What's the Best Way to Cook Eggs for a Crowd?

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You might have a big holiday crowd headed to your house in a few weeks, and if you're anything like my family, breakfast is the meal you look forward to most (sorry, Christmas dinner). My mom's breakfast casserole is legendary, and my dad loves cooking up skillet after skillet of bacon and sausage.

But we're just cooking for a family of four, so if your crowd is bigger, here's a handy tip for cooking eggs with ease. Scrambled eggs are obviously easy to do for a crowd. Mix up as many eggs as you want, then scramble in batches until it's all cooked. This also helps if you have picky palates that don't like their eggs scrambled soft or ones who prefer a higher cheese-to-egg ratio.

My new favorite trick involves cooking eggs with a rimmed cookie sheet, however. Pop the pan into a cold oven and preheat to 500º. Once the oven is preheated, pull the pan out of the oven, spray with cooking spray, and crack as many eggs as you need to cook, giving a little space between each one. Carefully return the pan to the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, use your spatula to "cut" apart the eggs. Flip eggs over (if you don't like sunny-side up eggs) and return to oven for 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Repeat as necessary to have enough eggs for your crowd. It works beautifully! I promise!

While you've got the eggs cooking, make speedy (and mess-free) work of your bacon with this handy cooking trick.

Keep Reading:

How to cook the perfect fried egg

I embark upon this column in the full and certain knowledge that many of you already know how to fry an egg. Indeed, if you are completely confident in your abilities, and never find yourself disappointed by a sadly snotty white or tragically chalky yolk, then pat yourself on the back and then move along – I can teach you nothing. But if, like me, you can fry a perfectly decent egg but wouldn't stake your life on your habitual method, then you are more than welcome to join this brave voyage back to the basics of cookery.

Those still reading should take heart from the fact that the great Fernand Point, feted as the father of modern French cuisine, is said to have judged a chef by the way he fried eggs. He'd interrupt hopeful apprentices at the stove, legends including Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros brothers, with the cry, "Stop, unhappy man – you are making a dog's breakfast of it!" before demonstrating the only proper way to execute the dish.

Further reassurance comes from award winning Spanish chef José Andrés, who claims "my whole life I have been trying to cook an egg in the right way." Andrés exalts in what he calls "the humbleness" of the dish, but that doesn't mean he just slings it into a hot pan and goes off to make some toast – far from it. Both these culinary giants have very different ways of frying an egg – but who's right? (Note here I'm aiming for the standard British fried egg, known in the States (and perhaps elsewhere?) as "sunny-side up". There will be no flipping.)

We Finally Know the Best Way to Crack an Egg

We got the answer straight from our Test Kitchen, and there&rsquos definitely one method you should be using.

Cracking an egg is one of the simplest kitchen tasks there is—most of us don’t even think about it as we’re making scrambled eggs or adding a few to cake batter. But even though it’s an almost-mindless habit, a lot of people have their own methods for cracking eggs some use the side of the bowl, some hit the flat top of the counter, others create a crack using the edge of the counter. While any of these methods can get the job done, we’re here to tell you that yes, there really is a "best" way to crack an egg.

According to the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen, using the countertop to make that first crack is the way to go. There’s an actual reason why you shouldn&apost use the bowl (or the edge of the counter) if you can help it. Cracking an egg on the side of a mixing bowl makes a thinner crack than using your countertop. When you use your thumbs to pull the shell apart, you have to break it even more to get the egg open, which creates more tiny pieces of shell that can fall into your food.

On the other hand, if you use a flat surface, like the top of your counter (not the edge, which will also give you a small crack), you’ll end up with a bigger break, and it’ll be easier to gently pull the shell apart with your thumbs and avoid any shell pieces. This advice comes straight from our Test Kitchen, and you can trust us when we say that they’ve cracked enough eggs to know the best method (they go through about 4,800 eggs every year, for an average of 92 each week).

While using the countertop for cracking is less likely to create shell pieces, it’s still not completely foolproof. That’s why the Test Kitchen also recommends cracking your eggs into a separate bowl first, then adding them to your recipe. We know, we know, it’s an extra step and an extra dish you’ll have to clean up later, but it’s much easier to pick a tiny piece of shell out of a ramekin with one egg in it than losing it into a bowl full of cookie dough.

