Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How To Crack Open An Egg

posted in Eggs by Kathy Maister

Sometimes, when I need to crack open an egg, I will try to do it the way they always do on TV, with one hand. I usually make such a mess after the first one or two that I go back to the tried-and-true, two-handed method of cracking eggs.

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This picture shows the ingredients for scrambled eggs, but in this blog post, I’m just going to focus on the egg-cracking step, which will apply whenever you use eggs, not just scrambled eggs.

Do notice something which may seem strange for a beginning cook. In addition to the large bowl in which I’m going to mix my ingredients, I have set out a small bowl (the one shown is called a “custard cup”) just for the purpose of cracking open the egg(s).

You should always first crack open the egg into a second bowl before you add it to the mixing bowl. This allows you to examine the egg and, if it doesn’t look perfect, you don’t ruin the rest of your ingredients.

In addition, if a stray piece of eggshell falls into the bowl, it’s easier to fish out of the small bowl than the one containing the rest of your ingredients.

By the way, to remove a bit of shell, use another (larger) piece of the broken shell. Amazingly, it acts like a magnet. It’s a lot harder (and messier) trying to grab the broken bit with your fingers.

Many people crack open an egg on the side of the mixing bowl. This method pretty much guarantees you will get a bit of shell in the mix.

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A better approach is to tap the egg (gently!) on the counter until there’s a small dent (not a large crack!) You can then put your two thumbs in opposite sides of the dent, and be able to gently pull apart the shells.

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Drop the egg into the small dish (custard cup) you have set aside for the purpose.

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If there are no shells and the egg looks good , you can then add the egg to your mixing bowl.

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Ta-da!

P.S.: We made a video about this recently too. Take a look!

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10 Comments

Gail Gordon Oliver said:

Hi Kathy,
Thanks for the thumbs-up on “Maran Illustrated Cooking Basics.” I served as the expert culinary consultant for the book, and I’m really thrilled with how it turned out.
I just happened upon your website, and I love the concept. Good luck!
Gail

redeye said:

I had to post to this, it doesn’t come any simpler or more straghtforward than this. Next? Can we have the scrambled eggs?

Kathy (Maister) said:

Redeye, I do have a post on scrambled eggs! They are my favorite (and the only thing my husband knows how to cook)!
Gail, I love your book! The photos are fabulous and the tips are outstanding!

MCC Sensi said:

I love the start from scratch approach. Words like “foundation” & “building blocks” spring to mind. Everybody, it seems, wants the glitz & glamour of food, without the bubble, bubble, toil & trouble. Let’s bring it back to basics. My dad once told me that Albert Roux’s assesment of a potential chef in his kitchen was whether he could fry an egg or not…You go girl.

KGWagner said:

Don’t feel bad about having less-than-stellar results with the one-handed egg cracking trick. It takes bigger hands, tons of practice, and the ability to absorb failure in stride. You’ll see short-order chefs do it all the time, but they can go through many dozens of eggs a day, and if they break one, they don’t care – they just throw on another one. Eggs are cheap

The cooking show chefs do it just to show off. There’s no advantage to it unless you’re multi-tasking like short-order chefs do, trying to cook 17 meals at once with no time to think. For more deliberate chefs, or the home gastronome, your method is the best.

Kathy Maister said:

MCC, I should have called this site “Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble”! (I love it!)

Roger said:

I use a table knife and ‘cut’ part way through the egg with a chopping motion.

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks Roger for sharing with us yet another way to crack open an egg! In all cases, you just have to be very careful that bits of the shell do not end up in your recipe. It is best to always crack you egg into a small dish first, then check to see that there are no shells!

automate crystal said:

i see some people do it with one hand? can you demo that? i think its really hard.

startcooking said:

I will add your request to the list but do keep in mind that it is hard and not necessarily for beginner cooks!

Meanwhile, if you Google cracking an egg with one hand, there are over a million examples to “learn” from.
The next time eggs are on sale, buy a couple of dozen and start practicing!

You can then fish out all the shells and invite all your friends over for scrambled eggs!