Poached, hard-boiled, scrambled, or sunny side up, there’s no denying that the egg‘s versatility (along with its vitamin and mineral-heavy nutritional profile) makes it the ultimate breakfast superfood. The always reliable, inexpensive protein is also quite easy to prepare, requiring little to zero kitchen experience and typically only one piece of reliable cookware (either a saucepan, skillet, or baking dish). On top of that, they’re also quite safe to consume if you take proper storage precautions into consideration, both pre and post cooking.
To help you achieve perfect eggs every time, we’ve created this helpful egg food safety guide with refrigerating, freezing, and cooking tips, along with a handful of recipes that cater to every taste and preference.
How to Store Eggs
Eggs should keep a consistent and low temperature in the refrigerator. This is best achieved by placing the carton in the center shelf and away from other grocery items. Due to the egg’s permeability, they should also remain in their original packaging to avoid the absorption of strong odors.
However, if you have actual farm fresh eggs that have never been refrigerated, you can keep them on the counter at room temperature for up to a couple weeks.
It is wise to follow the “best by” date to determine overall freshness, but eggs can be tested by simply dropping them into a bowl of water. Older eggs will float while fresh eggs will sink. This is due to the size of their air cells, which gradually increase over time:
Cooked eggs (scrambled, poached, etc.) have a refrigerator shelf life of no more than four days, while hard-boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, are safe to consume up to one week after they’re prepared.
How to Freeze Eggs
Eggs can easily be frozen, but instructions vary based on the egg’s physical state. As a general rule, uncooked eggs in their shells should not be frozen. They must be cracked first and have their contents frozen.
Uncooked whole eggs: The eggs must be removed from their shells, blended, and poured into containers that can seal tightly.
Uncooked egg whites: The same process as whole eggs, but you can freeze whites in ice cube trays before transferring them to an airtight container. This speeds up the thawing process and can help with measuring.
Uncooked yolks: Egg yolks alone can turn extremely gelatinous if frozen. For use in savory dishes, add ⅛ teaspoon of salt per four egg yolks. Substitute the salt for sugar for use in sweet dishes and/or desserts.
Cooked eggs: Scrambled eggs are fine to freeze, but it is advised to not freeze cooked egg whites. They become too watery and rubbery if not mixed with the yolk.
Hard-boiled eggs: As mentioned above, it is best to not freeze hard-boiled eggs because cooked whites become watery and rubbery when frozen.
How to Cook Eggs
The beauty of an egg is its versatility. Eggs can be cooked in a variety of ways. Here are some tips and recipes in accomplishing the four most common preparations.
Scrambled: Whip your eggs in a bowl. The consistency of your scrambled eggs is a personal preference, though it seems like the majority of breakfast connoisseurs enjoy a more runny and fluffy option. In this case, add about ¼ cup of milk for every four eggs. This will help to thin the mix. Feel free to also season with salt and pepper (or stir in cream cheese for added decadence). Grease a skillet with butter over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. As the eggs begin to cook, begin to pull and fold the eggs with a spatula until it forms curds. Do not stir constantly. Once the egg is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and serve.
Try our BLT Scrambled Eggs recipe.
Related Reading: How to Make Scrambled Eggs in a Slow Cooker
Hard-boiled: Fill a pot that covers your eggs by about two inches. Remove the eggs and bring the water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, carefully drop in the eggs and leave them for 10-12 minutes. For easy peeling, give the eggs an immediate ice bath after the cooking time is completed. For soft-boiled eggs, follow the same process, but cut the cooking time in half.
Related Reading: 8 Ways to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
Poached: Add a dash of vinegar to a pan filled with steadily simmering water. Crack eggs individually into a dish or small cup. With a spatula, create a gentle whirlpool in the pan. Slowly add the egg, whites first, into the water and allow to cook for three minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to kitchen paper to drain the water.
Try our Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict recipe.
Sunny Side Up/Over Easy/Medium/Hard: For each of these preparations, you are cracking an egg directly into a greased frying pan or skillet. For sunny side up, no flipping is involved. Simply allow the edges to fry until they’re golden brown. To achieve an over easy egg, flip a sunny side up egg and cook until a thin film appears over the yolk. The yolk should still be runny upon serving. An over medium egg is flipped, fried, and cooked longer until the yolk is still slightly runny. An over hard is cooked until the yolk is hard.
Related Reading: Is Oil or Butter Better for Fried Eggs?