We know how to crack an egg can spark as much debate as whether you should store your butter on the counter or in the fridge, or whether or not tomatoes should be refrigerated. Still, if you can break the habit of cracking eggs on the side of your bowl or the edge of the counter and use the flat top instead, you’ll have an easier time separating the shell and fewer pesky pieces to pick out of your eggs (or, if you’re committed to using the edge, you crack them into a strainer that will take care of any pieces). That means less time spent working on your egg-filled recipes, and more time enjoying the delicious results!

How To Fry An Egg

There are few things more beautiful in this world than a perfectly cooked fried egg. They can upgrade pretty much anything, from an avocado toast to a double cheeseburger and beyond. Follow these simple tips and you'll be slingin' eggs like your favorite diner in no time.

When it comes to pretty much anything else, I'm all about a cast iron skillet. For eggs though, nothing works better than nonstick. I basically bought a nonstick pan just for cooking eggs, and it's worth it. Nonstick skillets typically have a shorter lifespan, so don't feel bad about buying one on the cheaper side&mdashthis one is my favorite . If you're like me and usually make 1 to 2 fried eggs at a time, an 8" pan is perfect. If you cook up breakfast for a crowd on the regular, go for something bigger.

If you don't have a nonstick pan, you can use a cast iron or carbon steel pan in a pinch. Just make sure to up the amount of fat to avoid scraping burnt bits of egg off your pan.

2. Choose the right fat.

Butter is the most classic choice for frying eggs, and in my opinion the best. Why? It's just. so, so, good. BUT! If butter isn't your thing, there are plenty of other options. Olive oil is a great choice as well, it'll still add some flavor and will give your eggs some deliciously golden crunchy edges. Vegetable oil works fine if it's all you've got, but it's not preferred. If have some bacon fat (the holiest of fats) on the other hand, you're in business. Name me a more iconic duo than bacon and eggs. I'll wait.

3. Cook 'em your way.

Everyone likes their eggs differently, and that's ok! I, along with many others, prefer my yolks runny&mdashwhich is why I usually go the sunny-side-up or over-easy route. In both, the whites are set and the yolks are runny. The difference is that over-easy eggs are flipped before removing from the pan, while sunny-side-up eggs only cook on one side. Eggs over-medium and over-hard just require longer cook time on their flipped side so the yolk is semi or completely cooked, respectively.

The Foolproof Way to Make Scrambled Eggs for a Crowd

These eggs are just as super-fast as any other scramble, but they can hold for up to an hour in a low oven or slow cooker without turning into silly putty.

When it comes to feeding a crowd of people for breakfast or brunch, many people, (and by many people I mean me), swear by a make-ahead dish like a strata or even a grilled cheese strata, or a frittata situation to get through your morning. But what if you aren’t planning some fabulous brunch way in advance, or have a houseful of overnight guests and a fridge crammed to the gills with everything you need to feed them and no room for a casserole dish, or no time to make something ahead?

Scrambled eggs are your morning savior. They don’t need anything with them except toast to make them a full breakfast, no matter what IHOP says. Sure, they are great with some bacon or sausage, pancakes or hashed browns, but you? Are not a short-freaking-order-cook, and you have a tableful of hungry morning people who will eventually be eating lunch, so there is no shame in the egg and toast game. Maybe some fruit, but only if you have it lying around. They are quick and easy, a child could make them (and at least one of yours should be taught how immediately).

Scrambled eggs for two or even four people is a no-brainer, because everyone is usually gathered together so getting them cooked and on the plates fast is pretty easy. But what if you are eight people or even a dozen? Now you are battling everyone’s morning routine. Someone is invariably trying to get a quick email off, or completing a complex dental hygiene or face management protocol, someone is taking FOREVER to get dressed, and someone else has decided your French press regular coffee isn’t really up to their standards and has departed in search of an artisanal flat white in the neighborhood.

So now you are herding cats and trying to get some protein in them that is hot and delicious and not cold and rubbery. What is a host to do?

Enter my foolproof scrambled eggs for a crowd. These eggs are just as super-fast as any other scramble, but they can hold for up to an hour in a low oven or slow cooker without turning into silly putty. So, you can get all your slippery guests a plate of breakfast on their schedule and not the eggs&apos schedule. You’re welcome.

First things first, if you are going to hold your eggs in a low oven, place your oven-safe egg bowl in your oven and turn it as low as it goes, usually between 150-200, as soon as you hit the kitchen. The bowl will warm so that it will help keep the eggs a good temp, even once you put it on the table or buffet. If you are going to hold your eggs in your slow cooker, plug it in and set it for warm, so that the insert starts to heat up. You do not want your hot eggs to hit a cold serving vessel, the outsides will seize and rubberize.

