recipe.
Epare Soft Boiled Egg Set, $15.95 on Amazon
For those who are serious about soft-boiled eggs, this set comes with a precision topper, two spoons, and two egg cups.
Breakfast smokiness is something we look to bacon, ham, and fish to provide. Infusing eggs themselves with smoke is a mild stoke of genius—just about as much genius as most of us can take first thing in the morning, before the coffee’s kicked in. Get our Smoked Egg Breakfast Sandwich recipe.
3. Basic Aioli
One of the foundation roles eggs play in the kitchen is as emulsifiers. Mayonnaise (and its garlic-scented cousin, aioli) shows off eggs hard at work, performing a crucial role in sauces. (See also: blender hollandaise.) Thanks, eggs! Get our Basic Aioli recipe.
Related Reading: All Organic Eggs Are Not Created Equal
A French dish that shows off eggs in two ways, both highly visible and beautifully hidden. Crêpe batter couldn’t exist without eggs—it’s where crêpes get strength and a wonderfully elastic quality. And a single egg, broken on top and baked, is almost literally a case of gilding the lily. Get our Egg, Ham, and Cheese Crêpes recipe.
Deviling is a civilized enhancement of the hard-boiled egg (Scotch eggs are a bit more downmarket, but just as delicious). Serving those classy deviled eggs warm, with bacon and a cap of provolone cheese just beginning to melt, takes that enhancement to next-level territory. Get our Warm Deviled Eggs recipe.
The glory that is scrambled eggs displays perfectly in a breakfast burrito. This version, with fried, crumbled chorizo, is one of our favorites. The richness and spice of the sausage is an ideal foil for the smooth, moist, and mild-tasting eggs. Get our Chorizo Breakfast Burrito recipe.
Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between a Large Egg and an Extra Large Egg?
A beautifully simple British recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Eggs cooked in the oven until just done, with a fortifying addition of heavy cream and a bit of luxurious Gruyère cheese, is one of the gentlest and also one of the classiest ways to wake up. Get our Easy Baked Eggs recipe.
Nobody knows the origin of this San Francisco diner special—was it the invention of Chinese-American short-order cooks, who fused American lunch-counter scrambled eggs with a Cantonese dish, as some stories go? All we know is, the eggs act as both a binder for the moisture from ground beef and sautéed spinach, and a texture in their own right. Brilliant. Get our Joe’s Special Scramble recipe.
Egg white shaken till thick and fluffy give cocktails body, of course, but also a neutral grounding for displaying aromas. In this hallowed drink of old New Orleans, a shaken egg white blends with gin, orange flower water, and cream to produce one of the best things for day drinking. Get our Ramos Gin Fizz recipe.
Eggs do a lot for desserts too, from making brownies cakey (for those who like that sort of thing) to helping mousse stay rich and airy. Whipped egg whites also lend loft to angel food cake and sponge cake. Instead of making one tower of fluffy angel food as usual, we like to bake light layers and sandwich them with whipped cream for the most ethereal layer cake you’ll ever experience. Get our Angel Food Layer Cake recipe.
Combine whipped egg whites with a different ratio of sugar and no flour and in addition to being light and fluffy, they also turn chewy and crisp when baked into pavlovas or meringue. Speaking of, while we love lemon meringue pie, this sunny summer twist uses apricots instead, and has an easy press-in almond crust so you can focus your attention on mastering the meringue. Get our Apricot Meringue Pie recipe.
Read More: The Best Egg-Centric Cookbooks Worth Cracking Open & The Most Intriguing Single-Use Egg Products on Amazon
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