Egg hacks for a better breakfast
There are plenty of hacks to make your eggs tastier and healthier.
You can tell an egg is fresh just by using a glass of water.
You can make cooking and peeling hard-boiled eggs much easier by utilizing your oven and a bowl of water.
Do you know the feeling of waking up on a weekend morning, looking in the fridge, and finding a dozen eggs that you didn’t have time to cook during the week? Yeah, us too. There were good intentions to cook scrambled eggs on toast last Tuesday, but then you slept in and ran out the door to work.
How can you cook eggs during the week when you’re short on time? And how can you kick things up a notch when it comes to cooking with eggs? We’ve got you covered. We spoke with Kelsey Williams, a certified holistic nutrition consultant, and Renata Trebing, founder and recipe developer of the healthy food blog NourishwithRenata.com, to learn a few tips and tricks on how to cook with eggs and make it healthy.
Make scrambled eggs fluffier with water
There’s no breakfast like fluffy scrambled eggs with a side of avocado and toast. Scrambled eggs are pretty straightforward to cook, but how do you make them even better? Adding milk or cream will make your eggs fluffier, but for a healthier option, try adding water.
“My secret ingredient to make scrambled eggs fluffier is water! Other recipes use milk or cream in their scrambled eggs mix, however, those ingredients tend to make the scrambled eggs denser,” explains Trebing. “I find that using water instead of milk/cream keeps the scrambled eggs lighter. Always cook scrambled eggs on low heat, stirring frequently, while the eggs slowly cook and maintain their fluffy texture. If you cook the eggs too quickly, the texture of the eggs will become hard.”
When it comes to boosting the flavor of scrambled eggs (and still keeping it healthy), try adding nutritional yeast.
“In terms of healthy ingredients to add to scrambled eggs for flavor, I love to add nutritional yeast. It provides a cheesy flavor without the cheese,” says Williams. “Nutritional yeast is an excellent vegetarian source for B vitamins.”
Williams also notes that the longer you whip the eggs, the more bubbles you create. The more bubbles you create, the fluffier the eggs.
Cook a healthy eggs Benedict
For those times you open the refrigerator on the weekend and realize you didn’t have time to cook the dozen eggs you bought, consider whipping together a savory and healthy eggs Benedict. Traditionally, it is not the most nutritious breakfast. The creamy hollandaise sauce, thick cuts of ham, and buttery English muffin don’t help its cause. Trebing shares healthy swaps for eggs Benny.
“Swap the English muffins for thickly sliced, steamed or roasted sweet potatoes or thickly sliced beefsteak tomatoes,” suggests Trebing. “Instead of traditional hollandaise, make an avocado hollandaise. Add a small avocado (skinned and deseeded), juice of a lemon, salt, and pepper to a blender and mix until it forms a paste. Slowly pour in hot water while the blender is running. Keep adding water until a hollandaise sauce consistency is reached.”
Use a funnel to separate yolks from whites
Did you know that more than half of the protein from eggs is found in egg whites? The whites are technically made up of 90% water and 10% protein. Egg whites are low in calories, fat, and cholesterol. An egg white omelet is a perfect breakfast to fuel you up for the rest of the day.
The easiest way to separate the yolks from the whites is by cracking an egg over a funnel and letting the whites drain into a bowl. No funnel? Trebing suggests the hand method. Crack the egg into a bowl, then pour the contents over the palm of your cupped hand. Let the egg whites fall through your fingers into a different bowl. Messy, but effective.
Test the freshness of eggs using the water test
How long have those eggs been sitting in the refrigerator? Are they still good? Before you throw them out, test the freshness of eggs by dunking them in a cup of water.
“When you aren’t sure if the egg is good, try the water test,” explains Williams. “Fill a glass with water and place the egg in the water. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s perfectly fresh. If it sinks but stands on its head, it’s still good. If it floats to the top, it’s time to throw it away.”
A runny yolk will provide more nutrients
You know how top athletes or bodybuilders add raw eggs to protein shakes? Egg yolks are very nutrient-dense. The yolk contains a high dose of B vitamins and protein. Of course, consuming raw egg yolks comes with the risk of salmonella, so be mindful when cooking eggs with a runny yolk. Sunny-side up is a classic method, but get creative with other approaches.
“You can achieve a runny yolk with poached eggs, like the ones on eggs Benedict,” says Williams. “You could also soft boil for five to seven minutes to get a runny yolk. Cooking eggs over easy also gives you a runny yolk as long as you barely fry the egg once you flip it.”
Cook hard-boiled eggs in the oven
Cooking hard-boiled eggs is rather time-consuming. You have to wait for the water to boil, add the eggs, then wait another 10-17 minutes, depending on how you prefer the yolk. Have you ever considered cooking hard-boiled eggs in the oven? It sounds weird, but Food Network star Alton Brown suggests this method if you’re cooking a dozen or more hard-boiled eggs at once.
Simply place each whole, uncooked egg in a muffin tray and set the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30 minutes and transfer them to an ice bath to chill. If you don’t have a muffin tray, place the eggs directly on a moist tea towel in the oven. This will prevent them from browning.
It may be harder to control the cooking of the egg to the consistency you want with this method, but it’s convenient when cooking big batches for meal prep or a party.
Peel hard-boiled eggs faster
The nitty-gritty part of cooking hard-boiled eggs is the peeling. The best way to peel a hard-boiled egg is in a bowl of cold water. After cooking the eggs, either in the oven or on the stove, shock them in cold water. This contracts the egg whites, releasing them from the egg’s membrane. Leave for about five minutes, then crack and peel the egg in the water.
Another method is to shake the egg in a mason jar of cold water. It sounds strange, but give it a try! It’s an easy, mess-free way to peel a hard-boiled egg. When it’s time to incorporate hard-boiled eggs into your next meal, get creative by adding them to tuna salad.
“Add an extra protein element to a tuna salad by mashing up a hard-boiled egg and adding it to the dish,” suggests Trebing. “I like to make my tuna salad with drained canned tuna, mayo, chopped grapes, and chopped pecans. The addition of eggs gives an extra creaminess to the tuna salad.”
A deeper dive — Related reading on the 101:
Eggs were once a seriously hot commodity.
Eggs can be part of a very healthy breakfast — here are some other ways you can stay healthy.
If you have some of these unhealthy habits (we’re looking at you, snooze-button hitters!), it’s time to break them.