Now that your vessel is heating up, you want to get your equipment together. You will need a large nonstick skillet or wide low-sided pan that is large enough to hold the amount of eggs you intend to make. A heat-proof rubber spatula, a microplane or box grater, a bowl for the eggs, and a large fork.

How many eggs are you gonna need? Usually when cooking small, you would budget for two eggs per person, and would use the standard large eggs that you keep in your fridge for cooking and baking, since that is the size most recipes call for. Because you are just going to divide what is in the pan by either two or four people, which is easy to eyeball.

But these eggs are self-service, and someone will get piggy, and someone will be left with no eggs or just a sad spoonful of egg crumbs, and let’s be real, that person will be you. So, since eggs are fairly inexpensive, and you are preparing for a crowd, splurge and buy the extra-large or jumbo size, and budget two eggs per person, plus an extra egg for every four people. In math terms, this means that 8 people need 18 eggs. Which is good, because most places will sell cartons of between 6 and 18 eggs, so you will never be more than a couple eggs over your needs, and to be honest, if you have fewer than 4 eggs left in any sized carton for this, I would just add 𠆎m in. What is the worst that can happen? You’ll have leftover scrambled eggs, and tomorrow you’ll put them on toast with a slice of cheese or some avocado over them and be glad all those people are gone.

For every 6 eggs you will need 2-3 tablespoons of frozen unsalted butter. So, for the assumed 18 eggs, budget one stick. And yes, I said frozen. More on this anon.

To start, break all of your eggs into a large bowl, being sure to fish out any bits of shell that escape. Using your large fork, poke every yolk in the bowl to break it, which will help them blend and is also weirdly satisfying. With your fork, beat up your eggs until well mixed and no large streaks of whites remain, about 20 good fast whips in a circular motion. You don’t want to use a whisk for this because of what comes next.

Easier-Than-Deviled Eggs: A Customizable Snack Fit for a Crowd

Here's what's great about deviled eggs: They're delicious and infinitely variable. Here's what's not: They can't really be tailored to the infinitely variable preferences of a group unless you hand each guest their own mixing bowl. That's where these deconstructed deviled eggs come in. They're just as delicious, just as luxurious—possibly more so—and even easier to make (which is quite a statement, given how easy regular deviled eggs already are). As we get into picnic and cookout season, this is going to be my go-to hors d'oeuvre for parties. It'll also be my go-to for breakfast, lunch, dinner, mid-morning snack, mid-afternoon snack, midnight snack, 4 a.m. drunken snack,* and 5:30 a.m. wake-up snack.**

** Sadly, this will happen. because I have a kid.

Basic deviled eggs get their creamy texture and layered flavor from hard-boiled yolks mixed with mayonnaise and other seasonings, which are then piped back into the whites. But this recipe takes a markedly different approach, starting with the eggs, which I cook at a boil for just seven minutes before shocking them in ice water. We've tested the best way to make hard-boiled eggs and found that starting at a boil increases the likelihood that the eggs will be easy to shell. Meanwhile, that seven-minute cooking time is just long enough to turn the yolks silky and custardy, without fully hardening and drying them out. That's a good thing, because we're not going to remove them from their respective egg-white cups. Instead, all the seasonings, flavorings, and mayonnaise are going right on top.

This is an instance in which I prefer to use hand-whisked mayo over the machine-blended kind. It's saucier and silkier, with a brighter flavor than one made in a blender or food processor using the exact same ingredients. I know that for a lot of people, the idea of making homemade mayonnaise is already a daunting one, and that a hand-whisked one is pretty much out of the question. But I'd encourage anyone feeling that way to give it a shot—it's much easier than most people make it out to be, and the results in a simple dish like this are worth it. Besides, there's not much else to do for this recipe, so it's hardly asking too much to spend a few more minutes on the mayo. When you do it, just remember to add the oil incredibly slowly, fully whisking it into the egg base before adding more. The biggest risk with handmade mayo is overwhelming the base with too much oil, which usually leads to the sauce breaking.

In these photos, I've topped each egg half with a generous dollop of the mayo, along with an anchovy fillet, some capers, and herbs like chive and chervil, and I've finished it with some good extra-virgin olive oil and fresh black pepper. You don't have to follow my lead, though. You can top these with whatever you want: salmon roe, a few pieces of diced shrimp, bacon shards, crumbled cheese, a dusting of Old Bay seasoning, et cetera. (If you do use anchovies, make sure to use some good salt- or high-quality oil-packed ones it'll make a big difference.)

