Coddle, boil, poach, and more
I hate to tell you what you can and can’t do, but despite what you may have read on the internet, you can’t fry an egg in the microwave. I’m sorry, but you just can’t. It goes against everything that frying is—crisping food in a screaming-hot pan full of oil. But don’t let that discourage you. Should you find yourself sans skillet, but in the company of a microwave, you can make an egg just about any other way: hard- or soft-boiled, poached, baked, scrambled, or even coddled. The results, I’m happy to report, aren’t even gross, but rather surprisingly tasty. (Note: All of these were tested on the “high” power setting of my microwave. Exact cooking times may vary based on your microwave, so keep a close eye on your eggs.)
What you’ll need: An egg; a microwave-safe bowl, mug, or jar; plastic wrap; and enough water to cover the egg by an inch
How to do it: Crack an egg into your vessel (I found a clear jar was perfect for this, so I could monitor the egg as it cooked) and pour in the water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a dish and microwave 45 seconds for a set white and runny yolk, or 1 minute for a set white and a firmer yolk. Gently strain the egg out onto a slotted spoon, pat dry, and serve. This is pretty amazing, and admittedly much easier than chasing a snotty-looking egg around a pot.
Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled
What you’ll need: A couple of eggs, a microwave-safe bowl, water, plastic wrap, and a thumbtack
How to do it: Funny as it sounds, your first step here is to take your thumbtack and carefully, gently (so very gently!) poke a pinhole in one end of the eggshell. Please don’t skip this step, because when you cook your eggs, they’ll create steam, and if you don’t make a space for the steam to exit, your boiled eggs might just explode. Bad news.
Once you’ve poked a hole in each of the eggs, put them in a large bowl deep enough to cover the eggs completely with water by about an inch. (I used a 4-cup glass measuring cup for this.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a microwave-safe dish. Microwave 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
For soft-boiled eggs: Remove the eggs from the water immediately, rinse under cool water (or plunge into a bowl of ice water) until cool enough to touch, then peel and eat. The white will be just firm, the yolk completely runny.
For hard-boiled eggs: Just leave them in the hot water for a few minutes more before rinsing in cool water and peeling. I found that 2 minutes sitting in the hot water gave me a firm whites and creamy, velvety yolks, while 3 minutes gave me firm whites and firm yolks.
What you’ll need: A couple of eggs; a bit of olive oil or butter; a splash of cream; any add-ins you might want—like cheese, herbs, or spices; and a small, low-sided bowl, ramekin, or jar
How to do it: Butter the sides of your ramekin (put a little butter in the dish, zap it in the microwave, then swirl it around), crack in an egg or two, and add a splash of cream. If you want to grate any cheese over the top, or sprinkle over some freshly chopped herbs, or shake on a tiny bit of paprika, do that, too. Microwave 1 minute. Ta-da! Sure beats paying $15 for the same thing at a brunch place.
What you’ll need: A couple of eggs, a small microwave-safe jar or glass, a microwave-safe bowl that the jar fits inside, butter or oil, plastic wrap, some water, and a splash of cream
How to do it: Coddled eggs are similar to baked, but a little softer-set thanks to being cooked in a water bath. Follow the same instructions for baked eggs, but compose it all in a glass or jar with higher sides than a ramekin. Set the jar inside the bowl and add water to the bowl so that it comes about halfway up the side of the jar, higher than the level of the egg. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a dish and microwave about a minute.
What you’ll need: A couple of eggs, a splash of water or milk, a fork, and a microwave-safe jar, mug, or bowl
How to do it: This is the easiest of them all. Crack an egg or two into your jar, add a splash of water or milk, and beat it with the fork. Microwave for 30 seconds, then carefully remove and beat again with the fork. Return to the microwave for 15 seconds. Your eggs should be creamy but set (if you like a drier scrambled egg, microwave for about 15 seconds more). Carefully spoon them out of the jar and onto a plate, breaking them up as you do so.