If you're entertaining, you can also let everyone assemble their own by putting out a platter of the halved eggs, a bowl of mayo, and a wide range of condiments. That way, you get all the benefits of a classic deviled egg, with the bonus of total customizability. It's hard to argue with that.

How to Make Perfect, Fluffy Scrambled Eggs

The secret ingredient for perfect scrambled eggs is whisking the eggs thoroughly and vigorously before cooking them. Whisking incorporates air, which produces fluffier scrambled eggs, and fluffier eggs are the end goal. This cooking technique is a lot like the first steps in making an omelet. The difference is that you gently break up the eggs at the very end, leaving the curds larger and fluffier.

Another professional tip is to turn off the heat before the eggs are all the way cooked. This helps prevent overcooking, which is a common problem with scrambled eggs. You don't want your scrambled eggs to be brown on the bottom because that produces dry, rubbery eggs.

The most important thing to remember is that scrambled eggs continue cooking for a few moments after transferring them to the plate. This phenomenon is known as residual or "carry-over" cooking, and you want to transfer the eggs to the plate when they're slightly softer than the way you ultimately want them.

Migas Breakfast Tacos

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How to Make Poached Eggs in the Instant Pot

Place the Instant Pot’s wire trivet in the bottom of the insert and add 1 cup of water. Spray three ramekins with cooking spray and crack an egg into each one. Turn pressure knob to the sealing position. Select the STEAM button and set time for 3 minutes. When the Instant Pot beeps, immediately release the pressure. Carefully open the lid and remove the ramekins from the insert. Use a silicone spatula to release the eggs and slide out of the ramekins.

These Simple Tips Make Eggs Benedict Easy, Even for a Crowd

Some foods fall naturally into the categories of both breakfast and brunch: pancakes and waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon. But along with Bloody Marys and bottomless mimosas, eggs Benedict tends to be reserved for the more leisurely and weekend-oriented brunch, maybe because it’s so luxurious, and also since it seems so labor-intensive to prepare. But while it may never be a Monday morning kind of meal, it’s not too intimidating to make at home, even for a crowd. These brilliantly simple techniques will make pulling it off even easier.

Poach Eggs in a Muffin Tin

One of the two most intimidating parts of eggs Benedict is right there in the name: the eggs, so let’s start with them. They should be perfectly poached, with firm yet tender whites and wonderfully runny yolks. There are tons of tips and tricks out there for making poached eggs in a pot (swirl the water add a little vinegar strain the raw eggs through a mesh sieve slide them in just so and so on), but this one takes all the guess work out of the equation, and allows you to cook a big batch at once:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get out your muffin pan.

2. Pour a tablespoon of water into each cup in the muffin tin (or as many as you plan to use), then crack an egg into each one. Your first time around, it’s a good idea to make one or two extra (think of them as your sacrificial eggs) so you can check for proper degree of doneness!

3. Place the pan in the oven for anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes. You’ll want to check after eight, and then roughly each minute after that, until the eggs are done they should jiggle a little when you shake the pan, but look pretty opaque around the edges and on top—beware that some of the water may have risen to cover the top of the egg, which can make it look underdone, even though it’s not actually raw anymore this is where your extra eggs can come in handy. Also note that they’ll continue to cook in the pan for another minute after you remove them—so maybe err on the side of slightly under.

4. Run a metal spoon around the edges of each cup to loosen the cooked eggs, then lift them out. Another benefit of this method is that they’re all uniformly sized and shaped to fit perfectly on English muffins! (Which can also be a detriment if you like the charm of irregular eggs, but hey, you can’t have everything.)

Poach Eggs Ahead of Time

Even if you stick with a more conventional cooking technique, you can poach your eggs up to two days ahead of time. If you’re ready to change your entire life, just be sure to prepare an ice water bath before you get poaching, and slide the eggs into it as soon as they’re cooked, then keep them in the bowl of water, covered in plastic wrap, for up to a day or two (no more than that) in the fridge. When you’re ready to use them, gently rewarm them by placing them in a large bowl filled with hot water—straight from the tap is fine in fact, actually-boiling water can easily overcook the already poached eggs. They should warm up in a minute or two. Then just blot them dry on a paper towel and serve!

Whip Up An Easy Blender Hollandaise

The other thing that makes many people hesitant to tackle eggs Benedict at home is the hollandaise, a notoriously finicky French sauce that can break (or curdle, rather than emulsifying like you want it to) if you don’t whisk it maniacally—but break out the blender and there’s no need to fear, or exhaust your arm. Our Easy Blender Hollandaise recipe ensures you get buttery, lemony, satiny-smooth sauce with the mere press of a button (okay, a few different buttons), and you can make multiple batches in no time at all.

It adds an extra step, but if you fill your blender pitcher with hot water and let it sit for a minute or two before pouring it out, wiping it dry, and starting the recipe, it helps keep the sauce warm (especially if you have a glass-pitcher blender). If you need to keep it warmer for a little while longer after making it, you can transfer it to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set the bowl in a pan of hot water (making sure beforehand that the water won’t come up over the top of the bowl just in case the plastic wrap leaks). If this warm bath cools before you’re ready to serve brunch, change it out for more hot water, and this should keep your sauce fluid for about an hour. Just whisk it for a second to smooth things out before spooning it over your eggs.

Oster Precise Blend 16-Speed Blender, $44.39 at Walmart

The glass jar on this well-rated blender resists scratches and odors and helps keep your sauce warm.

Toast Muffins En Masse

English muffins are the classic base for eggs Benedict, and there’s no need to mess with tradition (unless you really want to). Since you won’t have to poach and toast each plate’s components to order, just split as many muffins as you’ll need in total and line them up on baking sheets, brush them with melted butter, then toast them all at once. The only caveat is to watch out for hot spots your oven probably tends to brown things more quickly in certain areas, so it’s a good idea to rotate the pan and shuffle the muffins around to prevent any from crisping too much, while leaving others underdone. When they’re toasted, place whatever other toppings you’re using (cooked bacon, ham, cooked seafood, cooked vegetables) on top and pop it all back in the oven just to warm it through, another minute or two, before adding your poached eggs and hollandaise to each one.

And that’s how to pull off easy eggs Benedict for a crowd—or just a couple, for that matter—without breaking a sauce or a sweat, leaving you plenty of time to sip your mimosa and ease into the day while you’re at it!

Try adapting one of these eggs Benedict recipes to use one or more of the above hacks and maybe you will make it a Monday thing after all…

Classic Eggs Benedict

Ham, hollandaise, English muffins, and poached eggs—because sometimes there’s no sense in messing with perfection. A touch of paprika or chives helps perk up the plate. Get our Classic Eggs Benedict recipe.

Crab Benedict on Lemon-Chive Biscuits

Since making poached eggs in a muffin tin and blending up your hollandaise is so easy, why not spend a little time making lemon-chive biscuits and picking through some sweet crab meat to make a super-summery eggs Benedict? Get our Crab Benedict on Lemon-Chive Biscuits recipe.

Caprese Eggs Benedict

Speaking of summer, when tomatoes are perfectly ripe, they’re dynamite paired with fresh mozzarella—and you can eat the classic Caprese salad for breakfast by turning it into eggs Benedict, with fresh basil showered on top. In the off season, try it with tomatoes you’ve roasted to intensify their flavor. Get the Caprese Eggs Benedict recipe.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

If you’re not a fan of swine, swap it out for smoked salmon in your eggs Benedict, for an especially luscious bite. Get our Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict recipe.

Steak and Eggs Benedict with Béarnaise Sauce

Heartier appetites will be satisfied by this meaty steak and eggs Benedict the addition of tarragon, white wine, and shallots to the sauce is what makes it béarnaise, but it’s still finished in a blender. You can stick to hollandaise if you want a bit less work, but consider stirring some fresh chopped tarragon into it for a little flavor boost at the end. Get our Steak and Eggs Benedict with Béarnaise Sauce recipe.

Mexican Eggs Benedict

Put a Mexican spin on brunch by adding sliced avocado and sauteed onions and chorizo to the classic Benedict formula. Cilantro and cayenne spice up the hollandaise, which is also made with lime instead of lemon for a change. For a paleo take, swap sweet potato slices in for the muffins, or if you’re just looking for another tasty twist, try masa cakes or sweet corn cakes as the base instead of English muffins. Get the Mexican Eggs Benedict recipe.

Cajun Eggs Benedict

Using andouille sausage as the meaty component and kicking up the hollandaise with smoked paprika and cayenne is what makes these Cajun—and extra delicious. Get the Cajun Eggs Benedict recipe.

Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole

Of course, there’s always another way. If poaching eggs in the oven and assembling individual plates still sounds like too much work for you, go the breakfast casserole route (you can even prep it the night before), and top it off with whizz-bang blender hollandaise sauce in the morning. Get the Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole recipe.

Related Video: How to Poach Eggs in a Muffin Tin

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